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Two Burke-Gilman improvements in the works in Wallingford and Frelard

The city has scheduled two Burke-Gilman Trail improvements this week: Improved ADA ramps in Frelard and an improved crossing at Latona Ave in Wallingford.

Expect delays and detours starting today.

Details on the Frelard work, from SDOT:

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Seattle Department of Transportation crews will begin upgrading ramps at three locations next week on the Burke-Gilman trail in Ballard: on Northwest 36th Street, Northwest 39th Street and Northwest Bowdoin Place.  The work will begin on May 6 and should be completed by May 23. There will be a detour in place throughout the project; bikes and pedestrians should proceed with caution and closely follow detour signs.

Northbound bicyclists and pedestrians will be detoured off the trail at Second Avenue Northwest and will be routed to Northwest 36th Street.  Cyclists and pedestrians will continue on Third Avenue Northwest, then onto Northwest 39th Street, and then back onto the Burke Gilman Trail. Then they will be detoured briefly off the trail around the work area at Northwest Bowdoin Place.

Southbound bicyclists and pedestrians will be detoured briefly off the trail at Northwest Bowdoin Place, and then directly back onto the trail. Then will be detoured off the trail at Northwest 39th Street and routed to Third Avenue Northwest which turns into Northwest 36th Street.  Bicyclists and pedestrians will continue onto Second Avenue Northwest and then back onto the trail.

This project is part of SDOT’s Urban Trails and Bikeways program to upgrade trail ramps to meet current Americans with Disability Act standards. Funding is provided by the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative.

The Burke-Gilman Trail at Latona before the changes. Via Google Street View
The Burke-Gilman Trail at Latona before the changes. Via Google Street View
Details on the Latona work, from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will install a new, marked crosswalk and new curb ramps at the intersection of Northeast Pacific Street and Latona Avenue Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday, May 8 and 9, to provide improved access to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The new, marked crosswalk will indicate the preferred crossing location for pedestrians on Northeast Pacific Street. The new curb ramps will improve access for people with mobility challenges. A wider curb ramp on the southwest corner of the intersection will also improve access for bicyclists.

The community requested this project through the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, a city-administered program that works with communities to prioritize and build neighborhood projects.

·         Wednesday: SDOT crews will install a 12-foot wide ramp on the southwest corner of the intersection. Cyclists will dismount and walk their bikes near the work zone. Latona Avenue Northeast will be closed to southbound vehicular traffic between Northeast Pacific Street and Northeast Northlake Way continuing into the evening until this work is completed.

·         Thursday: crews will install new curb ramps on the northwest corner. Traffic on Northeast Pacific Street will be restricted to one lane shared by both directions of traffic with the assistance of traffic flaggers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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9 responses to “Two Burke-Gilman improvements in the works in Wallingford and Frelard”

  1. Matthew

    I’m not complaining about the work to the Burke-Gilman in Frelard, but…

    …well, it’s just a little bit surprising that this specific project got prioritized over all other cycling- and/or pedestrian-related work that could have been done in the city. Heck, even in that general area, it’s easy to think of other work that seems more urgent, such as the safety improvements near Shilshole (announced in December, but no action since then). It must be frustrating to live in a part of the city with really substandard cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and then to read on this blog that the ramps are getting widened along a small stretch of the Burke Gilman trail.

    It’s also a little bit surprising that this work was not coordinated with last year’s work to remove bollards next to the ramps along the same stretch of the trail. Intuitively it seems like there might have been some real cost savings there.

  2. sean sheldrake

    Hey Matthew, I agree with all your points wholeheartedly (oh, and I am complaining!!). Too few cycling infrastructure dollars and we’re getting replacement ramps for ones that worked very well (I cycle them every day and they seem just fine, say compared to the crappy infrastructure on the duwamish trail, say) already?

    How about we save our dollars and put a Burrard Street bridge solution on the Ballard bridge? (Take out a lane, devote it to a cycle track split one way on each side separated with jersey barriers).

    How about curb ramps for most of the city that don’t have any ramps on their sidewalks? How about putting in sidewalks where there are none?

    Or of course any of the good ideas you mention.

  3. biliruben

    Anything more than simply replacing existing infrastructure falls into another realm of “design” work, with subsequent obligatory NIMBY firestorm and war on cars rhetoric queued and amplified at 11 on the dial.

    That sort of thing requires a spine, and 10 million for lawyers.

  4. sean sheldrake

    biliruben, I couldn’t agree more; case in point, the 58th st. greenway in Ballard. Many of us have used it for years of course, because the expensive things are there, like 1/4 million dollar traffic signals. So what do we get from the community effort–the planters we needed to divert traffic? No, too controversial–like maybe one or two folks didn’t want their ability to drive anywhere, anytime to be limited. We get…. bike dots. Don’t get me wrong, I love bike dots when I’m visiting strange (to me) cities and am too lazy to pull out my smartphone, but jeez, those of us that live here (and know our way from here to there) are like, really? Nothing has changed at all…!

    This project’s new curb ramps are the equivalent of the 58th ave bike dots of the BGT, frivolous, unnecessary, and a bleeder for the cycling budget’s real needs (and yes, that may be 10 million lawyers to fight for what is needed, true!).

  5. Kirk from Ballard

    The crossing at Latona is an improvement, but it is completely mind boggling that the other ramps are being replaced, in lieu of so many other projects that are badly needed to improve bicycle safety.

  6. Leif Espelund

    I agree that these improvements seem unnecessary given all the other things we really need in the city, however, we have only ourselves to blame. These came from the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, which I believe any community group can submit proposals to. I certainly wasn’t involved in any effort to get something more important done . Hopefully these actually improve mobility for disabled folks.

    Be careful on the detour by the gravel place in Frelard, they send us off through a maze of potholes.

  7. Andres

    I was going to leave a similar comment, but it appears that the funding for both projects came from different sources. The Latona ramp upgrade (which I think is a good improvement; I don’t like the current crossing at all) is from a NPSF grant. The Frelard work appears to be funded by a Bridging The Gap. That’s an entirely different beast, and one that I’m not clear of the internal workings of.

  8. Cap’n Reg

    It looks like these ramp “improvements” are a direct response to ADA compliance requirements, so SDOT may have had their hands tied a bit in the matter of ranking and priority vs. regulatory obligation…BUT, I do have a real complaint about the implementation. Why is there zero information about this work on the City’s website? Why did SDOT choose to do these projects in the heart of bike-to-work month, the busiest period of trail use? If you’ve been enjoying the “Frelard detour” route these past few days, then you’ve undoubtedly experienced the pathetic pavement conditions there. They seem to have done a few cursory pothole patches last night, but the entire detour route is covered with loose sand and gravel (surprise surprise as the detour is on the exit for the sand and gravel plant) which could easily be street swept to reduce danger. Why hasn’t anyone taken these obvious simple efforts? SDOT, this is the half-assed project management that makes your work so disappointing to cyclists and drivers throughout the City. We can do better, SDOT engineers and PM’s can try harder. I just know it.

  9. asdf

    I am disappointed by the whole project. The existing ramps are just fine. On the other hand, new, ADA compliant ramps, means yellow bumps so the hypothetical blind person using the trail can more easily tell where the street crossing is.

    Going over these bumps is fine on foot, or on a bike. But if you’re on a kick scooter or rollerskates, they are extremely bumpy to ride over and you almost have to slow down to a walking speed to keep the ride somewhat comfortable.

    As someone who goes over this stretch in a kick scooter fairly often, this project is not an improvement – it’s a step backwards.

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