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Burke-Gilman section closed Friday for rubber mat fix

Photo courtesy of Michael Snyder

A section of the Burke-Gilman Trail will be closed tomorrow while SDOT and the Ballard Terminal Railroad fix the problematic rubber crossing near NW 41st St. Trail users will be detoured onto 6th Ave NW during the work.

As we reported earlier this week, many people have reported wrecks at this railroad crossing. The problem stems from the crossing having a shallow angle when crossing the tracks (as close to 90 degrees as possible is preferred). To prevent bicycle wheels from getting caught, a rubber mat was installed. However, the mat can be very slippery in wet or freezing conditions.

From SDOT:

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Tomorrow, July 1, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Ballard Terminal Railroad will work on a section of the Burke Gilman Trail located between NW 40th and NW 41st streets. The trail will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the work area. Bicyclists will detour to Sixth Avenue NW, and Sixth will be restricted to local traffic only, between Leary Way NW and NW 41st Street.

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5 responses to “Burke-Gilman section closed Friday for rubber mat fix”

  1. Michael Snyder

    When traveling eastbound, I will regularly detour right onto 6th and left onto 40th to avoid this crossing when it looks slick and there is any oncoming trail traffic or when there is a group of people walking on the trail ahead.

    Detouring a little further, staying on 6th until Bowdoin Pl also works.

    From the paint markings, it looks like they are adding pavement where the grass is to square up the approach to the crossing which is probably more important than just replacing the rubber mat with something that has more traction.

  2. Michael Snyder

    The rubber mat has been replaced and they added pavement where the grass was to create a more square, 90 degree, crossing. They also cut out some of the previously existing pavement that allowed a sharper angle crossing.

    It feels like we could see an increase in head-on bike vs. bike collisions here now unless people make a habit of slowing down more for this crossing.

    1. Robbie

      I agree, Michael–though the crossing is much smoother, this section is very narrow now, and this weekend I watched solo cyclists barely make the corner because their speed was too high. I’m inclined to continue using the 6th/40th bypass when trail traffic is heavy, rather than trust all users to mitigate their speed.

    2. Raus

      Agreed. I understand the importance of people slowing down at that intersection, but the corners are way too sharp and I’ve already seen several people swing wide into oncoming traffic. I wasn’t a fan of the rubber mat, but I’ll take it over the new revision. Here’s a crazy thought. Since that small section of the RR isn’t used anymore, why not pave over it? I don’t understand the need to preserve that section when it dead ends 20 feet later.

  3. […] accidents (well covered by the Seattle Times and SeattleBikeBlog) and I’m happy to hear that SDOT is fixing it. The response to the story has been fascinating. At some point in the comments, you’ll […]

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