The impact of the new 520 Bridge Trail

This month makes one year that the new trail has been open over the 520 bridge.  Here’s a link to several routes that have morphed to take advantage of my ability to ride across 520.  The big difference that the new trail makes is that my default ride has shifted to segments of the Lake Washington Loop route either north or south of the bridge.  I’ve rediscovered some of the rides in the old bike guides because I don’t have to drive to the trailhead any more.  A lot of the rides on the eastside that I’m used to doing have now become loops and a lot more interesting.

This is not to say that there aren’t areas for improvement:

  • The elevated plates over the expansion joints are an abomination – we’d be better off if they were uncovered like on the I-90 bridge
  • The crossing at Evergreen Point should have been an underpass at the level of the tennis courts
  • The segment on Northup between 108th and the trailhead on 24th is really disappointing – the City of Bellevue needs to step it up.  Guys, there are two major pieces of bicycle infrastructure here and they don’t connect with each other!
  • The west-bound intersection at 108th is really a bad design.  There should probably be a pedestrian bridge here, (but then you’d need a MUP on the south side of Northup to connect it to.)
  • The trailhead on 24th is a blind crossing that’s going to kill somebody.  It’s made worse by the steep hill you come up approaching it westbound.  You have to keep up your momentum to get up the hill, but then you risk popping out in front of a car you can’t see.
  • The crossings further east on the trail continue to be irritants – particularly the one at 148th.  I thought Microsoft had gotten State money to improve those crossings, but maybe that was just the one on 36th?
  • The 520 trail needs to start at the Avondale / SR 202 intersection and the Redmond Central Connector and the East Lake Sammamish Trail need to thread under those ramps and feed into the 520 trail.

I can’t wait to see how the plans for the segment on out to I-5 get realized and I’m even more eager for the second Montlake Bridge.  (Like either of those will happen in my lifetime!)