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Missing Link EIS – it’s about Safe, Simple, Connected

Safe, Simple, Connected….it was true in 2003 and it is true now. To complete the Missing Link of Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard, the configuration needs to fulfill those three criteria.

  • Safe – this is the foundation for trail completion, and the primary focus of SDOT when completing projects. It has to be safe for trail users and those who intersect with the trail
  • Simple – greatest ease of use and trail experience for users, with limited to no conflicts
  • Connected – the goal of the Missing Link project – to connect the two segments of this regional trail

After review of the four alternatives presented by SDOT on June 16th, we believe the South Shilshole alternative meets those criteria – this alignment is consistent with the City Council Resolution in 2003 regarding a preferred alternative ,  with the 1997 Operating Agreement between the City and the Ballard Terminal Railroad, and with the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Seattle. We urge trail supporters to let SDOT know that the South Shilshole alternative is the preferred alternative. Use the information below as needed to support your comments. Thank you for supporting the trail and completion of the Missing Link!!

SDOT meetings with a presentation of alternatives and opportunities for public comment are as follows. We Need Trail Supporters to Be There to Comment!!

Thursday July 14th  6-9 pm Leif Erickson Hall   2245 NW 57th Street

Presentation at 6:15pm, Public Testimony 7-9pm 
Saturday July 16th   10am – 1pm  Leif Erickson Hall  2245 NW 57th Street
Presentation at 10:15am, Public Testimony 11am-1pm
Comments can be submitted through July 31st to 
Mail comments to : Scott Kubly, Director, SDOT, c/o Mark Mazzola, PO Box 34996 Seattle WA 98124-4996
It’s easiest to think of the Missing Link as consisting of three distinct sections, given the location of the rail line and current use patterns on the trail and missing link sections. What follows  is a review of the South Shilshole alignment through the safe, simple, and connected lens.  Feel free to use these points as you make comments to SDOT  by August 1.
11th NW to 17th NW, along southside of NW 45th
Safe – The two-way cycle track safety improvement that were put in place nearly two years are also used by walkers and strollers as a de facto trail. Based on comments of a representative of marine industrial businesses, no conflicts or accidents at driveways or intersections have been reported in this section.
Simple – NW 45th continues the route of the current Burke Gilman trail  used by trail users who reach 11th NW – The south side alignment on NW 45th mimics current south side alignment of trail where it ends at NW 45th and 11th NW. There are a minimal number of street intersections and both dead end to the south, so there would be limited traffic impacts.
Connected – This route creates a seamless trail from the current trail in BINMIC (Ballard Interbay North Manufacturing and Industrial Center) from 3rd NW to 11th NW all the way to 17th NW.
17th NW to 24th NW, along southside of Shilshole
Safe – Only one street intersection crossing (at 24th NW) – which is a dead end. There are driveway crossings only, with slow moving vehicles and the majority of those vehicles are operated by professional drivers.

Simple – There would be no need for extensive intersection reconfigurations. Driveway crossing designs would be repeated at each driveway, leading to a consistent trail experience and understanding for trail users and motor vehicles.

Connected – Continuation of ‘straight’ and seamless trail, without jogs or traffic signals. Follows route used by current cyclists who use unsafe Shilshole Avenue roadway. A much needed traffic light at 17th NW would provide easy access onto Ballard Ave and Ballard retail and commercial core.

24th NW to Chittenden Locks, adjacent to north side of rail line

Safe – There would be two instersections, at 26th NW and 28th NW both of which dead end. There would be a limited number of driveway crossings, again with the majority of vehicles being operated by professional drivers of the local businesses.

Simple – There would be no need for extensive intersection configurations. No disruption of roadway rights of way (e.g., Market Street or Leary Ave.) as there would be in the other alternatives

Connected – In conjunction with other South Shilshole segments, this route would provide a continuous trail for all users, minimize intersection crossings, with no ‘jogs’ or diversions, and provide access to Locks and to Golden Gardens in the least disruptive way.

Route Safe Simple Connected

Shilshole South Alternative

41 driveways/load zone crossings

Best sightlines for driveways

Improved safety for all trail users

Most direct route

Crosses only 4 roadway intersections, all dead ends

No complicated intersection configurations

Shortest distance at 1.38 miles

Maintains the most consistent ‘trail’ experience


Shilshole North Alternative

58 driveways/load zone crossings

Challenging sightlines on many driveways

Requires multiple turns, including a left onto busy Market Street 1.48 miles

Similar to the route travelled currently by people bicycling


Ballard Ave Alternative

42 driveways/load zone crossings

Crowded pedestrian environment could result in trail conflicts between people walking and people bicycling

 Requires the most turns and jogs of all routes

Trail users would cross 16 roadway intersections

Interrupted access during weekly Ballard Farmer’s Market

Longest route at 1.65 miles

Does not provide a ‘trail’ experience

Adjacent to local businesses on Ballard Ave


Leary Alternative

33 driveways/load zone crossings

Both Leary NW and NW Market Street are arterial streets with higher traffic and truck volumes

Reduces sidewalks up to 12 feet on NW Market Street

Requires multiple left turns across arterial streets

Users would cross 13 intersections with greater wait times at arterials

1.54 miles

Does not provide a trail experience for users

Negative impact on traffic at nearly all intersections and for transit is projected with this alternative


Draft Missing Link EIS is out

FOBGT Annual Meeting Tuesday June 28 to review

On Thursday, June 16th, Seattle Department of Transportation released the long-awaited Draft EIS for the Missing Link sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. For long time trail supporters, who looked forward to the City completing interim and permanent sections of trail in 2009 (at which time full funding and design was completed) based on City Council resolution 30583 in April 2003, this is just one more small step on what has been an VERY LONG process!

As we at FOBGT digest the 4 alternatives and dig deep into the report, we also want to let you know about a chance to learn more about the DEIS prior to the public meetings. At our Annual Meeting, SDOT staff and consultants will be on hand to review the report. We hope you can join us – spread the word.

We’ll provide some thoughts on the alternatives and suggested approach to comments for trail supporters in the coming weeks. Please sign up for our mail list to make sure you get the latest.

Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 28, 6-7:30 pm   Ballard Eagles Hall    5216 20th Ave NW

Thanks to all for your help with Trail and roadway cleanup!! 

Adopt – A – Trail Clean  Up

Saturday, June 4th, 2016, 9a – 12p

Ben Peterson of Friends of the Burke-GIlman Trail will lead a planned cleanup of our adopted section of the Missing Link, including the BGT near Fred Meyer, NW 45th Street and portions of Shilshole Ave. See information below.

When: Saturday, June 4, from 9 till noon

Where: Gather at the southeast corner of 11th NW and NW 45th Street in Ballard (NW corner of the Fred Meyer parking lot)

What: You’ll be picking up trash on the south side of the road and trail – we will provide gloves, safety vests, trash pickers, bags, and snacks. But bring any supplies or snacks you like

Contact: RSVP please to Ben Peterson,

Want to help with the site? Email us at

The Burke-Gilman Sammamish Trail, commonly referred to by locals is “The Burke,” is a 27-mile multi-use recreational trail that runs through the heart of Seattle, Washington. It is part of the King County Regional Trail System and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and occupies what used to be a the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway corridors.

For two decades, neighbors, businesses and trail users have worked together to complete the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard, filling in the final Missing Link of the trail. Completing this section would mean a seamless, safe path from Golden Gardens Park all the way to the city of Bothell. The city of Seattle recently made improvements by adding a two-way protected bike lane NW 45th Street, and the city is currently conducting an 18-month environmental impact study (EIS) in order to complete the trail. We’re working to expedite this EIS process. More information here.

Where does it go?

The Burke-Gilman segment is managed by the City of Seattle south of NE 145th Street. The trail begins at 11th Avenue NW in Ballard and follows along the Lake Washington Ship Canal and north along Lake Washington.At Blyth Park in Bothell the trail becomes the Sammamish River Trail and continues for 10 miles (16 km) to Marymoor Park, Redmond, on Lake Sammamish. With the completion of a connector trail through Marymoor Park in May of 2009, the trail network continues to the city of Issaquah via the East Lake Sammamish Trail. With the addition of the connector, the longest unbroken segment of the trail currently extends 42 miles. It runs 14.1 miles (22.7 km) between Ballard and Tracy Owen Station inKenmore (its initial eastern end), or 17 miles (27 km) to Blyth Park. The Seattle Parks Department considers the Burke-Gilman segment of the trail to end in Kenmore; The total distance from Golden Gardens Park to Bothell, including the proposed “missing link” through Ballard, is 19.8 mi (31.9 km). King County considers that the segments divide in Bothell, Judge Burke and Daniel Gilman‘s original Road east ran past Snoqualmie Falls, before North Bend.