Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge Design Update

In their first open house about the Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge this year, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) revealed a key design change that was adoptedĀ as the result of feedback from the neighbours.

The change pertains to the slope of the bridge. Before the update, the slope was set to be 8.3 per cent grade across the bridge. To be ADA compliant, SDOT created a few flat areas so people can take a rest. The steepness was the result of SDOT’s effort to stay within budget, which reduced the overall length of the bridge from 2,200 feet to 1,600 feet. To provide enough clearance between the bridge and I-5, They had no choice but to make the bridge steeper.

That apparently didn’t sit well with the neighbours. Amanda Tse, Project Manager of the Northgate Ped/Bike Bridge Project, told me that they had received “lots of feedback about the slope.” It’s easy to imagine not much of it was compliments.

The updated design has extended the length of the bridge by 300 feet, to a total of 1,900 feet. This has enabled the design team to reduce the slope of the bridge between the entry into the Northgate Station mezzanine and the west end of the bridge to a much more agreeable 4.9 per cent. The short section that connects the mezzanine access to the ground level on 1st Ave NE remains at 8.3 per cent.

Seattle Times reporter Mike Lindblom (right) talking with Rachel McCaffrey, Outreach Lead of the Bridge Project, at the open house.

It is exciting to see the bridge project taking shape. SDOT plan on completing the construction in time for the opening of the Link Northgate Extension in 2021. You can learn more about the project and its progress on SDOT’s project site. (Note: the site was updated on August 2, one day before the open house. It doesn’t have the information about the updated bridge slope.)

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