The Washington State Department of Transportation has been reconstructing SR 520, which connects Seattle to Lake Washington, into a modern, multimodal travel corridor. While bigger project includes bridge, highway, and light-rail elements, the project’s crowning attribute may be its new shared-use path.
Built in stages from east to west, the $16 million SR 520 trail reached Seattle in late December 2017 after the opening of a new west approach bridge over Union Bay. In just over three months, nearly 70,000 people had crossed the path’s electronic counter on Lake Washington. The paved, 14-foot-wide trail currently runs about 11 miles from the Eastside city of Redmond, home of Microsoft’s 40,000-employee headquarters, to Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood. From there, a five-minute walk leads to the University of Washington, the UW Medical Center, Seattle’s U-Link light rail station, and the popular Burke-Gilman Trail, a 27-mile path stretching from Puget Sound to Lake Washington’s north shore. The trail serves as an important connection through neighboring communities and allows for safe and convenient alternative transportation options.