UW Station Light Rail Meeting, April 21st, 2010 Edition

Just a quick update on the status of these wonderful meetings… this meeting didn’t bring up much else than what was covered in the December meeting. A couple of improvment that the contractors are working on in the short term:

  • Working on plaza improvement near the west main gate of Husky Stadium (E17) to accomadate increased pedestrian density during games/events,
  • Montlake and Pacific intersection will have a protected left turn signal added for southbound Montlake traffic into the access road,
  • A temporary complete sidewalk closure (4 weeks) on the east side of Montlake Blvd for four weeks to erect noise wall along the street
  • After wall is finished, a slurry wall we be constructed underground to outline the future station and ensure the integrity of future digging,
  • After slurry wall completed, main excavation down 100ft begins! The tunnel boring machine (TBM) will arrive Spring 2011; the station contract is set to be awarded June 2010, with construction on that starting March 2011.
  • Trucking schedule is mostly at night, hauling hours now are established to be 2-3pm, 10pm-7am. Negotiations with the city might allow 12 hour hauling window from 7p-7am.

A couple of interesting comments came up. When first asked for public questions, an older gentleman berated the public relations part of these community meetings (poor Wilbert!), saying that no one came door to door to the historic Montlake homes to inform affected residents of the presence of the meetings and how the sound is “carrying really well” across the cut. He repeated this gripe two more times. Sound Transit replied that they had done door-to-door canvasing in the neighborhood in addition to public flyers and email announcements, and countered his argument that none of his neighbors knew about these meetings by claiming that his neighbors had indeed shown up to previous meetings and voiced similar concerns to his (noise, hauling schedule).

On the topic of noise (which seems extremely silly to me because this station seems to affect the least homes due to its position far away from residential areas), ST said the contractor applied for a temporary noise variance permit (in addition to the February-approved 24 month permit for six decibles over ambient) to experiment with what equipment can and cannot be used during the night hours.

With respect to the pedestrian bridge, Sound Transit noted that SDOT policy discourages pedestrian bridges (seems rather non-applicable to this situation), and also withdrew their portion of funding due to budget constraints. This leaves the UW with $4 million and ST with $4 million + the cost of the pedestrian bridge to find an alternative. A public meeting on this topic will be held very soon in May or June.

Lastly, environmental impacts were brought up. Concerns over the gobbling of green space by the parking lot by the project were voices, especially of the climbing wall and old cottonwood trees. Sound Transit assured that no futher use of green area is required and that the rock wall will be fine.

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