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Eastlake seeks ideas to make the I-5 Colonnade weirder and more useful

Fremont may have Seattle’s most well known bridge underpass, but Eastlake’s Colonnade Open Space under I-5 is more useful, impressive, and even weirder than hordes of tourists crawling over a troll.

Opened in 2005, the Colonnade is now in need of some work and the Eastlake Community Council wants input on how the park should be improved and expanded. An introductory public meeting on the project will be held Thursday night at 6:30 PM at the Agora Conference Center.

Located under I-5 along Lakeview Blvd. E, the Colonnade includes an off-leash dog park, pedestrian walkways, and an award winning mountain bike park. The Eastlake Community Council, which was responsible for obtaining the initial funds to open the space in 2005, has already kicked around some ideas for improvements to the park:

  • Adding new paths and sidewalks to improve access through the park.
  • Adding a skate bowl and ramps
  • Improved trail surfacing and bike themed art
  • An agility course for dogs with “paw-friendly” surfacing and dog themed art
(Image: City of Seattle)

(Image: City of Seattle)

Improving pedestrian and bike connections from the park to Capitol Hill was also cited as part of a study completed by the community council in 2012.

At its south end, the study suggests that Colonnade park needs a stairway up to Lakeview Blvd., a trail south to the intersection of Eastlake Ave. and E. Aloha Street, and a trail southwest to the intersection of Franklin Ave. E. and E. Galer St. It also suggests that on the WSDOT land between E. Galer and E. Nelson streets that connects Colonnade with Eastlake Avenue, there could be steps and a switchback trail, and in the sunny upper elevation above the trees, possibly P-Patch plots to address the citywide shortage.

To learn more about the project and how to get involved, visit

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10 thoughts on “Eastlake seeks ideas to make the I-5 Colonnade weirder and more useful

  1. We absolutely need better pedestrian connections either over or under I-5 between Capitol Hill and South Lake Union/Eastlake. A pedestrian bridge at Harrison or Republican could go a long way.

    This park is kind of like Freeway park in that it attempts to stitch over the giant gash that I-5 puts through the middle of the city. Expanding the size and access to those connections is critical.

    • Totally agree. Walking from Melrose/Repubican to Eastlake/Republican takes 20 minutes to walk 200 ft. as the crow flies. WTF. They tore out the staircase for I5 and never bothered to replace the connection.

  2. Pingback: CHS: Eastlake community looks to improve and expand I-5 Colonnade Park | Seattle Bike Blog

  3. My suggestion is they actually make the WHOLE dog park “paw friendly”, not just an agility course. Every dog I’ve taken there just stands around, because the rocks hurt their paws so much they don’t want to walk or play on them. The rocks are way too big, and the dogs don’t like them.

      • Ever been to Vancouver? They have ZERO miles of urban freeway. We need to start dismantling six decades of auto dependancy. Yeah, there’ll be some pain in that process but we’ve got to get started. Otherwise, it’s just “we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.”

      • You probably need to prepare more options before you dismantle your primary method of getting people and goods around this city. And I’m sure when emergency responders can’t get to where they need to go because of the epic traffic your plan created, people will be all like, “it’s cool, it’s just part of the process.”

        In all seriousness, greater Vancouver has over a million fewer people than greater Seattle. It’s also way denser in its population, increasing the effectiveness of its public transportation. (It’s the fourth densest city in all of North America, according to Wikipedia, and is 44 sq/miles vs over 144 for Seattle.) It’s flat topography is also more transit and bike/walk friendly than hilly Seattle.

      • “Zero miles of urban freeway”? What do you call Highway 99, Highway 91, the TransCan highway, just to name a few? They most certainly do have urban freeway. They also have colossally hosed traffic into and out of Vancouver in every direction during rush hours. I’m not quite sure what we should be aspiring to there? Their traffic is just as f**ked as Seattle’s.

  4. RE: Colonnade Park. It would be nice if the City would do some basic maintenance there. Graffiti on the columns is a chronic problem, and getting worse, yet it is never cleaned up. And there is an ongoing homeless camp in the northwest corner (under the I5 onramp)….I was told by a maintenance manager that they would like to clean it up, but for unclear reasons the SPD blocked them from doing so.

    Even though the freeway is WSDOT’s responsibility, they have a contract with the City which specifies that all the area under the freeway is City responsibility.