SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program - Community Liaison & Ombudsman

David Small

Hi, I’m David Goldberg, the community liaison and ombudsman for the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program.

In my role at WSDOT, I try hard to represent and defend the interests and concerns of the community we intend to serve. My first job is to listen and understand your concerns about how the reconstruction of the SR 520 corridor is -- or could be -- affecting you. Community members I often hear from include nearby residents, users of the transportation system, community-based organizations, elected representatives and other affected stakeholders.

As community liaison, I consider it my job to be the person at WSDOT whose primary focus is representing community interests as decisions are being made. I am the person who consistently asks (sometimes tough) questions about how the community might be affected – whether that’s through noise, vibration or dust from construction, effects on people walking, biking, driving or boating, and myriad other concerns. I try to help WSDOT leadership anticipate potential issues and avoid unnecessary impacts.

When WDOT’s decisions or contractor actions do result an issue being raised, I act as ombudsman, investigating community concerns and seeking to work out a resolution.

In all that I do, I aim to be as approachable, responsive and communicative as I can be.

The goal: More community benefits, fewer negative impacts

Megaprojects like the SR 520 Program in Seattle can deliver numerous benefits for many people. In this case, we can look forward to safer bridges that can withstand earthquakes; neighborhoods reconnected via park-like lids over the highway; more reliable transit trips with better places to wait for buses; a world-class, regional trail network for walking and biking; and smoother driving connections between the east and west sides of Lake Washington, from I-5 to I-405. 

Ombudsman Video

But building such megaprojects also comes with impacts, challenges and trade-offs for members of the community. Throughout the next several years of construction, WSDOT and Washington’s governor and Legislature want to ensure that citizens have somewhere to go with concerns about issues such as noise, dust, work lights at night, and disruption to traffic patterns or routes for walking and biking. The state also wants people to be confident of a fair hearing by decision-makers at the highest levels.

Who I am

As I help you address your concerns, I draw on a long and varied background. I have worked as an investigative reporter looking into the operations of a state DOT and other government agencies. I’ve been a neighborhood activist, fighting for my little corner of the world. I’ve also been a national advocate for safe and complete streets, better transit systems and smarter urban planning. In Seattle I have been a member of the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Board and continue to be involved in civic activities in Seattle. I care deeply about the quality of life in this city we are forever making, and I have been drawn to the work I do because I care about people, their aspirations and their health and safety.

I don’t claim to be a miracle worker able to solve every issue. But I do pledge to do all I can to foster clear communication, make sure questions are answered, and elevate legitimate issues to the highest appropriate level. I have my ears and eyes wide open as I learn about SR 520’s complicated set of projects, their ramifications for neighborhoods and the city, and the concerns of community members throughout construction.
I look forward to hearing from you and working together.

How to reach me

Phone: 206-770-3659
999 3rd Ave., Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98104