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The John Lewis Memorial Bridge to Northgate Station opens October 2

Invitation image with an aerial concept image of the bridge. Text: Grand opening october 2, 2021. The Northgate bike/walk bridge finally has both a name and an opening date. Officially named the John Lewis Memorial Bridge, this biking and walking bridge connecting North Seattle College across I-5 to Northgate Station has a lot to live up to. It is shaping up to be a very useful and eye-catching bridge, and despite many lengthy delays construction will barely finish in time to open alongside Northgate Link light rail October 2.

The bridge took many years of advocacy and a partnership across many agencies, including the city, state and Sound Transit. The bridge was expensive because it crosses a stretch of I-5 that is slightly elevated compared to street level, requiring the bridge to climb extra high to get proper clearance over the freeway. But the difficult crossing was worth it because there are so few quality options for people walking and biking to get across the expansive freeway in this area. The bridge will dramatically expand the walkshed and bikeshed of Northgate Station, meaning far more households and destinations west of I-5 will be within a short walk or bike ride.

Maps showing the increased walkshed and bike shed with the Northgate Bridge.
Maps from Cascade Bicycle Club visualizing the increase in easy walking and biking access.

So hey, you now have a fantastic excuse to ride the light rail on opening day of the Northgate Link extension. Take it to the end of the line, then walk across the new bridge to find the opening celebration in the North Lot of North Seattle College starting at 10 a.m. and going until noon. Or you can bike there and use the new 1st Ave NE bikeway to access the bridge.

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Details about the opening celebration from SDOT:

We’re excited to invite you to our grand opening for the John Lewis Memorial Bridge (Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge) on Saturday, October 2!

What to expect
We will be hosting a series of speakers at the west end of the bridge starting at 10 AM, followed by a ribbon cutting and community-led walk, roll, and bike ride towards Sound Transit’s new Link light rail station. With Link light rail service also beginning at the Northgate Station on October 2, we encourage you to try out the new transit options.

We hope you’ll join us to recognize all those who have made this project possible!

Saturday, October 2
10 AM to noon
On the west side of the John Lewis Memorial Bridge, in the North Lot of North Seattle College

We are following public health requirements for COVID-19, including having all City staff wearing masks at the event. According to the Governor’s current mandate, guests must wear masks at all outdoor events regardless of vaccination status. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing throughout the event to keep everyone safe, healthy, and comfortable. Thank you.

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3 responses to “The John Lewis Memorial Bridge to Northgate Station opens October 2”

  1. Kathy

    I am very happy to see this new infrastructure. Now we need a way to get across I-5 where there is not any at grade access. Like getting from West Seattle or SODO to Beacon Hill and the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Currently from S. Spokane Street, you have to detour either 1 mile north to S. Holgate Street or 2.7 miles south to S. Lucille Street to get up to Beacon Hill on foot or bicycle. That’s 3.7 total miles where there is no access to cross I-5. Those routes are not even very bike friendly and it is certainly not a greenway to get to the Sound from the Mountains.

  2. asdf2

    I would like to see WSDOT bear a much higher portion of the cost for similar bridges because they were the ones that created the problem in the first place by building the freeway on the surface, without bothering to think about how a pedestrian is supposed to get from one side to the other.

    Without the freeway to have to bridge over, the $20 million pathway between the station and NSCC would have cost probably under $100k – just pour the asphalt and be done with it.

    1. Skylar

      I agree, not only does WSDOT bear the responsibility for it, but forcing them to budget for mitigation will sap their budget for new highway construction.

      I’m definitely looking forward to comparing the new bridge to the (albeit now present) bike lanes on 92nd.

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