In this newsletter:
- Seattle has two surveys out now, where you can write in your support for lidding I-5.
- Big win for lidding I-5! The Legislature funds I-5 corridor planning. Read details and send a note of thanks. (This is repeat news from earlier in March.)
- New website page on city policy.
Share Your Voice on Two Citywide Plans
Seattle is kicking off two major citywide planning efforts. These plans are used to make decisions on Seattle’s future budgets and projects, so it’s an important opportunity for Lid I-5 to be integrated further into the city’s work. There is a quick and easy way for you to help us make this happen – fill out the city’s two official surveys!
- Survey link – for the Seattle Comprehensive Plan (branded as One Seattle Plan). Questions #2 and #7 are a great place to let the city know why the I-5 lid initiative is an important way to achieve restored neighborhood connectivity, open space in dense urban communities, and new public land for housing or other uses in the heart of the city. An equitable community engagement process should help design the future lids. (Comprehensive Plan website)
- Survey link – for the Seattle Transportation Plan. Question #5 is where you can mention the challenges that I-5 poses for connectivity on surface streets, particularly for people walking, biking, using mobility devices, and riding transit. Lids are win-win solution to help reconnect streets and neighborhoods and rethink our transportation system priorities. Lids should also prompt an examination of nearby on-ramps and off-ramps for safety of all roadway users, especially in the Downtown area. (Transportation Plan website)
Of course, you are invited to also provide feedback on other issues that interest you as a Seattle resident. Thanks for your help!
Big Win! Legislature Funds I-5 Corridor Planning
We did it! Together, we secured funding for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to continue its much needed I-5 corridor planning, where we can work to integrate freeway lids into the conversation. This is part of the broader Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed by the Legislature in early March.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to every community member and partner organization who sent in messages of support not only this year, but also in the past. We have been working on this issue every year since WSDOT released their I-5 System Partnership Call to Action in 2019.
Here are the details: WSDOT is provided $2.5 million for a statewide I-5 Planning and Environmental Linkage Study (PELS) under bill SSB 5975 § 209. We also helped overturn the budget restriction on WSDOT studying the Marysville-to-Tumwater corridor under ESSB 5689 § 219.
A PELS is a relatively new type of study meant to streamline planning processes. For I-5, WSDOT will take a broad look at preservation, traffic safety, climate change, and corridor efficiency. WSDOT must engage the public and stakeholders, and must assess the economic and equity impacts of I-5. The work is a precursor to a later I-5 Master Plan and the design of future system improvements, which we think should include lidding I-5 for reconnecting communities. The PELS is likely to begin this summer with a report due to the Legislature in June 2023.
More specifically, by December 2022 WSDOT is requested to also prepare a scope of work for a seismic risk analysis of I-5 between Boeing Field and Lake City Way. This follows public polling last year which found over 80% of Seattle voters are concerned about the capability of I-5 to survive a major earthquake. Our team will work to ensure the Central Seattle lid opportunities are included in the analysis.
Send a note of thanks: In the Senate draft of the transportation package, WSDOT would have been required to conduct further studies for Central Seattle I-5 lids in the PELS. Unfortunately, that lid-specific language was removed in final negotiations with the House Transportation Committee. The fact that this level of support made it to the state budget process is another major achievement, and it gives us momentum to engage closely with the PELS and to fight for lid funding again next year.
We encourage you to send a note of thanks to Senate Transportation Chair Marko Liias (email@example.com), Vice-Chair Rebecca Saldaña (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Senator Jamie Pedersen (email@example.com) for their support of the Lid I-5 community effort and WSDOT’s corridor planning work. The Lid I-5 team looks forward to collaborating with them more, and we know our community will be there with us.
You can also use the pre-built Transportation Choices Coalition letter to thank legislators for their hard work.
New Website Page on City Policy
We are continually updating our website as a resource for all lid advocates. In that effort, we published a new page listing all of the official local policies that directly support lidding I-5.
Take a look, and help us expand this important set of directives. An easy way to help today is to fill out the two surveys above!