Work on Lake Washington Blvd in the Arboretum Nearing Completion

The third and final full closure of Lake Washington Boulevard Eastfrom East Foster Island Roadto East Madison Street, through the Washington Park Arboretum, will take place this weekend to allow crews from several City of Seattle departments to safely work along the roadway. The project includes the installation of new LED streetlights by Seattle City Light.

The third and final full closure of Lake Washington Boulevard East from East Foster Island Road to East Madison Street, through the Washington Park Arboretum, will take place this weekend to allow crews from several City of Seattle departments to safely work along the roadway. The project includes the installation of new LED streetlights by Seattle City Light.

The boulevard will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, from 6 a.m. until no later than 5 p.m. each day. To minimize disruptions, the closure is scheduled on the same date as the closure of SR 520.   The Arboretum entrance will be accessible from Foster Island Road to the north, and the Seattle Japanese Garden will be accessible from the south, from East Madison Street, after 10 a.m. on both days.

In addition to the new street lighting, the boulevard work includes pedestrian and bicycle facilities, traffic calming measures, landscaping and drainage maintenance. After this weekend, the bulk of the work will be completed, in time for visitors to enjoy the colorful splendor of autumn foliage in the Arboretum and the adjacent Seattle Japanese Garden. The remaining work on the boulevard will require occasional single-lane closures and will be undertaken in October.

The Lake Washington Boulevard improvement work demonstrates how City departments have collaborated with each other, with other organizations and with the community.  The Arboretum Foundation,  the University of Washington (UW), Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) worked together to ensure the improvements reflect the legacy of the historic Olmsted-designed boulevards. The departments came together to plan and schedule their work to minimize traffic impacts — if done separately, each of the projects would have necessitated single lane closures for weeks and caused much more disruption than three weekends of full closures. 

  • Seattle City Light is replacing the existing street lights and poles with new poles and LED boulevard-style lights that will provide better and more efficient lighting. After this weekend, all of the new lights will have been installed, but wiring will still be in progress for 20 new streetlights. The old poles will remain in place where needed to provide lighting until each new light is connected and operational.
  • The Seattle Department of Transportation, with funding from WSDOT, has installed a marked crosswalk with curb ramps, a raised crosswalk, and speed cushions.  These devices calm traffic, help pedestrians cross the busy boulevard and facilitate pedestrian access to a number of trails through the Arboretum. The department has also completed extensive asphalt repairs and installed new pavement markings including “sharrows” to remind drivers to share the road with bicyclists. In October, the department will complete installation of curb ramps at the raised crosswalk.
  • Crews fromSeattle Parks and the UW pruned trees along the boulevard to enhance the health of the trees and improve sightlines. They also performed landscape maintenance work along the street, and cleaned out catch basins. 
  • The Arboretum Foundation and the UW safely led volunteer work parties throughout the Arboretum, immediately adjacent to the boulevard. The stewards were extremely grateful for the boulevard closure as they were able to perform work without being put in harm’s way.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is currently working with a consultant to develop a conceptual design for a multi-use trail from the intersection of East Madisonto the north entry of the Arboretum and to the Montlake and University neighborhoods beyond.