At their March 19 meeting the Citizens Advisory Committee of Seattle Children’s Hospital heard the final design presentation for the Burke-Gilman Trail Connection, part of the Livable Streets plan. There is now a signalized intersection on Sand Point Way NE at 40th Ave NE, and a landscape architect, Jim Keller of Site Workshop, has been working on the design for a bike/pedestrian path from the Burke-Gilman Trail to the intersection.
Seattle Children’s owns a building on the corner of 40th & Sand Point Way NE, the Hartmann Building, which contains medical offices. A design has been developed to put a bike/pedestrian path past the building and out to the intersection where bikes and people may safely cross Sand Point Way. On the east side of the intersection, Seattle Children’s has already constructed a path to the hospital at 4800 Sand Point Way NE.
The Hartmann Building at the intersection of 40th & Sand Point Way NE was once owned by a physician, Dr. John Hartmann, who was on staff at the hospital. In September 2000 his estate sold the building to Seattle Children’s, whose current ownership of the building has made it possible to put the Trail Connection through that property. The Hartmann Building “has its back” to the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the proposed path would go around the building to meet the street-crossing at the intersection.
The proposal for the final design has modifications made possible by giving up eight parking spaces at the Hartmann building. With this additional space for the Trail Connection, the slope of the path will be gentler, no stairs will be necessary, and the path can now thread its way through more of the trees on the site, including some large sequoias. The trees on the site have been inventoried. Unhealthy specimens and invasives such as cherry runners will be taken out, and the path routed around the preserved trees. A retaining wall will be built on the existing parking lot, and because of the space and setback this plan has the additional advantage that the retaining wall will not impact the roots of trees.
It is not known how many people will use the Trail Connection to get to Seattle Children’s. Certainly some employees will use it, and it is believed that neighborhood people will benefit from the ability to cross Sand Point Way NE safely and get to stores and banks in the business districts on either side of the street. The Trail Connection will have security lights and low shrubbery along the path for visibility. Invasive plants have already been partially removed by volunteer groups, and when the Trail Connection is finished landscaping will be done with native plants. Now that the plan is being finalized, the permitting and construction process for the Trail Connection will begin soon.