The slippery rubber Burke-Gilman Trail railroad crossing that has made headlines recently is going to be fixed, according to SDOT. Many people, including experienced riders, have reported nasty falls on the crossing.
One problem with the crossing near NW 41st St is that the rubber mat installed to keep bicycle tires from getting caught in the tracks can be extremely slippery when wet. If a rider applies the brakes or leans too hard while on the mat, their bicycles can slip, sending the rider falling. The second problem is that the trail currently crosses the tracks at a shallow angle, which increases the chance a wheel will get snagged by the tracks.
SDOT and the Ballard Terminal Railroad are teaming up to fix both problems. The railroad is responsible for trail crossings of its tracks. The new crossing will swing out wider so trail users will cross the tracks at an angle closer to 90 degrees. The rubber mat will be removed and an asphalt crossing will be created instead.
The project should be completed next month.
Much of the new concern about the crossing started with a Seattle Times guest column by Stefanie Frease. She said she fell on the crossing in Easter Sunday this year and broke her pelvis. She vowed to have the problem fixed after learning that many others had wrecked in the same location and that SDOT knew the crossing was a safety issue.