Construction will start this month on a long-discussed protected lane for those walking, biking or rolling around Green Lake that will provide separation from busy Aurora Avenue, the Seattle Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

The decision to move forward sets into motion a project that underwent significant consideration by the department over more than a year, which collected nearly 5,000 comments from neighbors and users of Green Lake, one of Seattle’s most popular parks.

Seattle continues bike restrictions along Green Lake inner trail

The current timeline has the bike lane being completed by December. The budget is $1 million, but SDOT hopes to spend less, said spokesperson Ethan Bergerson.

The project’s focus is on the western edge of Green Lake, which abuts Aurora Avenue North. Outside of the inner walking loop, there is currently a mix of gravel paths and sidewalks that people running or biking often use.

The new lane will connect the southern end of the outer trail with the northern section via Aurora Avenue North with the help of concrete barriers that will provide protection from the fast-moving cars nearby.

Heading toward the northern side, the path will bank east onto West Green Lake Drive North, toward a stretch of recently installed bike lanes.


The close quarters between cars and people riding, walking and running near Aurora has presented significant safety issues in the past. In 2019, a University of Washington student was struck by a car while she was running there, sustaining serious injuries.

In March, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation temporarily banned wheels from Green Lake’s inner loop — an effort to avoid collisions on the busy pathway. The temporary closure has stretched on for months and the department recently began taking public comment on whether wheels should be allowed back on the path.

Aurora is considered among Seattle’s deadliest stretches of road, spurring calls to re-imagine its layout to slow cars and make the area more welcoming to pedestrians. The state Legislature budgeted $50 million for the effort, which could lead to fewer car lanes, separate bus lanes, bike lanes or other possible changes.

Seattle’s first long, paved bike path

Greg Spotts, who is freshly on the job as SDOT’s new director, cheered the project as one that “will improve the park experience” for all users.

During the comment period, many supported the project as an investment in mobility and safety. Some expressed concern about the lane’s proximity to fast-moving traffic, while a smaller number worried it would worsen traffic congestion on that stretch.

Responding to the public comments, SDOT said it will provide more signage to help drivers access the park.