Safety enhancements coming to Burke-Gilman Trail railroad crossing under the Ballard Bridge

Crews are working on safety enhancements to the bike lanes on Shilshole Ave NW underneath the Ballard Bridge.

SDOT says the changes will improve navigation for bikers who pass over the railroad tracks. The work is separate from the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link project that would build a 1.4-mile connection along Salmon Bay from 11th Ave NW to the Ballard Locks. SDOT is describing it as a “quick adjustment” to make the bike lanes more clear for users.

There will be a detour in place for people driving and riding bikes for up to three days during construction, and the construction area will be local access only on Shilshole Ave NW (see detour map below).

Detour map showing path to travel under Ballard Bridge using NW 46th St.
Detour: People biking or driving who should follow detour signs one block north to NW 46th St.

SDOT says the work is the first phase of a safety project to add more visual and physical cues for bikers to follow the correct path across the train tracks. “This is important because the bike lanes direct riders to cross the train tracks at a right-angle so that bike wheels do not get stuck in the rails,” SDOT wrote in a blog about the project.

The first step will include replacing some of the pavement next to the bike lanes with gravel to make the correct route more apparent.

Diagram of planned changes showing areas where pavement will be replaced with gravel.

Next year, SDOT plans to realign the bike lanes south of the bridge support columns. “This will be a more comfortable and intuitive layout for people riding bikes, guiding them to cross the train tracks at a safe angle,” SDOT says.

SDOT will also add new fencing along the train tracks and new overhead lighting under the bridge. The eastbound general traffic lane of Shilshole Ave NW will shift south for a short distance under the bridge to make room for the bike lane realignment, and about five on-street parking spaces will be removed to accommodate the new bike lane design.

Draft plan for additional enhancements in 2023. Diagram showing how bike lane would shift to southern side of bridge columns.
Future plans: In 2023 we will return to build more safety enhancements. This draft plan shows how the bike lane would be shifted to the southern side of the bridge columns to make the correct route more intuitive. (SDOT)

Images courtesy SDOT