Washington is famous for its gorgeous and abundant waterways, from the Salish Sea to the Nisqually River, but many communities lack open public beaches and waterfronts where everyone can enjoy picnicking, swimming, paddling, boating, and angling. Water Access projects fund public shoreline access, boat launches, and fishing docks to create more opportunities for water recreation.
The Carkeek Park Bridge Replacement Project is a development project to replace the existing railroad crossing pedestrian bridge that provides the only safe, park access point to the beach. This public access is very important for this regional destination 220-acre park. Carkeek Park is one of three Environmental Learning Centers within the Seattle Park system, providing year-round environmental education, stewardship, and conservation programming to a large number of park users and school groups. Education programs and partnerships have installed educational interpretive signage throughout the park. Since the active train tracks act as a barrier, a bridge here provides a vital connection to the shoreline, beach and a salmon spawning creek. Carkeek Park is in Northwest Seattle, adjacent the Broadview and Crown Hill neighborhoods and is considered a regional destination for school groups, camps and visitors.Built in 1956, the bridge recently needed and received shoring. In 2021 a feasibility study noted that the remaining life of the bridge is limited due to steel corrosion and concrete cracking and spalling. The replacement bridge is a cable stayed style bridge, with the main pier located on the east side of the tracks. The bridge will be fully accessible and wide with a gentle ramp leading to a viewing platform from which one can see the trains below and Puget Sound. The current design provides stairs to the beach. The existing narrow steep bridge is not accessible.