What improvements need to be in place to help you — the urbanist — get around South Lake Union (SLU) more easily? What would help you circulate in neighboring communities without a car? What would help you have easy access to downtown? What are the transportation-focused improvements that could be put forth as a plan that would be supported by the variety of neighborhood businesses, institutions and private interests? These are the types of questions that the mobility advisory committee asked themselves. The committee, made up of individuals from neighborhood interest groups and businesses, fine-tuned their recommendations during a series of meetings and presentations. With help from transportation consultant Marni Heffron, information from many previous neighborhood transportation studies, and input from entities such as King County Metro and the Cascade Bike Club, the advisory committee crafted a set of recommendations. These recommendations have the support of the SLU Community Council, SLU Chamber of Commerce, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce and the Uptown Alliance.
The basis of the plan is that SLU and Uptown will undergo a massive transformation in the next decade, as the neighborhoods grow to accommodate more than 12,000 new residents and 24,000 new jobs. In addition, three major infrastructure projects — Alaskan Way Viaduct, Mercer East and Mercer West — will change travel patterns and provide key links for pedestrians, bicycles and transit. This newly released mobility plan seeks to consolidate all the previous studies and take into account the new growth and infrastructure.
The mobility plan has 7 key themes which are described in much more detail in the report:
- Connect Communities: re-establish east-west grid across Aurora
- Increase Transit Service: add rerouted and extended bus service through the heart of SLU
- Serve Regional Access & Mobility: realize improvements from infrastructure projects to connect neighborhoods
- Encourage Walking: create active and safe pedestrian environment
- Support Biking: provide bike paths, bike lanes, bike share and bike lockers
- Create Hubs for Mode Transfers: identify and create neighborhood hubs for access to and from local attractions
- Leverage Private Transportation Investments: partner with businesses, institutions, and development to leverage private enhancements
Now that the draft plan is completed it will be reviewed by the various entities. Once a final plan is approved, it will be circulated and used to inform development.