1020 NE 82nd St
(or Roosevelt Way NE at NE 82nd Street)
Seattle, WA 98115 206.684.4075, 206.233.1509
When Homeland Security told cities that they needed to cover over open reservoirs, the Maple Leaf neighborhood in north Seattle got a beautiful gift. The city covered the reservoir with a gorgeous 16-acre, two-level park. This park has everything for everyone, and almost the second it was completed, it was filled with little kids, teens, their parents, their parents’ parents, dogs, bikes, roller-blades, and the wonderful sounds of people having fun.
The lower level of the park includes a magical children’s play area with every kind of climbing, riding, and bright-colored piece of equipment. There’s even a zipline! And that’s not all! This level includes a children’s garden, many comfortable benches for parents and kids taking a breather from pure joy, and a big soccer field just waiting to be mucked up.
The upper level is for older-kid play. It includes a half basketball court; a pickleball court; a walking, running, wheeling, and kid-biking paved pathway; a viewpoint taking your eyes to Mt. Rainier when she chooses to appear; a covered picnic area; and benches decorated with bronze-y maple leaves dropped here and there by whatever inspired wizards and community members created the park. This level also has a art–thanks to Seattle’s 1% for art rule–two climbable sculpted boulders (shown above), one from the Tolt River and the other from the Cedar River, two rivers supplying water to Seattle.
And it is accessible with a few caveats! The half-mile walkway around the upper level is a wonderful little trip through a number of different environments, each of them affording interesting sights and sounds, including a series of lovely rain gardens. On that walkway, you’ll be rubbing elbows with people older than you with their dogs and people younger than you riding their training-wheeled bikes.
The lower level gives you easy access to the playground and the bathrooms. BUT—don’t expect to get to the lower level from the upper level in the wheelchair unless you are willing to park in front of one level, enter and exit it, and roll up (or down) the sidewalk to the other. The two levels are connected inside the park by a steep set of stairs. If you need a ramp, you will need to use the sidewalk as your ramp.
Parking: All parking is free street parking. You can park on Roosevelt in front of either the upper or the lower levels. There are some ramped areas over curbs, but there are no designated ADA spots and Roosevelt is a very busy street, making it challenging to get out of a car, into a wheelchair, and up on the sidewalk. You will also find street parking in the Maple Leaf neighborhoods. There is parking at an entrance path that lies between houses in the Maple Leaf neighborhood at 88th and 12th, as well as street parking that leads into the upper level of the park at NE 85th and 14th Ave. NE. Once the ball fields are open on NE 82nd, there are likely to be entrances there, as well.
Entrances: Entrances have their pluses and challenges. Entering the upper or lower levels of the park from Roosevelt is easy as long as traffic on Roosevelt is slow. However, if you enter the upper level, you will have to come back out at your point of entry and roll down to the lower level and vice versa if you begin at the lower level. Neighborhood entrances also have some challenges. Four brand new houses are being built on the east side of the entrance at 88th and 12th, so that entrance is gravelly and debris-strewn—difficult to traverse in a wheelchair. It’s not even clear that path is permanent. The entrance to the upper level of the park at 85th and 14th includes ramped curbs and a nice switchbacked ramp into the park for chairs, but note “What the pusher has to say” below.
Seating: There are a multitude of sweet spots for you and your companions to sit and contemplate nature—plant and human—in the park, both at the upper and lower levels. Beware if you are sitting in your chair, though: it can be very windy and cold for those of us not on our feet. Dress warmly.
Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are located in the park’s lower level, which, as noted earlier, can be challenging to reach from the upper level.
Photos of space online: Yes, and more on Google Images
Photos of entrances online: No
Reservations taken: No
What the wheelchair pusher has to say: Smooth pushing because it is all paved. The west entrance at Roosevelt is much easier to than the steep east entrance. The north entrance (where the building is going on) is impassable because of gravel and cement obstructions. There are quite a few places to sit if you need a rest from pushing!
Overall: Four and a half wheels for good accessibility except for getting to and from the bathroom from the upper park level.