Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project

Updated: September 19, 2018

What’s happening now?

On July 12, 2018, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s interim Director signed a Notice of Action for the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link project. You can read the full notice. The project team expects to complete design of the Missing Link in the coming months in consultation with the Design Advisory Committee.

Construction on the Missing Link is expected to begin by early 2019.


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."

Completing the Missing Link would create a safe, direct, and defined multi-use trail for persons of all abilities. In addition, the Missing Link would help make it possible for people without a car to get to where they need to go safely and help reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation. It would also improve predictability for motorized and non-motorized users along the alignment and help reduce conflicts between people driving and people biking. The Missing Link would maintain truck and freight access to the industrial and water-dependent businesses within the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing and Industrial Center (BINMIC). 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.

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.

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 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.

The Missing Link Project is a Seattle priority that has been in development for decades. 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

All stakeholders-including local workers, freight drivers, trail users, and members of the industrial and maritime communities-are important members of the Ballard community. To assure the Missing Link is designed safely, and in a way that works for everyone, the project team is considering all voices and perspectives.

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 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 have met throughout the project's design phase 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.

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.

Project Timeline

Graphic depicting outreach completed to date for the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project. The graphic illustrates outreach efforts using symbols and the following statistics: We had thirty-six briefings and meetings with stakeholders and property owners, adjacent to the project. We had information booths at three local fairs and festivals, and over three-hundred seventy attendees. There were over three-hundred flyers distributed to local properties. Over thirty-one thousand three-hundred mailers were sent to Ballard residents. We held six, in-person public events and workshops, a self-guided walking tour, and had over five-hundred thirty attendees. We conducted seven meetings, one walking tour and one field test with the eleven-member design advisory committee. There were seven notification emails sent to over two-hundred forty recipients. We held two, fourteen-day, online open houses that were open twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, and had over eight-hundred visitors. We made twelve social media posts that reached an audience of over two-hundred sixty-thousand followers. We provided materials on the project design at eight local gathering places.

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
Seattle Public Utilities Construction
Q4 2018 - Q4 2019 Ballard Early Works Construction
Q3 2019 - 2022 Storage Tunnel Construction

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

Project Cost

Through our community engagement efforts during the design phase, the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link Project has evolved from a multi-use trail into a full multi-modal corridor that will be safe for and accommodate all users for generations to come. The Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link is anticipated to cost approximately $26 million due to the nature of the corridor improvement project. Approximately $2.5 million of this was spent to conduct the environmental review and draft the Final Environmental Impact Statement Decision. Design and Construction of the corridor itself is anticipated to cost approximately $23.5 million. An update of the design and construction budget and funding sources can be found 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.

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.


Design Advisory Committee (DAC)

Property Owner, Business Owner, and Public Events

A graphic illustration of outreach conducted to date, including public events, briefings, workshops, walking tours, email notifications, social media posts, mailers, and online open houses.

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.


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
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


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


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.


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.


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