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The BGC is the result of regional vision and collaboration. It has been envisioned and supported by the state, region, city, university community, transit users, businesses and thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists who use the regional trail network anchored by the Burke-Gilman Trail. This project is at a critical infrastructure crossroads for the entire region – when completed it will unlock the potential of all the up-coming investments carefully designed so our region can grow and thrive.

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SDOT understands what it takes to have a successful project. This project meets and exceeds all TIGER criteria. It is absolutely essential these changes to the trail are made. Successful completion of the Burke-Gilman Multimodal Connector will encourage the use of non-motorized transportation options, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and will serve as a world-class active transportation system.”

— Peter Hahn, (former) Director, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)

Jurisdictional and stakeholder collaboration

Regional partnerships

The BGC is the outcome of a robust regional planning process that has spanned almost two decades.

  • 1996: Light rail linking the Seattle central business district and the UW was included in Sound Transit’s first package of transit investments approved by voters in 1996, in large part for its connectivity to the UW and to the regional Burke-Gilman Trail.
  • 2008: Following direction from the Washington State Legislature (ESSB 6099), the UW, WSDOT, Sound Transit and King County Metro Transit developed a SR 520 High Capacity Transit Plan which included key components of the Montlake Multi-Modal Center, the “connector” between Light Rail and the BGC.
  • 2010: WSDOT and FHWA announced the preferred alternative for the SR 520 replacement and HOV Project, assuming connection to the BGC.
  • 2010: WSDOT was directed through Senate Bill 6392 to study and make recommendations for alternate connections to transit in the Montlake area.
  • 2010: The Washington State Legislature directed WSDOT to refine designs for SR 520 and the multimodal hub at the Montlake Triangle, connecting SR 520 and light rail to the BGC. This included a charrette process with several partner agencies, including the UW (Department of Regional Affairs, Architectural Committee and Board of Regents), WSDOT, King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle (Department of Transportation, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle City Council, and briefings with Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board and Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board). The groups worked together to evaluate options for improving pedestrian connections and bus and bicycle/trail facilities. This work led to a shared understanding and regional vision for the BGC.
  • 2010: The UW initiated a study to assess the BGC’s state of repair and ability to sustain expected travel volumes anticipated in the Montlake Triangle charrette, Sound Transit ridership projections, Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) growth projections for the UCUC, and City of Seattle and UW mode shift projections. Input from community presentations confirmed the observable failing condition and, combined with growth projections, guided the development of the corridor Concept Plan.
  • 2011: WSDOT, Sound Transit and the UW executed a formal agreement for the Montlake Trianglerecommending widening the BGC.
  • 2011: UW initiated a corridor planning and design process. Local nonprofits including Cascade Bicycle Club, Commute Seattle, Feet First, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail, university-area community councils, individual businesses, the University District Chamber of Commerce, Northeast District Council, the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Boards, and others were engaged. Public input was married with expert counsel from agency partners SDOT, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit.
  • 2011: City of Seattle directed its Office of Economic Development to invest in UCUC neighborhood business district revitalization.
  • 2013: City of Seattle’s Economic Development Commission designated the UCUC as the next great neighborhood where innovation and socioeconomic opportunities can grow in partnership with the UW.

King County Executive Dow Constantine talks about the project and its regional significance.

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At Seattle Children’s we believe that livable streets and safe, accessible active transportation choices will be a significant contributor to public health, reducing individual and social costs. This project will be an important part of delivering on that promise.”

- Paulo Nunes-Ueno

Funding partnerships

The BGC is being funded through strong partnership and has the following non-federal funding contributions in addition to funds from the UW:

Regional support

The entire Puget Sound region has come together for the delivery of this important project. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, many members of Washington’s congressional delegation, Governor Jay Inslee and 22 state legislators, the King County Executive and Council, the Seattle Mayor and Seattle City Council, and other regional cities are prioritizing this project.

This leadership is complemented by unprecedented community support from environmental and labor organizations, local community groups and the business community. Groups that support livable communities and environmental protection, such as Transportation Choices Coalition, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the Stockholm Environmental Institute, the Urban Land Institute, Public Health Seattle and King County, Cascade Bicycle Club and countless others are all devoting time and energy to ensure that this project is successful.

These groups are joined by economic drivers in our community, including the University Village (121 businesses), the University District Partnership (130 businesses), the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce (2,200 businesses), the Downtown Seattle Association, REI, Vulcan Inc., Wells Fargo, Microsoft and many others. What is most compelling, and is the greatest testimonial, is the 7,000 and growing list of individual supporters who have taken the time to write in to support these efforts.

The Seattle Office of Economic Development has invested $800,000 over three years to revitalize the UCUC and reinvigorate its neighborhood chamber with the intention of priming the neighborhood for near-term growth. In 2013, this investment resulted in the launch of a larger, more inclusive business and community organization that effectively marries social, economic, and community interests for the betterment of the district.

The strong show of support from the region is a demonstration of the importance of this project and the remarkable breadth and cohesiveness of the somewhat unlikely partnerships that have formed around it.

Disciplinary integration

The BGC is part of a broader vision for regional growth, implementing and significantly supporting elements of the region’s economic development plans, housing development efforts, land-use plans and policies, diverse partnerships, and sustainable community plans as discussed throughout this application. Its completion unites small businesses looking for customers, employers looking for workers, employees who are accessing training and jobs, and the greater communities.

Sustainable communities

The Puget Sound region was designated a Preferred Sustainable Community by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was awarded a $5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant in 2010. This funding is being used to develop the Equity Network, a regional Transit Oriented Development vision, Transit Corridor Action Strategies, affordable housing planning and other programs that will benefit areas around light rail stations. UW is a project partner for this grant.

The Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growth Management Plan (VISION 2040) and Metropolitan Transportation Plan (Transportation 2040) focus growth (people and jobs) in designated centers to improve transportation efficiency – including increasing the use of transit, biking and walking, and improving the balance between jobs and housing. The UCUC is a designated center with an estimated employment of 32,480. The UW alone has 26,219 faculty and staff and 42,036 students in the UCUC. The BGMC will directly encourage transportation energy efficiency and improve the environment, as well as support economic development in the UCUC.

Seattle Bicycle Master Plan

The City of Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was adopted in 2007 and is the blueprint for making improvements to Seattle’s bicycle network. The BMP’s focus is on expanding bicycle facilities on the city’s street network and for completing Seattle’s well-known urban bicycle trail system, including the Burke-Gilman Trail. The stated goal is to triple the amount of bicycling in Seattle between 2007 and 2017. The Burke-Gilman Multimodal Connector TIGER application is among the single most significant investments that can be made to realize this goal.

Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan

The City of Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) is a long-term action plan to make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation. The plan establishes the policies, programs, design criteria and projects that will further enhance pedestrian safety, comfort and access in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Through the PMP, Seattle strives to make its transportation system more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The BGMC will create a facility that is truly welcoming for pedestrians of all ages and abilities to meet their transportation and physical activity needs.

University Area Transportation Action Strategy (UATAS)

In 2008 the City of Seattle completed a broadly-based collaborative planning process that identified the most urgent projects in the UCUC and the principles, questions and concepts that would guide future planning. The BGMC directly incorporates solutions from, and offers additional solutions to problems identified in, the UATAS.

Seattle Housing Authority (SHA)

The largest provider of low-income housing assistance in Seattle, SHA purposefully located three of their properties in proximity to the Burke-Gilman Trail to ensure that their senior tenants, who rely primarily on walking for transportation, had access to local amenities in a safe walkable environment. SHA, in its 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, prioritized assisting housing participants in gaining access to education and employment opportunities so they can improve their lives. The BGMC will greatly enhance the safety and comfort of seniors as they access the service, education and employment opportunities at the in the Neighborhood.

University District Livability Partnership(UDLP)

In January 2013, the University District Livability Partnership released the Strategic Plan for Seattle’s University District, funded through the Office of Economic Development, as part of the Only In Seattle neighborhood business district revitalization initiative. This is the result of more than a year of stakeholder participation and meetings. The plan identified direct access to the Burke-Gilman Trail as a feature that could be marketed to enhance the neighborhood’s competitive edge. The BGMC will dramatically increase the draw created by this facility.

King County Strategic Plan for Public Transportation

In July of 2011, King County Metro Transit adopted a 20-year strategic plan for public transportation which lays forth the county’s goals, objectives and strategies for connecting people to jobs, schools and services. This visionary plan commits King County Metro to supporting bicycle and pedestrian access to jobs, services and the transit system – as a key strategy for efficiently extending the reach of the transit system and supporting economic growth. This strategic plan also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by shifting single-occupant drivers to other modes. The BGMC and the entire Burke-Gilman Trail corridor are essential tools for achieving both of these countywide goals over the next 20 years.

Puget Sound Bike Share

In September 2014 Puget Sound Bike Share, a public/private partnership, will be launching 50 new bike share stations with 500 bikes in the four densest core neighborhoods in Seattle – including the UCUC. With multiple bike share stations near the BGC and the UCUC’s two light rail stations, the BGC will provide a critical protected facility for the thousands of occasional cyclists that will use bike share to extend the transit network, provide midday mobility, and enjoy recreational riding.

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Three bike share stations are planned adjacent to the trail, providing public access to bikes along a safe and convenient route to employment, education, retail, entertainment and services.”

- Holly Hauser, Executive Director, Puget Sound Bike Share