This is a huge win for Northgate pedestrians and bicyclists! This week the Seattle City Council and the Sound Transit board unanimously passed resolutions committing a total of $20 million to pedestrian and bicycle improvements for the future Northgate light rail station. Thanks go to Seattle Councilman Richard Conlin, who led the charge within the City Council and Sound Transit board. This culminates a month-long effort by a coalition including Maple Leaf and Pinehurst Community Councils, Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club, Sierra Club, and Leadership for Great Neighborhoods.
The big ticket item is a pedestrian (and bicycle) bridge spanning I-5 from the future Northgate light rail station to North Seattle Community College and the Licton Springs neighborhood. The City of Seattle and Sound Transit have each committed $5 million to the bridge. The bridge will enable students and employees to use the station with a 5 minute walk rather than a bus transfer or a 20 minute walk. It will enable residents of the Liction Springs neighborhood to walk to the station in 10 minutes rather than 30 minutes.
The rest of the money (another $5 million from Seattle and $5 million from Sound Transit) will be spent on pedestrian and bicycle improvements identified by an access study. This will likely include new sidewalks on streets close to the station (e.g. NE 100th and 103rd Streets) and safe, family-friendy bicycle facilities leading into the residential neighborhoods (e.g. cycle track on 1st Ave NE, buffered bicycle lanes on 5th Ave NE).
Sound Transit will also contribute funds to a 450-stall parking garage on Northgate Mall property, which will allow King County Metro to potentially redevelop the surface park-and-ride lots as retail and/or housing.
The time frame for all of this coincides with the opening of the light rail station in 2021.