At Street End 91 under the Aurora Bridge, a hamlet of houseboats is clustered on the canal’s south shore. The woody debris provides habitat for fish and foul. (John Feit)

Today you will learn about 11 incredible ready-to-visit street ends on the south side of the ship canal occurring between the Aurora Bridge and Puget Sound. In previous posts, we have looked at street ends around West Seattle, from Ballard to Fremont, from Fremont to Portage Bay, as well as the Duwamish Waterway.

The mouth of Salmon Bay and the Ship Canal have a wealth of street end parks. (John Feit)

For those new to this series, a little background on Seattle’s street ends is helpful. Because Seattle is bounded and divided by numerous fresh and salt bodies of water the city has what are called ‘street ends;’ or, those streets that end when they encounter a water body and are unable to continue. There are hundreds of such occurrences – almost as many as there are east-west and north-south streets. Many of them, 149, are part of a Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) program called Shoreline Street Ends. The program’s goals are to:

  • Help create great neighborhoods
  • Improve public access to and enjoyment of Seattle’s shoreline
  • Enhance shoreline habitat
  • Encourage community stewardship of shoreline Street Ends
  • Support maritime industry
  • Responsibly manage private permits and deter non-permitted encroachments

A little over half of the 149 street ends are defined by SDOT as “worth a visit,” while the remainder are either “not yet ready for visitors” or have “no public access.” Street ends are concentrated along the Ship Canal and Lake Washington, but also occur along each of the city’s other shorelines. Working with the city and neighborhoods to secure funding, pass legislation, and organize work parties, the non-profit and all-volunteer Friends of Street Ends help ensure Seattle’s accessible street ends grow in number and those already serving visitors continue to thrive.

Street Ends vary in character from sandy beaches to docks wedged amongst shipyards and industrial uses. They are spacious and they are compact, and most are very easy to find. They support habitat for native species of flora and fauna and are convenient places to launch a kayak, sailboat, or motorboat. Oftentimes, they are adjacent to waterfront parks, expanding upon those assets. They are as varied as Seattle’s topography, and you can visit them any time.

Cycling is the best way to visit Seattle’s shoreline street ends. Many are accessed from low-traffic streets or bike paths such as the South Ship Canal Trail and its adjacent neighborhood streets, such as those featured in this post.


Street End 91 – Aurora Bridge Underbelly

When exploring a shoreline in Seattle you often find yourself at the low side of an escarpment, and in the case of the 5th Avenue North and the South Ship Canal Trail Street End (#91), you are awed by an underbelly view of the Aurora Avenue Bridge hovering about 150 feet above. The juxtaposition of the relative serenity of the water with the bridge’s extraordinary structure is breathtaking. While this is no surprise given the bridge’s iconic presence on the skyline, the bucolic houseboats, placid water, willow trees, and waterfowl beneath it are.

The street end is not officially open to visitors just yet, but its variety of views are available from the pathway (the stairs that provide shoreline access are in disrepair and will be tended to soon).

The piers that support the southern half of the Aurora Bridge (just east of the street end) are supported by 828 timber piles. (John Feit)
A hamlet of houseboats is clustered on the canal’s south shore. The woody debris provides habitat for fish and foul. (John Feit)
The bridge’s piers frame an idyllic view across Lake Union to Wallingford. (John Feit)

Street End 92 – Fremont Bridge

In the shadow of the Aurora Bridge is the Fremont Bridge, Seattle’s oldest extant bridge and the home to the appropriately named Fremont Bridge Street End (#92). This street end offers a grassy knoll, a bench, as well as a cast-in-concrete sign chronicling the bridge’s completion. 

Roman numerals always add panache to infrastructure as the Fremont Bridge shows. (John Feit)
A view from the Burke-Gilman Trail looking east, with the bridge obscured by trees. (John Feit)
Many street ends have benches; the one at Street End 92 is among the best situated. (John Feit)

Street Ends 93 – 97 forge a “South Ship Canal Park”

Moving west along the South Ship Canal Trail you find a series of five street ends that blend together and have many shared characteristics: 3rd Avenue North and Etruria Street (#93), West Cremona Street (#94), West Bertona Street (#95), Queen Anne Avenue North (#96), and 3rd Avenue West (#97). These characteristics include immersion in the one of the coziest parts of the ship canal, ample benches and picnic tables, a park-like setting, and a shady tree canopy. 

Viewed from Cremona Street, the amphitheater-style seating across the canal at Google’s Fremont campus is a popular vantage point for boat, people, and cyclist watching. (John Feit)
The promenade linking the street ends is also a retaining wall that bounds the ship canal, which was built in the early 1900s and links Lake Union and Salmon Bay. (John Feit)
With ample roam to run, Queen Anne Avenue’s Street End 95 is popular with dogs and their people. Canines are a frequent amenity found at street ends. (John Feit)
A summer day spent relaxing along the canal is a highlight of a Seattle summer. This is the stretch between Street End 95 and 96. (John Feit)
Paddlers frequent the canal, enjoying its calm water and easy access. The area near Street End 97 (3rd Avenue W) also goes by West Ewing Mini Park. (John Feit)
A view across the canal to the NW 39th Street End (#137). The street end is accessed from between the sand piles and the building. (John Feit)
Colorful tugboats and kayakers viewed from Street End #97. (John Feit)

Street End 98 – 6th Avenue W

In contrast to the crisp, sea-wall defined edge of street ends 93 – 97, Street End 98 is a veritable paysage sauvage (although improvements are underway). Its verdant shoreline stands in contrast to those street ends to the east and west.

Future improvements to the street end include paved access to the shoreline (suitable for kayak launching), a bench, and log seating, as well as new plantings. (John Feit)
The improvements are expected to be complete this fall. DOWL and HBB Landscape Architects are the designers. (John Feit)

Street End 99 – Gilman Avenue W

Just west of the Ballard Locks, the Gilman Avenue West Street End (#99) is nestled within Seattle’s finest collection of infrastructure, gardens, and public spaces. The street end affords a fantastic opportunity to view the imposing Salmon Bay Bridge (built in 1914), another of the city’s iconic bridges and an imposing landmark heralding the transition from marine to freshwater environments that occurs at locks to the east.

Slated for replacement in the late 2010s, the bridge’s owner (the BNSF Railway) decided instead to repair and upgrade the bridge. The street end is on the other (western) side of the bridge in this photo. (John Feit)
Changing tides lend the marine street ends a dynamic character. (John Feit)
The 36th Avenue NW Street End (#147) is visible (if not discernible) across the canal from Gilman Avenue West. The 34th Avenue NW Street End (number 146) is just around the corner and out of view. (John Feit)

Street End 100 – West Cramer Street

The West Cramer Street End (#100) benefited from Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) renovation of their stormwater facility. Artwork frequently adorns such projects, as exhibited by the silhouettes of salmon and of a great blue heron. Karen Kiest Landscape Architects and SDOT helped guide SPU on these public amenities – well done!

Salmon decals adorn the fence, celebrating the salmon runs that give Salmon Bay its name.
The Salmon Bay Bridge (on the horizon) marks the transition from Salmon Bay to the ship canal. A storm-water vault (beneath the bench) and a generator (behind the fence) are part of SPU’s gear. (John Feit)
Craning your neck from behind the guardrail (the beaches are private) offers another view of the bridge as well as the sandy shoreline. (John Feit)

Street End 101 – West Sheridan Street

The West Sheridan Street End (#101) may be remote, but it is as easy to access as West Cramer Street, which is one block to the south.

In many ways, West Sheridan is typical of street ends – it provides a public and direct means to enjoy Seattle’s varied waterfronts. (John Feit)
A neighboring (private) property’s sea grasses frame the shoreline. Street end neighbors’ landscapes often contribute to the street end experience. (John Feit)
A sign at West Sheridan seeks volunteers to work with SDOT and Friends of Street Ends to steward these mini-parks and community assets. (John Feit)

West Sheridan is also typical of street ends in that they rely on volunteers working with the Seattle Department of Transportation and Friends of Street Ends for their stewardship. Contact or visit to find out how you can help. While visiting the Friends website, you will find a handy map (with GPS tracking) to aid you in your explorations.

Article Author
John Feit (Guest Contributor)

John Feit lives on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and volunteers with Friends of Street Ends, Lid I-5, and the Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council (PPUNC).