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Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project

Last updated: September 14, 2017

What's happening now?

Property owners, business owners, and residents adjacent to the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link corridor are invited to attend an upcoming design workshop:

When: Thursday, September 28, from 4:30 to 6:30 PM
Where: Ballard Eagleson VFW Post, 2812 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107

At this meeting, we’ll plan to share an updated design of the corridor and check-in with nearby community members to see if there’s any additional feedback they’d like to provide as the design team works to finalize plans for the corridor.

Additional public events and an online open house are planned for early October 2017. Please save the following dates and stay tuned for more information:

Public event: Thursday, October 12 from 5 – 8 PM
Self-guided public walking tour: Saturday, October 14 from 10 AM – 3 PM

What's next?

Final design and permitting are expected to be complete by early 2018, with construction beginning soon after. The project is anticipated to be complete in 2019.


The Burke-Gilman Trail is one of Seattle’s most popular multiuse trails. This vibrant, 20-mile trail is heavily used by cyclists and pedestrians for commuting and recreation. It serves as a major transportation corridor, and it connects multiple neighborhoods and other city and regional trails between Bothell and Golden Gardens.

The Burke-Gilman Trail is missing a key segment. The City has been working with the Ballard community for many years to develop facilities where a 1.4-mile segment of the trail is missing. This “Missing Link” has been under evaluation since 2001. However, it has been difficult to agree on a safe route and design due to the unique challenges associated with the heavy industrial, manufacturing, maritime, freight, and rail operations within this area of Ballard.

Map showing the preferred alternative alignment of the Missing Link. From west to east starting at the Ballard locks, the trail will follow the south side of NW 54th St and NW Market St to 24th Ave NW, continue on the south side of Shilshole Ave NW to NW 45th St, and then follow the south side of NW 45th St, connecting to the existing trail at 11th Ave NW.

Completing the Burke-Gilman Trail will create a complete and predictable corridor that enhances safety for pedestrians, trucks, bicycles, and cars.

Throughout the environmental review process, SDOT sought input from the community on potential routes and impacts through events and formal comment periods. Commenters on the Missing Link Project’s Draft EIS expressed a very strong preference for placing the route along Shilshole Ave NW. Of the over 4,400 comments received on the Draft EIS, 77% noted preference for the Shilshole South Alternative. However, a number of comments expressed concerns over placing the trail in front of the industrial and water-dependent businesses along the Shilshole corridor.

To inform SDOT’s selection of a preferred corridor, SDOT further consulted with the local maritime, industrial, freight, bicycle, and pedestrian communities to select the Shilshole South Alternative as the preferred route. To learn more, read the project’s frequently asked questions and answers.

The Missing Link Project is a Seattle priority that has been in development for a very long time. The City is devoted to completing the Missing Link quickly to fulfill its commitment to the community and to be most efficient with taxpayer dollars.

Public involvement

To make sure the Missing Link is designed safely and in a way that works for everyone, it is important to consider all voices and perspectives. All stakeholders—including local workers, freight drivers, trail users, and members of the industrial and maritime communities—are important members of the Ballard community.

The Missing Link Project went through extensive environmental review that provided community members with many opportunities to learn more about potential route options and submit comments. In addition to other outreach to key stakeholders and community groups throughout the environmental phase, public open houses were held in 2013, 2015, and 2016 to solicit input from the broader community on the Missing Link Project.

The Project history documents much of this public involvement, including past reports and designs.

SDOT has convened a Design Advisory Committee (DAC) to bring additional stakeholder perspectives to the design of the Missing Link. The DAC was convened following the completion of the project's environmental review and the City's selection of a preferred route. DAC members will meet throughout the project's design phase and provide feedback on SDOT's preferred alignment to improve trail design and balance the safety and needs of all users. For an overview of the DAC work plan, click here.

Property and business owner workshops
In late June and early July 2017, the SDOT design team hosted workshops for business and property owners adjacent to the trail. An additional workshop is scheduled for these nearby property and business owners in late September.

Contact information

You can stay informed about updates and events by signing up for email updates or connecting with the project team:


Translated materials available upon request.

Project timeline

Click to Enlarge

Click to expand for timeline of outreach milestones and upcoming public events.

Project cost

The Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link is anticipated to cost approximately $15 million. Approximately $2.5 million of this was spent to conduct the environmental review and draft the final Environmental Impact Statement. Design and construction of the trail itself is anticipated to cost approximately $12.5 million. For a visual budget of BGT extension projects, click here.

Environmental review

The Final Environmental Impact Statement was published on May 25, 2017.

Upon further evaluation of the merits of each alternative, and in consideration of the public comments received and additional studies conducted after publishing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS), SDOT developed a Preferred Alternative. From the Ballard Locks, the Preferred Alternative route travels:

  • Along the south side of NW 54th St and NW Market St to 24th Ave NW, where it turns onto Shilshole Ave NW
  • Along the south side of Shilshole Ave NW to NW 45th St
  • Along the south side of NW 45th St to 11th Ave NW

Review the Final EIS here.

You can also review it in print at the following locations:

Printed copies of the Final EIS Executive Summary are available to the public at no charge. Printed copies of the Final EIS, comment responses, and technical appendices are available for purchase by calling (206) 684-5000 or emailing

See Project history for more background on the environmental review process.


Design Advisory Committee (DAC):

Property Owner, Business Owner, and Public Events:

Project History

Below is a basic timeline of the project. Click on each line for additional information and links to reports and survey documents developed during that stage. For a history of the whole Burke-Gilman Trail, visit its history page.


Ballard Terminal Railroad signs 30-year lease with City of Seattle for use of tracks

Seattle City Council Ordinance 118734

Operating Agreement


Council directs SDOT to evaluate up to three alternative routes for completing the missing link in the BGT, engage with residential, business and bike/trail advocacy groups, and develop a project work plan. This became the Ballard Corridor Design Study.

Seattle City Council Resolution 30408


Ballard Corridor Design Study public involvement

A Project Advisory Committee is established to provide guidance and input throughout the study.   The SDOT team also meets with 11 community groups in early 2002, and holds a public open house on November 19, attended by approximately 500 people.


SDOT completes the Ballard Corridor Design Study
Executive Summary
Design Study
Appendix A: Conceptual Design Plans (Recommendation)
Appendix B1, B2, and B3: Cost Estimates (All Options)
Appendix B4 and B5: Cost Estimates (Recommendation)
Appendix C: Conceptual Design Plans (Open House)
Appendix D: Missing Link History
Appendix E: Cross Section Guide
Appendix F: Parking Data
Appendix G1: Green Route Photos
Appendix G2: Red Route Photos
Appendix G3: Blue Route Photos
Comments from 2002 Open House

As the culmination of the Ballard Corridor Design Study and public process, the City Council adopts Resolution 30583, which identifies the route along which SDOT shall develop the trail.

Seattle City Council Resolution 30583


City of Seattle adopts the 2007 Bicycle Master Plan, which recommends completing the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard.

2007 Bicycle Master Plan


November 15 First Design Proposal Open House (~70 attendees)
Board 1 Board 2 Board 3 Board 4

Frequently Asked Questions 
Full list of public comments received at Open House


October 15 Second Design Proposal Open House (~40 attendees)
Full list of public comments received at Open House


SDOT conducts environmental review of the chosen alignment and issues a Determination of Non-Significance.

SEPA Checklist
Geotech Report
Traffic Report
Cultural Resources Report
HazMat report
Parking Report
No Effect Letter

Pursuant to an order from the King County Superior Court, SDOT completes additional environmental review and issues a Revised Determination of Non-Significance

Revised SEPA checklist
Shilshole Cultural Resources
Shilshole Geotech
Shilshole Hazmat
Shilshole No Effect Letter
Shilshole Parking
Shilshole Traffic
Revised DNS


Pursuant to an order from the King County Superior Court, SDOT further develops the trail design and reissues the Revised Determination of Non-Significance
Reissued Revised DNS
Shilshole Design Information
Memorandum from City Traffic Engineer


City of Seattle Hearing Examiner determines that an environmental impact statement (EIS) should be prepared to address traffic hazard impacts along the Shilshole Segment of the trail. SDOT decides to conduct a full EIS for the project, including the evaluation of different alternatives.


SDOT issues a Scoping Notice for the EIS and hosts a meeting on August 8 to solicit public comment on the scope and alternatives to be considered in the proposed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (~90 attendees)

Scoping Notice


The City’s Bicycle Master Plan is updated, which identifies the BGT Missing Link as one of Seattle’s top trail priorities

2014 Bicycle Master Plan

2014 SDOT hires Environmental Services Associates to prepare the EIS

May - Environmental Services Associates completes their summary of comments received from the public during the EIS scoping process.

  June 18 – An open house was held at the Ballard High School Cafeteria, 1418 NW 65th Street between 6 and 8 PM to share the three alternative routes to be studied during the EIS, as well as the elements to be considered.  The boards which were presented are here and the fact sheet distributed is here. SDOT's summary of the June 18, 2015 Open House held is available here.

June 16 – The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was published.

The Draft EIS are available here:

Complete Document
Cover Letter
Fact Sheet
EIS Executive Summary
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Project History and Alternatives
Chapter 2 Geology, Soils and Hazardous Materials
Chapter 3 Fish, Wildlife, and Vegetation
Chapter 4 Land Use
Chapter 5 Recreation
Chapter 6 Utilities
Chapter 7 Transportation
Chapter 8 Parking
Chapter 9 Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Chapter 10 Cultural Resources
Chapter 11 Cumulative Impacts
Chapter 12 References
Chapter 13 List of Preparers
Chapter 14 Distribution List
Appendix A Hazardous Materials Databases Reviewed
Appendix B Emission Estimates Tabulations
Technical Appendix A Land Use Discipline Report
Technical Appendix B Transportation Discipline Report
Technical Appendix C Parking Discipline Report
Technical Appendix D Cultural Resources Discipline Report
Technical Appendix E Economic Considerations Report

July 14 & 16 – Open houses are held, with over 270 people attending. 

August 1 – The comment period on the DEIS ends.  SDOT receives over 4,000 comments in letters, cards, emails and other submissions.

2017 February 15 - SDOT announces that the Ballard and Leary alternatives have been dropped from further consideration in the Final EIS in testimony before the Sustainability & Transportation Committee - viewable here.

May 25 – The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is published. The Final EIS is available here:

Complete Document
Cover Letter
Fact Sheet
Final EIS Executive Summary
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Project History and Alternatives
Chapter 2: Geology, Soils, and Hazardous Materials
Chapter 3: Fish, Wildlife, and Vegetation
Chapter 4: Land Use
Chapter 5: Recreation
Chapter 6: Utilities
Chapter 7: Transportation
Chapter 8: Parking
Chapter 9: Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Chapter 10: Cultural Resources
Chapter 11: Cumulative Impacts
Chapter 12: References
Chapter 13: List of Preparers
Chapter 14: Distribution List
Appendix A – AutoTURN Analysis
Appendix B – Hazardous Materials Databases Reviewed
Appendix C – Emissions Estimates Tabulations
Draft EIS Comments and Responses – Part 1
Draft EIS Comments and Responses – Part 2
Draft EIS Comments and Responses – Part 3
Technical Appendix A – Updates and Errata to the Land Use Discipline Report
Technical Appendix B – Transportation Discipline Report
Technical Appendix C – Parking Discipline Report

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