Councilmember Strauss urging for Missing Link completion along Leary and 17th

Councilmember Dan Strauss has requested that the City take a more in-depth look at completing the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link along Leary Ave NW and 17th Ave NW.

Completing the Missing Link has been a three-decades-long battle between the City and a coalition of local businesses and industries. The City has long planned for the trail to be completed along Shilshole Ave NW, but years of appeals and pushback from Ballard businesses kept it from being constructed.

Now, Councilmember Strauss wants the City to create a feasibility study for the alternate alignment on Leary and 17th.

“My request is specifically to have the same level of the design completed along this route as is currently completed on the Shilshole Avenue NW Alternative,” Strauss wrote in a letter to Mayor Bruce Harrell and SDOT Director Greg Spotts. “It is important for the community to have a direct apples-to-apples comparison between the two alternatives to provide educated feedback and input regarding the trail placement through the densest community the Burke-Gilman Trail serves.”

In his request, Strauss asked that the City’s feasibility study reach a 30% design at a minimum and that it should happen in the next six months. He also pointed to the recently completed NW Market St portion of the trail between the Ballard Locks and 24th Ave NW as an example of what design would work well on Leary and 17th.

The recently completed Burke-Gilman connection between the Ballard Locks and 24th Ave NW

“By building the trail along Market Street in 2020 between the Ballard Locks and 24th Avenue NW, we have seen the positive contribution the trail provides to commercial businesses. Before building this improvement, the street was hard to access for everyone walking, biking, or driving which meant businesses experienced mixed success. Now with the trail, it is a bustling commercial corridor used by families, people learning to ride and long-distance riders, people running and walking, and more people than ever using this stretch of roadway.

Strauss’s proposal includes the following details (verbatim from his letter to the mayor):


  • East/West on Market Street between 24th Avenue NW and NW Leary Avenue
  • Northwest/Southeast along Leary Avenue between NW Market Street and 17th Avenue NW
  • North/South on 17th Avenue NW between NW Leary Avenue and Shilshole Avenue NW
  • Reconnecting with currently planned route along NW 46th Street east of 17th Avenue NW
  • Refer to Appendix 1 for a map of this route


The trail should mirror the currently built section of trail along NW Market Street between 24th Avenue NW and the Ballard Locks using base considerations of:

  • 5-foot buffer
  • 12-foot multi-use path
  • 10–11-foot sidewalk and intermittent buffer
  • Refer to Appendix 2 for visual representation


The crossing of all intersections in this corridor should use raised crosswalks, meaning the trail level remains consistent across the intersection while allowing for cars and trucks to cross the trail. It is critical to ensure intersections are safely crossable for both people and traffic. Three intersections that should not have raised crosswalks are:

  • 24th Avenue NW and Market Street NW (crossing NW Market Street)
  • NW Dock Place and Leary Avenue NW (crossing NW Dock Place)
  • 17th Avenue NW and Shilshole Avenue NW (crossing Shilshole Avenue NW)

Specific Considerations

Designing and constructing requires specific considerations:


  • Retaining space for outdoor dining where it exists and adding space for outdoor dining for businesses who do not have the space with the streets as currently designed
  • Creating a clear delineation between trail and sidewalk by using different materials or buffers; assessing where mingling in front of businesses may occur
  • Connecting the bicycle network between bridges, greenways, bikes lanes, and the trail

NW Market Street

  • Ensuring there is streamlined throughput for vehicular traffic traveling from 15th Avenue NW to The Nordic Museum and Ballard Locks
  • Moving the bus stop on NW Market Street west by 200 ft to the open space at the end of Ballard Avenue NW

NW Leary Way

  • Retaining the load/unload zone along Leary Avenue NW in front of Ballard Consignment
  • Creating a built buffer between the trail and sidewalk on Leary Avenue NW in front of the Ballard Landmark (like in front of the Nordic Museum) separating the trail from the sidewalk
  • Ensuring residents of the Ballard Landmark have an easy transfer from vehicles to the front door of the building, as well as ensuring freight access to the building
  • Creating parking choices Ballard-wide for employees working 8-hour shifts, and customer parking for Carter Subaru and Mox Boarding House
  • Creating a safe crossing of Leary Avenue NW at Ione Place NW
  • Adding traffic control to the 17th Avenue NW and Leary Avenue NW intersection, understanding special accommodations for traffic control on a curve

17th Avenue NW

  • Re-routing 17th Ave Neighborhood Greenway from NW Dock Place back to 17th Avenue NW, crossing at Leary Avenue
  • Adding traffic signal to 17th Avenue NW and Shilshole Avenue NW intersection

NW Shilshole Avenue & NW 45th Street

  • Re-connecting to the proposed trail at 17th Avenue NW, traveling along Shilshole Avenue NW and NW 45th Street, to 11th Avenue NW where the trail currently ends
  • Refining the currently proposed trail to address loading dock issues at 4501 Shilshole Avenue NW and 4420 14th Avenue NW (the loading dock is on NW 45th Street East of 14th Avenue NW)

In his letter, Strauss recognized the funding gap, noting that the Leary/17th alignment would require a larger budget. He said he’s committed to close the gap and “use every resource at my disposal,” including collaborating with county, state, and federal representatives to help raise the funds necessary.

“To do so, I need to know the true full cost of this connection of the Missing Link. This conversation has been occurring for 29 years, and I know there is support from our legislators to see this project completed correctly.”