Burke Gilman Trail will close for construction mid-April to November

Friday, February 4, 2011

Burke Gilman Trail.  Photo courtesy LFP
by Brian Doennebrink

The oldest part of the Burke-Gilman Trail is expected to be closed from mid-April through October.

Described as "a once-in-a-generation project," the approximately 2 miles of the trail that is in Lake Forest Park is being redeveloped due to trail deterioration, limited sign distance (vegetation, fences, etc.), signage in conflict with engineering best practices, doesn’t meet minimum standards for safe use, doesn’t meet KC Regional Trails standards. Estimates of trail usage last summer were 1,000-1,500 users per day.

The trail will be widened from 12 feet to 18 feet, with improved intersection and crossing treatments, signage, fencing, drainage, and vegetation management.

Mitigation efforts include promoting bus usage (putting bicycle on front) and adding bicycle lockers at the Kenmore Park & Ride, while exploring the feasibility of incentives to expedite construction, hiring a private shuttle service, and having a detour.

Unfortunately, there is no direct way to detour, and what has been proposed adds 1.7 miles to the present route, goes close by houses, requires stairs in one area due to a recently-discovered environmental issue, requires approval of a few jurisdictions as well as a church, and has steep (vs. the current) grades.

Even with these efforts, there is concern that riders will instead use the Business Access/Transit (BAT, or shoulder) lanes on State Route 522 (Bothell Way NE), impeding bus travel in those lanes.

As a King County official noted: “For as much passion we’re seeing on one point-of-view, we’re seeing equal passion on five other points-of-view.”

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