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Bike Route Alert: Little 116th Street trail closed near I-5

Photo of the closed trail.
Image of the closed trail connection from Google Street View.

Detour map. Sound Transit has closed a short trail connection between NE 116th St and the 1st Ave NE I-5 overpass to N 117th St.

This trail will never reopen. Instead, the agency will construct a new trail under the light rail tracks a block away at NE 115th St.

The official detour is fairly out of the way and uses busy NE Northgate Way for a block. There are no bike lanes on Northgate, and the detour map suggests using the sidewalk. However, I suspect most people biking and walking will find their own unofficial ways through, likely using shorter routes through nearby apartment building parking lots.

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More details from Sound Transit:

As early as September 21st, Sound Transit is closing the Northeast 116th Street bicyclist/pedestrian path to construct the Lynnwood Link Extension light rail guideway. The NE 116th Street trail will be closed permanently. The Lynnwood Link rail-track alignment in this area changes from aerial (supported by columns) to at-grade (supported by retaining walls), similar to guideway being constructed just south of Northgate. Sound Transit will be constructing a retaining wall and track guideway for the Lynnwood Link light rail through the existing NE 116th Street trail. Sound Transit plans include a new pedestrian/bicyclist trail at NE 115th Street crossing under the new light rail aerial guideway.

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5 responses to “Bike Route Alert: Little 116th Street trail closed near I-5”

  1. Brandon

    When biking in the northern part of north Seattle, these are the options for going east-west across I-5:

    1. Use N 92nd. An actual bike lane. That goes away as soon as you cross I-5 heading east.

    2. Pedestrian bridge being built around N 100th, to open in fall 2021 with light rail.

    3. Technically, you could ride under I-5 on Northgate Way (not recommended…)

    4. Take this detour, which removes a crossing at N 117th and replaces it with inconvenience until some point in the future.

    5. Ride on 130th st, only a slightly better option than Northgate Way.

    6. Then there’s 145h st, which is as welcoming to bikes as Northgate Way.

    7. Finally, in Shoreline, there’s a bike lane on N 155th.

    Not many options, especially if you’re trying to make it from west of I-5 to the Burke-Gilman trail.

  2. Skylar

    Knowing the city, I’m betting that the left-turn at Northgate won’t even have a working bike sensor.

    1. asdf2

      You’d only be on the north-side sidewalk of Northgate Way, so the left turn sensor wouldn’t matter.

      1. Skylar

        True, if you’re following the detour path. Even before COVID19 I preferred to avoid sidewalk-riding for safety/politeness reasons. That section of Northgate Way has narrow sidewalks, and no room for someone (either cyclist, or pedestrian) to make 6′ of room safely.

        The really unfortunate thing is that there’s room for protected bike lanes on Northgate Way, if it weren’t for the median, which does nothing more than encourage drivers to consider the road an extension of I-5. It’s another example of how having a more-complete bike network would help, because any good network would allow for alternate routes when one part becomes blocked.

  3. Hyperborean Wolf

    I have so many fond memories of that spot, I know its necessary, but my heart aches a little. So many times I’d pull off just to the side to have a picnic, or rest after working in the Northgate area. That spot with brambles to the right was a lovely spot to chill before the last leg home, or to take shelter under that spruce in a sudden storm. It was a small slice of Seattle that reminded me of the place I came from and made me feel at home. It was a special place, and I hope I will not be the only one who misses just for how it was constructed, and treasures the memories of when they rested before that last leg home.

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