Friday, August 5, 2016

Coming soon: a new route on Lake Washington between Seattle and the Eastside

By Haylee Morse-Miller

In 2015 Washington was named the most bicycle friendly state in the nation, our eighth straight year of topping the list. In July it became an even better place to bike with the opening of the first portion of the bicycle/pedestrian path on the new SR 520 floating bridge. With this opening, the SR 520 Trail now extends from 108th Avenue NE in Bellevue to the west end of the new floating bridge, and the new section of trail has quickly become a favorite for cyclists, walkers and joggers – as well as the perfect viewpoint for watching the Blue Angels as they take to the sky for  Seafair Weekend.

The bike/ped path will connect Seattle and the Eastside in summer 2017, with the opening of the
West Approach Bridge North between the new floating bridge and Seattle.
The new bicycle/pedestrian path includes
belvederes, or rest stops, that jut out
from the main trail.

Dreams of becoming a bike warrior on your commute across Lake Washington aren’t yet a reality, however. We’re still building out the highway corridor, from east to west. Due to phased state funding for the replacement of SR 520, the bike/pedestrian path opened on the new bridge is an out-and-back trail from Medina (pdf 2.9 mb). It will not connect the Eastside to Seattle until the West Approach Bridge North is complete in summer 2017, when the bicycle/pedestrian path will open between the west end of the floating bridge and Montlake Boulevard. Further down the road-- literally and figuratively-- the path will extend further west to I-5 (pdf 6.4 mb), with a bicycle and pedestrian crossing over I-5 to provide connections to Seattle neighborhoods, including Eastlake, South Lake Union, and downtown.

Planning to check out the new path? Tweet your photos of your trip to @wsdot_520. We’ll retweet the best photos we receive. Happy trails to you!

Until then, the 14-foot-wide path is still a big improvement for non-motorized travelers. The path is separated from traffic by sturdy barriers and a 10-foot shoulder on the adjacent roadway. Additionally, the new path has belvederes, or rest stops/viewpoints, where people can take a break during the 1.3-mile-long ride across the bridge – and take in panoramic views of north Lake Washington.