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Check out the (not yet official) Burke-Gilman closure detour route

Via the CBC blog

For months now, the most-Googled term leading people to Seattle Bike Blog has been some variation on “2011 Burke-Gilman closure.” King County Parks has been very reluctant to release details on the project, particularly the sure-to-be-disappointing detour route. With work scheduled to begin in May, the detour is still not yet official pending approval from Lake Forest Park, according to the Cascade blog.

When we wrote about the closure in October, we ended with the sentence, “The proposed detour route should be nailed down soon.” I should have known that they meant “Seattle-area-soon,” which is really not that fast and requires several hearings, a bid dispute and a convention of municipal arborists.

The detour route is definitely going to be hilly, out-of-the-way or both (first person to record the route including altitude data on a fancy GPS app and put it online gets a homebrew). Unfortunately, no roads parallel the trail, which is bordered by Lake Washington on one side and, for much of the route, a steep cliff on the other.

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In order to avoid a very steep climb, northbound cyclists will be directed off the trail near Matthews Beach Park and directed over to 35th Ave NE. At NE 145h (the Seattle border), cyclists will be diverted over to 27th Ave NE. At this point, the detour is 15 blocks west of the trail. Once past Acacia Memorial Park, the detour weaves back towards the trail to Beach Drive. I’m not sure what “unimproved ROW” means, but that’s how you continue on Beach Drive at Brentwood Pl NE. Once you get past that,  continue to Log Boom Park. In total, there are about 20 steps to the detour.

An estimated 1,000-2,000 commuters use this stretch of the trail daily. Construction is not scheduled to be complete until November.

At one point, there were discussions of running shuttles during commuting hours, but there seems to be no talk of that now. I will update if I learn more about how this route was still-unofficially chosen and what other options where considered.

This section of the trail is 30 years old, making it the oldest section of the trail. Once a ten-foot-wide path, the edges have fallen away over time due to weak soil. The trail cannot be repaired and much be reconstructed, said Cascade’s David Hiller last fall. There seems to be no feasible way to reconstruct it without a complete closure.

UPDATE: Commenter Jonathan created this Google map of the detour so you can explore the route a little easier. Thanks, Jonathan!

View Burke-Gilman Proposed Detour in a larger map

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17 responses to “Check out the (not yet official) Burke-Gilman closure detour route”

  1. JRF

    I think this is about right: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/372462

    But no, I didn’t ride with a fancy GPS. I just doodled on the map.

  2. biliruben

    Wow. They think hundreds of bikes on 145th isn’t a recipe for mayhem?

    I know the route, since I used to live up there. Completely and totally insane to try to route thousands through it. A route only a masochist or a non-biker could love.

    They need to stagger this to be after the 125th re-channelization, then take the bikes up 15th or a neighborhood street something, so as to minimize time on 145th. That’s a no-shoulder speedway of the worst kind.

    156th ain’t no picnic either, iirc.

    I guess there is really no good route here. If I really cared about bikers, I would simply close a 10-block stretch at a time, so the re-routes are manageable bite-size pieces so that construction won’t double your commute time, which is exactly what this route will do.

  3. Brad Hawkins

    Or SDOT could restripe Lake City Way to include a bike lane from either 125th or 137th where 35th NE connects to Lake City Way and keep the bikes on a relatively flat and direct path. The main change needed is in southbound from Lake Forest Park Town Center up the hill to 145th. I’ve ridden in the bus lane and haven’t drawn the ire of police but it doesn’t feel kosher.

    Anyway, restriping is the cheap way to keep people on bikes.

    Oh I forgot, cycling is just for recreation. Silly me.

  4. Jonathan

    I made one up too. Click the route for an elevation profile

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Hi, Jonathan, to embed a link, don’t use the title=”” bit. It doesn’t work the way you would think. It’s easiest just to paste the full URL.

  5. Jonathan

    I made one up too. Click the route for an elevation profile.Click here

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      This is great! Thanks, Jonathan.

  6. Jeremy

    Pontoon sharing plan, anyone? Just cut across the lake.

    1. biliruben

      Heh. I was thinking about this. Or a Kenmore Air shuttle. Ride onto a fenced platform with a hook that holds 10 bikes, have the sea planes carry you over and drop you and Matthews Beach.

  7. John

    522 – here I come. Hope the motorists are patient with us because no sane bike-commuter is going to follow that detour.

    1. Pete

      ride during rush hour and you’ll be safe(r), the traffic moves at about 10 mph on average between 7:30 and 8:30am between Lake Forest Park and 145th St.

      If you aren’t afraid of breaking a sweat and don’t feel like going so far out of the way try this…

      Heading north on 522
      turn left 153rd
      turn right on 37th
      left on 148th
      right on 40th
      (cross the trail)
      right on Riviera Pl.
      Then slip back onto the trail when you are south of the closure.

      1. Pete

        correction, I meant to say heading south on 522 in the 1st part of the directions

  8. crank

    I agree with the striping on Lake City Way. Mind you, it is my opinion that this should have been done last Fall to get motorists used to the idea of having bikes on the road with them thru that area. I also think that a staged construction would have been the best option. From what I understand, Seattle is a city with the most educated citizens in the world…..you can’t tell me that it is this hard to figure out.
    I’ll see you all out there. Ride safe and be as defensive as you can. I used to live in Lake City and would ride up 522 daily…..most days it was cool. Others, not so much. Going North/East on 522 is a bit tricky up near 145th too.
    Ride on!

  9. Michaela

    This is a terrible route. Having the detour go way past where construction on the trail ends is a major inconvenience, and forces riders to be on city streets for much longer than what they may be comfortable with. For me, this will add much more time to an already 18-mile each way commute, and it’ll put me out in traffic for more than I want to deal with on a daily basis. 145th is not a road I would ever consider riding, let alone at peak traffic times.

    For those who aren’t happy with this route, take a moment to go to the Cascade Blog, click on the link for “emailing Steve Bennett”, and send your comments to him by Friday, April 29th.

  10. Pete

    Major problem with this detour on the northern end. For those of us who ACTUALLY ride its plainly clear that Beach Dr. NE dead ends behind a chain link fence. How is that going to work?

    1. Pete

      If you zoom in on the map that Jonathan provided, pan to the northern end of the red line and turn on the satellite its clear. Or even clearer when you ride the trail and see how that street ends.

  11. Marc

    Lots of bikers will find variations on this bypass that they’re more comfortable with. I’ve tried this one, to avoid riding on 145th:

    from 35th Ave NE, turn left on 130th (traffic light to you cross Lake City Way)
    turn right on 27th Ave NE.

    It’s much easier to follow, and it avoids 145th. One significant drawback, however, is that you must cross 145th without a traffic light. Be careful!

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