Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge Project Area map
On August 3rd, SDOT is hosting an open house for the Northgate Pedestrian/Bike bridge project:

At the open house:

Join us

Thursday, August 3
5:30 — 7:30 PM (drop in any time)
Hampton Inn & Suites
9550 1st Ave NE, Seattle

This project is a culmination of years work by transit and walkability advocates, elected officials around the region, and people who live in the neighborhood. It will directly connect the region’s transit spine to an a college, a park, a business district oriented around medical services, and a still-relatively-affordable neighborhood with lots of multifamily housing. If you live nearby, or will use this bridge, show up to show your support, and to make sure the design will work for you.

13 Replies to “Open House: Northgate Pedestrian Bridge”

  1. Nice to see completion in 2020.
    Not great to see narrowing to 16ft wide, but unsurprising.

    This is an important callout
    Previous design: Tube/truss design (enclosed)
    Current design: More open structure and more graceful bridge transition

    Going to be cold, wet, and windy.

    The drawings don’t show the connection with northgate light rail station.

  2. Yeah, why isn’t it covered? Even the sides… seems to maximize exposure to the elements.

    1. I think the original cost was very high. I’m OK with a cheaper version. This isn’t a park,but just a way to get from one side to the other, and much appreciated. I hope it does set a precedent, really, in that we could use a lot more of them (in places like 47th NE, for example). I would much rather they build another cheap crossing there, instead of saying “but the Northgate crossing was too expensive” and not build anything. .

      1. I can understand that sentiment. We definitely need a lot more pedestrian crossings than we have, so it could backfire to set the bar too high.

        On the other hand, if the bridge is difficult to cross in the winter, that could impact how many people use it. Especially since it’s a connector to a school, so most traffic will be during the rainy season.

        Cutting corners can also backfire because if people don’t use, or hate using infrastructure, they won’t necessarily be eager to build more of it. I would think at least some plexiglass panels as windbreaks would help.

      2. Is there a possibility to design it so that roof and wall panels be added in later? I’m not against the design per se, I’m against thinking ‘decide this or nothing’ and ‘no changes forever’.

        I foresee this as a similar situation as the walkway to get to SeaTac. It always had a cover, but had open panels making for a long breezy walk. Complaint fest ensued.

      3. @Brendan — The alternatives are pretty bad; people will use it. Students tend to be young (not all of them, of course) they can handle a bit of wind and rain. I think it will be very popular. Or at least, as popular as any bridge over a freeway can be. Often times it isn’t about the aesthetics, but about the best way to get there. In this case, if you are between Northgate Way and 92nd (or just got off the train) then the best way to get there is with the uncovered bridge.

        Personally, as someone who lives north of Northgate Way, I would cross that bridge every day of the year (even in snow) before I went under the freeway on Northgate Way. That is an ugly, nasty sidewalk.

        @baselle — I would imagine that at some point they could add a cover. It doesn’t seem that difficult. I think the difference between the original proposal and this one is more about location and overall design, both of which go together. They simply cut corners with the cover, and I would be very surprised if they can’t add it later.

  3. Near me there are bridges over I-205 at Main Street and Steele Street. I’ve used both to get to/from MAX stations.

    Both are about 6 feet wide, so 16 sounds heavenly by comparison.

    I like the idea of closed sides because both of these bridges are DEAFENINGLY LOUD to cross, but few places seem to build them that way as I am sure the price is significant.

  4. If you want anybody to use that bridge between September and April, you’d better spend whatever it costs to shield it. Elderly people. People in wheelchairs? Forget how wide it is. It’s a long walk in rain and high wind. Let alone freeway noise.

    I don’t see any reason whatsoever that shielding can be designed into the structure. Ever see the one near the grain elevator where the streetcar used to run? Bridges need far less weight and material than they used to.

    I can’t believe that any of the necessary authorities would allow that bridge to be unshielded. Or that anybody who cared for the safety of their kids would ever use it. Elevators, escalators, and seatless toilets are bad enough.

    Would be welcome relief if LINK replaced everything cheap and crappy south of IDS before spreading the infection north. Starting with shielding the not-very-long walkway from Sea-Tac Station into the airport. It’s been, what, seven years now?

    Mark Dublin

    1. Looks like they just finished the project to put wind shielding on the walkway to Sea-Tac from the station. It’s not a complete enclosure but close. They also painted the concrete floor to make it smoother and more colorful.

  5. Several years, I used to live on the west side of I-5 and made frequent trips to Northgate Transit Center to catch a bus. The bridge would have been so useful.

    1. Why it wasn’t included with the original transit center escapes me, what with a college and medical offices on the other side. Guess they figured everybody would drive to the transit center to go downtown and nobody would actually get off there to *go* somewhere. Lesson for any new transit stations being built: assume people will want to walk/bike from all directions no matter how low density it seems to be. Unless it’s literally surrounded by the expressway and the wilderness, in which case you need to question whether there should be a transit center there in the first place. Be proactive–these riders don’t require lowest-common-denominator land use (=parking)!

      1. It wouldn’t surprise me if the entire transit center cost less to build than this bridge will. That’s because it’s not a particularly natural location for a bridge. The freeway is above the nearby streets, sloping up to an overpass of Northgate Way, which makes the bridge longer and more complicated.

        This goes all the way back to when I-5 was being planned and built. It wasn’t exactly wilderness, but I don’t think it was really the center of anything. So they figured the mile or so between 92nd and Northgate Way was fine. Then we did the stupid 20th-century thing and funneled growth and development around major freeway interchanges, so we got major retail and businesses there, and put a transit center there, so now it’s more important to have unconstrained movement in all directions. I think if we’d thought ahead when designing the freeway we’d have either had the freeway take a bridge over 100th (like NE 155th) or dug a trench to go under Northgate Way instead of building an embankment, allowing 100th to easily bridge over like 92nd (or 45th, or 50th). Maybe there would have been drainage issues if the freeway had been buried… I don’t know all the design constraints.

        In any case, as it it, I-5 is enormous infrastructure opposed to an urban center at NE 100th. Working against the grain of that sort of thing tends to be difficult! A bridge over an embankment tends to be both expensive and user-unfriendly because of the long and indirect approaches — high cost for low benefit. Here it took another big elevated infrastructure project, the light-rail station, to get us to commit the money to build it. If that all sounds pretty bad… don’t look too hard at Totem Lake, because it’s about 5 times as bad there.

      2. This part of I-5 was a swamp valley if I recall, like a linear Greenlake. I read somewhere there were boardwalks to walk east-west across it.

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