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.
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