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Ship Canal Trail extension grand opening and Kidical Mass Saturday

Ribbon-cutting location

The Ship Canal Trail extension to Fisherman’s Terminal is ready for its grand opening, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, November 19.

The extension should finally create a comfortable and safe way to walk or bike under the south end of the Ballard Bridge. The horrendous interchange at 15th Ave and the Ballard Bridge has long been one of the biggest problem spots for walking and biking (but especially biking, unless you like carrying your bike up and down stairways).

This trail extension does not fix every problem, but it will connect Magnolia and the core of the Seattle bicycle network (Dexter Ave and the Burke-Gilman Trail) in a way that has been dangerously lacking for decades. For many people, this means no more biking on shoulder-less cloverleaf interchange with dangerous roadway expansion gaps that can grab your wheel. For others, this may mean they finally have a route comfortable enough to give biking or walking a try.

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From SDOT:

Phase II of the Ship Canal Trail is wrapping up with a grand opening planned for Saturday, November 19, at 11 a.m.  The event will take place on the grassy area south of and below W Emerson Street Bridgewhere it intersects with 16th Avenue W.

This final phase of the Ship Canal Trail completes the connection from the Elliott Bay Trail and the Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods to bicycle routes at the Fremont Bridge, including the Interurban route on Fremont Avenue North, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the Dexter Avenue route.

Completion of this trail makes bike riding in the south canal area more comfortable for all levels of bicyclists and offers increased safety where cyclists and heavy industrial traffic have long shared traveling space.

Safety improvements include fencing all along the trail and a new railroad crossing signal installed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe along with switchbacks on either side to ensure cyclists slow down before approaching active tracks.

Also, Totcycle is organizing a Kidical Mass ride from Ballard to the Ship Canal Trail opening. It conflicts with Cranksgiving, but is a great option for those looking for a shorter ride or are trying to avoid turning their kids into “totsicles.”

Let’s meet at the Ballard Library at 10am, ride through the Locks, and through Fisherman’s Terminal to the 11am opening ceremony. There will be a short stretch of on-road action between the Locks and Terminal. We can do it.

Then we’ll ride this scenic (in an industrial then canal sort of way) trail, and pop over the Fremont Bridge for a lunch at Fremont Brewing. We’ll bring hot cider to warm folks up. Fremont Brewing is BYO food, and quite kid friendly. You can pack a picnic, but there is adjacent teriyaki, and nearby sweet and savory PIE.

Then anyone who likes can ride back to Ballard with us on the Burke Gilman Trail. This ride will be a great chance to show off your “how I keep the kids warm/dry” tricks for winter! We’ve got a MEC Newt Suit a la FamilyRide clan that we’re liking for the wet. And contemplating hot-water bottle with waterproof-on-one-side picnic blanket for the cold.

If you don’t have kids with you that day, or live in a Capitol Hill/South Seattle direction, may I suggest an alternate event? Because Cranksgiving 2011 bike ride/food drive happens to be on the same day (sorry Tom!). We really enjoyed it last year, but my kids were more totsicle than totcycle by the end of it, so I don’t think we’ll make it such a big loop with snow in the forecast. But you should.

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13 responses to “Ship Canal Trail extension grand opening and Kidical Mass Saturday”

  1. Robin Smith

    The trail extension is completed, and has been completed for days. Yet as of yesterday afternoon it remained fenced off and inaccessible. I and many other bikers were still forced to take the “horrendous” and “dangerous” overpass at 15th Ave West.

    Evidently, the trail must remain closed until this silly ceremony takes place. Safety first!

  2. Pedals Don’t Peddle

    I agree with Robin! Sure, a week or so of waiting between the actual completion of the project and its official opening seems insignificant in the long run, but come on. A ceremony is just that, a ceremony. It can be held even if the trail has already been open for business for a week.

    Gripes aside, however, I’m looking forward to the trail being open. Whoo hoo!

  3. squarecircle

    Once the contractors are done their work needs to be inspected and any punchlist and change orders satisfied.

    1. Todd

      This post is my equivalent to a Facebook “Like” link. Finally somebody in the know.

  4. Tom

    This will be great for bikers traveling from the Fremont Bridge area to the Elliot Bay Bike Path. I commute along Nickerson Street, under 15th, merge onto 15th, take a right onto Dravis, then a left onto 20th/Thorndyke. This seems more direct than taking the Ship Canal Path all the way to W Emerson, then taking a left onto Gilman to connect to Thorndike. And my current route is mostly on bike lanes. I’ll try out the new path next week to see if I like it better. Riding on 15th sucks!

  5. K Lambert

    “Let’s meet at the Ballard Library at 10am, ride through the Locks…”
    Unfortunately, you can’t ride through the locks. You have to dismount and walk your bike through the entire grounds.
    It can be quite a pain getting across the gates when the locks are crowded on a busy weekend…

  6. I was going to ask (others have commented otherwise) will the path be open from Queen Anne to Magnolia for the 11AM opening ceremony? If not officially open, can anyone comment on going past the fencing and barrier? I’ve done it going through rail tracks and homeless camps before and after construction and will try again Saturday for the ceremony.

  7. Thanks Tom, and sorry for the conflict with Cranksgiving. I blame, SDOT.

    And, yes, I am well familiar with the Locks scenario. Staff there is militant about no riding or even schluffing, but rarely bother to enforce the “no stopping on the gates” sign. Oh well. A bigger problem in summer than on a day with sleet.

  8. OK, so this morning, this new segment was still fenced off. But on my commute home this afternoon (about 2:30 PM,) it was open all the way through. However, the crews were still out there working. There is still a honey-bucket sitting on the trail at 13th Ave NW. Also, they still have a few more bollards to install. My guess is that the fences were down just so the workers could access the trail as they worked on it. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the fences are put back up tonight before the workers go home. (updates from any night riders?)

    At any rate, i’m tickled pink that it will be open for commuting next week! Going to fisherman’s terminal and thence to fremont via a trail will be much nicer than dealing w/ dravus st, 15th Ave W, and nickerson. And on the return trip, zipping under the bridge on this trail rather than on “Dead Man’s Curve” will be a major improvement.

    Having ridden the trail today, my one complaint is with the switchbacks at the rail crossing. I know they’re just trying to make people slow down, but the switchbacks take it too far, in my opinion. I can see that spot being rather treacherous when dealing with pedestrians and/or on-coming bike traffic.

  9. Mark

    I am extremely excited about this trail finally opening.

    When i moved to Seattle in 1992 i asked SDOT about this trail, which seems such a no brainer. They said it would be open in 9 to 12 months. I’ve been told that half a dozen times in the 19 years since. It’s always 9 months away.

    Can’t wait to ride it!

  10. Todd

    Perhaps you didn’t like my tone Tom but you have to admit there was a twinge of truth to my comments you axed.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Just refrain from name-calling. Feel free to repost your thoughts.

  11. […] had a chance to join his Kidical Mass ride last week.  The occasion was the grand opening of the Ship Canal Trial. It’s a great piece of bike infrastructure as it lets people get from Magnolia and the […]

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