A bridge for the 92% - the Northgate biking and walking bridge is moving forward
Six years in the making, after overcoming budget hurdles and re-designs, the Northgate Bike and Pedestrian Bridge is another step closer to starting construction, after the Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees completes an important agreement with the City of Seattle.
The Northgate Bike and Pedestrian Bridge will provide a safe, intuitive and comfortable walking and biking crossing over I-5 to connect the Northgate Link Station with neighborhoods, businesses and North Seattle College. The bridge passed an important milestone on June 14 when the Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees conditionally agreed (subject to the completion of additional environmental permitting) to an easement that will ensure the bridge lands on North Seattle College property.
By 2030, 92 percent of the 15,000 people accessing the Northgate Link light rail station each weekday will get there via bike, foot, or transit. But back in 2012, the vision was very different: Sound Transit was planning to install a 900-stall parking garage without considering the vast potential of biking and walking to access the new Northgate Link light rail station.
Thanks to advocacy from neighbors and community organizations like Cascade Bicycle Club, the intervening six years has involved significant public participation, more than a few highs and lows, and broad acceptance of a new vision for accessing the Northgate Link station.
Your advocacy was pivotal in demonstrating overwhelming support for the bike and pedestrian bridge, which was essential to achieve city and Sound Transit buy-in and funding success. Over time, that’s translated into obtaining an agreement between Sound Transit and the City of Seattle, then funding via the 2015 Connecting Washington State Transportation Funding Package, and the 2015 Levy to Move Seattle.
The long-awaited bridge will connect several Seattle neighborhoods long separated by I-5, at the same time that it will create seamless connectivity to walk or bike to the Northgate Sound Transit Link light rail, when it opens in 2021. To the west of I-5, Licton Springs is home to North Seattle College, several office buildings and retailers. To the east is the Northgate Urban Center, and the vibrant Maple Leaf neighborhood with a community center, library, and retail attractions, as well as. Knitting those neighborhoods back together will be meaningful beyond just accessing the new Link light rail.
Last week’s vote by the College Trustees represents another significant achievement for a top community priority. Time and time again, caring neighbors and community stakeholders have rallied to support the completion of this critical east-west linkage connecting neighborhoods and transit together.
The community packs an early planning meeting to advocate for biking and walking access to the Northgate Link station
Cascade thanks the leadership at North Seattle College, as well as the Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees for their willingness and due diligence to collaborate with the City of Seattle to ensure a smart and long-term agreement that will ensure this important community connection works for students, neighbors, and the many users to Northgate Light Rail. Thanks are also due to SDOT, for their years’ of work to help make sure the community vision and Move Seattle Levy commitment becomes reality. Now, with the agreement between the Colleges and SDOT, additional permitting will move the project forward and construction for the bridge, which is expected to be complete in 2020, ahead of the Link light rail station opening in 2021.
Cascade is a trusted voice in policy and advocacy. Our efforts have resulted in over one billion dollars in new biking and walking investments statewide that make bicycling safer for all. Help us continue to help keep Washington streets and bikeways safe, simple and connected for people who bike.