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Large 2011 Burke-Gilman detour between Seattle and Kenmore proving difficult to plan

The Burke-Gilman Trail may be closed for several months next year from the Seattle border to the Kenmore border while the trail is reconstructed. But finding a good detour route has proven difficult, and planners are still working on what that route may look like. Unfortunately, nearby streets are often hilly and windy, and could turn a 2-mile stretch of mostly-flat trail into 5 miles of windy roads.

“The challenge is, how do we deal with the 1,000-2,000 commuters who use the trail” for transportation, said David Hiller, Advocacy Director of Cascade Bicycle Club. One possible option planners are looking at is to run a shuttle with bike racks up and down 522, at least during peak commuting hours. After all, many people who feel comfortable riding on the Burke may not be okay riding on Bothell Way.

“Shuttles are probably the most viable option to keep people moving,” he said. Hiller has been part of discussions about this reconstruction project for seven years. It has been a long, often frustrating process involving court cases and Lake Forest Park city councils of varying levels of bicycle support. “We’re almost there,” he said. But the construction process is going to be difficult for people who have come to rely on the trail for transportation.


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“We completely understand people are nervous and concerned about this project,” he said. The detour projects are going to have to be pretty good in order to keep people moving “without having to resort to driving.”

This segment was completed over 30 years ago and is the oldest section of the trail. When it was built, it was ten feet wide. But the soil on many slopes is not stable. Wear and tear has reduced the trail to the point where it is much thinner, which is not compliant with standards for a multi-use trail. It is beyond the point of repair and needs reconstruction, but there seems to be no way to do that without completely closing it.

The proposed detour route should be nailed down soon.


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10 responses to “Large 2011 Burke-Gilman detour between Seattle and Kenmore proving difficult to plan”

  1. Jim Laudolff

    Barricading a lane of Bothell Way should be the leading option. Is this on the table?

    1. Leif

      My thoughts exactly! A shuttle? Please.

  2. biliruben

    Which months?

    January to March would have significantly less impact than July to September.

    And those intrepid bikers who ride January to March can figure out a work-around, for the most part.

    There already is a shuttle, btw. It’s called the 522.

    1. David

      The 522 runs every half-hour in the morning towards Woodinville. 3 bikes every half-hour? Not exactly an option for the level of bike traffic.

  3. Daily Commuter

    I’m not interested in a shuttle. I am interested in an organization (currently infighting over their own board of directors, etc) actually doing something worthwhile and coming up with a plan to serve those 1000-2000 daily bicycle commuters. Get to it!!

  4. daisy

    Sooooo any updates on this closure?

  5. Pete Holmberg

    Run a small vessel on Lake Washington from Log Boom Park to Mathews Beach Park.

  6. Joey D.

    Any updates?

  7. Bob

    Pete, the water vessel is a great idea!

  8. Pete

    Bob, somebody could make some serious cash doing that, even if they had to lease a broad decked boat and only charged a buck or two a head. The more I looked into, the only flaw is that it would have to run from Log Boom Park to Magnuson Park. Unless there is another place for it to port south of 145th st. that I don’t know of.

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