Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Seattle I-90 Bike Tunnel

Yesterday I rode into Seattle to have lunch with my friend Barb. As I rolled off the floating bridge and through the tunnel it occurred to me (not for the first time) how amazing it is that we have both a bridge that floats on water and a tunnel that serves both pedestrians and cyclists. These are the big pieces of infrastructure that really do make a big difference. The bridge cuts miles off the alternatives of going around the north or south ends of Lake Washington and tunnel eliminates a huge climb by boring straight through the ridge that forms the eastern edge of Seattle.

While I've ridden through the tunnel a few thousand times, I realized I didn't know much about its construction. Arriving home, that curiosity paired with Google led me Robert's page about the I-90 tunnel. And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, I know the rest of the story.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


Marcy said...

We live in a pretty terrific part of the world. While Seattle still has a ways to go, we do already have some amazing bike facilities. Everyday, more bike lanes and boulevards are being discussed and put into action. Just think...I bet nobody in a car has ever stopped to take pictures and take a moment to appreciate the I-90 tunnel. Riding a bike allows us to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

Ride Happy!

MELI. said...

love that second image of the mural pieces, so beautiful. I hve yet to bike in the seattle area
thx for sharing =)

Andy said...

The I-90 Bike tunnel is a gem!

JAT said...

Back in the Pleistocene I worked downtown as a bicycle messenger. One day I had a rush delivery to Leschi, and as I had another delivery just off Dearborn I cut through to Leschi (on the shore of the be-floating-bridged lake Washington for any non-Seattle readers...) via the narrow elevated sidewalk through the old I-90 tunnel. Whew, I sure didn't come back that way!

And now a shamefaced admission: after too many beers at one of the ~9/11 playoffs games against the Yankees I was pedalling through the new tunnel (after negotiating all the stadium traffic on Dearborn) when I found that I had swerved and bounced off the wall. (hic!)

I haven't done anything like that since, either...

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link to Roberts page about the I90 tunnel, Kent. Here in Calgary Alberta, the City is investigating the construction of a roadway tunnel under a planned airport runway before the runway construction starts. Unfortunately the planners show no evidence that bicycles or pedestrians are on their radar screen, despite the high number of minimum wage jobs that exist at the airport and that the tunnel will link a major east west corridor across the city.
I rode the I90 bike tunnel while billeted near the west entrance during the 2008 Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike conference. The park like setting for the pathway and quiet residential community adjacent gave no hint of a highway beneath. Since I didn’t venture across the floating bridge, it wasn’t until I returned home and started looking more closely at city maps that I realized I had been living on top of a major freeway.
Hats off to the planners of the I90 bike tunnel! Nice murals too.
--Don Hollingshead