Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link: First look at SDOT’s design for Leary Ave NW and NW Market St

Early designs have just come out for the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link connection that would complete the trail along Leary Ave NW and NW Market St in Ballard.

Completing the Missing Link—a 1.4-mile missing section of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard—has been a decades-long saga in Seattle. Now, after District 6 Councilmember Dan Strauss’s urging, the City is designing plans to build the trail along Leary Ave NW and NW Market St rather than Shilshole. This is a pivot from its previous efforts to complete the trail on Shilshole.

SDOT has released its early design and is seeking input from the public via an online survey on the concepts.

Below is the map of the Missing Link proposal, with the trail continuing east on the south side of NW Market St from 24th Ave NW, southeast on Leary Ave NW to 17th Ave NW, south on 17th Ave NW, where it will eventually connect to the current trail-end at 17th Ave NW and Shilshole Ave NW.

SDOT is proposing a 10-foot-wide, .6-mile trail for the south side of Market, the west side of Leary, and the west side of 17th. Here are the changes for each section of the trail:

NW Market St

SDOT’s design eliminates two driving lanes on NW Market St—both outside lanes turn into bus lanes in the design plans. The bus shelters are eliminated on the south side of Market in this design, with landscaping buffering the bike trail from the bus lane. The design maintains an 8-foot sidewalk on the south side of the street, allowing space for street cafes.

SDOT’s proposal also redesigns the eastbound bus stop for Route 40 and Route 44 with a 10-foot-wide pedestrian loading area closer to 22nd Ave NW. The design also calls for a 5-foot-wide planting strip for new street trees.

Leary Ave NW

On Leary, SDOT plans to eliminate two driving lanes, turning one into a center turn lane and the other into a bus-only lane.

The plan also increases sidewalk coverage, including an 8- to 10-foot-wide sidewalk on the southwest side of the street. The project design hows a center turn lane between the two driving lanes and a bus lane on the east side of the street going northbound, which is consistent with the Route 40 project north of Ione.

The plans also call for a 5-foot-wide minimum planting strip separating the multi-use trail from the preserved parking lane on the southwest side of Leary Ave NW.

17th Ave NW

On 17th SDOT plans to increase sidewalk coverage, including a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side of the street. The eastside sidewalk remains the same but with upgraded ramps at the crossings.

SDOT plans to retain parking along the west side of 17th Ave NW, raise the crossings of NW 48th and Ballard Ave, and add additional parking on NW 48th as back-in angle parking with eastbound traffic only from 48th to 17th.

The other elements in the design include safety improvements such as new ADA-compliant curb ramps, raised crossing at some intersections, and traffic signal updates at trail crossings.

SDOT says they plan to add up to 60 new back-in angle parking spots on NW 48th St and 22nd Ave NW.

The project also includes replacing trees: SDOT says their plans impact around 30 trees, but that they also plan to replant around 90 replacement trees.

SDOT continues to collect feedback on the project and says they expect to be at 30% design completion by the end of 2023.

All renderings courtesy SDOT