City to pave over railroad tracks on Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link

The City of Seattle has announced it will pave over the dangerous railroad tracks on the Burke-Gilman Trail “Missing Link” under the Ballard Bridge.

District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss sponsored the legislation which will allow the city to fix a notoriously dangerous section in which the Burke-Gilman Trail passes over railroad tracks. The railroad tracks are located on Shilshole Ave NW and run directly through the bike lane.

Several cycling injuries have occurred along the railroad tracks on the Missing Link. In late 2021, a local law group filed suit against the City of Seattle and Ballard Terminal Railroad on behalf of injured cyclists.

The legislation strikes a deal that allows the Ballard Terminal Railroad to transfer ownership of the line to Meeker Southern Railroad. That will allow the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to make safety improvements, including paving over the tracks in that section of roadway.

SDOT expects to complete the paving work this week; Thursday and Friday (Oct. 26 and 27), but work is weather-dependent and subject to change. Bike riders will need to detour around the work zone via 14th Ave NW and NW 46th St during construction.

The new asphalt covering will allow cyclists to travel under the Ballard Bridge without crossing the tracks at a sharp angle.

“I am excited we can finally make one of the most dangerous railroad crossings in our city safe for people riding bikes. When I was in grade-school I watched someone crash on these tracks the very first time I rode my bike on this section of the Missing Link and I am glad we can finally put a stop to this,” Councilmember Dan Strauss said in a statement. 

Images: SDOT