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Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project

Update: March 9, 2017

Mayor Ed Murray along with Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson, Ballard business owners, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates, announced that a framework agreement has been reached to move forward on completing the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail.  The proposed trail alignment would be along Market Street between the Ballard Locks and 24th Avenue Northwest, then follow Shilshole Avenue Northwest on the south-side of the street, finally continuing along Northwest 45th Street between the Ballard Bridge and 11th Avenue NW.  See the press release here.


The Burke-Gilman Trail (BGT) is one of the most heavily used pedestrian and bicycling facilities in Seattle, a vibrant trail connecting multiple neighborhoods and other city and regional trails. It serves as a major transportation corridor for commuter and recreational bicyclists.

The Burke-Gilman Trail Extension (Missing Link) Project would connect two existing portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail through the Ballard neighborhood, to complete the regional facility that otherwise runs continuously from Kenmore Park to Golden Gardens.  Currently, the trail ends at the intersection of 11th Avenue NW and NW 45th Street (on the east), and begins again at 30th Avenue NW at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (on the west). The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) proposes to connect these two segments of the BGT with a marked, dedicated route for pedestrians and cyclists.

This project is one of the City of Seattle’s top-rated trail priorities as identified by the Bicycle Master Plan. A complete trail network improves Seattle’s health and quality of life by providing safe bicycle and pedestrian travel routes for residents of all ages.

The Environmental Impact Statement Scope and Schedule

Preparation of the EIS is anticipated to require 18-24 months.  This period includes publication of a Draft EIS, a public hearing and comment period, and subsequent development of a Final EIS.

Public involvement

Public involvement has been part of the effort to complete the BGT’s Missing Link for years, both through formal approaches sponsored by the City (open houses, design workshops, meetings with various groups) and more informal ones initiated by various advocacy groups and organizations (petitions, demonstration walks and rides, published op-eds, etc.).

The Project History documents much of this public involvement, including the reports and designs that were developed over time. 

After publication of the Draft EIS in 2016 there were formal opportunities for the public to comment in writing and, during the public hearing, in person on the adequacy of the environmental analysis and the merits of the alternatives discussed.

A Final EIS will then be issued in 2017 in response to the comments received.

You can stay informed about updates and events by signing up for e-mail updates or connecting with the project team at or 206-615-0786.

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.

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