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Author Topic: New SR-520 Floating Bridge  (Read 21864 times)

KEK Inc.

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New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:07:58 AM »

Woohoo!  WSDOT is going to spend billions on a bridge that adds a pedestrian/bike path and an HOV lane.





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myosh_tino

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 12:49:02 PM »

Woohoo!  WSDOT is going to spend billions on a bridge that adds a pedestrian/bike path and an HOV lane.
While I can understand adding an HOV lane, I'm curious as to why there's a big push to add a pedestrian access to bridges.  The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco is going to include a walkway but it's only from Oakland to Treasure Island and does not extend to San Francisco.

Is there any sarcasm in KEK's comment?  My sarcasm meter is a little off...
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 01:03:11 PM »

Pedestrian/bicycle facilities are increasingly common on bridges where there no other ways for non-motorized traffic to conveniently legally cross.  Some much older crossings, ie, the George Washington Bridge (I-95 in NYC) and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as newer crossings like the I-94 Saint Croix River bridge at Hudson, WI; the US 2 Bong Bridge between Superior, WI and Duluth, MN; the planned, soon to be under construction WI 64/MN 36 Saint Croix River bridge at Stillwater, MN; etc, have them, too.  Also, for the same reason, pedestrians and bicycles are allowed on the right shoulder of the main roadways of the I-79 Ohio River bridge near Pittsburgh.

I consider it to be good policy to include such facilities if they are needed and can be done economically.

Mike
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 01:06:43 PM by mgk920 »
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 01:23:44 PM »

Also, for the same reason, pedestrians and bicycles are allowed on the right shoulder of the main roadways of the I-79 Ohio River bridge near Pittsburgh.
Huh - didn't realize that. Is this the easternmost (freeway-standard) current Interstate that allows bikes on the shoulder (as opposed to on a separate path)?
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 03:04:53 PM »

Currently, traffic on the SR-520 bridge (2-lanes each direction) is atrocious.  It would benefit an extra non-HOV lane as well.  A pedestrian trail is nice, but it doesn't have to be that wide and have belvederes like that mock-up does. 
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NE2

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 03:05:41 PM »

Currently, traffic on the SR-520 bridge (2-lanes each direction) is atrocious.  It would benefit an extra non-HOV lane as well.  A pedestrian trail is nice, but it doesn't have to be that wide and have belvederes like that mock-up does. 
It should be wide enough for two cyclists (or wheelchairs) to pass each other.
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 04:42:36 PM »

Currently, traffic on the SR-520 bridge (2-lanes each direction) is atrocious.  It would benefit an extra non-HOV lane as well.  A pedestrian trail is nice, but it doesn't have to be that wide and have belvederes like that mock-up does. 
It should be wide enough for two cyclists (or wheelchairs) to pass each other.
Looks like you can park a manufactured home in that bike trail to me.
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kkt

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 01:53:44 PM »

Woohoo!  WSDOT is going to spend billions on a bridge that adds a pedestrian/bike path and an HOV lane.
While I can understand adding an HOV lane, I'm curious as to why there's a big push to add a pedestrian access to bridges.  The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco is going to include a walkway but it's only from Oakland to Treasure Island and does not extend to San Francisco.

Is there any sarcasm in KEK's comment?  My sarcasm meter is a little off...

The I-90 bridge, about 3 miles south of WA-520, gets a fair amount of bike use.  There's at least a few bicyclists on it every time I cross, even when it's raining, and a whole lot when it's sunny. The 520 bridge probably will get even more use, from buff college students riding to the University of Washington campus.

Washington is not just spending billions for the HOV and bike/pedestrian lane.  The existing bridge is near the end of its life structurally.

Maybe the next time the west span of the Bay Bridge is renovated they can add a pedestrian/bike lane to it too.  They're not going to do the whole bridge at once, so one side or the other has to be first.
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 05:00:34 PM »

Maybe the next time the west span of the Bay Bridge is renovated they can add a pedestrian/bike lane to it too.  They're not going to do the whole bridge at once, so one side or the other has to be first.
Except there are absolutely no plans to replace the western span of the Bay Bridge.  The western span was seismically retrofitted a few years ago.  IIRC, The foundations for the piers of the eastern span were made up of tree trunks that were embedded in the bay mud.  This made doing a retrofit cost prohibitive so that's why the decision was made to build a replacement span.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 05:02:05 PM by myosh_tino »
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kkt

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 05:12:07 PM »

Maybe the next time the west span of the Bay Bridge is renovated they can add a pedestrian/bike lane to it too.  They're not going to do the whole bridge at once, so one side or the other has to be first.
Except there are absolutely no plans to replace the western span of the Bay Bridge.  The western span was seismically retrofitted a few years ago.  IIRC, The foundations for the piers of the eastern span were made up of tree trunks that were embedded in the bay mud.  This made doing a retrofit cost prohibitive so that's why the decision was made to build a replacement span.

Seismic retrofits go in about 20 year cycles.  Structures are retrofitted, there's another earthquake that turns out to do more damage than expect, and whatever similar structures survive get retrofitted again.  No immediate plans to replace or retrofit just means it's 15+ years out.

I am skeptical of the tree trunks story.  Are you sure that's not just the molds for the concrete base, and it was easier to leave the mold in place to decay than to remove them?  If trees were holding up the bridge, the bridge would sink as they decayed, wouldn't it?  And performed much worse than it did in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  My understanding is that Oakland wanted to have a beautiful approach with great views of the city like San Francisco has, not the bottom deck of a utilitarian truss bridge.
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 05:44:15 PM »

Given that Seattle's traffic is extremely heavy, I would have built 8 multipurpose lanes, 2 HOV lanes and then added in the non-motorized traffic on the sides.  If light rail will be placed across Lake Washington, then right in the middle of the bridge would be the rail line.  No tolls!  Increase the gas tax instead.  Don't add any more traffic impediments and don't add to the bureaucracy.

Oh well, no one asked me...LOL!

Rick
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2012, 05:51:54 PM »

I am skeptical of the tree trunks story.  Are you sure that's not just the molds for the concrete base, and it was easier to leave the mold in place to decay than to remove them?  If trees were holding up the bridge, the bridge would sink as they decayed, wouldn't it?  And performed much worse than it did in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  My understanding is that Oakland wanted to have a beautiful approach with great views of the city like San Francisco has, not the bottom deck of a utilitarian truss bridge.

From wikipedia...
Quote
Much of the original eastern span is founded upon treated wood. Because of the very deep mud on the bay bottom it was not practical to reach bedrock, although the lower levels of the mud are quite firm. Long wooden pilings were crafted from entire old-growth Douglas fir trees which were driven through the soft mud to the firmer bottom layers.[20]
Note: I realize that wikipedia is not the "best" source for info but since it was referenced I thought I'd go ahead and post it.  I will try to find another source to back up my claim about the bridge being built on wood pilings.
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2012, 05:59:55 PM »

I'm barely hanging off the fence about HOV lanes (slightly in favor), but ped/bike access is critical on bridges.  
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kkt

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2012, 07:34:24 PM »

Given that Seattle's traffic is extremely heavy, I would have built 8 multipurpose lanes, 2 HOV lanes and then added in the non-motorized traffic on the sides.  If light rail will be placed across Lake Washington, then right in the middle of the bridge would be the rail line.  No tolls!  Increase the gas tax instead.  Don't add any more traffic impediments and don't add to the bureaucracy.

Oh well, no one asked me...LOL!

Rick

There's not enough room for that many lanes approaching the bridge on either side.  There's little tolerance for tearing out blocks of houses, especially when on the east side that would wipe out half of Medina, where the Microsoft billionaires live.

I agree about the gas tax. 
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 08:35:50 PM »

What's so bad about the tolls over a gas tax?  It collects funding for the bridge from people who actually use it, rather than some farmers in Eastern Washington who may never even use the bridge who have to pay a little bit for it. 

Since I go to school at UW, I would use the bike trail and bike on the bridge, but there's no need to have a bike trail wide enough for car traffic.
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2012, 09:05:42 PM »

The tread of a shared-use path should be at least 3.05 m (10 ft) wide. A minimum of 2.44 m (8 ft) may be used on shared-use paths that will have limited use. Shareduse paths should also have graded areas at least 610 mm (2 ft) on either side of the path. On shared-use paths with heavy volumes of users, tread width should be increased to a range from 3.66 m to 4.27 m (12 ft to 14 ft).
So that's a minimum of 10 feet. WSDOT decided to go with the upper bound of 14 feet. Whoop de doo.
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nexus73

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2012, 12:22:17 AM »

What's so bad about the tolls over a gas tax?  It collects funding for the bridge from people who actually use it, rather than some farmers in Eastern Washington who may never even use the bridge who have to pay a little bit for it.

I already answered the question.  Go back and read my post.

Rick
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2012, 12:54:58 AM »

What's so bad about the tolls over a gas tax?  It collects funding for the bridge from people who actually use it, rather than some farmers in Eastern Washington who may never even use the bridge who have to pay a little bit for it.

I already answered the question.  Go back and read my post.

Rick

The current tolling system isn't really a traffic impediment.  Otherwise, I see your point.
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2012, 11:22:03 AM »

wipe out half of Medina, where the Microsoft billionaires live.


as a windows user, the only problem I see with this is: what about the other half?
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2012, 11:28:40 AM »

Quote
Currently, traffic on the SR-520 bridge (2-lanes each direction) is atrocious.  It would benefit an extra non-HOV lane as well.  A pedestrian trail is nice, but it doesn't have to be that wide and have belvederes like that mock-up does.

Since they're spending money to build in pedestrian access, they have to make it something that pedestrians or cyclists can pleasantly walk/ride across, otherwise there's no point in doing it- if it's not pleasant people won't use it. Build the minimum and it'll be like walking/riding on the shoulder of a freeway and nobody wants to do that.

kkt

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2012, 02:34:37 AM »

What's so bad about the tolls over a gas tax?  It collects funding for the bridge from people who actually use it, rather than some farmers in Eastern Washington who may never even use the bridge who have to pay a little bit for it. 

I'd rather not have the government collecting vast amounts of information about who's driving where.  Where does it end?  Tolls for every state route?  Once people are used to having their tracking devices on all the time, there's no reason not to.  The cost of all the tracking adds up, too.  Soon there will be tolls collected just to pay the toll collection contractor.  (And unlike cash tolls in the old days, they're not even making work so people can hold a job who have few skills beyond being honest and showing up on time.)

The poor suffering farmers of eastern Washington get a pretty good deal from the western part of the state.  The gas taxes collected in traffic jams in Seattle are what pays for all those miles of empty state route blacktop on the Palouse.
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KEK Inc.

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2012, 06:46:13 AM »

What's so bad about the tolls over a gas tax?  It collects funding for the bridge from people who actually use it, rather than some farmers in Eastern Washington who may never even use the bridge who have to pay a little bit for it. 

I'd rather not have the government collecting vast amounts of information about who's driving where.  Where does it end?  Tolls for every state route?  Once people are used to having their tracking devices on all the time, there's no reason not to.  The cost of all the tracking adds up, too.  Soon there will be tolls collected just to pay the toll collection contractor.  (And unlike cash tolls in the old days, they're not even making work so people can hold a job who have few skills beyond being honest and showing up on time.)

The poor suffering farmers of eastern Washington get a pretty good deal from the western part of the state.  The gas taxes collected in traffic jams in Seattle are what pays for all those miles of empty state route blacktop on the Palouse.

hmm, never though of it like that.  Well, thanks for clarifying. 
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 03:04:30 PM »

(And unlike cash tolls in the old days, they're not even making work so people can hold a job who have few skills beyond being honest and showing up on time.)

Electronic toll collection does make work for people. It takes a number of engineers to design, run, and maintain the electronic tolling systems, construction workers to install and maintain the physical equipment, a call center for customer service, people to look at license plate images for violations and/or toll-by-plate, manufacturers to make the transponders and related equipment, and so on. It just makes fewer jobs for people, like you mentioned, with few skills.
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kkt

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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2012, 01:33:02 AM »

(And unlike cash tolls in the old days, they're not even making work so people can hold a job who have few skills beyond being honest and showing up on time.)

Electronic toll collection does make work for people. It takes a number of engineers to design, run, and maintain the electronic tolling systems, construction workers to install and maintain the physical equipment, a call center for customer service, people to look at license plate images for violations and/or toll-by-plate, manufacturers to make the transponders and related equipment, and so on. It just makes fewer jobs for people, like you mentioned, with few skills.

Shame all those engineers and other skilled workers aren't doing something productive with their careers.  Gas taxes are fair and cheap and simple to collect.  Why go with complicated, expensive, and invasive?
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Re: New SR-520 Floating Bridge
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2012, 07:47:27 AM »

Shame all those engineers and other skilled workers aren't doing something productive with their careers.  Gas taxes are fair and cheap and simple to collect.  Why go with complicated, expensive, and invasive?

How are their jobs unproductive? They do a job, get a paycheck, and provide for their families. Seems productive to me.

The advantage of tolls over gas taxes is that roads that expensive road projects that otherwise wouldn't get funded are able to be done. Trying to increase gas taxes would be political suicide for any politician right now, and the distribution of gas taxes itself is a political process that isn't always even and fair. Allowing regional toll authorities to sell bonds, build roads, then pay them off with tolls lets important projects be completed with minimal politics.

At least that's how it works in Florida, and is why in cities like Orlando and Tampa, the toll roads are generally in better shape and have a higher level of service than the untolled highways. The political situation in Washington may be very different.

As for all electronic tolls being invasive, I agree with you 100%. Not having cash lanes removes someone's ability to move about anonymously. I don't like the thought of the government having a database documenting my travels.
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