The Northgate Pedestrian Bridge, a pedestrian and bicycle oriented crossing of I-5 for the Northgate Link Station, is at risk of losing its funding in the summer. The Sound Transit Board placed an artificial time limit for the City of Seattle and Sound Transit to come up with a funding solution. A Tiger grant application wasn’t successful in 2014, and now the project could simply disappear if action isn’t taken. In light of this, some of our local politicians are fighting to save it, and there are things you can do to help.
As we reported last year, this bridge would reconnect North Seattle neighborhoods like Licton Springs and Maple Leaf, which are now almost entirely separated by the wall that is I-5. Licton Springs, an established mixed density neighborhood, lies on the west side of this divide. In recent years, new growth has been occurring at a rapid pace and transforming this area. Licton Springs also hosts North Seattle Community College, a number of office buildings, a hotel and some small retail. On the east side of this bridge lies the neighborhood of Maple Leaf, which also hosts mixed density, major retail outlets, library, and a community center. There is a significant draw between these two communities, and there ought to be a strong natural path for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between them.
Unfortunately, the existing street connections at both NE 92nd Street and NE Northgate Way are heavily auto-oriented and at the fringe of activity centers on either side of I-5. Neither street is particularly well suited to pedestrians and bicyclists trying to access the core of Northgate or the surrounding neighborhoods. Both crossings present challenges for these users due to the lack of sufficient infrastructure and dangerous crossings from freeway on-ramps that discourage foot-powered use. A new bridge would solve these problems while also helping to bring about more accessibility to hard-to-reach services like local grocery stores, libraries, and medical care–all by walking and biking.
If you care about creating a more walkable, bikeable, and transit-supported North Seattle, contact the Sound Transit Board and tell them to remove the bridge funding deadline. It’s imperative that they do so that Sound Transit and the City of Seattle can come up with a viable funding solution. Don’t forget to tell your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to do the same.
If you would like to keep informed on the status of this project forward as it moves forward, or are interested in getting involved, please contact Feet First to let them know about your interest.
UPDATE: The correct e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles is an avid cyclist that uses his bike as his primary mode of transportation. He grew up in the Puget Sound, but is currently overseas living in Japan. He covers a range of topics like cycling, transit, and land use. His time in Tokyo really opened his eyes to what urbanism offers people and has a strong desire to see growth happen in Seattle.