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Transforming Northgate with Environmentally Sustainable Travel Choices

SDOT is working with several other agencies (Sound Transit, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), North Seattle College, and the Puget Sound Regional Council) to advance a number of environmentally sustainable, non-motorized improvements in the Northgate area in anticipation of light rail service in 2021.   The improvements include:

  • new or reconstructed sidewalks;
  • new protected bicycle lanes and shared use paths; and
  • a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing I-5.

The goal of these improvements is to transform the car-centric urban center into a vibrant, walkable and bikeable mixed-use community with safe travel paths, including direct links to the regional light rail station and bus transit center.


Sustainable travel choices benefit Northgate, and city, residents, employees, and visitors in several ways. Motorized transportation creates 40 percent of Seattle’s greenhouse gases, making it a major source of emissions in the city. Providing travel choices and alternatives to driving improves air quality, convenience and can save people money. Community members told us that improvements to provide good transit access and east-west connections to the Interurban and Burke Gilman Trails were a priority for them. These improvements will result in 6,300 fewer car trips each day, which will eliminate over 1.4 million pounds of carbon emissions annually.  We believe that all of these improvements will result in about 2.4 million additional non-motorized trips per year on safe sidewalks and new modern bicycle facilities.

The design of these new facilities will also embrace environmental sustainability. Thorton Creek is an important watershed running through the project area and design of these pedestrian and bicycle improvements will build upon past success and activities to protect the watershed.  Key design strategies will protect water resources by reducing runoff of pollutants, and incorporating water features and educational elements to highlight environmental awareness.

To learn more about these exciting non-motorized projects and Seattle’s 2014 Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application.  Please see