A Place Apart, by Tom Griffin & Jon Marmor


Burke-Gilman Trail

Photo by Kathy Sauber. Click photo to enlarge.
We cyclists, walkers, joggers, runners, Rollerbladers and outdoors lovers owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Thomas Burke and the 10 other investors, who, in 1885, got together to establish a Seattle-based railroad so that the young Emerald City could become a major transportation center. While their effort ultimately didn't pan out the way they had planned—it was supposed to connect Seattle with Canada's transcontinental rail line—it did yield one of Seattle's best places: the Burke-Gilman Trail. In 1971, the railroad line, which reached Arlington and served the Western Washington logging industry, was abandoned. But citizens quickly realized what great potential the trail had for non-motorized transportation and launched a movement to acquire the right of way for a public biking and walking trail. After overcoming the objections of residents living near the proposed trail, the City of Seattle, University of Washington and King County cooperated in developing the route. In 1978, the Burke-Gilman Trail opened with a 12.1-mile path that connected Gas Works Park and King County's Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore. Today, the trail—which cuts through some prime UW territory parallel to Montlake Boulevard N.E.—remains a booming success. Just see how crowded it gets on weekends or just before school starts each morning. There are no more locomotives, but we still love to chug along the trail.—Jon Marmor

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