A First U-District Greenway

We’re working with the U-District community to identify a network of Neighborhood Greenway candidates for our community. Below is a presentation of a preliminary route proposal.

12th Ave Neighborhood Greenway concept 

A Greenway on 12th will provide a safe, welcoming bicycling and walking route across the University District.

12th Avenue NE is a tree-lined, 1.7 mile route that is already used by many pedestrians and bicyclists as a low-stress alternative to Brooklyn Avenue NE or University Way. However, the absence of several critical pieces of infrastructure hinders the streetʼs ability to serve as a fully realized active transportation route:

  • A safe arterial crossing at 50th – existing conditions necessitate a multi-block detour just to cross this busy and dangerous street
  • Direct connections to the Burke-Gilman Trail and east-west connections to the University of Washington
  • Stop signs and traffic calming elements that favor north-south pedestrian and bicycle travel.

This project will benefit not only residents of the U-District core (where only 37% of working residents own an automobile), but serve the many University District commuters from Ravenna and adjoining neighborhoods by completing a safer, low- stress bicycling and walking route. Further, the neighborhood blocks that form the core of this route have received the highest possible priority ranking in the Seattle Pedestrian Master Planʼs analysis of the places in Seattle where people need to walk the most.

A 12th Avenue NE Greenway will provide convenient access to a remarkably broad set of neighborhood facilities of vital interest to residential, business and UW constituencies:

  • Business districts: The Ave, 50th Street NE and University District Farmersʼ Market
  • Parks: University Playground, Cowen and Ravenna Parks
  • Community centers: University Family YMCA and The University Heights Center
  • Schools and daycare centers: University Child Development School, UW and UW West Campus Child Care Center
  • University of Washington: West Campus Dormitories, UW Tower and numerous other campus buildings.

12th Avenue NE currently terminates to the south at Campus Parkway; however, the upcoming demolition and redevelopment of UWʼs Terry/Lander Hall will reintroduce 12th to the street grid and extend the 12th Avenue Greenway south to the Burke-Gilman Trail. This will, for the first time, enable safe and attractive access for thousands of daily trail riders through the entire University District.


Explore the concept route


4 Responses to A First U-District Greenway

  1. Travis Hartnett says:

    What a fabulous idea.

  2. Greg says:

    Love this and hope it takes hold throughout the city. Makes a lot of sense for Seattle to look at designating some non-arterial streets as bike routes, allowing local access only to cars and limiting their speed (but not bike’s speed) to 20 MPH, and changing signage to limit stop signs on these bike routes at the expense of the cross streets. It is much different than putting bike lanes on arterial streets in that it keeps bikes going 15-25 MPH away and separate from cars going 40-50 MPH, much as was discussed in this recent article in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21528302

  3. Adam Tratt says:

    I also love this idea, but why not go the extra few blocks to connect with ravenna park, which, in turn, opens the plan to the entire Burke-Gillman trail?

  4. David Amiton says:

    Hi Adam,

    I agree that connecting to Ravenna Park and the Burke Gilman Trail should be important goals for Neighborhood Greenway development in the U-District and adjacent neighborhoods. For these first proposed routes, we wanted to focus on corridors that really served destinations in the U-District core: commercial corridors, schools, the library, the UW, etc. We also feel that the light rail construction on Brooklyn (43rd-45th) is going to have major impacts to traffic in the U-District in the near-term, and we wanted to prioritize family-friendly routes for walking and biking during the construction period.

    Also, to really serve Ravenna Park, we’d need a north-south corridor a bit further east, like 12th Ave NE (paralleling Brooklyn), 16th Ave NE (paralleling 17th), or 19th Ave NE (paralleling 20th); for an east-west greenway that avoided some of the major hills, we’d probably need to look further north at a street like NE 55th St.

    Keep the ideas coming!