On Friday, Jan. 25, members of the NE Seattle community, Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail and Cascade Bicycle Club met with representatives of Children’s Hospital and their design team to take a look at their proposed Burke-Gilman Trail connection.
As part of the public benefit of Children’s Major Institution Master Plan and its Livable Streets Initiative, Children’s wants to provide a pedestrian, bicycle- and wheelchair-friendly connection from the Burke-Gilman Trail to Sand Point Way NE, just south of NE 50th Street.
A combination of bridges and a shared-use path, the connection would link the Bryant and Laurelhurst communities and also provide better access to public transit along Sand Point Way NE.
The general design was approved in April 2010 but Children’s has continued to refine the design through a public open house and various meetings through December 2012.
At the meeting on Friday, Children’s Director of Transportation and Sustainability Paulo Nunes-Ueno and landscape architect Jim Keller walked participants through the two concepts designs and welcomed feedback.
The connections in the concepts differed from one another in that one takes users on an elevated bridge across a parking lot to Sand Point Way NE while the other connection is a less-elevated, windy path through parkland.
In designing the connection, the landscape architects and geoengineers are dealing with a few environmental challenges such as environmentally critical areas, steep slopes, tree removal, parkland and the impact of retaining walls.
While there are trade-offs, Nunes-Ueno said the Burke-Gilman trail connection will benefit the health and welfare of the greater community.
In building the connection, Children’s will:
- provide an ADA-accessible public connection to the new intersection on Sand Point Way, the newest and safest pedestrian and bike crossing along that street;
- preserve the existing significant trees and landscape;
- improve the Environmentally Critical Area;
- remove invasive non-native plants from the public property;
- remove diseased trees and replace them with appropriate native species in healthy condition;
- provide ongoing maintenance, allowing Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail to focus on other areas of need along the trail;
- design new impervious surfaces and site development using Green Storm Water infrastructure engineering methods.
“The design concept has been subjected to extensive public review and comment, which is still ongoing,” said Todd Johnson, Vice President of Facilities at Children’s. “We’re still shaping the design based on input.”
There will be an open house regarding this project on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. at University of Washington’s Gould Hall. The design team will present the concepts to the general public then and field community input.
Children’s hopes to build the Burke-Gilman connection as soon as Children’s Phase 1 hospital expansion project is completed.