Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project

Updated: October 29, 2018

What’s happening now?

Design of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project is very close to complete! The project team worked extensively with the key stakeholders, including an 11-member Design Advisory Committee, and community members from the Ballard area to design and refine the Missing Link Corridor. 

If you were not able to attend outreach events throughout the design process, you can view 95% design documents, event summaries, and the full Design Phase Outreach Summary in our project library. 

What's next?

Construction of the Missing Link will be done in two phases.

Phase 1 of the corridor has reached final design, and construction is expected to begin in early 2019. SDOT and the Mayor's Office are continuing to work with property and business owners to finalize the design for Phase 2 to ensure that the final trail design is safe for all corridor users and maintains access for waterfront properties.

Overview

The Burke-Gilman Trail is a regional, mixed-use facility that runs east from Golden Gardens Park in Seattle to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell. The 20-mile trail serves as a major transportation corridor for commuters and recreational users. The trail is complete except for a 1.4-mile segment through the Ballard neighborhood, known as the "Missing Link." The Missing Link has been included in the City's comprehensive plan since the early 1990s and is identified as one of the City of Seattle's top-rated trail priorities in the 2014 Bicycle Master Plan. The City is devoted to completing the Missing Link fulfill its commitment to the community and to be most efficient with taxpayer dollars. 

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 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) expressed a 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 Preferred Alternative, a combination of the Shilshole South and Shilshole North Alternatives. To learn more, read the project's frequently asked questions and answers.

An illustrated map depicts the Burke-Gilman Trail and its one point four-mile missing segment in Ballard.

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

Conversations with stakeholders, property owners, and business owners during design of the Missing Link highlighted many opportunities to partner with other agencies and enhance streets adjacent to the trail. These improvements, including new pavement on some roadways, driveway enhancements, new signals, new utility and drainage infrastructure, and enhanced pedestrian infrastructure, help to make the Missing Link a safer and more predictable corridor for all roadway users. Design of the Missing Link Corridor will maintain truck and freight access to the industrial and water-dependent businesses within the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing and Industrial Center. 

Design of the corridor occurred between May 2017 - September 2018, and the initial phase of construction is expected to begin in early 2019.

Public Involvement

To ensure the Missing Link was designed safely and in a way that worked for all users, the project team worked with many stakeholders, including local workers and freight drivers, property and business owners, trail users, and members of the industrial and maritime communities.

The Missing Link went through extensive environmental review that provided the community with many opportunities to learn more about potential route options and submit comments. In addition to 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.

Design Advisory Committee

Throughout the design of the Missing Link Corridor, SDOT convened a Design Advisory Committee (DAC) to bring additional stakeholder perspectives. The DAC was convened following the completion of the final environmental review and the City's selection of a preferred route. DAC members met between May 2017 - September 2018 to provide feedback on SDOT's preferred alignment to improve trail design and balance the safety and needs of all users. 

For more information, see the DAC work plan. and Business Owner Workshops.

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. SDOT held a follow-up workshop in late September 2017 to review the input received at previous workshops and to highlight changes implemented based on property and business owners' feedback.

The  Project History documents much of the public involvement associated with the Missing Link, including past reports and designs.

DESIGN PHASE OVERVIEW 

Design of the Missing Link Corridor began in May 2017, after the Final EIS was completed. The final design is expected to be completed in late 2019.

Throughout the design phase, conversations with project stakeholders helped the Missing Link evolve into more than just a trail. Improvements identified by trail users, truck drivers, the industrial community, and nearby neighbors helped to design a complete, multimodal corridor. The final design recognizes that unique character of Ballard's working waterfront and enhances safety and predictability for all users.

Taking a big-picture look at the Missing Link Corridor during the design phase also helped identify opportunities to partner with other projects and agencies and be more efficient with public funding. Packaging associated projects together can help to get them done more quickly and reduce construction impacts on travelers and nearby properties.

For more information on how the Missing Link evolved during the design process, take a look at the Design Phase Outreach Summary.

Anticipated Construction Timeline

Map depicting the missing link construction phasing. Phase 1 extends from northwest 54th street to northwest market street and the intersection of 24th avenue northwest. Phase 2 extends from 24th avenue northwest and northwest market street, down shilshole avenue northwest, past the ballard bridge, along northwest 45th street to the intersection with 11th avenue northwest.

Burke gilman construction phasing timeline. Phase 1 construction in 2019, and phase 2 construction from mid-2019 to late 2020.

2018-2020

Construction of the Missing Link will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 spans between NW 54th St and NW Market St. Phase 2 spans between Shilshole Ave NW and NW 45th St.

Missing Link Corridor Phase 1: NW 54th St and NW Market St
Q1 2018 - Q3 2018 Design
Q3 2018 - Q1 2019 Pre-Construction
Q1 2019 - Q4 2019 Construction
Missing Link Corridor Phase 2: Shilshole Ave NW and NW 45th St
Q1 2018 - Q4 2018 Design
Q1 2019 - Q2 2019 Pre-construction
Q3 2019 - Q3 2020 Construction

Construction on the complete Missing Link Corridor is anticipated to be completed by Q4 - 2020.

Project Cost

As we heard more from the community during the design of the Missing Link, the project evolved into a full multi-modal corridor that improves access and predictability for many different corridor users. This provided the opportunity to partner with other projects and be as efficient as possible with taxpayer dollars. 

Missing Link design and construction corridor improvements are anticipated to cost approximately $26.4 million. Of the $26.4 million, approximately $7.2 million is dedicated to constructing the trail extension. The remainder of the expected costs will cover other corridor improvements including expedited street paving along Market St (originally pat of the Market St RapidRide project), new traffic signals on Shilshole, updated Metro trolley infrastructure, improved pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks, a new access road, utility and railroad improvements, and new stormwater infrastructure. Funding for the additional scope elements come from a variety of partnerships and programs. A summary of the budget and funding sources can be found here. In addition to these costs, approximately $2.75 million was spent to conduct the environmental review and prepare the Environmental Impact Statement.

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.

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 BGT_MissingLink@seattle.gov.

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

Materials

Design Advisory Committee (DAC)

Property Owner, Business Owner, and Public Events

37 briefings and meetings, 6 in-person public events, 1 self guided walking tour with over 530 attendees, 7 notification emails to over 240 recipients, 3 local fairs and festivals with over 370 attendees, over 300 flyers distributed, 31,300 mailers sent, 12 social media posts to over 260,000 followers, two 14-day, 24/7 online open house with over 800 visitors, and design materials provided at 8 local gathering places.

Outreach completed to date

Conceptual Design Segment Workshop series for adjacent property and business owners

Conceptual Design Outreach (July 2017)

Schematic Design Outreach (October 2017)

Below is a basic timeline of the project. For a history of the whole Burke-Gilman Trail, visit its history page.

1996

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

Seattle City Council Ordinance 118734

Operating Agreement

2001

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

2002

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.

2003

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

2007

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

2007 Bicycle Master Plan

2007

November 15 First Design Proposal Open House (~70 attendees)
Board 1 Board 2 Board 3 Board 4
Full list of public comments received at Open House

2008

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

2008

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

2011

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

2012

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

2012

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.

2013

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

2014

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

2015

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.
June 18 Boards
June 18 Fact Sheet
June 18, 2015 Open House Summary

2016

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

Draft EIS 

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.

2017

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

The Final EIS

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

July 10-12, 2017 - Online open house is held, with over 500 unique users

July 13, 2017 - Open house is held, with over 70 people attending

October 12, 2017 - open house is held, with over 90 people attending

October 14, 2017 - Self-guided walking tour is held, with over 200 people attending

October 9-23 - Online open house is held, with over 200 unique users

2018

July 12 - Notice of Action is signed for the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link project 

September 13 - Project reaches 95% design

October 10 - Phase 1 of construction goes to bid