Beginning this Friday, WSDOT will close the 520 bicycle and pedestrian trail across Lake Washington for a full two weeks. As an important segment of the regional trail system, this closure will likely impact many Eastrail users, particularly those who travel between Seattle and the Eastside. Since the opening of the Northup Connector last month, Eastrail and 520 provide safe trail connections for many users in Bellevue, Kirkland, Seattle, and beyond.
Once completed, Eastrail users will be able to connect directly to both the 520 trail in North Bellevue, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail in South Bellevue. Future projects, including the NE 8th overcrossing (opening this spring), Wilburton Trestle (opening 2025), and I-90 Steel Bridge (still unfunded) will help fill the Bellevue gap and create a continuous trail all the way from Renton to Woodinville, including multiple connections to the regional trail system along the way.
In the meantime, some Eastrail users who typically connect to the 520 Trail may be looking for other ways to cross Lake Washington. Here are a few options:
Several major Sound Transit and Metro bus routes use the 520 Bridge. If traveling West, there is a stop just before the trail closure, easily accessible from the 520 Trail, at Evergreen Point in Medina. Riders can either park their bike at the stop, or put their bike on the front of the bus and take it with them across the bridge. Those connecting from the Eastrail in Kirkland can also board Metro’s 255 at the South Kirkland Park and Ride which is just off the Eastrail at 108th.
Users traveling Eastbound can board a bus either in Downtown Seattle or on Montlake Boulevard near the University of Washington Light Rail station. Trip planning apps like Google or Apple Maps can be helpful in figure out which bus connection makes the most sense for your trip.
The I-90 Bridge also has a continuous trail connection between South Bellevue and Seattle and can serve as a good alternative to the 520 Trail. Connecting from the current Eastrail in North Bellevue requires navigating several busy arterials and intersections, and may not feel comfortable to newer or novice trail users. With future Eastrail projects, connections like the Grand Connection, and on-street facilities like Bike Bellevue, we hope more users will feel safe traversing the region by bike. In the meantime, those comfortable “taking a lane” may consider the following routing to connect from the Eastrail to I-90. The City of Bellevue’s Bike Map can also help in navigating on-street bike facilities.
If your start and end points are further north, you prefer to primary travel via separated trail, or you don’t mind adding a few extra miles in your trip, you may consider heading north on the Eastrail, connecting to the Sammamish River and Burke Gilman Trails to bypass the 520 Trail. Our friends at Seattle Bike Blog wrote about this option after the opening of the Totem Lake Connector this summer. Check out their blog post detailing their route, including lots of great family biking photos!