State route No. 520 improvements — Project impact plan — Mediator, duties.
(1) As soon as practicable after May 15, 2007, and after consulting with the city of Seattle, the office of financial management shall hire a mediator, and appropriate planning staff, including urban, transportation, and neighborhood planners, to develop a state route number 520 project impact plan for addressing the impacts of the state route number 520 bridge replacement and HOV project design on Seattle city neighborhoods, parks, including the Washington park arboretum, and institutions of higher education. The mediator must have significant professional experience in working with communities that surround major transportation construction projects, and mitigating the impacts of those transportation projects on those communities. The office of financial management shall hire the mediator and the planning staff within existing appropriations allocated for the state route number 520 bridge replacement and HOV project. The position of mediator under this section is not considered a certified or legally binding position.
(2) The mediator's responsibility to develop a project impact plan is highly time sensitive. As a result, competitive bidding is not cost-effective or appropriate for personal service contracts to hire the mediator. The director of the office of financial management shall, by the director's authority under *RCW 39.29.011(5), exempt any such personal service contract from the competitive bidding requirements of *chapter 39.29 RCW.
(3) In evaluating the project impacts, the mediator must consider the concerns of neighborhoods and institutions of higher education directly impacted by the proposed design, establish a process that incorporates interest-based negotiation, and work with the appropriate planning staff to develop mitigation recommendations related to the project design. The mediator shall work to ensure that the project impact plan provides a comprehensive approach to mitigating the impacts of the project, including incorporating construction mitigation plans.
(4) The ultimate goal of the mediation and planning process established in subsection (1) of this section is to develop a project impact plan agreed to by all appropriate parties including, but not limited to, those parties listed in subsection (6) of this section. The project impact plan must be consistent with RCW 47.01.380, and must support and be consistent with the approved purpose and need statement for the project, which is: "The purpose of the project is to improve mobility for people and goods across Lake Washington within the SR 520 corridor from Seattle to Redmond in a manner that is safe, reliable, and cost-effective while avoiding, minimizing, and/or mitigating impacts on the affected neighborhoods and the environment." The mediator must strive to develop a consensus-based plan. In the event that the mediation process does not result in consensus, the mediator shall submit a project impact plan to the governor and the joint transportation committee that reflects the views of the majority of the mediation participants.
(5) The process established in subsection (1) of this section shall result in a project design that provides six total lanes, with four general purpose lanes and two lanes that are for high occupancy vehicle travel that could also accommodate high capacity transportation. The bridge shall also be designed to accommodate light rail in the future and to support a bus rapid transit system. Additionally, the mediator shall strive to develop a project impact plan within the constraints of the range of estimated project costs as of May 1, 2007.
(6)(a) In performing the duties of this section, and consistent with the governor's findings and conclusions, dated December 15, 2006, the mediator shall work with interested parties directly affected by the state route number 520 bridge replacement and HOV project including, but not limited to, at least the following:
(i) Representation from each neighborhood directly impacted by the project;
(ii) Representation from local governments on both ends of the bridge directly impacted by the project;
(iii) Representation from King county;
(iv) Representation from the Washington park arboretum;
(v) Representation from the University of Washington; and
(vi) Representation from sound transit.
(b) The mediator shall also work with the department and others as necessary.
(c) Before the mediator may submit the project impact plan, it must be reviewed by the mayor of Seattle and the Seattle city council. The project impact plan must reflect whether the mayor and council concur or do not concur with the plan and include an explanation regarding their positions.
(7) Until December 1, 2008, the mediator must provide periodic reports to the joint transportation committee and the governor regarding the status of the project impact plan development process. The mediator must submit a progress report to the joint transportation committee and the governor by August 1, 2007. The mediator must submit a final project impact plan to the governor and legislature by December 1, 2008.
[2007 c 517 § 2.]
| *Reviser's note: Chapter 39.29 RCW was repealed by 2012 c 224 § 29, effective January 1, 2013. See chapter 39.26 RCW.|
Finding -- 2007 c 517: "The legislature finds that the replacement of the vulnerable state route number 520 corridor is a matter of urgency for the safety of Washington's traveling public and the needs of the transportation system in central Puget Sound. The state route number 520 floating bridge is susceptible to damage, closure, or even catastrophic failure from earthquakes, windstorms, and waves. Additionally, the bridge serves as a vital route for vehicles to cross Lake Washington, carrying over three times its design capacity in traffic, resulting in more than seven hours of congestion per day.
Therefore, it is the conclusion of the legislature that time is of the essence, and that Washington state cannot wait for a disaster to make it fully appreciate the urgency of the need to replace this vulnerable structure. The state must take the necessary steps to move forward with a state route number 520 bridge replacement project design that provides six total lanes, with four general purpose lanes and two lanes that are for high occupancy vehicle travel that could also accommodate high capacity transportation, and the bridge shall also be designed to accommodate light rail in the future. High occupancy vehicle lanes in the state route 520 corridor must also be able to support a bus rapid transit system." [2007 c 517 § 1.]
Severability -- 2007 c 517: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2007 c 517 § 8.]
Effective date -- 2007 c 517: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 15, 2007]." [2007 c 517 § 9.]