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Support the Northgate bike/walk bridge at Tuesday open house + A look at the updated concept

Design concept from the TIGER grant application
Design concept from the TIGER grant application shows the bike/walk bridge and potential transit-oriented development

The Northgate bike/walk bridge is among the smartest investments the city and Sound Transit can make to both ensure that the planned light rail station maximizes its ridership and reconnect a neighborhood long divided by I-5.

But I-5 is wide and elevated between North Seattle Community College and Northgate Mall/the future light rail station, raising the price tag for the project to $25 million (and the total bike/walk improvements in the area to $36.3 million). So far, the city and Sound Transit have together pledged $10 million to the project. But they need to find the other $15 million by July 2015 or Sound Transit’s $5 million might be used for other projects (NOTE: An earlier version of this story included numbers for all bike/walk improvements, not just the bridge. I have updated them to reflect just the bridge).

You can support this project and urge leaders to make sure they prioritize funding the bridge at an open house Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Olympic View Elementary School cafeteria (504 NE 95th Street).

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The neighborhood, transit boosters and groups in favor of more biking and walking all agree that this connection is vital and smart. It’s not just an investment that will help the short-term ridership goals of the light rail station, but it’s also a key piece to a more livable and mobile neighborhood. This great visual by Cascade Bicycle Club shows the dramatic increase in neighborhood station access if the bridge is constructed:


More detailed station access map from SDOT, assuming the bike/walk bridge is constructed
More detailed station access map from SDOT, assuming the bike/walk bridge is constructed

The city has applied for a federal TIGER grant to get the final $15 million, but that fund is very competitive, and it’s somewhat rare (though not unheard of) for a project to win a grant on the first try. So while it’s great that the city put the work into applying for the grant, we should also make sure they have a backup plan to find the funds should the grant fail.

The city’s TIGER grant shines even more light on the benefits of the bridge on neighborhood mobility, especially when combined with other planned bike/walk improvements in the area:

2014 TIGER - Seattle Northgate FINAL application-mapThe bridge would also certainly help planned transit-oriented development plans near the station succeed. While those plans are far from final, the TIGER grant includes this mockup of what the area could some day look like. The bike/walk bridge certainly makes living here much more appealing than if it were just on the edge of the Northgate Mall parking lot, cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by I-5:

2014 TIGER - Seattle Northgate FINAL application-tod

Here’s an interesting cost/benefit analysis for the project:

2014 TIGER - Seattle Northgate FINAL application-costbenefit

More details on the open house from SDOT:

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the concepts we’ve developed for Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge before we move into design. So, please come to our open house next week to see models of some of the preliminary design concepts, comment on the selection criteria we’ll use to select between bridge types and alignments and speak with our project staff. Sound Transit staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the Northgate Station.

The open house will be on Tuesday, June 3 between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Olympic View Elementary School cafeteria (504 NE 95th Street).  There will be a short presentation at 6 p.m. giving an overview of the project and the options for the bridge type and bridge alignments.

Once built, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge will provide a non-motorized crossing over Interstate 5 to reconnect the communities, neighborhoods, businesses and schools in the Northgate area. The bridge will be located somewhere between NE 100th and NE 103rd streets and will likely be between 1800 and 2200 feet long. We expect to identify a preferred option this fall, and possibly begin construction in 2016, finishing well before Sound Transit’s North Link line begins operation.

For more information about this project, please visit our project website:


If you have questions or comments about the project or the Open House, please contact:

Art Brochet, Communications Lead

(206) 615-0786 • [email protected]

About the author:

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8 responses to “Support the Northgate bike/walk bridge at Tuesday open house + A look at the updated concept”

  1. MJ

    Just to clarify, I believe the cost of the bridge itself is $25 million, not $36.3 million. The later figure includes a number of other Northgate-area bike and pedestrian improvements not directly related to the bridge.

    1. K. Thompson

      At any cost, it’s a complete waste of money ! Those millions of dollars could be used to support Metro…that serves many more people city wide ! Kill the bridge !

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        The money is to build a bridge that will increase access to transit. That’s as important as funding transit service. Plus, I suppose the city’s $5M portion could theoretically go to funding Metro, but the rest (Sound Transit and the federal grant, if they get it) cannot.

    2. Tom Fucoloro

      Thanks, MJ. I clarified the numbers.

  2. Jeffrey J. Early

    Is the semi-circle design really necessary? It makes it ~1.5 times longer to walk a semi-circle compared to a straight line, so I hope it’s not just because it ‘looks good’.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      No, that’s just in the rendering. There are several design options, and SDOT will have 3 models at the meeting. Here’s a look at one of them (no curve): https://twitter.com/seattledot/status/473880230319235072

      1. Jeffrey J. Early

        Cool! Thanks.

  3. […] we’ve already established that the Northgate bike/walk bridge is a good idea from a neighborhood connectivity perspective. […]

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