Arboretum gets $7.8 million for new trail, improvements

Arboretum gets $7.8 million for new trail, improvements

Say so long to the Washington Park Arboretum's legendary ramps to nowhere. Seattle Parks and Recreation is receiving $7.8 million from the state to make improvements at the Arboretum as part of the 520 Bridge replacement project.

According to an announcement Thursday, that money will be used to create a new 1-mile multi-use trail and make improvements to Azalea Way Pond, Arboretum Creek and Foster Island. That is all in addition to removing the unused freeway ramps that dot the park.

Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee Chair Jack Collins said those projects, as well as the actual bridge replacement, will be some of the most dramatic improvements made to the Arboretum in decades.

The $7.8 million in funding is being made possible through a new agreement between the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee.

“The funding authorized by this groundbreaking agreement is the largest single amount ever dedicated to the Arboretum,” Collins said in a press release. “It is exciting news for anyone who loves and uses our wonderful Arboretum.”

The new 1-mile trail will connect to Arboretum Drive East, creating a 2-mile loop within the park for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will also act as a link between East Madison Street and the University of Washington and Montlake.

The current 520 Bridge structures will remain in the Arboretum until funding is secured to complete two approaches to the new 520 Bridge.

Once that happens, a second phase of improvements will start at the park. Those will include shoreline restoration, a new north entry to the park, and restoration of parts of Arboretum Creek.