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West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass Officially Open

West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass Officially Open

The new overpass offers a spectacular view for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The Seattle Department of Transportation recently opened the West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle

Overpass and the Lake to Bay Loop Way-Finding projects with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.  These projects together create a vital and safe connection to some of Seattle’s civic treasures – Lake Union Park, Seattle Center, Olympic Sculpture Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, and the Myrtle Edwards Park bicycle trail to the Lake to Bay Loop, a future bicycle route linking the Seattle waterfront with South Lake Union and Seattle Center.

The beautiful new overpass improves safety by providing a dedicated structure over Elliott Avenue W and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks.  The overpass serves as a direct route for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling to Myrtle Edwards Park and the waterfront from lower Queen Anne and Belltown.

A night shot of the new Thomas Street Overpass which takes pedestrians and bicyclists safely over busy Elliott Avenue W and the BNSF railroad tracks.

Originally, the overpass kicked off in the fall of 2003 as  a project originating from the Parks Department, to provide a safe and alternate route Myrtle Edwards Park across the railroad track.  Design alternatives and the debates regarding the continuation of the overpass across Elliott Ave W  extended the design process longer than anticipated.  Ultimately, the scope was expanded to address the Elliott Ave W safety issue.

Start of construction of the overpass was stalled due to budget gaps, however public support for this overpass was quite positive, including the Queen Anne and Belltown neighborhoods who had worked tirelessly to ensure that this project was kept alive and that additional funding was provided through Parks Levies and the City budget process.  The overpass project got the green light after it was awarded supplemental funds administered by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The stunning Snoqual/Moon the Transformer  artwork which greats pedestrians and cyclists using the overpass,

“Snoqual/Moon the Transformer” created by Roger Fernandez.

was designed and created by renowned Folk Arts Master Artist, Roger Fernandez.  Practicing and teaching Puget Salish art and design, Fernandez has been a leader in this traditional art form for many years, bringing forward a style and design that was nearly lost while other styles were popularized. Through study, he developed an appreciation for the subtle and profound differences in artistic styles between many tribes. The artwork was funded through the 1% for Art program.  When you view the artwork details, be sure to scroll down and listen to an audio component in which Roger tells the story of the Snoqual/Moon the Transformer.

For all the details on the project, please visit the W Thomas Street Overpass website.