The “North Montlake Ramp” is one of several unfinished freeway ramps that were intended for the planned, but never-built, R.H. Thomson Expressway. The “nowhere” fate of these ramps resulted from a grass-roots citizen movement that turned Seattle against the freeway mania of the 1950s and 1960s.
The proposed four-lane freeway was to run through Lake City, Wedgwood, Ravenna, University Village, Montlake, Madison Valley, the Central District, Mount Baker, Columbia City and Rainier Beach.
Image: M. Cary Tunks
Aerial view of what was built in 1963 and what exists today. Husky Stadium and the Montlake Cut are in the upper left, Foster Island is in the upper right. The Arboretum is in the lower left and the Broadmoor Golf Course is lower right.
This is a photomontage of the planned but never-built R.H. Thomson Expressway interchange with 520. Note how it runs through the Arboretum (lower left) toward the Japanese Garden on its way toward the CD and eventually to Rainier Beach. To the north there is a tunnel under Union Bay that would have emerged at University Village.
Many people participated in the movement to protect Seattle neighborhoods from 1960s freeway mania. One important figure was Montlake resident and UW professor Maynard Arsove (right), founder of CARHT (Citizens Against the R.H. Thompson).
Save the Arboretum march, Spring 1969. Signs: “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” — “We Love the Arboretum” — “Plants Not Pavements.” Image: MOHAI, Seattle P-I Collection.