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Big North Seattle stretch of Burke-Gilman Trail getting pavement fixes this month

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 12.47.16 PMThe Move Seattle transportation levy kicks in January 1, but the expiring nine-year-old Bridging the Gap levy still has a little life left. And part of that remaining funding is being put to very good use: Fixing pavement on the Burke-Gilman Trail from 40th Ave NE to the city’s northern border.

Starting Monday, crews will work into January repairing sections of the well-used but deteriorating trail. These are some of the oldest sections of the trail, serving the city and region well for nearly 40 years. But there are also many sections riddled with bumps ranging from annoying to dangerous, especially at night when low light makes it very difficult to see and prepare for them.

So if you are biking the trial, give yourself a little extra time and be ready for some short delays or detours.

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This investment comes after the city conducted a survey of trail conditions to prepare a trails upgrade plan. The city’s Parks District is also prepping more trail and parks access work in 2016.

Details from SDOT:

A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation plans to repair and repave portions the Burke-Gilman Trail from Dec. 21 to early January, depending on the weather, from 40th Avenue Northeast to Northeast 145th Street. The Seattle Park Department will also be making trail repairs. Bicyclists may need to dismount and walk on soft shoulders of the trail for short distances. There will be parallel detour routes at some locations.  At Northeast 145th Street, traffic flaggers will assist bicyclists.

This work is part of SDOT’s implementation of the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Update and funded by the Bridging the Gap levy approved by Seattle voters.

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20 responses to “Big North Seattle stretch of Burke-Gilman Trail getting pavement fixes this month”

  1. Dave P

    Hallelujah. That section of trail is badly in need of repair.

  2. Ben P

    How long term is this fix? Much of the trail looks like it will soon need to be completely rebuilt. For example, that section by children’s hospital had new pavement put in which immediately started to get root bumps. I feel like they should do it right once rather than prolong the pain with short term fixs.

  3. Southeasterner

    “plans to repair and repave portions the Burke-Gilman Trail from Dec. 21 to early January, depending on the weather”

    Depending on the weather? Are they planning to stop work if for some reason the sun comes out? Otherwise I wouldn’t anticipate too many dry days (or any) over the next 2-3 weeks.

  4. R

    Are there reasonable plans to trench and install some sort of root barriers along the trail? If not this is just money down the drain.

  5. Hey, it’s the split part of the trail! Any chance that reflective pavement markings will be installed where the trail splits? It’s pretty hard to see where to aim your bike when the ground is dark and wet!

    1. how hard is it to get a light?
      don’t need no nanny state bullshit

      1. I have a really good light. Coming south/west, the point where the trail splits is still pretty hard to see.

        But, you know, if using the same sorts of markings we use on unlit rural highways to great effect, working with the lights everyone already has, is “nanny state bullshit”, then I guess we don’t need it.

      2. Becky

        This comment just made me literally LOL. “Nanny state bullshit”? Surely you’re joking.

      3. Mark

        Well, I am more educated now. Lights, signage and markings are now nanny state.

      4. benwood

        That’s right! Let’s build our OWN trails!!

        ‘don’t need no nanny state bullshit’

    2. Josh

      Don’t know what they have planned, but if they put in any markings that aren’t reflectorized, be sure to report them to SDOT for replacement. There’s no question that, legally, pavement markings and signs on bicycle facilities are supposed to be reflectorized, just like street signs and markings.

      That’s mandatory under MUTCD, and the 2014 BMP Update adopting resolution requires that SDOT bicycle facilities meet or exceed standards and guidelines.

  6. Stuart Strand

    Great news! I agree with the comments advocating a more permanent fix, but I’ll gladly take some patches for now.

    The worst section I think is what I call the “Save the Beach” section between NE 125th and 42nd Pl NE.

    Also the invisible ski jump south of the Matthews Beach overpass. Lots of unexpected fun, that one.

    1. Gary Anderson

      I hope they fix the BGT street crossings in this area. The trail may be okay but the streets are really rough and bumpy.

  7. biliruben

    This please!


    Okay, I’ll simply take a more permanent fix for the root issues. But this would be so totally cool!

    If they simply do that stupid sanding down of root bumps, this is a 6 month fix, and a complete waste of time and money.

    1. AW

      This is absolutely brilliant ! Or even just place the markers on the edges of the trail. With so much darkness in the winter, something like this would definitely help avoid people getting hurt.

  8. Mark

    What is interesting to me is…how long this trail has gone with no major overhaul. Think about that in street terms. What street has gone 40 years with no major overhaul that is simply covered in pavement or even concrete?

    This path is suffering from poor planning..not from bike or people damage. If they built this path to highway standards, it might last 100 years if not for rain/frost and flooding. Think about that..the next time someone says (which usually spitting) “my taxes pay for the roads!” .

    Yeah..they don’t. They barely pay for the debt..for the roads. Bikes make governments money over the long run.

  9. Gary

    Well this is good news, as with the opening of the UW LINK station, I expect more riders on the BG, who can now hop the train for the last 3 miles and skip the East Lake death ride.

  10. Doug Bostrom

    Root bumps: avoided for the long term relatively easily and inexpensively by using a trenching machine (Ditch Witch to most of us) and installing a vertical barrier/curtain of non-woven textile (geocloth) extending to the surface. This should be an accompaniment to any repairs done on the trail.

    Unfortunately we’ll go with the “cheap” way, thereby guaranteeing that the pavement fixes are temporary in nature.

  11. Brian

    What’s the status of the repairs at the present time?

  12. Ron

    The Burke-Gillman Trail north of Seattle is in great shape, very few bumps from tree roots. The trail in Seattle is in sad shape in comparison. I am ashamed to see it in such poor condition. The city does do patch work repairs regularly, but they do not last (as mentioned above). Seattle is a rich city and big on using bicycles. Why can’t we make the trail a show piece?

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