UW Station construction closes bike path link

Contractors have paved a new ramp on the stairs of the Montlake Triangle to provide a biking detour as construction on the pending biking and walking bridge over Montlake Boulevard has closed the path people are familiar with. The detour will likely be in place for at least the next year.

From Sound Transit:

As early as this afternoon on Wednesday July 18, 2012* the contractor will fence off the remaining NE area of the Montlake Triangle closing off the bike/ped ramp that connects NE Pacific Place to Montlake Blvd. (see map).  Please see the map for the bicycle detour during this phase of construction.

We will be having an informational table this Friday at the University Village QFC to give an update
on the University of Washington Station construction and learn more about the future construction related traffic impacts to build the bike/ped bridge.

University of Washington Station Informational Table
DATE: Friday, July 20, 2012
Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: University Village QFC (next to Noah’s Bagels)

So what will the area look like in 2016 when the Link Station opens? Much different. Here are some images from the UW website:

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27 Responses to UW Station construction closes bike path link

  1. Al Dimond says:

    So… they’re going to build a bridge over Montlake Boulevard connecting main UW campus to regional transit connections on the other side of the Montlake Bridge and future regional transit connections near Husky Stadium… but it looks like there’s no connection to our biggest regional bike path! Say it ain’t so!

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yes there is. If I’m reading the plans right, you will go across the new overpass to Rainier Vista, which connects down to the Burke-Gilman. The dark lines are paths. If anything, this allows through-traffic on the Burke an underpass to bypass foot and bike traffic headed to the station and the Montlake Bridge.

      However, the trail is going to be mega-crowded. If you think there’s a lot of people there now, just wait until it is the primary connector to the light rail station…

  2. David Amiton says:

    Hi Al – It’s difficult to see in the images, but there are connections to the Burke Gilman from the new Rainier Vista. The Trail itself will be lowered along with Pacific Place to travel underneath the new Rainier Vista Land Bridge, and “fly-down” paths will connect the Rainier Vista to the Trail. The fly-down paths are hard to see, but basically they connect to either side of the east-west tan band north of Pacific Place. I think it will function very similarly to the on-/off-ramps that connect Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge paths to the Eastbank Esplanade (http://goo.gl/maps/mzFn), if you’re familiar with that piece of infrastructure.

  3. Al Dimond says:

    OK, maybe there is a connection, it just requires cyclists to exit the BGT to the north, go up a ramp, and ride on a sidewalk bridge across Pacific Place. It’s the same story as the bridge across N 185th along the Interurban Trail — a bridge across a street that’s faster and easier to cross at-grade (in the case of Pacific Place because there isn’t much traffic; in the case of N 185th because you’re crossing with Aurora, which usually has the light). But here they’re burying the BGT so you can’t cross at grade. A bike freeway that exits onto a woonerf. Total insanity.

    Fortunately for everyone there will never be as many people milling around on the triangle as depicted because there’s nothing to do there but watch traffic whizzing by.

    • Jeremy says:

      Huh, and that kinked pedestrian path will be unnecessarily long for those making the trek up from the light rail station/rock climbing wall up to main campus. Imagine how much more useful the station would have been under, say, the HUB.

      • pmpolivka says:

        They looked at putting it in the basement of the HUB several years ago when this all started since the HUB was to be renovated anyway. Putting the station in would have essentially required demo-ing the HUB to do the station, then rebuild the HUB on top. The additional costs and delay in reopening the HUB (it’s scheduled to be opened for the start of Fall quarter) put the kibosh on that. There was also some pull back at tearing down the historic building, which I can respect, but how many times can a building be gutted and expanded and still be the same historic structure, opposed to just tearing it down and rebuilding it according to the the same plans for the renovation?

  4. basketlover says:

    what are the detours for the new underpass/overpass construction going to be?

  5. Al Dimond says:

    For the temporary detour it looks like they’re just building a ramp over some of the stairs on Rainier Vista. So the new route will be just a little bit to the west of the existing path. It should be clear enough from the ground.

  6. basketlover says:

    When the bridge starts to be built, the BG will have to be closed. What will the detour for that be?

  7. Leif says:

    I don’t know Al, I’d prefer not having the BG cross another busy, multi-use facility. Sure it will be a bit more work for those users who are going from the BG to light rail, but I’d guess that the traffic that goes through is greater than the traffic that gets on/off. If that assumption is correct this is the best design to limit conflicts and keep traffic flowing on both trails. I’m really looking forward to this.

  8. David Amiton says:

    Al – It’s difficult to tell from the drawings in the blog post, but that “sidewalk bridge across Pacific Place” is something like 35′ wide and the paths along the perimeter of the Rainier Vista are 16′ apiece. So, I guess you can think of them as sidewalks. Really, really, really wide sidewalks.

  9. Chase says:

    Does that bridge over Montlake Blvd have a ramp for bikes or is it stairs? I hope we don’t have to wait at the Montlake intersection anymore.

  10. Becky says:

    I don’t take this route a ton, but when I have I feel like I’ve always gone some wiggly way that’s not how I’m “supposed” to go or how it’s “familiar” to most users. I rode through last night and there were fences and construction equipment and workers all around, and I definitely didn’t see any obvious way to take the path on that map. Maybe I got there right before they put up decent signage so that someone who doesn’t go there all the time can figure it out?

  11. David says:

    Chase – there’s a direct connection from the light rail station as well as a ramp for bikes on the east side of Montlake. The existing at-grade crossing will also remain to provide another option for accessing the Triangle and Rainier Vista.

  12. David Amiton says:

    Hi basketlover,

    The Trail will be temporarily shifted north before the existing alignment and Pacific Place are lowered.

  13. pmpolivka says:

    I’m disappointed to see the sharp 90 degree angles of the connecting paths between Rainier Vista and the Burke. I’m no speed demon but 90 degree turns are such a pain normally, then toss in being loaded down with books, groceries, or field instruments, well meaning but possibly new to the area pedestrians, and that the path is only 40 inches wide… I expect those grassy corners will be rounded off within a week of the finished bridge/triangle opening.

    I am a little confused as to why the ramp coming into the triangle from the Montlake overpass appears to split….

    If the detour will be there for a year it would be nice if they could toss a thin layer of asphalt over the gravel to ease the passage of bikes, strollers, wheelchairs.

    While the triangle isn’t much now, I’m sure that new grassy patch will get used quite a bit between hospital staff on break, hospital vistors taking loved ones out of a bit of air in a grassy tree lined area. Don’t forget about the new dorms UW is putting in just a little further west on Pacific… I forse a frisbee or two making an impromptu appearance on Montlake & Pacific… It would actually be a great spot for one of the UW’s new bike repair stations (that are slowly be vandalized to pieces).

  14. David Amiton says:

    pmpolivka – I’m not sure where you saw that the connecting paths are only 40″. The paths will each be 12′ wide.

    • pmpolivka says:

      I hadn’t found anything (everything I see on SoundTransit is still the old triangle design- even the banner at the top of the web page), I just assumed the paths would be similar to all the others spurring off the Burke to campus. It looks like they might widen the Burke through that stretch since drawing shows it narrowing just northeast of the triangle. The edge of Burke and the connecting paths are a different color from the concrete and asphalt, I wonder what that material will be.

      You mentioned that the trail will be shifted north for construction, any idea where that will be? That plan shows a Rainier Vista without the access ramp to the garage so I assume the Vista will be closed from Stevens Way down to that curving connecting road between Montlake & Pacific. It seems like the only north options are through campus or above it. When they were filming that movie a few months ago and closed that part of the Burke some cyclists opted for Montlake/Pacific over climbing up to 45th.

  15. Brian Todd says:

    The “insanity” is found in the cyclists treating the Burke like a “bicycle freeway,” particularly in that area. The Burke isn’t part of my normal cycling commute, but I recently rode from work downtown to a party N of U. Village. That section of the Burke was the most dangerous part of the trip due to the number of cyclists flying by amid meandering pedestrians. I’m not too familiar with the design details here, but it doesn’t seem too bad too me, given the site constraints and the objective of creating multi-mode connections. I doubt that the objective was to create a cycling autobahn.

  16. Jeremy says:

    Siiiigh. Some other decade, then.

  17. David Amiton says:

    Yeah, it can be a little tricky to find the most current versions of things related to this project. The correct project documents can be found here: http://f2.washington.edu/cpo/projects/sound-transit/montlake-triangle. You can see the connecting path dimensions starting on drawings C600-C605 of the document, “SP2/SP3 Volume 1 Drawings”

    To your question of widening the Burke, the answer is yes. The Trail will be lowered to go underneath the new land bridge. The reconstructed Trail will feature a 10′ asphalt trail for bikes and a 6′ concrete trail for pedestrians with 2′ gravel shoulders on either side. You can find the section diagram on drawing C612 of the document, “SP2/SP3 Volume 1 Drawings”

    The access ramp along Rainier Vista is going to be filled in to create the long linear lawn depicted in the project graphics. During construction, the Burke will be shifted ~100′ feet north and will roughly mimic the connecting path alignments shown on drawing G020 of the document, “SP2/SP3 Volume 1 Drawings”

  18. Tom says:

    I used the new ramp today and prefer it to the older ramp. It is definitely more direct and the signage is easy to follow. The bumpy/gravely roundabout is a bit uncomfortable but it’s OK for a short section.

  19. David Amiton says:

    Tom – That’s been my experience as well. We’ll be monitoring the short unpaved section over the summer months and if we need to we’ll roll some asphalt over it.

  20. Becka says:

    Man, they’re taking out like a hundred pine trees to put in these paths. Not a big fan of giant grass expanses, although I am excited for a pedestrian connection…

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