New multi-use trail coming to the Arboretum, Ramp-to-Nowhere to be demolished

Image: Seattle Parks/Berger Partnership

Image: Seattle Parks/Berger Partnership

Walking and biking in the Washington Park Arboretum will be easier in coming years, with today’s announcement of a new multi-use trail to be funded through SR 520 mitigation efforts. The trail will connect Madison Street to the south with Foster Island Road to the north in this first project phase, and eventually extend to the Arboretum’s North Entry expansion near the Montlake Lid in a second phase after 520 replacement work is complete.

The 12-foot wide trail will meander east of Lake Washington Blvd, passing the Arboretum’s new Pacific Connections garden, Azalea Way and the Wilcox Bridge. The trail will be paved with semi-rough material to create a bit of noise alerting pedestrians of on-coming cyclists. With this facility, the park will have a new 2-mile loop including the pedestrian-only Arboretum Drive.

This $7.8 million project will be the largest single donation to the Arboretum in its history, said Jack Collins, Arboretum Botanical Garden Committee (ABGC) Chair. Funding will come from WSDOT’s $300 million federal TIFIA loan secured last fall.

“This is an historic day for the Arboretum,” said ABGC member Paige Miller, in thanking state legislators for their help with this project. “The Ramps-to-Nowhere will be no more.” Demolition of the unused ramps will be part of 520’s West Approach Bridge construction beginning in 2014.

“This is a win for all parties involved,” said Julie Meredith, WSDOT’s SR 520 Program Director. “We are pleased to move forward with our mitigation efforts.” Arboretum trail funding will be paid next month with design work continuing through this year. Trail construction would start along with the West Approach Bridge in summer of 2014.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

In other Arboretum news, the Graham Visitor’s Center now has a coffee bar.

4 thoughts on “New multi-use trail coming to the Arboretum, Ramp-to-Nowhere to be demolished

  1. Pingback: State will fund new Arboretum trail | Seattle Bike Blog

  2. Pingback: Arboretum North Entry project to reclaim wetlands, create overlook hill | montlaker

  3. I strongly recommend further coordination and plan refinement is needed. The long-term stewardship of the Arboretum as green space, and toward more sustainable and native species design is appreciated. The proposed trail needs to be consistent with long-term vision. With that in mind, a quick fix like the current proposal should be unacceptable.

    This is re. the state-funded new trail through the Arboretum, Montlake neighborhood to E Madison St., just announced Thursday 24 January. On closer inspection, this trail looks more like a pedestrian strolling or bike leisure path—certainly not a serious, practical cycle route along a way from A to B. And routing a cycle route around the tranquil pond near the gazebo? How wacky is that? Routing to isolate the stone cottage at the east end? The Arboretum is already heavily laced with adjacent trails. Meandering, leisurely pedestrian and cycle routes through the Arboretum aleady exist in abundance. Is this plan advocating an R.H. Thompson Trail through the Arboretum or what? At least, this is rather opposite of mitigating the SR 520 expansion.

    This is with reference to SDoT reports* and
    Calling it up on and enabling Terrain can display further.

    For a conventional choice (adjusting the existing plan) I recommend: The Arboretum is so narrow as it is that any cycle route needs to parallel the arterial corridor, Lake Washington Boulevard E. At least that could make the arterial a divided boulevard.

    A better cycle track using some existing paving rather than further diminishing the off-arterial Arboretum might be modifying along 25th-26th avenues E.
    Or add a short Trail-only spur from SR 520 to near McGilvra Boulevard E.
    37th, 39th, Canterbury, and Edgewater each extend within about 75 to 250 ft. of Union Bay. The entire west end of existing SR 520 was shifted from land into the Arboretum wetlands, so this addition would be a very modest mitigation.

    Parks—and our public Arboretum—should not be scenic shoulders for vehicular highways. Over all, in any worthy master plan the city and the state would do better to reduce vehicular traffic through parks, improving and rerouting to other motor vehicle arterials—and cycle routes.
    Please do not further so unnecessarily diminish what little tranquility remains in the Arboretum, particularly east of the unfortunate arterial corridor.

    Thank you for your consideration


    * 2012 and .pdf at

  4. Pingback: Live blogging City Council 520 meeting: Portage Bay bike trail + lid options + WABN | montlaker

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