Riviera Place NE

This narrow street, created in 1926 as part of Riviera Beach, an Addition to King County, Washington, Divisions № 1, 2, 3, and 4, and situated between the shoreline of Lake Washington and the right-of-way of the Northern Pacific Railway, appears on the plats simply as “Road” — it first appears in The Seattle Times on July 20, 1930, as “Riviera Beach Road,” and then on July 2, 1932, with its current name. The name simply means ‘coastline’ in Italian.

Today, Riviera Place NE begins at the north city limits, where Seattle meets Lake Forest Park at the NE 145th Street right-of-way, and goes nearly a mile south along the Lake Washington shoreline to a spot a few houses north of NE 125th Street, where it ends at one house and picks up again on the other side of its neighbor. From there, it runs 1¼ miles south to its end at Lake Shore Boulevard NE between NE 100th Street and NE 103rd Street. The portions between the NE 135th Street right-of-way and NE 125th Street are private.

Riviera Place NE is probably most notable to the city at large for being the location of the NE 130th Street End park, which became an official park in 2019 after years of controversy. It’s not, strictly speaking, a shoreline street end, because it’s owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation, rather than being a right-of-way under the jurisdiction of the Seattle Department of Transportation. This is because it was never properly dedicated to the public in 1932 (see background and court filings). For years, it had been treated as just another shoreline street end, but in 2012, when the city announced its intention to make improvements to the beach to improve public access, the neighbors on either side filed suit, and ended up having their ownership of the lot confirmed. The city ended up having to exercise its right of eminent domain, condemned the property, and paid the neighbors $400,000 each. (As unfortunate as it was to have to pay $800,000 for the street end, I’d say it was worth it, as NE 130th is the only accessible shoreline street end north of NE 43rd Street, and the only public lake access, period, north of Matthews Beach [around where NE 95th Street would be if it had been platted into the water].)

View of NE 130th Street park on Lake Washington east of Burke-Gilman Trail and Riviera Place NE, June 18, 2019.
View of NE 130th Street End park on Lake Washington east of Riviera Place NE, June 18, 2019. Photograph by Flickr user Seattle Parks and Recreation, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Erickson Place NE

This street, which runs around 675 feet from 35th Avenue NE at NE 135th Street to Lake City Way NE at NE 137th Street, connecting the two arterials, was named, as local historian Valarie Bunn tells us in Gerhard Ericksen’s Good Road, after Norwegian immigrant Gerhard Johan Ericksen (1860, Molde, Norway – 1920, Bothell, Washington). 

Parade float, July 4, 1908, for Gerhard Ericksen’s Mercantile, Bothell; Ericksen at far left
Parade float, July 4, 1908, for Gerhard Ericksen’s Mercantile, Bothell; Gerhard Ericksen at far left, son George Ericksen at far right

Ericksen, a Bothell merchant and Washington state legislator, was behind the creation of what is now the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Gerhard Erickson Road (sic) was named in his honor. Bunn writes:

This road preceded the creation of Victory Way (Bothell Way/Lake City Way.)… In Wedgwood today, the Erickson Road route still exists as part of Ravenna Avenue NE north of NE 83rd Street.… as far as NE 110th Street. At the corner where Nathan Hale High School is located… the Erickson Road route took an eastward turn over to what is now 35th Avenue NE. At NE 135th Street, the 35th Avenue NE arterial angles over and merges with Lake City Way NE. The two-block portion from NE 135th to 137th Streets is still called Erickson Place NE.

Why the street is spelled Erickson instead of Ericksen is unknown.