Friday, July 12, 2019

Washington State Route 524



On Saturday, June 29, 2019, we drove the length of Washington State Route 524, because it was my birthday and I said so.

RCW 47.17.730
State route No. 524
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 524 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 104 at Edmonds, thence northeasterly to a junction with state route number 5 in the vicinity of Lynnwood, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 522 near Maltby.



SR 524 @ SR 104
With the Edmonds ferry dock at our back, just after crossing the busy railroad tracks, Highway 524 begins at this intersection. We're on SR 104, which turns right, but we're going to go straight ahead.

SR 524 @ SR 99
Downtown Edmonds is quicker to walk than drive through, but we're here for the highway. Two blocks into the route, we turn northward and zig-zag through quiet residential streets. We head up the hill in a little canyon of Maplewood Park, but slowly since we're behind a U-Haul truck. Once on top, we roll due east. Welcome to Lynnwood! Edmonds Community College! Lynnwood Crossroads! In the vast sea of asphalt, we arrive at the junction with SR 99. This is the old heart of Lynnwood.

SR 524 @ I-5
We pass the forest of Scriber Creek, to which we once rode our bikes, then we enter the new heart of Lynnwood, a.k.a. Alderwood. It is here we find I-5.

SR 524 @ SR 527
As we enter the area once and sometimes known as Alderwood Manor, our straight street turns into curvy Filbert Road, winding down the hill to Swamp Creek. Alderwood Manor is full of curvy tree-named roads: Poplar, Cypress, Locust, Magnolia, Larch, and those are just the ones we passed. High above us is I-405, but there's no junction with it. Up and over a hill, we enter Bothell (Highway 524 is the northern city limit). We cross North Creek and, at Thrashers Corner, Highway 524 has a junction with SR 527.

SR 524 @ SR 9
Highway 524 abruptly loses most of its traffic. We curve up the next hill, leave the city of Bothell, cross Little Bear Creek (the Woodinville Bear Creek, not the Redmond Bear Creek), and arrive at a junction with SR 9. Where are we? Bothell? Woodinville? Maltby? North Creek? Clearview? The map says Turner Corner, for what it's worth. Do you want to see the Brightwater Treatment Plant? Then take SR 9 south.

SR 524 @ SR 522
Just over a mile later, prepare for sudden left turns. Welcome to the unincorporated community of Maltby, once a whistlestop on the old Northern Pacific railroad. We cross the tracks, take a sharp right onto Yew Way, then a left onto Paradise Lake Road, whereupon we are at the junction with SR 522. Highway 524 is at an end. WSDOT is working on the design to replace this stoplight with an interchange (since it's the last stoplight on 522 between 405 and Monroe), but there's no funding for construction yet.

Highway 524 starts with zig-zags and ends with zig-zags, with plenty of straight stretches and curvy stretches in between. A journey across southwest Snohomish County: forest, sea and suburbia.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Washington State Route 523



On Saturday, June 29, 2019, we drove little Washington State Route 523, which we could have driven almost any day in the past six months...

RCW 47.17.727
State route No. 523
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 523 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 99 and Northeast 145th Street in Seattle, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 522.



SR 523 @ SR 99
At the northern edge of Seattle, Highway 523 begins at this intersection with SR 99. The eastbound lanes are in Seattle, while the westbound lanes are in unincorporated King County and north of the right-of-way is the city of Shoreline. We call it 145th.

SR 523 @ I-5
Odd-numbered highways are typically north-south, but the state ran out of even numbers between 516 and 538, so they chose an odd number rather than an out-of-sequence number. So east we go, up and over a hill to a junction with I-5. Looks like a good spot for a light-rail station, right? Very pedestrian friendly.

SR 523 @ SR 522
We keep going due east, perpendicular to the glacier-carved hills and valleys. Up and down and up and down. Forested neighborhoods. A few stoplights later, we arrive at the junction with SR 522, right where it transitions from Lake City Way to Bothell Way. And that's the end of Highway 523. Nothing but a short city/county street ahead.

Highway 523 gets as many vehicles as I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, but it's not as pretty.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Washington State Route 522



On Saturday, November 10, 2018, we drove Washington State Route 522 over hill and over dale to Monroe.

RCW 47.17.725
State route No. 522
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 522 is established as follows:

Beginning at Seattle in King county, thence easterly by the most feasible route to the north of Lake Washington by way of Bothell to a junction with state route number 202 near Bothell; also

From that junction with state route number 202 near Bothell, thence northeasterly by the most feasible route to a junction with state route number 2 in the vicinity of Monroe.



SR 522 @ I-5
At this freeway offramp in North Seattle near Green Lake, Highway 522 departs from I-5. Primary State Highway 2 (Seattle to Spokane and Idaho) originally had two routes around Lake Washington. The northern Bothell branch started in downtown Seattle, went north via Eastlake and 10th and 12th, then turned slightly onto Bothell Way. After I-5 was complete, that first leg was dropped and Bothell Way was extended a short distance to this new interchange. Onward to victory!

SR 522 @ SR 523
When this stretch of road was first constructed over a hundred years ago, it was called Victory Way (hence the Victory Heights neighborhood's name). It was later renamed Bothell Way, since it goes to Bothell. Then the first few miles were renamed Lake City Way, since they go to Lake City... The first stretch of Highway 522 is only 25 mph, which is new, I think. This is probably my least-driven part of this highway. But it speeds up to 35 when we leave Maple Leaf and head down the Willow Creek canyon to Lake City, whereupon we slow again. Lake City sure looks like a nice neighborhood. Another mile and we're at the junction with SR 523, a.k.a. 145th Street.

SR 522 @ SR 104
We enter Lake Forest Park on Bothell Way, choose not to have barbecue for breakfast, and roll down the hill past the Sheridans to the junction with SR 104.

SR 522 @ I-405
Lake Washington appears to our right. The road turns east as we enter Kenmore. Bothell Way NE becomes NE Bothell Way. Lovely Kenmore. Sammamish River below to our right. We enter Bothell and the road turns back north. NE Bothell Way becomes Bothell Way NE. If you get off the highway here and go a hundred feet south, you'll find Red Brick Road Park, which is a stretch of the original PSH 2, paved with -- you guessed it -- red bricks. A bit north, our highway finds downtown Bothell, where we leave Bothell Way by going straight at an intersection with what used to be SR 527. It's now just a city street called Bothell Way NE. Highway 522 becomes Woodinville Drive, so let's head to Woodinville! But first, the city street turns into a freeway and we have a interchange with I-405. Right about here, Highway 522 and Woodinville Drive used to cross the Sammamish River, but the highway doesn't anymore. The street name resumes across the river, however.

SR 522 @ SR 202
A mile east, Highway 522 meets SR 202. Exit here if you like to sit at stoplights. Originally, Highway 522 followed the PSH 2 route to Redmond, Fall City and North Bend, while SR 202 started in Woodinville and went northeast to US 2 in Monroe. In 1970, the two were switched. SR 202 became the Woodinville to North Bend route, while Highway 522 straightened out to be generally southwest-northeast in alignment. I guess that makes sense, but now SR 202 is no longer connected to its "parent" route, US 2.

SR 522 @ SR 9
Highway 522 turns north to follow Little Bear Creek. The route from here to Monroe was once numbered PSH 15 Bothell-Monroe Branch. (PSH 15 was the 1930s name of Alt US 10, now US 2). In the Snohomish County part of Woodinville, we arrive at the junction with SR 9. Arlington? Canada?

SR 522 @ SR 524
Up the hill we go, turning east, then north again to Maltby. Highway 522 generally follows a Burlington-Northern spur line through here. The railroad is just to our left at this junction with SR 524. A stoplight in the middle of a 60-mph freeway? Sounds like a good idea.

SR 522 @ US 2 eastward
The road narrows to two lanes, but there are no more stoplights. In a long line of cars, we descend eastward to the Snohomish River. Just before the bridge, the highway widens to four lanes again (construction completed in 2015). Highway 522 skirts around Bald Hill. We try to tell the high school apart from the prison. Highway 522 cuts right through the middle of Monroe, but we're so elevated that it's always out of sight. Just before the end of the highway, there's an exit for US 2 eastbound (constructed completed in 2011).

SR 522 @ US 2
But Highway 522 keeps going. We cross above US 2 and... do a 180-degree turn to an intersection with US 2, the stoplight at the end of the road. And just like the beginning, the speed limit is 25 mph. When the overpass was built, the plan was to extend another mile to a bypass highway around the north edge of Monroe. In the 1970s, the state completed the design and bought all the land for that bypass and the Highway 522 extension, but it still hasn't been built yet. The concept was last revisited in 2011, but there's no funding for construction.

Now that there's an offramp to head eastward, this stoplight sure takes a long time to allow a left turn...

Finally, a green arrow! Let's go hiking -- quick, before the sun sets!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Washington State Route 520



On September 3, 2018, we drove across the lake and all the way to Redmond on Washington State Route 520.

RCW 47.17.720
State route No. 520
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 520 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 5 in Seattle, thence easterly via the Evergreen Point bridge to a junction with state route number 202 in the vicinity of Redmond.



SR 520 @ I-5
From northbound I-5 in Seattle, we branch eastward onto the start of Highway 520.

SR 520 @ SR 513
Soon we're on a bridge (a viaduct, actually) high above Portage Bay. The viaduct descends rapidly toward Montlake and the junction with SR 513, which is not signed as a state highway. Last exit before toll!

SR 520 @ I-405
After the brief bit of land at Montlake, we're quickly on the Evergreen Point Bridge over Lake Washington. The first mile is a viaduct across the edge of Union Bay. The westbound lanes were replaced in 2017, towering high above us in the old eastbound lanes from 1963. But as we climb the west highrise, we transition from the rough pavement to the smooth. We're on the new bridge, also opened in 2017. As we descend to the floating section of the bridge, the speed limit changes from 50 to 60 mph, but I think most people thought it was already 60. At the east highrise, the roadway is flanked by two columns of art. Back on land again, we are tolled a few dollars. We quickly pass through Medina, Hunts Point and Yarrow Point before entering Bellevue. These broad, sweeping turns were widened and repaved in 2015, so we're flying when we reach the junction with I-405.

SR 520 @ SR 202
We head east across the north edge of Bellevue, over and parallel to Northup Way on a section of road first built in the 1970s. We enter Redmond near the Microsoft campus and turn northward on the last section of the highway built, opened in 1979, which takes us down the hill toward downtown Redmond. After West Lake Sammamish Parkway, we shoot straight east a mile on a section that was originally opened as SR 920 since it was completed before the preceding section. This stretch beside Marymoor Park was also only two lanes until the 1990s when it was belatedly widened and an interchange was built at the junction with SR 202. Cirque du Soleil!

SR 520 in Redmond
Highway 520 keeps going past the exit to SR 202, all the way to the end of the overpass, where "End 520" and Avondale Road begins.

All I can say is that's it's much nicer to drive Hwy 520 in the light traffic on a Sunday than a weekday.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Washington State Route 519



On July 14, 2018, we drove Washington State Route 519, all the way from Safeco Field to Coleman Dock.

RCW 47.17.717
State route No. 519
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 519 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 90 in Seattle, thence westerly, and northerly to the Washington state ferry terminal.



SR 519 @ I-90
We take a left turn on to Martinez Drive to begin. I-90 starts behind us and ends up ahead to the right.

SR 519 on 1st Ave
Right turn on First Avenue, following "To Ferries" signs rather than "SR 519" signs. Wait for long signals timed for hordes of pedestrians that aren't here now. Quiet stadiums. Highway 99 gets close on our left, but there's no direct connection. The halfway point of Highway 519 is just a few blocks from its beginning.

SR 519 @ SR 304 & SR 305
Enter the construction zone for the viaduct replacement tunnel. Parallel to the viaduct, then under the viaduct, then left turn on Jackson (new route this month) to drive between the bay and a chainlink construction fence. This might be confusing if I hadn't looked at WSDOT's construction maps beforehand. At Yesler, enter the ferry terminal. Take SR 304 to Bremerton or SR 305 to Bainbridge Island.

Well, as long as we're here...

Friday, August 3, 2018

Washington State Route 518



On Saturday, July 7, 2018, we drove down the hill on Washington State Route 518.

RCW 47.17.715
State route No. 518
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 518 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 509 near Sunnydale, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 5 in the vicinity of Seattle.



SR 518 @ SR 509
Sunnydale is now Burien. I guess they decided "Sunnydale" was a poor name choice for the top of a hill that's usually cloudy... Highway 518 begins here at SR 509.

SR 518 @ SR 99
A freeway its entire short length, Highway 518 zooms east. We enter the city of SeaTac, then pass under the three bridges built for the runway approach lights of Sea-Tac International Airport. After the exit for the airport, we pass under SR 99. The only direct connection between the two highways is in the eastward direction, though, hence this photo of an onramp.

SR 518 @ I-5
The highway sharply heads downhill, curving down the Gilliam Creek canyon. Brakelights and sudden swerves abound as everyone jockeys for position in their correct lane: north? east? south? Welcome to the interchange with I-5.

SR 518 @ I-405
In the middle of the interchange, underneath the spaghetti bridges, Highway 518 comes to an end, replaced eastward by I-405.

Well, that was pretty much as expected. Now let's go take a hike.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Washington State Route 516



On Saturday, June 30, 2018, we drove the length of Washington State Route 516 on the way to our birthday party!

RCW 47.17.710
State route No. 516
:

A state highway to be known as state route number 516 is established as follows:

Beginning at a junction with state route number 509 in the vicinity south of Des Moines, thence southeasterly to a junction with state route number 5; also

From that junction with state route number 5, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 167 in Kent, thence easterly to a junction with state route number 169 south of Maple Valley.



SR 516 @ SR 509
Once what was a junction is now two highways end to end. At this stoplight in Des Moines, our street changes from SR 509 to SR 516.

SR 516 @ SR 99
Highway 516 proceeds to wind up the hill away from Puget Sound, alongside Massey Creek. Shortly we arrive at SR 99 in the Midway neighborhood. In six years, there will be a light rail station a quarter mile south of here.

SR 516 @ I-5
As soon as we leave the Highway 99 intersection, we arrive at the interchange for I-5. Looking at the map, you'll see that the first half of Highway 516 is the southern leg of a rough square of highways that has six parallel north-south route, but only two east-west routes. It's unusual spacing for Washington highways, but that's how the valley lies.

SR 516 @ SR 181
After I-5, the speed limit jumps from 35 to 55 mph, but most drivers don't seem to notice. SR 516 is basically a freeway as we curve down to the Kent valley, until a stop light at the bottom of the hill (once everyone gets up to the speed limit). Then we zip eastward, cross the Green River, and arrive at the West Valley Highway, SR 181.

SR 516 @ SR 167
Even closer together than 99 & I-5, SR 181 is immediately followed by the Valley Freeway, SR 167.

SR 516 @ SR 515
Highway 516 then slows and enters downtown Kent. With no signage (other than two left-turn lanes), we turn north on Central Ave. When we get to Smith St, there is a sign directing us to turn right. Now I'm on a familiar route, driven hundreds of times, passing Earthworks Park and heading up East Hill on Canyon Drive. At the top of the hill, we arrive at the junction with SR 515. Remember Johnny's?

SR 516 @ SR 18
Eastward on Kent-Kangley Rd, the speed limit increases to 45 mph, but when we get to Meridian, nobody wants to drive that fast. I wonder when WSDOT will reduce the speed limit down to 35 mph for the stretch around 132nd Ave. Curves -- even slight curves -- slow drivers down. We pass Lake Meridian (Remember when this was only two lanes?) and cross Soos Creek into Covington. Now the speed limit is 35, but we stop for all the lights. Two of the lights are for the junction with SR 18.

SR 516 @ SR 169
We slowly head east through Covington, which has grown like crazy in the past thirty years. Remember Johnny's? After Wax Road, the road narrows to two lanes and we hit a traffic jam, which lasts all the way to the Home Depot entrance. WSDOT posted a sign that they're going to widen this stretch of road ... in the future. We speed back up, cruising through the forest, gradually up a hill to Maple Valley. The city slogan should be "The Valley on a Hill", since the county didn't let them incorporate the actual valley as part of the city. The valley was left on the rural side of the urban growth boundary. Makes sense, right? At Four Corners (Summit on the old maps), we reach the end of Highway 516 at this intersection with SR 169. Kent-Kangley Rd continues onward another seven miles to the old town of Kangley and beyond, but this is the end of the state route.

SR 516 is so familiar to me, it was surprisingly difficult to see it with new eyes and not just drive it as routine.