June 25

City Council approves Northgate pedestrian bridge



The Seattle City Council today voted in favor of making Northgate more walkable by unanimously adopting a resolution dedicating up to $5 million for a pedestrian/bike bridge over Interstate 5, linking the future Northgate Station and North Seattle Community College.

The so-called Northgate Station Access Strategy also includes another $5 million as a match from Sound Transit for additional pedestrian/bicycle improvements in anticipation of the arrival of the North Link light rail in 2021.

The strategy, which was proposed earlier this month by Councilman Richard Conlin, also includes a request that Sound Transit develop of a 450-stall parking garage “that will support park-and-ride facilities, preferably shared use, with possible private funding used to provide additional parking garage stalls and potentially free existing surface parking for future development,” according to the text of Resolution 31389.

From Conlin’s news release:

“A coordinated access strategy is critical to making light rail work and to realizing the vision of the Northgate Urban Center and enhancing the neighborhoods around Northgate,” Conlin stated. “We can accomplish so much more by recognizing that all modes of access are necessary in order to prevent gridlock and ensure that transit and urban development work together.”

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  1. Exactly… making it walkable with a realistic pedestrian connection will get more people to walk (exercise)–not drive. This is forward thinking policy. Good point MLBob.

  2. “Study’s show that people are only willing to walk a 1/2 mile to light rail..”

    In other news, the US obesity rate continues to rise as our population gets lazier and lazier.

  3. This is awesome! This is a huge connection for residents on the west side of I-5 and for the community college. Study’s show that people are only willing to walk a 1/2 mile to light rail, so most people on the west side of I-5 would likely drive to Northgate instead. More people driving will cause more parking stalls to fill up at the Northgate park-and-ride, further congest the Northgate Way and 92nd interstate crossings, and require seperate transit service to continue serving the community college. The ped bridge helps isn’t only good for people walking to the bus, but good for those driving to it as well. Solid investment.

  4. Any facts on whether such pedestrian bridges actually work? i.e. will people use it at any but very busy times. Hard for me to believe that many people will cross the barren NSCC campus…seems like one of those bridges to nowhere.

    But is there any empirical, fact-based, history? How well do such ped-only bridges work?

  5. Gotta go with MapleLeafBob on this one.

    Actually — it’s 1.1 miles walking distance if you use the existing 92nd street bridge to go over I-5 and then down 1st to the Park and Ride.

    Five million to save pedestrians and those with bikes just a few hundred feet? Sorry, but the benefit just doesn’t line up with the price tag.

  6. @Tim: I realize its not that pleasant in the rain, but we live in Seattle. People should be skilled enough to wear a rain coat or carry an umbrella.

    By 105th I meant Northgate Way which I guess doesn’t officially turn into 105th until it crosses Aurora Ave. The underpass where cars go under I5 on Northgate Way has sidewalks, I 100% guarantee it. I would post a Google Maps pick if I could. Think about it as walking East from McDonald’s to Northgate Mall.

  7. Well Bob that 1.2 mile walk might not be a problem on a day as beautiful as it was today, but in the rain or cold it’s not as attractive. I also have no idea what you mean by “the sidewalks along 105th that run under I5” as there are no such things.

    Also, the debt you speak of is rather irrelevant. The money Sound Transit spends on the bridge comes from Sound Transit 2–money that is collected for and may only be spent on transportation. We couldn’t spend that $5 million on schools, firefighters, etc. even if we wanted to.

  8. I am not against such a bridge. I just think that it’s not what we need to spend tax payer dollars on when we are in debt.

    Also, please go to Google maps, look up directions from North Seattle Community College to the Northgate Park and Ride, and then click the little person so it shows the walking route. It’s currently 1.2 miles to walk it using the sidewalks along 105th that run under I5. 1.2 miles! Maybe if people actually used their legs to walk a little further we might actually help to address our health and obesity epidemic in this country. I don’t feel the money is worth it to reduce a 1.2 mile walk!

  9. This sounds like a great compromise. I love the bike/pedestrian bridge linking the community college to the transit center and I love the commitment to park n’ ride parking. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum from PSJ in that if there is no parking I won’t be taking transit. Win, win!

  10. That’s a total win! Great news to locals, and a big nod towards pragmatism. I’m a Broadview resident, and the fact that there will be a pedestrian/bike bridge easing access over I-5 makes it much more likely that I will use the mass transit options available. If I have to get in my car and drive to the bus/train, it’s more convenient just to drive to my end destination; but if I can get onto the bus/train without my car, suddenly mass transit becomes much more attractive. I wish it was finished already!

  11. That pedestrian bridge has been a constant request from the MLCC for two decades. The fact it will connect with the Link station makes it even more useful.

    The other $5 million for other pedestrian infrastructure means more sidewalks in the areas of Maple Leaf close to the station.


  12. I think it’s really exciting that the City Council, King County and ST understand the importance of making a ped and bike connection from the community college/Licton Springs neighborhood to the light rail. It really extends the usability of light rail to the other side of the freeway, which would seem to spread out the investment to more taxpayers. Makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you!

  13. Thank you for covering this Mai Ling. This is a huge deal for our community and something that neighbors in Licton Springs have been asking for for many years. It helps to connect them to Northgate and makes it easier, faster and safer to get to light rail.

    Another significant aspect of Councilmember Conlin’s work is that this will fund sidewalks and bike lanes in Maple Leaf around the station.

  14. Seems like another hopeless waste of taxpayer dollars, like so many city council decisions. Every pedestrian only footbridge I drive under along I-5 appears derelict and unused.

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