So Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood just unveiled a proposal to replace the 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington with a project whose centerpiece, according to the Seattle P-I, would be…
a suspension bridge that would soar from near Interstate 5 over Portage Bay and Montlake and then descend to a new floating bridge on Lake Washington….
Neighborhood residents who overflowed a building at Montlake Park on Wednesday night were enthusiastic about the plan, which one of the creators, Rob Wilkinson, said could be "a signature bridge"—perhaps one designed by the famous designer Santiago Calatrava. He has seen the site and expressed general interest.
There’s more to the plan than that. Including the pricetag: $3 billion, or a billion more than the state’s existing plan for replacing the 520 bridge would cost. City and state transportation officials called the neighborhood’s plans "exciting," and "fascinating."
Compare this with the news from Vancouver, BC: the province of BC wants to build more highways in greater Vancouver. But the Vancouver regional government says that the highways are "out of sync" with the metropolitan area’s plans, which favor transit and HOV lanes over expensive new highways.
That’s a real contrast in political cultures: the government of Washington’s largest city is all fired up about vastly expensive highway projects, and has to petition and cajole state legislators to fund them; while the government of BC’s largest metro area is trying to say no to highway projects that are being foisted on them by the province.
Seems to me that Vancouver, though, is on to something: after all, the city is frequently ranked among the world’s best places to live, even though (or, more likely, because) it has no freeways running through it.