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Arboretum Drive gets a multi-agency makeover

Before the raised crosswalk was installed, motorists rarely yielded to pedestrians. With the raised crosswalk, motorists almost always yield when they see a pedestrian wanting to cross.

How many public agencies does it take to give Arboretum Drive a facelift?  Five, yes five – the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks), Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and the University of Washington (UW).

Why so many? The Arboretum is unique – a hidden gem tucked in on the shores of Lake Washington just south of WSDOT’s SR 520 Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. Jointly managed by the UW and the City of Seattle, the Arboretum’s 230 acres are a dynamic assortment of plants found nowhere else.

A worker installs a new boulevard-style, energy-efficient LED streetlight next to one of the old lights that was later removed.  


The recent work was coordinated and funded by SDOT, SCL, Parks, WSDOT and the UW.  Over the past summer and fall, the City and State partnered with the Arboretum to add a New Zealand Garden in addition to replacing streetlights;  spot paving along Lake Washington Boulevard; installing traffic calming devices; adding bicycle sharrows on the roadway; making crosswalk improvements, augmenting signage and other pedestrian enhancements; and trimming trees and maintaining the landscape.

By working together, the five entities were able to accomplish a significant body of work while minimizing disruptions to park traffic and SR 520 commuters during peak travel times on Foster Island Road on the north end of the park to Arboretum Drive, on the south end of the park, and on Lake Washington Boulevard.

The Washington Park Arboretum safety and landscape improvements support and enrich the park’s master plan goals of education, conservation, providing recreation and visitor services, and rehabilitation of the Arboretum infrastructure for generations to come.