June 14, 2011
King County, Cascade Bicycle Club urge safety during Burke-Gilman Trail closure and detour
Trail segment through Lake Forest Park closes Wednesday for up to 6 months as improvements, safety upgrades are made to the oldest part of trail
|View a seven minute video from the June 14 trailside briefing.|
Click map for larger version of Burke-Gilman Trail detour (PDF).
King County joined with the Cascade Bicycle Club today to urge bicyclists to exercise caution and avoid short-cuts during an extended closure of the Burke-Gilman Trail while the County makes critical safety improvements to the trail’s oldest and narrowest segment.
“We know this construction project presents a significant, temporary inconvenience, but we believe that the safety improvements we’re making to this section of the Burke-Gilman Trail will benefit trail users for many decades to come,” said Kevin Brown, King County Parks Director. “I think cyclists will be among those that are going to love the final product.”
After a nine-month effort to identify and gain approval for a detour route around the Burke-Gilman Trail construction zone, King County received the permits it needed from the city of Lake Forest Park on Monday and will have detour signs in place prior to the trail’s closure on Wednesday, June 15. The two-mile trail segment from Northeast 145th Street in Lake Forest Park to Logboom Park in Kenmore will close possibly until November.
“The detour route is not optimum,” said Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Chuck Ayers. “In fact, the County pursued better alternatives but they were frustrated in their efforts. Regardless of how cyclists venture through the closure, we urge them to ride safely, legally, and courteously to other trail and roadway users. In the not-so-distant future, the Burke-Gilman Trail, the grandmother of our regional trail system, will be something all of us can be proud of."
“It’s not a perfect detour, but it does balance the considerations of our many stakeholders,” said Brown. “Finding a reasonable detour around the construction zone has been challenging. The trail corridor runs along Lake Washington, with steep hills, a fragmented road and sidewalk system and busy State Route 522 on the upland side.”
The detour is circuitous, hilly and longer by 2.3 miles, but it does provide a safer option for getting around the work zone and is an alternative to riding on State Route 522, which is considered unsafe for bicycles due to heavy car and bus traffic.
"State Route 522 between Bothell and Lake City is a very busy transit corridor for both Metro and Sound Transit," said Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond. "It has a dedicated transit-only lane that helps keep bus service moving, but that lane is only 10 feet wide in some places and there is no room for buses to safely share that lane with bicyclists."
Brown said the County worked collaboratively with the City of Lake Forest Park, the City of Seattle, the City of Shoreline, the City of Kenmore, the Cascade Bicycle Club and many other stakeholders for nearly a year to identify a safe, temporary detour route to be used during construction of the trail.
Trail users can download the detour map and find turn-by-turn detour directions on the project website www.kingcounty.gov/burkegilmantrail, where weekly construction updates will be posted during the project.
For the first few days of the closure, King County Parks will also have staff at north and south ends of the detour route during commute times and through the coming weekend to inform users about the closure and the detour.
King County has established a 24-hour hotline – 206-462-6348 – to provide updated information and to answer any questions about the construction project.
Brown said that for many bike riders and commuters, the best option will be to avoid cycling and ride the bus or carpool until construction is complete. He said riding on State Route 522 is not safe and recreational riders should simply avoid the area during construction, perhaps exploring one of King County’s many other regional trails. Three Metro and one Sound Transit bus routes provide service along this corridor every six minutes during commute times; all with triple bike racks. Additional bike lockers have been installed at the Kenmore Park and Ride.
This major trail redevelopment project has been in planning and design for more than five years, and has received significant input from a Citizens Advisory Group with broad representation from trail user groups, and local and state governments.
The redevelopment project will improve trail safety, with a new, 12-foot-wide asphalt surface and soft-surface shoulders, enhanced traffic controls, improved sight distances and better drainage. This portion of the trail currently has cracked and uneven asphalt and standing water that can create dangerous conditions for some trail users.
Contractor J.R. Hayes and Sons, Inc. will do the trail redevelopment work at a cost of $2.69 million. Funding for the project comes from the 2008-2013 Parks Expansion Levy and Real Estate Excise Tax funds.
Brown said it was necessary to close the trail segment during construction due to topography constraints and for public safety, as heavy trucks will have to drive up and down the corridor due to limited trail access. Closing the trail segment also allows construction work to be expedited, thus reducing construction time and minimizing impacts to the community. The contractor has incentives for early completion.
The Burke-Gilman Trail runs more than 18 miles from Shilshole Bay in the City of Seattle to the City of Bothell where it intersects the Sammamish River Trail. The trail is managed by Seattle within the city limits south of Northeast 145th Street and by King County outside Seattle.
Construction information is also available by subscribing to King County Parks’ construction alerts at www.kingcounty.gov/parksalerts or by “Liking” King County Parks on Facebook at www.facebook.com/iheartkcparks.
A seven minute video from today's media briefing is available at: http://vimeo.com/25108968.
# # #
King County Parks - Your Big Backyard - offers more than 200 parks and 26,000 acres of parks and natural lands, including such regional treasures as Marymoor Park and Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, 175 miles of regional trails and a world-class aquatic center. By cultivating strong relationships with non-profit, corporate and community partners, King County Parks enhances park amenities while reducing costs. Learn more at http://www.kingcounty.gov/parks/.
Burke Gilman Trail detour
Burke Gilman Trail
Regional Trails System
King County Parks