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Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project: Environmental Online Open House – Shoreline permit

What is a shoreline permit?

Under Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program, a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit is required for any projects within 200 feet of the shoreline. The permitting process allows the city to review the environmental effects of proposed development on shoreline waters and on fish and wildlife, and ensures appropriate mitigation is provided for those effects.

Why is WSDOT applying for a new shoreline permit for the Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project?

WSDOT received a Seattle shoreline permit in 2012 for each of the remaining SR 520 construction projects. Since then, the city has updated its code related to shoreline permits. Due to the new code and the amount of time that elapsed since the original shoreline permit for the Portage Bay project was issued, the city has requested that WSDOT apply for a new permit.

Background on previous recreational commitments (REIP, Montlake Playfield Master Plan)

During public outreach in 2019, WSDOT heard concerns from community members that the new shoreline permit would not include the recreational projects included in the original 2012 shoreline permit as part of a Recreational and Environmental Improvement Plan (REIP). 

The public comments received during the 2011-2012 shoreline permit process have been considered by WSDOT in previous design updates. Public comments heard about recreational improvements during the shoreline permit process and multiple conceptual design updates have led to significant design refinements, such as extending the SR 520 Trail over the Portage Bay Bridge and onto the Roanoke lid.

As part of the new shoreline permit application process, WSDOT is coordinating with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) to propose mitigation measures for project effects on recreational opportunities and experiences in and around the south Portage Bay area. The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) will evaluate those proposed measures during the permit review stage and will determine what mitigation measures to include as a condition of the permit.

WSDOT is also working with SPR and SDOT to identify funding, construction, and maintenance responsibility for the proposed Everett Street End improvements to ensure the project is built and maintained over the long-term.

We want your feedback on potential south Portage Bay recreational improvements

In coordination with the city, and based on past community feedback, WSDOT has identified the following projects that may be included as proposed mitigation projects in the 2020 shoreline permit:

  1. Everett Avenue East street end improvements
  2. Montlake Playfield trail Improvements
  3. Montlake Playfield/south Portage Bay native planting improvements
map showing three potential recreational projects in the south Portage Bay area of Seattle that developed as mitigation for the SR 520 Portage Bay and Roanoke Lid Project.
This map shows the location of the three potential mitigation projects noted above.
Community-supported improvements as part of the Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project
Conceptual drawing of Everett Street End improvements

We would like to hear your feedback about these recreational opportunities in the south Portage Bay area. We would also like to know more about your recreational priorities in the area.

1.  What recreational opportunities are most important to you in this area? Please select all that apply

2.  What new recreational feature(s) are you most looking forward to? Please select your top three

+ 2 = 5

Other community improvements

WSDOT is planning to build other community-supported improvements as part of the Portage Bay Bridge and Roanoke Lid Project, regardless of the Shoreline Permit findings. As noted on the background page, WSDOT and the city of Seattle are finalizing plans to replace the stairs connecting Boyer Avenue East and Delmar Drive East, and to make on-street improvements that provide an accessible connection between those two streets. WSDOT is also planning to include a Boyer Avenue East overlook to Portage Bay and native plantings in the under-bridge area. As noted in previous pages, the project will also include a number of additions and improvements on the local non-motorized network.

Next steps for the shoreline permit

  • Late 2020: WSDOT finalizes the shoreline permit application. Public feedback will help inform the recreational mitigation projects proposed in the application
  • Late 2020: WSDOT submits application to SDCI
  • Early 2021: SDCI determines completeness of application and begins comment period
  • Early 2021: 30-day public comment period
  • Late Summer 2021: SDCI makes shoreline permit decision, including conditions of the permit
  • Late Summer 2021: 21-day appeal period