Final phase of Ship Canal Trail work to begin soon

After quite a long wait, construction on the final segment of the Ship Canal Trail (Phase 2, Contract 2 illustrated in purple below) is set to begin in early September and be completed by the end of the year, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. This work would close up a long-time gap in the Burke-Gilman Trail and connect Redmond to downtown Seattle by almost entirely dedicated bike paths.

This comes as great news for Seattle bicycle commuters, who have been waiting for this project to conclude for over a decade. The first phase of work, which extended the paved bike path from the south shore of the Fremont Bridge to 6th Ave W was completed in 1996. The first half of Phase 2, extending the trail further to 11th Ave W, concluded over a year ago, in March of 2010. Before SDOT could move forward with the final phase of the project, however, a number of roadblocks had to be overcome, including the relocation of a private utility line and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks. First a construction schedule had to be agreed upon with BNSF Railway. The rail line then had to install 1,600 feet of railroad track, pave the 13th Ave W and W Blewett Way intersection, and build three new railroad crossings on BNSF right-of-way before construction on the final stretch of the Ship Canal Trail could even begin.

* Photo courtesy of SDOT

SDOT says BNSF is expected to complete its railroad track realignment work this month, after which the city can extend the final leg of the trail, from 11th Ave W to Emerson Street near Fishermen’s Terminal, eliminating what it calls a “critical gap” in the city’s urban trails system.

Once Phase 2 is completely, the 3/4 mile of new trail will connect Redmond to Downtown Seattle by almost entirely dedicated bike paths, and complete the Queen Anne Bicycle Beltway, a cycling path that encircles Queen Anne hill (and is also part of the Queen Anne Neighborhood Plan). From SDOT:

The Ship Canal Trail will connect the Elliott Bay Trail and the Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods to bicycle routes at the Fremont Bridge, including the Interurban route on Fremont Avenue North, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the Dexter Avenue route, and will make bike riding in the south canal area more comfortable for all levels of bicyclists.

Construction of the trail is funded through the city’s Bridging the Gap Levy, a 9-year, $365 million campaign to propel the city’s transportation effort forward through maintenance and improvement.

For more information on this project contact LeAnne Nelson at (206) 684-3897 or visit the the project website.

Artist(s) wanted for Burke Gilman Trail installation

The city is looking to add a little creativity to the Burke Gilman Trail with the help of Washington artists.

The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Seattle Department of Transportation are looking for an artist or a team of artists to create art for the multi-purpose trail. All artists must live in the state of Washington.

The art will be permanent installations on two to five select points along the trail, which have not been selected. “Each part of the installation will enliven its location on the trail and collectively create a larger cohesive artwork,” according to a release by the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. “The artwork will identify the trail as a connector through the city and add an element of discovery to peoples’ experience on the trail.”

The budget for the project is $80,000 which includes all costs to design, fabricate and install artwork. The application deadline is 11 p.m. on Monday, August 1. More information can be found here, or apply here.

Burke-Gilman Ship Canal Trail detour starts today

Starting Monday, Seattle City Light crews will begin to install new lines on the towers that are on either side of the Ship Canal at Warren Avenue.

The detour for the Burke Gilman trail while the towers are being worked on. For a larger image, click here (.pdf).

“Because a safety buffer zone must be established under the towers, a portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail and Ship Canal Trail will be closed intermittently. Bike trail detour signage will be placed in advance of our work,” the press release states.

The crews will work Mondays through Saturdays, depending on weather, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the summer. The trail detours will be in place between 6:45 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Before work can begin on the tower, Osprey nest material on the north tower needs to be moved.

In recent days a pair of Osprey have been apparently placing a small amount of nest material atop the north tower. City Light biologists will be checking first for young/eggs before we begin the project – and if there are none, we will remove the nest material and move forward with the project. We will continue to monitor the situation and, if warranted, investigate ways to provide safe nest sites in the area in the future.

More information on this project can be found here.

Two upcoming meetings on Warren Avenue crossing-Ship Canal overhead lines

Seattle City Light crews plan to install new lines on the towers that are on either side of the Ship Canal at Warren Avenue, completing last year’s project to provide more electrical capacity and reliability from their Canal and Broad Street substations.

The work will take place between May and July and will take place on both sides of the canal simultaneously. Portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail and Ship Canal Trail will be closed intermittently.

Two public meetings are planned to discuss the project. The topics will be the same at both meetings. The first is on Tuesday, March 29, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Seattle Pacific University’s Bertona Hall, 103 W. Bertona St., Room 2. Parking is free in the lot west of the Bertona building. The second meeting is on Tuesday, March 29 from 1 to 2 p.m. at Theo Chocolate, 3400 Phinney Ave. N.

For more information, visit the project information page.

Burke Gilman Trail has new direction signs

Getting from one place to another along the Burke Gilman Trail is getting easier thanks to new signs put up by the Seattle Department of Transportation. SDOT has just installed 200 wayfinding signs along the entire stretch of the trail from Golden Gardens to the city limits at NE 145th. The new signs direct cyclists along the trail and point them towards other bike routes at important junctions. The signs are funded by Bridging the Gap and a state grant.

News from the neighbors: budget cuts threaten Discovery Park, no appeal for ‘Missing Link’ ruling

Though these stories don’t hale from Queen Anne, they could affect many in the neighborhood. To keep us all abreast of what’s going in in our neighboring communities, here are a couple stories from two of our sister sites, MyBallard and MagnoliaVoice.

Over in Magnolia, Discovery Park is facing the threat of looming budget cuts at Seattle Parks and Recreation, which if passed, could shut down and lay off the staff at the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center (aka the Visitor Center) as soon as July. MagnoliaVoice has the full story.

In Ballard there is an update on the long-developing Burke-Gilman Trail ‘Missing Link’ story. Recently a judge ruled that an environmental review would have to be conducted on a small section of the ‘missing link’ in Ballard before the project could continue, a process that is expected to take about six months. This morning the City of Seattle decided not to appeal this decision. Read the full story at MyBallard.

Army Corps begins planting trees along Ship Canal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began planting 40 poplar trees along the Ship Canal today, Friday, April 23 as part of the Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan.

According to Corps Public Affairs Specialist Andrea Takash, the garden staff from the Ballard Locks will be planting 20 poplar tress next to the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont, and another 20 by the South Ship Canal Trail bordering Queen Anne and Magnolia. There will be no closures and minor impact to the Burke-Gilman trail during the planting.

“We are excited to enter into the planting portion of phase two of the
Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan,” said Dru Butterfield, Natural Resources
manager for the Lake Washington Ship Canal. “The poplar trees are 12-feet
tall and typically grow 2-3 feet per year.”

This is only the first part of planting the Corps will be doing along the Ship Canal this year. In the fall the team will return to plant an additional 400 understory plants and shrubs. The entire Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan has four phases, spread out through 2030. (Phase three isn’t set to begin until 2018). From a Corps press release published this week:

The Corps’ plan is to restore the aging poplar colonnade in a historically appropriate manner and to replant shrubs and ground covers that have been lost over time. The plan is a comprehensive, practical and environmentally sensitive plan to guide the Corps’ management activities.

Follow the progress at the Army Corps Ship Canal project page.

Environmental study required for ‘Missing Link’

Our sister site, MyBallard is reporting that the completion of the Burke Gilman trail has been stalled. Friday morning, King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers ruled that the city must perform an environmental study before a decision can be made to complete the missing link of the Burke Gilman Trail.

Read more on MyBallard.

No decision on ‘Missing Link’ this week

King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers was expected to issue his opinion on a lawsuit regarding the “Missing Link” last Friday, but the opinion was not issued. According to a recording on the court’s phone line, Judge Rogers’ court is in recess the entire week of April 5th, which means the earliest the opinion could be issued is next Monday. The lawsuit, which alleges that an environmental review conducted by the city to determine the impact of a completed trail did not take businesses into account. The suit was filed against the city by a coalition of Ballard industrial businesses, associations and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier: An in-depth look at the ‘Missing Link’

‘Missing Link’ ruling expected soon

Getting to Golden Gardens on the Burke Gilman Trail takes you through the dangerous, unfinished stretch which runs through Ballard — called the “missing link” — which has long been a hot-button issue with bicyclists, drivers and businesses in the area.

King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers is expected to issue his opinion Friday on a lawsuit filed against the city by a coalition of Ballard industrial businesses, associations and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. The lawsuit alleges that an environmental review conducted by the city to determine the impact of a completed trail did not take businesses into account.

With the ruling right around the corner, we’ve posted an in-depth look at the missing link, from an interactive tour to one bicyclist’s account of an accident there. The multimedia story is the product of an innovative partnership with the nonprofit Common Language Project and students of University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class.

Click here to read “A look at the missing link.”