Join us! Grand Opening of the John Lewis Memorial Bridge (Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge) on Saturday, October 2 – aligning with the start of Link light rail service at Northgate Station

An artist's rendering showcases the new John Lewis Memorial Bridge crossing over I-5. The new bridge opens on October 2 to people walking, biking and rolling. The Northgate Link light rail station and two other new stations also open on October 2. Community celebrations are planned at several locations.

This Saturday, October 2, we will open the John Lewis Memorial Bridge (previously referred to as the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge) to people who walk, roll, bike and take transit.

 

The new Northgate Link light rail station viewed from the John Lewis Memorial Bridge back in September. Photo Credit: SDOT.

The bridge improves access to communities, services, and opportunities on the east and west sides of Interstate 5 (I-5) in Northgate and Licton Springs, helping knit together a historically divided community. 

People walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit will experience a new bridge that:

  • Decreases travel times for people walking, biking, and rolling between the two sides of I-5. 
  • Improves access to regional transit at the King County Transit Center and Sound Transit’s new Link light rail station.  
  • Includes safety improvements and accessibility improvements for people walking and biking throughout the Northgate area. 
  • Provides a direct connection between North Seattle College and the light rail station to make educational opportunities more accessible.  
  • Finalizes a five-year construction effort to build a network of Stay Healthy Streets and Neighborhood Greenways that give thousands of people safe, accessible, clearly-signed ways from Crown Hill, Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, Licton Springs, and Northgate to light rail. 

In addition to the opening of the new John Lewis Memorial Bridge, there are more grand opening events planned for October 2 with Sound Transit opening its three newest Link light rail stations at Northgate, Roosevelt, and the U District. 

The new bridge spans roughly 1,900 feet long over I-5, landing at North Seattle College on the west side and at 1st Ave NE and NE 100th St, near the new Northgate Link light rail station, on the east side. 

Watch this time-lapse video of the bridge span installation earlier this year.

When constructing the bridge, we kept safety, the environment and accessibility on top of mind with a number of features and improvements. These include:

  • A design that complies with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards and nearby intersections with features such as curb ramps and accessible pedestrian signals
  • Safety features like overhead pedestrian lighting, emergency call boxes, and lighting on handrails.  
  • A new 2-way protected bike lane connecting the new bridge at NE 100th St, the existing bike lanes on NE 92nd St, the Aurora-Licton Springs Stay Healthy Street and other community connections in the area. 
  • Planting over 450 new trees, five times as many as were removed to make room for bridge construction.  

Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5) led the efforts in naming the bridge after U.S. Representative John Lewis to increase Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) representation in North Seattle.   

Across Seattle, BIPOC community members and leaders are underrepresented in the names of significant city infrastructure such as streets, bridges, and community centers.  

The John Lewis Memorial Bridge.

Representative Lewis led civil rights activists in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, when they were attacked by state troopers attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The violent attacks were recorded and disseminated throughout the country, and the images proved too powerful to ignore. “Bloody Sunday,” as the day was labeled, sped up the passage of the 1965’s Voting Rights Act. Once elected, Representative Lewis  was known as the “conscience of the congress.”  

The opening of the John Lewis Memorial Bridge  is timely as the U.S. Congress considers the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and in light of attacks across the nation to limit the ability for some groups of people to express their constitutional right to vote. 

Councilmember Juarez explains, “This bridge was built on a foundation with one goal in mind: bringing people together. This new infrastructure will transform much more than commutes- it will transform the lives of North Seattle College students heading to class, families visiting the Kraken Iceplex, and seniors who cannot drive but still want to move about the city. Today we welcome a new era of prosperity for the North End with a commitment to livability, equity, and vitality.

The John Lewis Memorial bridge is a celebration of his life. Representative Lewis spent three decades building bridges, working across the aisle with folks with whom he shared fundamentally different beliefs while never losing sight of his life’s mission – civil rights for all. Lewis taught a nation where real courage comes from, leading with light, not darkness and division.

When we name something, we are showing the truth of our history. Lewis represented the greatest of our city’s values, and with this bridge, we instill those values in the next generation of those walking, biking, and rolling across. Lewis taught a nation that when we fight for our democracy with joy, determination, and unity, we are limitless.

The John Lewis Memorial Bridge was made possible by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle, Sound Transit, Washington State Department of Transportation, and North Seattle College.