Following this winter’s rains, crews will begin work on a paved trail weaving in an out of the wetlands and gardens of the Arboretum allowing pedestrians a closer connection to the natural preserve and giving bike riders an alternative to busy Lake Washington Blvd.
“Seattleites love Green Lake… this is going to be a great alternative walk in a spectacular Seattle park,” said Paige Miller who works for the Arboretum Foundation and sits on the joint committee that is supervising the project.
The 1.2-mile loop will be 12-feet wide and paved perfect for slower traffic including joggers and strollers. Bicycle riders will be able to pedal through the Arboretum rather than brave the winding, motor vehicle-filled Lake Washington Blvd.
Washington State Department of Transportation and the Arboretumand Botanical Garden Committee collaborated to provide the funding of $7.8 million as mitigation for SR 520 bridge replacement. In June 2013, Seattle’s City Council approved $7.8 million from WSDOT to fund the project.
The $7.8 million covers the first phase of mitigation funding which will be for the trail and the replacement of a gravel parking lot.
The trail will go through areas of the Arboretum that are not usually accessible in the winter. Those areas are going to be restored with more native wetland plants to ensure stability for the trail.
The next phase of mitigation funding will go toward conservation efforts. The project will be “daylighting” the lower reaches of Arboretum Creek and restoring wetland areas. Pipes the creek runs through will be removed and people we be able to walk along the creek bed for the first time in decades.
The multi-use trail will hopefully be completed by winter of 2016 when the full loop is expected to open.
Find out about the project on the Washington Park Arboretum Multi-Use Trail Project Information page.