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City Light project closes Burke-Gilman under U Bridge


An ongoing Seattle City Light project has moved to its next phase, closing a section of the Burke-Gilman Trail passing underneath the University Bridge and stretching from Adams Ln on UW campus to the crazy intersection of NE 40th/NE 40th/NE 40th/NE 40th/7th Ave NE/Burke-Gilman Trail (oh, Seattle, your street grid can be so silly).

Yes, this is the stretch of trail that was recently repaved and redesigned to showcase some ideas UW hopes to extend to the rest of the trail through campus. Please, City Light, be gentle. The smooth pavement is such a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the trail.

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The detour is not hugely out of the way thanks to the existing two-way bike lane on NE 40th Street (that’s the southeast of the four Northeast 40ths, for those following along at home). But it does mean that you should be prepared for a lot of merging as people try to transition through the odd series of paths and ramps connecting the trail to the intersection.

Seriously, who designed this? It’s amazing it works as well as it does.


Anyway, here are more details on the project and what you can expect from the detour, from UW:

Seattle City Light is continuing westward with its construction work on the trail and is now working on the section between I-5 and Adams Lane NE, closing access to the trail from either end.

Detour route: At Adams Lane NE, bicycle travel is detoured around the SCL work along NE Cowlitz Road in back (south) of Henderson Hall and then links up with the NE 40th Street bikeway. Return travel from NE 40th Street uses the same routing. Pedestrians wishing to follow the trail’s route may use the Lincoln Way sidewalk on the north side of Henderson Hall to connect with the sidewalk along NE 40th Street. An alternate pedestrian route along NE Pacific Street and NE Northlake Way is also available if you don’t intend to stay close to the trail.

This week, sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail between 15th Ave NE and Adams Lane NE were opened to east-west travel.

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9 responses to “City Light project closes Burke-Gilman under U Bridge”

  1. AW

    The detour has been in place for a couple of days now. It is not well marked at all and there is very little warning that it is coming up. Access from the trail to 40th street is difficult to negotiate due to the lack of signage, the fact that the curb cut to the street is well hidden and at a 90 degree angle to the road. Plus the fact that there is traffic on 40th street as well. I am hoping this will be a short term closure.

  2. Rob Norheim

    SCL will purportedly not be ripping into the demonstration section of trail above Mercer Court. They anticipated this project and are said (by UW Transportation Services staff) to have already installed the new conduit under that segment of the trail before it was reconstructed.

  3. Skylar

    Even more amazing is that UW has listed Pacific/Northlake as a recommended detour for pedestrians. That part of Pacific/Northlake doesn’t even have a sidewalk for the length of the trail detour.

    The lack of street lights along the trail is troubling as well. I’m assuming that SCL has them off for their work but it would have been nice for them to have put up temporary lights as it’s quite dark along Cowlitz Road, especially with both bikes and lots of UW students sharing the space.

  4. jt

    Yikes. I can’t make heads or tails of this from the map and description. From the satellite image it looks like you’d just hop onto that sidewalk at the southern middle of the intersection, if coming from the east on 40th’s bike lane. But the other reports suggest you have to cross through the intersection, onto the southwest of the 4 streets? Then you wait to turn left across traffic? I’ll just have to check it out (but comments warn that signage will be bad when I do…).

  5. Blaeloch

    Whatever they end up doing, we have to be all over the quality of the end result. On the now-closed block of NE 43rd in the U District where my office is (and the light rail station is under construction), SCL came in a few months ago and chewed up the entire sidewalk in front of our building to do some utility relocation or something. After they were “finished,” they just slabbed the holes over with uneven asphalt and left that for weeks. When they came back, they removed the damaged sidewalk down to dirt, and left a gaping stumble-chasm about 12 feet long, with a few token, ineffectual plastic bollards –right in front of a restaurant business already challenged by the light rail project. After that sat for days despite my complaints to the contractor, I reported it to the SDOT inspectors and they got it fixed. The whole thing was like a documentary on shoddiness.

    1. kpt

      No seriously – it will take us about two months to rewrite the definition of platinum sufficiently that we can have another awards ceremony (this is convenient, as there’s about a 2 month lead time on ordering the engraved plaques).

  6. This morning, at least, the west end of the detour was totally fine. The Burke is open from the wide black-topped ramp west, so you can use that ramp to get from the 40th Street path to the trail. This particular detour is pretty low-impact.

    1. Stuart Strand

      Low impact unless you use the trail to get to/from Ben Hall Bldg or Mail Services or other facilities on Northlake. We used the ramp on the south side of the trail, but that is closed off now. I am riding on Pacific and Northlake now.

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