A new floating bridge across Lake Washington has the potential for solving another pressing transportation problem for the region — the steep, biker and pedestrian-intimidating slope up Capitol Hill.
As we reported last week, the state is moving ahead with design work on a new SR 520 floating bridge even though Olympia needs to come up with another $2.22 billion to pay for the $4.65 billion project. One big change with the new bridge (other than it being built so that it won’t fall down in an earthquake) is the addition of a trail for walking and biking across Lake Washington from Montlake to Medina.
However, the plans so far have not included an extension the trail through to northern Capitol Hill, where it could connect with popular bike routes to the University Bridge, Broadway, Interlaken Park and downtown. One of the poster boards for a late March open house described the section of 520 between Montlake and I-5 as a “parkway,” but the map does not include a walking and biking path.
Writing over at Seattle Bike Blog, I argued that building this connection would be a tremendous opportunity to not only actualize the new Lake Washington trail, but also to connect Montlake, Eastlake and north Capitol Hill. The hills from Montlake to Capitol Hill (and downtown) are among the steepest in the city, which is a significant barrier to people walking and biking between the neighborhoods. For the 520 Bridge to serve as an effective bicycle commuter facility from the Eastside to downtown Seattle — our region’s largest employment center — this connection is vital. For Capitol Hill, it would be a big neighborhood asset.
The state is holding a public meeting April 12, and biking and walking access is on the program for discussion. Details:
We’re continuing the SCDP process in April by hosting the first of four interactive public sessions to explore design refinements that support Puget Sound mobility and livable Seattle neighborhoods.
Join us for the first public session on April 12 when we will focus on:
- Shelby/Hamlin neighborhood and the canal reserve area
- East Montlake Park and the planned SR 520 stormwater facility
- Montlake shoreline under the planned SR 520
- East Lake Washington Boulevard
- Bicycle/pedestrian connections to regional and local activity centers
Time: Thursday, April 12, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Short presentation at 5 and 6 p.m.
Place: Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
2700 24th Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98112
Located just north of SR 520 in Montlake.