Northgate Pedestrian Bridge Meeting

by TIM BOND

Option 3

Tuesday night SDOT held an open house for the proposed Northgate Station pedestrian bridge. It showcased three design alternatives and provided a brief funding update. The bridge itself will be 15-20 feet wide and have an overall length of 1800-2200 feet depending on the alignment. The trek from the station to College Way would be about 1/4 mile; the current trip is about 1.2 miles via either the north on Northgate Way or via the south on 92nd. 7,000 daily crossings are expected once Lynnwood Link comes online. The student population of North Seattle Community College is 14,000 plus about 400 staff. The bus stops in front of NSCC see about 600 daily riders today.

Connections
The bridge will connect at three points: ground level on the west side of I-5, ground level on the east side and at the mezzanine level of Northgate Station. For the west side there are two options: at the end of 103rd at College Way (W1) and at 100th (W2). For the east side: 1st and 103rd (E1), 1st and 100th (E3) or half way between the two (E2).

The bridge deck will be about 40 feet off the ground and the western approach would gently slope down. The east approach will cloverleaf and touch down on the west side of 1st. A cycle track is to be constructed running on the west side of 1st between 103rd and 92nd. A multi-use path is being constructed on the east side of 1st from 103rd to Northgate Way. There is a planned, unfunded greenway along 100th between College Way and Fremont Ave.

Design option 1: Cable stayed bridge


This option is the most minimalist in design, using a V-shaped center column. A local example (on a much larger scale) is the SR-509 bridge in Tacoma. The artist’s rendering does not include the WSDOT-mandated throw barrier, which will likely add visual clutter.

Design option 2: Tied arch (like the DNA bridge)

The artist’s renderings only show the tubular structure; the final result would likely end up looking like Elliott Bay’s Helix Pedestrian Bridge–complete with screens and all.

Design option 3: Tube/truss

This option looks somewhat like a Chinese finger trap. Of the three designs, this is the only one with any allowance for overhead weather protection. The design is more enclosed than open, which would more seamlessly integrate the throw barrier.

Current estimates put this project at $25m. SDOT and ST have each committed $5m but ST will put their portion towards other improvements that if a funding agreement isn’t secured by July 31, 2015. In April, the city, Metro, ST, WSDOT and NSCC requested a USDOT TIGER grant for $15m and should be hearing back in a few months. If the grant is not awarded, the city will continue to pursue other grants (and may apply for another TIGER grant next year). SDOT had no clear plan if the ST deadline expired with incomplete funding.

SDOT will release a refined list of proposed alternatives in the fall and a report with a preferred bridge type and alignment at the end of the year.

Comments

    • says

      I think there always was. The only thing that’s new that I don’t recall hearing was there will be a ground-level exit at the base of the station so the bridge is usable 24/7.

      • Charles B says

        Yes, that was new. Thanks to SDOT taking over the bridge project I’m sure.

    • says

      That bridge is (in typical Gehry style) just goofy looking, not actually attractive. The unnecessary curves add unnecessary walking distance, and are disorienting (total disorientation being a hallmark of Gehry’s style). The metal is too hot to touch when it’s sunny (I used to live in Chicago and have actually walked across this bridge… once, which is all it takes for the novelty to wear off). So they apparently built a bridge without including anyone on the design that actually walks places in cities.

      It also crosses a road that’s a lot narrower than I-5 at a height that wouldn’t be acceptable over I-5, and the width of the path (especially given its curvature) isn’t sufficient to support bikes and pedestrians together. The cost figures for a bridge that doesn’t have the height, width, or length that we need are completely irrelevant.

      • Kate Martin says

        I’m not saying to copy Gehry’s project – although I loved it and I think it’s genius the way he was able to hold it below ADA standards by adding length and the way he hid the box girder and there’s only 1 column in 1500 feet. He made some mistakes, but for me, it was a very enjoyable component linking Pritzker to the other side of that big roadway. However, I’m not looking for that bridge. I’m looking for something beautiful and iconic and park like coming from the college. They have a lovely channelized wetland area over there that could really inform the design. Actually, I’d prefer that they put an underpass at 100th because the grid is just not available for other uses with the ped / bike bridge, and we need it for emergencies and buses and more including a shorter distance for peds than the bike bridge.

      • says

        I totally agree that it would be awesome to have a bus connection across I-5 there — given that we’re making the mistake of building Northgate Station on a site originally chosen for easy access to the I-5 express lane ramps, which few if any buses will ever use after the station opens, we should try to make bus access from the west less horrible.

        Disagreements about Gehry’s style (and the general merits of Millenium Park) aside, even if the bridge is beautiful and iconic, there’s no excuse for making basic usability mistakes on a pedestrian bridge. We’ve been building bridges for thousands of years and walking upright for millions.

      • Mike Orr says

        Two of the most persistent complaints about the downtown library are, “There is no ‘down’ escalator” and “I can’t find my way around.” Basic usability issues that should not have been ignored.

      • William C. says

        +1 on the escalator. I’ve finally learned how to find my way around, but even that took some time.

  1. DMS says

    It certainly has the potential to be a visual landmark — a gateway to Seattle.

    My major concern is security. The bridge MUST be made transparent so that drivers (on I-5) can see. activity on the bridge. Cameras and emergency buttons also important. There is NOT a lot of pedestrian traffic at many times (night, weekends, between quarters etc) so high potential for muggings, assaults etc.

  2. Adam Bejan Parast says

    Why is the bridge shifted so far to the south? To maximize the benefit of a bridge it should dead end directly into the middle of the station. Shifting it south won’t have a huge impact on travel to the NSCC but it will really reduce the usability of the if you’re traveling from the NW quadrant to the station.

    • Ben P says

      Environmental impact I assume. You can’t really tell from the aerial view, but the wetlands snuggle right up to 103 and the parking lot where 103 ends. By 100th the area that would be covered is already a gravel road. What I want to know is why they want to make it so wide. 20 feet is wider than most two way highways. Not exactly reducing one’s footprint there.

      • aw says

        Since the bridge will have four lanes, 2 each for bikes and peds, 20ft is only 5ft per lane. If it’s 15ft wide, it’s less than 4ft per lane.

      • says

        I think it’s the overall width of the bridge. 1ft of barrier on either side = 3.25-4.5 foot wide lanes.

  3. kpt says

    Looking at it from this angle, and thinking about just how much parking lot could be freed up for more productive uses by HCT coming through, got me thinking: why not lid I-5 here? It would probably require digging a trench, to lower the elevation of the highway itself, but imagine how much the two halves of the neighborhood could be re-connected as a result.

    More of a 100 year plan than a 10 year plan, I admit.

    • DMS says

      Now THAT is good thinking, KPT. Very thoughtful and I urge you to evolve the idea. I am sure way more than $25 million but also of much greater value.

      One thing that strikes me is the wetland on the west side — you’d have a lot of resistance since the logical thing to do once you lid I-5 right is to do something as done in Columbus Ohio with I-695. Brilliant connection of urban grids. So it would be logical to build on the west side — but there is a wetland there.

      A more important lid might be I-5 between NE 45th and NE 50th…or maybe even NE 40th and NE 50th…THAT would be significant in so many ways. Connect the neighborhoods and create a great deal of fabulous view property.

      Alas it is way too advanced for Seattle to even think about anything so far-reaching.

  4. aw says

    It seems like SDOT wants to build an iconic bridge. Why not a simple box truss bridge like the Weller St. ped. bridge, but longer with two spans? With screening on the sides, it solves the WSDOT problem with the throw barrier, and it could do double duty as a sign bridge if needed.

  5. Mark Dublin says

    kpt’s lid idea really has a lot of merit.

    Not to denigrate a legitimate US national defense measure conceived ninety years ago, but he highway need not continue to create a bleak expanse of ugly, hostile wasteland separating a major urban center and a community college which should really be part of the same neighborhood.

    Security means more than lights and cameras to prevent crime. Go look at the actual space the bridge is going to occupy, and imagine feeling safe or comfortable on any aerial structure across that gap- even enclosed, heated, and with a moving walkway- none of which is planned.

    But a larger equivalent of Downtown’s Freeway Park would be another matter. It might even be possible to continue the campus eastward and the Northgate complex westward, both helping pay the cost of the structure.

    My life really spans this country’s transition from an economy shifting from rural to urban, and then from the remains of both to almost completely suburban. Whose present-day consequences no one could have foreseen in 1950.

    When the likes of both I-5 and Northgate were exciting and liberating. And designers were doubtless envisioning that such structures would indeed take care of the huge open space in the future- which in those days was very promising territory.

    A combined neighborhood bridging I-5 at Northgate would be an excellent beginning for the kind of future those postwar years envisioned: similar spaces laced together by similar structures all across the country.

    Would also be easier to protect against assault, robbery, and bottles thrown through windshields. Every little bit helps.

    Mark Dublin

    • DMS says

      Personally I think that the Ped-Only bridge is a mistake and that there is no realistic way to make it secure. You going to walk across that at 11PM? Maybe with a gun.

      I haven’t said much because the conventional thinking is that the Ped Bridge is fabulous, wonderful etc. and anything contrary will be against motherhood.

      The Ped-only bridge will be a VERY long isolated walk. Dumb. Muggers can use bikes too. Even if seen from I-5, a biker-mugger can assault someone and be gone in tens of seconds.

      There will never be enough pedestrian traffic to create a safe walking environment. Unless you have an attendant at the many many off-times, the Ped Bridge is a massive mistake.

      • Mike Orr says

        “You going to walk across that at 11PM? Maybe with a gun.”

        This is not south-central Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of people have lived in north Seattle for many years and have rarely or never experienced muggings. It’s no more isolated than the overpass at 92nd, or even the hundreds of single-family blocks where nobody is outside at the moment and all the curtains are closed.

      • DMS says

        “This is not south-central Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of people have lived in north Seattle for many years and have rarely or never experienced muggings. It’s no more isolated than the overpass at 92nd, or even the hundreds of single-family blocks where nobody is outside at the moment and all the curtains are closed.”

        They are hardly the same. Just consider the varying factors: length, nearby houses, cars (cop cars in fact!) ON 92nd Street. Not even remotely analogous. I think that you are thinking wishful. Btw, I LIVE in the area and I know it well.

        I know that I am outvoted on this one as there are a lot of Reality Denialists so we’ll probably get the Ped Bridge and have to shut it down whenever it is not peak time…unless the DOT designers do something exceedingly astute which in this town is not likely.

      • Kate Martin says

        Putting a street through that passes under I-5 would perhaps be a better solution.

      • DMS says

        For me, a Ped Tunnel would be far grimmer and less secure than a Ped Bridge. Even less visibility and think of the cost!

        My own preference would be to extend the city’s grid at 100th or 103rd with cars on it…a real city street…pie in the sky of course. Check out the I-670 Cap in Columbus Ohio. Brilliant idea. Might not work here near N’gate but food for thought.

        I can see the utility of a Ped Bridge from the Transit Center to NSCC. But security concerns should designed into initial thinking about the alignment.

      • William C. says

        unless the DOT designers do something exceedingly astute which in this town is not likely.

        What would you recommend?

        Also, remember the 520 Bike Trail, which is longer and just as isolated; it’s definitely open off-peak and I’ve never heard of anyone scared to go on it.

      • DMS says

        To start with I suggest that we all ought to get real about its potential danger and not just blow it off. The bridge itself & extensive landing is a vulnerable area and with no/limited way out.

        The bridge has to be designed from the outset (not as an afterthought) as a secure place. SDOT is not doing that. I was told:

        “Issues of personal safety will be addressed thoroughly in future stages of design development; at this point the team’s focus is understandably focused on the alignment and the type of bridge structure.”

        That is the wrong approach. Safety should be considered right away in initial thinking, not later as a mitigation. The total crossing from the Station to College Way North is (guesstimating from Google Maps) about 1500 feet. That’s about 6-7 blocks. (The City brochure says bridge length of = 1,800 to 2,200 feet but that may include switchbacks.)

        The other factors to consider are obvious and as I wrote to SDOT:

        A major concern is personal security.
        There is NOT a lot of pedestrian traffic (on either side of the proposed bridge) at many times (night, weekends, between quarters etc) so high potential for muggings, assaults etc . On the west side the bridge lands in a very isolated area with poor visibility from the street. (Unless the bridge is even longer making it yet more isolated.)
        How is SDOT dealing with environmental design through personal safety?
        At the very least. I believe that the bridge must be/have
        a. Transparent so that drivers (on I-5) can see human activity on the bridge.
        b. Cameras and emergency buttons.
        c. Lighting on bridge deck level for visibility.

        And as I think I understand, Ped Bridge will be +40′ from I-5 surface — that by itself is an issue for visibility from drivers

        And I am sure you are familiar with the west side landing. It appears as I can see that the landing is in the middle of an open space at least 4 blocks (800 feet) to the city street which itself is not well-traveled. And NSCC is a human desert at off-hours.

        Maybe these issue can be handled. Maybe every one of my concerns is just worry. But I think that the whole alignment from the start is questionable and so the security investigation should be asked now, in the initial stages: Can (in detail) the Ped Bridge be used SAFELY 24/7/365?

        The more I learn about the Ped Bridge, the more troublesome it is. And I haven’t asked whether the open space on the west side has any environmental sensitivity which will restrict landscaping/development etc etc.

        Again, maybe I am crying Chicken Little — I admit that I am very new to the project. (And I hate being negative and raising questions.) But I live in the area and I know urban dynamics and something doesn’t feel right to me.

      • says

        How about comparing apples to apples? Are there security concerns with the NE 195th I-5 pedestrian bridge?

      • DMS says

        Sorry.
        I am not familiar with it so I have no opinion.
        I’ll take a look next time I go to Costco.

        I just took a Google map look at the 195th St Ped Bridge and I see several huge differences which make using it inapposite:
        1. Vastly shorter — 250 – 300 feet?
        2. SF residences on both sides and each street-end acts as a cul-de-sac.

        Do you have any idea how much Ped traffic it gets?

      • Chris Stefan says

        You are aware the SPD North precinct is directly across from the West end of the proposed bridge?

        I really don’t think security is going to be a major issue. I can think of many other locations that are much more problematic after dark or on weekends. None of them are closed off for “safety” in off hours either. Those locations aren’t attracting a disproportional amount of assaults or other issues.

        Frankly one is probably taking more chances walking alone at night in Belltown or Pioneer Square than on whatever design is finally chosen for this pedestrian bridge.

      • DMS says

        Do you know how inaccessible and hidden away the cop station is? (As all stations are.) Yes, the cops should have an big open visible front door with the duty officer being able to look out onto College Way — but it doesn’t. Please go look at Google Maps to see the terrain. As I recall, the west side landing is also quite a bit lower than College Way i.e. it slopes down to a toward I-5 so it is tucked away

        As to few crimes in isolated spots — ya know why? It’s because people aren’t stupid to go to them. People avoid isolated spots — as the Ped Bridge is likely to be on the many off-hours. So it may get rammed through and it will get built and you’ll have low crime stats and that will be because no one uses it on off-peak times.

        Haven’t any of you actually lived in a real city and had to be aware of needing street smarts? From what I know now, that Ped Bridge has no street smarts.

        Anyway, I am issue spotting. If SDOT can answer my concerns I will (fwiw to anyone else) change my mind.

      • Kate Martin says

        Well, the police are moving their precinct to Aurora and 135th. The Northgate transit center is a crime magnet. It’s pretty dead on both sides of that bridge. The community center and library along with the density to-date is on the east side of Northgate, not the west.

      • Mike Orr says

        Should we also close the Burke-Gilman Trail east of 15th? The north Interurban trail? The Thomas Street waterfront bridge? The I-90 trail and tunnel in north Rainier? The bridges at MLK & Rainier and 130th & Auora?

      • DMS says

        Mike.
        I really don’t follow your question.
        Are you in favor of closing a lot of things? Why?

      • Mike Orr says

        “cars (cop cars in fact!) ON 92nd Street.”

        Are cops at that intersection 24 hours? If they pass through that place once every 4 hours, how does that help the other 236 minutes when they’re not there? Can the nearby houses really see the bridge from their windows? What’s the chance that they’ll be looking out their windows at the time? Will there be people or cars outside at the time? Whenever I’ve been near the 92nd bridge, I’ve rarely if ever seen a pedestrian in the vicinity, and maybe one car or bicycle in three minutes.

      • DMS says

        Mike, That is simply not accurate.
        Cop cars go over the 92nd St overpass far more often…maybe every 10-15 minutes.
        Don’t believe?
        Go watch and observe.
        You will see that I am correct.

        But the big issue — from where we are — is very simple:
        Should Safety personal safety be considered right away in initial thinking, not later as a mitigation?
        Should the bridge be designed from the outset (not as an afterthought) as a secure place?

        SDOT is not doing that. I was told:

        “Issues of personal safety will be addressed thoroughly in future stages of design development; at this point the team’s focus is understandably focused on the alignment and the type of bridge structure.”

        Do you agree with SDOT? Or should safety be considered right away in planning routing/feasibility/alignment?

      • Mike Orr says

        The issue right now is the bridge’s existence, location, and type. Other safety issues such as lighting, visibility holes in the sidewalls, telephones, etc all belong to a later design phase, after the bridge’s type is known. The Link stations are designed the same way: first concepts, then the locations of major features, then the major materials (concrete/brick/wood/metal), then landscaping and visibility holes. The first parts are done at 30% design, and the last parts at 60% and 90% design.

        What I’m concerned about is I don’t want “safety” to prevent the bridge from being built, or to locate it in a way that lengthens the walk. We need a ped/bike bridge, and it must make the shortest possible walk between the station and the activities on the west side, subject to environment preservation bla bla bla. Any other safety concerns can be addressed within that paradigm. But there’s a minimal safety risk that cannot be eliminated, and the bridge is still worthwhile and vital in spite of it. Likewise, the Burke Gilman trail, the I-90 trail and tunnel, and residential neighborhoods are also worthwhile even though they have an intrinsic level of risk, and 24-hour surveillance is overkill and intrusive.

      • DMS says

        I guess we disagree.

        You are certain that the safety issues can be resolved yet you are reluctant to have them addressed now.
        Why?
        IF you are so certain that the issue can be solved, why not show how? At this early time?

        You are simply encouraging me to pursue this issue by your reluctance to address the problem now. You know that the safety issues may NOT be resolvable. Interesting indeed.

    • Mike Orr says

      “Not to denigrate a legitimate US national defense measure conceived ninety years ago,”

      Was it legitimate? Or was it just a justification to build the civilian freeways? The passenger railroad network was still intact then, and it could have been modernized and more track laid. I have never seen any significant military usage of the freeways. Of course individual troops and deliveries use them, but that didn’t require eight lanes across Montana and north Idaho, or a freeway through the middle of Seattle. Even when freeways are used for evacuations, they are instantly jammed and traffic crawls, and it’s not like five million people can all drive two hundred miles to safety simultaneously. There’s no empty standby city for them to go to.

    • Mark Dublin says

      Which side is the Nowhere? The college or the Northgate complex?

      It is true that the onset of online buying may really have put an end to the “Big Box” (talk about appropriate names!) malls. I won’t miss them. But there is also a neighborhood and a business district at a freeway entrance.

      With a large college directly to the west- separated by a man-made canyon about to become a transit corridor as well as an interstate highway. If you really think the present non-Great Depression is going to last forever- meaning if the people of this country are going to let it last forever- there’s no point in discussing transit at all.

      Or anything else. Like the humans who create them, ideas and their results are born, get active, ripen, and then fade. To be replaced by new ones.

      The historic rises and falls of empires aren’t like Cecil B. DeMille movies. (He used to make movies with the costumes, actors, and special effects of the 1950’s. Where Romans and biblical characters all talked like Tonto and Tarzan.) Harbors silt up, business plans change, new things get invented, people change their minds.

      The Space Needle and the Seattle Monorail really do serve as excellent monuments to the outlook of our country in the twenty years following the Second World War. The Needle is beautiful architecturally, and a masterpiece of structural engineering. The monorail’s term of service vouches for the construction of its coaches.

      Having watched it all happen, I think our present decline stems from the fact that the United States simply had no plan for when the World got over World War II forty years ago. But luckily, resulting outlook is now “your grandfather’s Oldsmobile.” And sulk.

      Mark

    • Mike Orr says

      Northgate is an urban center, the largest level of urban village. The mall will not suddenly become an empty ghost town. If mall shopping gradually declines, Simon can redevelop the site either all at once or piecemeal. More housing and a taller structure would be instant winners, as would making it more of a lifestyle center like University Village and bringing in a wider variety of vendors. Or, you know, community center type stuff.

      • says

        Also, the mall is not just full of stores selling silverware and books. There are numerous restaurants which have and will continue to exist through the internet. I also noticed when working retail that many people would’ve bought on the internet except for that they procrastinated and are willing to pay the retail markup.

  6. Kate Martin says

    I’m still interested to know why we haven’t heard anything about an at-grade crossing under the freeway at 100th which would provide good connectivity for other modes as well, be a shorter distance for walking and certainly I would think it would be used by more people and be perhaps be much safer in that way. It’s a huge distance between 92nd and 110th with no cross street. A ped / bike bridge leaves out the potential for buses and emergency vehicles. For the kind of money we’re talking about it seems like this should be on the table. If it’s already been discussed, can someone fill me in on the findings? Thanks.

    • William C. says

      I brought that up at the Northgate Station open house several months back. Apparently, there’re enough utilities buried under the freeway that any undercrossing would be prohibitively difficult.

    • DMS says

      FWIW, I offered my own response a few days ago (and to my view an underground passage is both less safe and more expensive than a ped bridge.)

      So what are you thinking? What advantages do you see?

      • Kate Martin says

        The benefits I see are connectivity for more modes and for people with varying physical abilities who need shorter distances. We have to remember that long ramps with ADA grades are good for power chairs, but not much help for people with physical impairments that don’t have a power chair. When we studied it in 2004 (Open Space 2100), we wanted to see the big wall of I-5 perforated and the grid repaired.

      • DMS says

        Please DO NOT misunderstand.
        I think that a connection from the Transit Center to North Seattle College (and neighborhood) is very great.
        I am just looking at issues to see if the passage (bridge or tunnel) will actually be used in any hours beyond school hours.

        IF the design for the crossing of any type is simply to be used by students, then maybe that is OK. But we should understand that the facility is for limited use and must be closed and locked at non-peak hours.
        And that we are spending $25 million with that limitation in mind.

      • Kate Martin says

        I’m not aware that the North Seattle College campus closes overnight or that the bridge or underpass would close. Like the other former Seattle Community Colleges, they’re adding 4 year programs and they changed their names. They’re busy for both day and evening classes. 100th would be a great way to connect to college way and if it was an underpass, other modes could use it like police, fire and buses for instance. The neighborhood is so disconnected from east to west and it seems actually connecting the grid at grade would go a long way to repairing that disconnect.

        Here’s some underpass images that I like:
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/ynj3uc8etqin870/underpass1%20%281%29.jpg (just 1.5 miles south)
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/ucatgbve29tvxqj/underpass2.jpg

      • DMS says

        Kate,
        I live in the neighborhood.
        I go to classes there.
        Off-hours it is dead.
        Period. No people there.
        Lack of people = decrease in security

        I would like to see the Ped Bridge well-used.
        And so we must make sure we can make it well-used BEFORE we finalize alignment and design. There may be small but important things we can do to increase security before we finalize design.

      • William C. says

        There may be small but important things we can do to increase security before we finalize design.

        And there, I’m willing to agree with you. I have very little idea what might be changed, and I don’t think your concerns about risk are significant. But, I don’t see any downside to considering security earlier in the process, so we might as well do it.

      • Mike Orr says

        The bridge is not just for college students. It’s for residents on the west side, Northwest Hospital, etc. At minimum it will be used the full span Link is running, which is more than just the college day. Yes, it may be only one person every fifteen minutes, but that’s better than having to walk down to 92nd, which would cause some people to not take transit at all or not want to live in that neighborhood.

      • DMS says

        Mike,
        Do you oppose examining personal security issues simultaneous with consideration of alignment and structural design issues? (i.e. SDOT examines the issues right now, in catch-up mode since much planning work has been done.)

      • Mike Orr says

        I don’t oppose it as long as it doesn’t prevent the bridge or underpass from being built, and it doesn’t add detours that make the walk longer. But what security issues are there that can’t be addressed in SDOT’s timeframe, or would lead to a different outcome, without violating my two principles?

      • Mike Orr says

        You don’t seem to be a security expert either, because you haven’t mentioned any specific things SDOT should be doing now. So why can’t you accept that SDOT probably knows more about security than you do? Or you could also look into whether SDOT has built anything with substandard security in the past 20 years.

      • DMS says

        Mike,
        I don’t know the project yet so I’d be a fool to make any pronouncement except the most general statements.

        But consider SDOT’s own Pedestrian Toolbox which states
        “Despite the fact that pedestrian overpasses or underpasses can help meet some of the Plan’s goals, careful consideration should be given to potential negative impacts on the pedestrian environment, including:
        ………
        * personal security risks if pedestrian bridges or underpasses lack adequate lighting or surveillance;”

        Surveillance is the key to personal security and we should give “careful consideration.”

        And it doesn’t take a specialist to see that the Northgate Ped Bridge will have limited visibility _over_ I-5 and virtually NO visibility in the 1300 feet from the edge of I-5 to North College Way.

        So I ask that we examine the question NOW about how to create the surveillance to make it safe. If you think that cameras are the answer or whatever, fine. Show me a ped bridge in a similar isolated circumstance which is used at night and/or off peak and which is used with comfort with only cameras.

        What I find puzzling is why you seem to resist careful consideration of the personal security question.

        ——

        And sorry about mis-addressing a previous answer; I got confused about who was asking about the 65th Street “underpass.” I hope that my answer persuaded you.

      • William C. says

        DMS,

        I’m not Mike, but I’m afraid you’ve just showed me a downside of considering security at this point, which makes me less likely to agree with you. You say visibility is necessary to make the bridge safe, the bridge as designed will lack physical visibility, so we should demand immediate proof that there will be another way to create visibility. Implicit in your post is the threat that if such proof is not immediately proffered, the bridge will be unsafe; implicit in that is that the bridge should not be built. In other words, you’re saying that if we can’t immediately show proof that the bridge will be safe, by a standard by which no other trail or bridge in the county has been judged (as far as I know), it should not be built.

        As someone who will use the bridge once in a while, and as someone who sympathizes with those who will use it much more frequently, I object to that.

        I’m still not opposed to looking into ways the bridge can be made safer. But after your post, I’m seriously thinking of demanding up front guarantees that, no matter what results the safety study reaches, it will still be built and will still remain open 24/7.

      • William C. says

        No – build it even if it doesn’t satisfy your criteria for “safety,” since many people have far lower standards for acceptability than you do. (Exhibit A: me. Exhibit B: Everyone else on the SR 520 bike trail off-peak.)

      • DMS says

        I understood your point William C. :)

        Curious if you live in the area and whether you would use it?

      • Brent says

        I don’t live in the Northgate area, at this time, but I would use the bridge to get to businesses on the west side. I might even consider the apartments there, because of the bridge.

        As a pedestrian, I prefer solid sides to a bridge over railing that lots of stuff could fall through. Maybe it is my vertigo. I would hope it would stay open 24/7, so it is there when I need it.

        If you are concerned about security, emergency call buttions along the bridge, and perhaps a camera viewable from a central ST security site, would be useful fixes. I don’t wish to add operating cost to the bridge, but I hope ST would already have a central security site watching all the cams on their trains, buses, and property at once.

    • DMS says

      Kate,
      How could a tunnel be safer than a ped bridge?
      At least the ped bridge could be visible (if designed correctly) from drivers on I-5.
      How would you provide “natural surveillance” — which is the core of personal safety in public — in a tunnel?
      I am mystified.

      • Kate Martin says

        It’s not actually a tunnel if you take a look at the site conditions. It’s an underpass. The freeway is elevated in that section on a big berm. The elevated freeway would be supported by a structure that allowed 100th to pass below it. Not unlike how Northgate Way continues under the elevated freeway, but on a smaller scale.

      • DMS says

        I agree that every alternative should be examined and I appreciate your question, Kate.
        Maybe I am just not visualizing something.
        If you make an “underpass” 18 feet wide and 400 feel long, doesn’t it act like a tunnel? There is no access except at the ends? With limited visibility…sounds creepy to me in any but the busiest hours.? It may not descend and ascend but is at one grade but the visibility is still poor. Worse than above I-5 with >1000,000 cars per days going by.
        And in this situation with the campus there is still a long path — 1200 feet — from the edge of the freeway to North College Way and there is no natural surveillance…So I guess I don’t see why calling it an “underpass” makes it act like anything different than a “tunnel”?

      • DMS says

        Kate,
        I am bit confused.
        Maybe we are visualizing something totally different.
        The NE 65th Street “underpass” (I-5) is an elevated freeway. It is not a tunnel nor in my mind an “underpass”. It is an elevated structure something like 5-6 blocks long.
        It is at street grade and car traffic is on many adjacent streets.
        So not sure how to answer your question.

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      • DMS says

        I’m waiting for the comments to say
        “NO! Don’t think about the personal security issues until we are totally committed — through $$$ and organizationally — with an alignment & design!”

        In fact, didn’t I hear that on this very blog?

      • DMS says

        It’s too bad about the North Precinct moving, btw.
        One obvious way to make the Ped Bridge a whole lot safer would be to build some of the cop facility into/above the parking lot on the north side of the campus. (The slope facilitates multi-use and wouldn’t have to lose college parking.)

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