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Think the UW Burke-Gilman detour is big now? It’s just getting started

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The Montlake Triangle detour trail
The Montlake Triangle detour trail

Today, the Burke-Gilman detour around the UW’s Montlake Triangle construction site is pretty big, but comfortable. Just few minutes around the construction zone on a newly-paved path and you’re back on your way.

But the current detour is just a taste of things to come. By summer, a much larger detour will be in place that sends trail users up through UW campus and on the newly redesigned NE 40th Street.


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Access to the Montlake Bridge is already a headache, and the new detour certainly will not make things any better. Sidewalks in the area are always busy, and the streets are wide and unfriendly.

When completed, a section of the trail will be wider and there will be a new connection to the UW Link Light Rail Station and the Montlake Bridge.

You can learn more about the detour at an information session Thursday, 4 – 6 p.m. at the Gould Hall Atrium. UPDATE: For more information on the planned detours, see the UW project webpage.

Details from UW:

Work has already begun on construction projects to improve the Burke-Gilman Trail and the surrounding areas, and more construction is on the way. This includes the Montlake Triangle and Rainier Vista, Maple and Terry halls, the new Sound Transit Link light rail stations and power upgrades by Seattle City Light.

Beginning this spring, University of Washington will close portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail between Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Mason Road, just east of the Rainier Vista, to facilitate these projects and the construction of a new, wider Burke-Gilman Trail with separation for people who walk and people who ride bikes, dozens of new lights, more blue emergency phones, better trail intersections and ADA access, and improved sightlines. Construction on phases of these projects will begin at different times, but by Summer 2014 the full detour will be in place.

We want to help keep you safe and informed during this detour! Watching out for each other–whether walking, riding a bike, or driving a vehicle–is a shared responsibility. Take extra care during the construction. Look out for other road users and make eye contact or wave to others – the more awareness motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians have, the more we can better ensure everyone’s safety.

UW Transportation Services will have more information about the detour and improvements to the Burke-Gilman Trail at the Gould Hall Atrium on April 17, 2014 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. For questions or comments please send them to Brian Ho, [email protected].


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19 responses to “Think the UW Burke-Gilman detour is big now? It’s just getting started”

  1. kommish

    I don’t care how they detour us, I just want the signage to be clear. After a week or two they did okay with the current detour.

    Of course, what I’d *really* love to see is some room made for bikes on Pacific. That would make this whole thing a lot simpler. For bikes, anyway – the car/bus traffic would be horrendous. :)

    1. sb

      It seems like bike traffic will definitely increase on Pacific, no? I can’t imagine some of the bike speedsters will want to deal with all this detour zig zaging.

      Also, I guess I’m stupid but what do the arrows on the bicycle detour in the map indicate?

      1. kommish

        I dunno about the arrows. The map says this is a westbound detour map. Given that I commute this way, and so go eastbound and westbound, I am not entirely sure what the deal is. I usually just mentally prepare myself for a very confusing first couple of rides until I figure out the most intuitive route.

        As an aside, I just emailed Brian Ho asking them to put out zoomable maps and to add temporary extra ramps on the Hec-Ed bridge. There’s a pretty wicked blind u-turn to get over there right now.

      2. David Amiton

        I could be wrong, but my guess is the arrows indicate one-way for bikes, as this is a one-way street (http://goo.gl/maps/Qi7HO). Going eastbound Stevens Way has a downhill grade, so riding in the street is no problem-o.

      3. sb

        Ok, I *am* stupid. I didn’t notice it’s just showing the westbound detour. Still, why wouldn’t the walking portion also get arrows on its separate portion?

      4. TgrHwke

        If the bike portion is indicating direction of travel then it makes sense for the map to show arrows for it, however pedestrians aren’t restricted in which direction they can walk on a street so there is no need to show directional arrows for that section.

      5. Kirk

        I think there is a pretty good hill where the green arrows are, and the green arrows are showing that this is a climb in the direction of the arrows. I think the blue arrow in the west end just indicates that the trail will continue “that a way”.

    2. Josh

      Seems like an awful lot of detour details to avoid the obvious alternative of a temporary greenway on Pacific — lower the speed limit for the duration of construction to 15-20 mph, add speed humps, enforcement, shared lane markings, signal markings, etc. Really, would a few blocks of rigorously-enforced 15 mph speed limit be a significant burden for motorists?

      1. Matthew Snyder

        Sounds like a job for the “Reasonably Polite Seattleites” — anyone know the secret bat-signal?

      2. Matthew Snyder

        But seriously, it seems like they could have made a reasonably comfortable detour from the Montlake Bridge to the westbound Burke-Gilman along the water. Lots of people already go that way, to connect to 15th Ave NE from the bridge or vice versa. If you’re biking north over the bridge, just get on the west sidewalk and make a left to go behind the medical complex along a rather straightforward series of paths and roads that will take you to Boat St / 15th, at which point you can easily reconnect with the Burke-Gilman.

        Some really minor surface improvements, akin to what they did around Rainier Vista, could have made this a perfectly viable route that would have avoided the somewhat comical routing you see in the map above.

  2. Rob Norheim

    A link to the UW website explaining all of the detour routes for different directions would have been helpful. Here it is: http://www.washington.edu/facilities/transportation/tip/detours/bgt

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Thanks Rob. Either that page is new or I am just blind. I searched hard for more details on the UW website last week and couldn’t find anything!

      I added it to the post.

  3. Rob Norheim

    A link to the UW website explaining all of the detour routes for different directions would have been helpful. Here it is: http://www.washington.edu/facilities/transportation/tip/detours/bgt

  4. Josh

    On the Gas Works Park detour, the UW says, Trail users coming from the Montlake Bridge (south) and headed toward Fremont or Gas Works Park (westbound) on the Burke-Gilman Trail should cross the Montlake Bridge and proceed to the stairs leading up from Northeast Pacific Place to the Burke-Gilman Trail. […] Bicyclists who would like to avoid the stairs should proceed north up to the Hec Ed Bridge before joining with the trail, …

    Runnels are great, but it seems rather dismissive to write off wheelchairs, trikes, and other non-runnel-compatible users as “bicyclists who would like to avoid the stairs.” Not everyone on wheels is using them by choice.

  5. Dorothy

    I don’t like the zigzagging and neither will others. At least keep bikes on Stevens Way. This route adds unprotected lefts. And the current state of intersection with 15th Ave is terrible for bikes heading west. Are they extending cycle track and painting 15th Ave?

    Can uw ban, really ban parents from drop off and pick up at Robinson Center all summer?

  6. Breadbaker

    So let’s see: Dexter is pretty much going away as a biking opportunity. The Burke east of me is now going away as a biking opportunity. I’m started to feel quite hemmed in.

    1. Kommish

      How is Dexter going away as a biking opportunity? Because of the four blocks between Mercer and Denny? That’s, at least, not a huge reroute like this one.

  7. […] We started our big day off by negotiating our way along the now-bigger-and-more-confusing Burke-Gilman Trail detour. […]

  8. […] wrote about the upcoming detour back in April, but construction got pushed back a month. Now they are ready to get started, […]

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