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New staircase to help with Burke-Gilman detour

King County Parks has completed a new staircase to help people get from Log Boom Park to Beach Drive at the northern beginning of the Burke-Gilman Trail closure.

The staircase includes a runnel, which is a little trough that allows a person with a bicycle to push it up the stairs instead carrying it.
(images from King County Parks)

For more on the closure, see our previous stories. There is also a lot of excellent advice from others working through the detour in the comments. Thanks everyone for your input. If you are looking for ways to improve your route, definitely check those comments out.

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In other Burke-Gilman closure news, the county now has the permits they need to start tearing down trees and begin the heavy duty work. So everyone should commune with the trees and thank them for allowing this new, improved bicycle path (you know, if you’re into that kind of thing).

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12 responses to “New staircase to help with Burke-Gilman detour”

  1. Mike

    Just what a bike path needs – stairs! I guess I’ll have to start taking the mountain bike instead.

  2. Todd Holman

    You know, I realize it’s fun to be flippant on blogs but people need to start reeling in their expectations. It’s been well documented for quite some time that a staircase was coming. So sorry you are inconvenienced. Deal with it.

  3. biliruben

    If they’d really cared, they should have done the same thing at 160th so we could have followed Beach for the entire detour, finishing up all the environmentally work around the creeks and wetlands they used as the excuse for having to perform all this at the height of riding season.

    Then, when November rolled around, do the remaining 2000 ft/15 block stretch of the trail from 160th to 145th that is the cause of all the consternation, when many fewer riders are on the trail. Even if they needed to wait until April for it to warm up enough to pave that stretch, it would have significantly impacted only a small fraction of the half million or so rides they are currently routing through hell and back.

    1. Todd Holman

      Out of all the gripes — many just complaining about being inconvenienced — your response and observation holds the most weight I think. In general I think the whole detour is not bad at all and completely reasonable but you make some valid points here that deserve consideration. It’d be nice to know the decisions made were based on access to better info than you and I have — but as we know through experience with government agencies — that’s not always the case.

  4. michaela

    I’ll take the stairs over the tree that was hanging way over the trail this past week. The runnel’s a nice addition, except it’s a little awkward with panniers. I found that out the hard way when my bag ran into the first post on the railing. DOH!

  5. Merlin

    I’m just happy to see the runnel has arrived this side of the Atlantic (and to learn that it has a name, how cool!). I’ve seen pictures of these in Europe and wondered if they’d catch on here. One of my frequent routes includes a set of stairs that would be much easier to negotiate with a runnel.

  6. Andrew

    Other than the occasional wait for a walk light, I did a modified version of the detour route this morning for the first time (riding southbound from Kenmore). It worked out quite well, and the hills weren’t an issue at all.

    Cross at Ballinger Way, ride through parking lot of the shopping center, up 170th (turns into Hamline), left on 37th to meet up with detour route. Left at 157th, right at 38th, ride on 522 bus lane to 153rd, and then drop down to Rivierra via 37th, 150th, 39th, 40th and then back to the trail. It wouldn’t be *that* horrible to do northbound… just a climb from the trail up to Lake City Way. Stay safe out there!

    1. Pat Logan

      I commute round trip from Kenmore to downtown Seattle, and I’ve been using a route similar to Andrew’s, except that I’ve tried riding in the bus lane on 522 from Ballinger way to 153rd. On the way in, you’re in the bus lane the whole distance except for a short section of sidewalk near 153rd; I haven’t been passed by a bus yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. It’s all a gentle uphill grade, but I find myself riding really hard to limit the exposure, and never feeling comfortable. On the way home, this section has a sidewalk or shoulder except for the last hundred yards or so, and is all downhill- not nearly as intimidating. Coming up from Riviera to 522 has some really steep sections, but I’m proud to say that I made it all the way on my fixie yesterday..without walking…although I swear a mom with a stroller was keeping pace.
      I will definitely try the first part of Andrew’s route-sounds a lot more relaxing that 522. By the way, the stairs are a nice break for me to get off my bike and regroup a bit- and I appreciate the effort that went into them.

  7. coasttocoast

    Cool stairs!

  8. M.J.

    I was about to comment “How (finally) European of us!” when I remembered another local runnel. It’s been many years, but I’m fairly certain there is one on the long set of stairs over by the I90 Trail on the Seattle side.

    1. michaela

      Yes, there is one at I-90 too.

  9. Todd Holman

    I used this yesterday for the first time and I thought it was slick — as in pretty cool. I personally find the whole detour including this little dismounting section of the trail to be totally reasonable. I just consider myself damn lucky to live next to a dedicated bike path where I have the option to bike safely to work. For many years, I did not so this little hiccup — while they make improvements — is a small price to pay in my book.

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