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Lake to Bay Loop – From Vision to Reality in Only 20 Years!

One of my delights this year is to see our Lake to Bay Loop project getting underway.

This process is great!

Along with Seattle Parks Department, Seattle Center, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks Foundation, Department of Planning and Development, Friends of Kinnear Park, the Uptown Alliance, my colleagues on Council, and several private property owners, we have made the Lake to Bay Loop a priority. This is an excellent example of gathering stakeholders for a successful “Seattle Process.” 

Myrtle Edwards Park

The Lake to Bay Loop Committee is comprised of an Interdepartmental Team, led by Kristin Simpson from SDOT. Other members include Layne Cubell from the Seattle Center, Becca Aue from the Seattle Parks Foundation, John Coney from Uptown Alliance, Geoff Wendtland from DPD, Todd Burley from the Seattle Center Foundation, David Graves from the Seattle Parks Department, and many others who have been meeting to discuss the alignment of the urban trail. They have leveraged funds from the East Mercer Project to begin implementation of a vision for what is fondly known in our office as L2B.

The approximately four-mile L2B Loop is an incredible urban opportunity. The plan is to extend the loop from South Lake Union Park south on Terry Street to Thomas Street, west on Thomas Street through the Seattle Center to the new West Thomas Street overpass.

Proposed loop.

A person walking or jogging over this new bridge from the Seattle Center to Myrtle Edwards Park will be able to return to South Lake Union via the Olympic Sculpture Park, continuing east on Broad, passing the Seattle Center on the south and the new Gates Foundation, and west on Mercer or Valley Streets.

L2B could feature green promenades, pedestrian amenities including special lighting, widened sidewalks and seating along the way, art, specimen trees, and much more. Just consider the opportunities for ambling into cafes, book stores, coffee houses and meeting friends along the way.

South Lake Union Park

Thanks to Parks Levy funds and a federal grant, money is in hand to complete the pedestrian and bicycle overpass to cross Elliott Avenue and the railroad tracks to Myrtle Edwards Park. John Coney reminded us that this bridge has been planned and discussed for over 20 years! SDOT expects construction to begin this summer.

The goal now is to build on design work already done for Thomas Streets and the Mercer project, and to determine “Elements of Continuity” and way-finding along the L2B Loop. Once this framework is in place, we’ll reach out to neighborhoods and interested groups and invite them to create their own “Elements of Distinction” along the way.

The vision is on its way to becoming a reality. This is the “Seattle Process” that makes me proud. Thanks to the team for all their good work. I am thrilled about the possibilities!

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