SR 520 trail now open across Lake Washington

New regional bike and pedestrian trail connects Seattle to the Eastside

The full length of the State Route 520 bicycle and pedestrian trail across Lake Washington is now open, Washington State Department of Transportation officials reported in a news release Wednesday.

Part of the West Approach Bridge North Project that built new westbound SR 520 lanes and off-ramps, the new 14-foot-wide trail is the final piece that connects about a dozen miles of trail along SR 520 between Redmond and the Montlake neighborhood in Seattle. The new path connects users to over 60 miles of regional trails.

“We expect about 1,000 people each day on the SR 520 Trail, ranging from commuters to recreation seekers,” said SR 520 Program Administrator Denise Cieri. “We’re excited to open it for people of all abilities using different modes of non-motorized transportation.”

Pedestrians and bicyclists can access the SR 520 Trail in Seattle using the Lake Washington Loop – from the south using 24th Avenue East, or from the north via East Hamlin Street. Eastsiders, who have been using the trail for out-and-back excursions on the floating bridge, will now be able to get all the way to Seattle. Before this section opened, users could only make it halfway across the lake.

Federal grants paid for a new bicycle and pedestrian counter at the trailhead in Montlake. The counter will track bicyclist and pedestrian use in the 520 corridor, allowing WSDOT to better support these communities.

“The new SR 520 bicycle pedestrian trail provides a safe and comfortable option and completes a decades-long vision,” said Richard Smith, Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director. “The trail opens up so many choices – a more direct, safer, or shorter ride for commuters and different routes for weekend Lake Washington rides. It’s an important step in our increasingly connected regional trail and transportation system.”

More to come

With future phases of construction in the SR 520 corridor, the SR 520 Trail will eventually connect all the way to I-5. The 520 Program’s next phase of construction, which will build a new lid over the Montlake interchange with improved bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities, is set to break ground in late 2018.