The Burke-Gilman Trail Multi-Modal Connector (BGC) revitalizes the most congested bicycle and pedestrian transportation corridor in the state and expands its capacity to enable efficient functioning of the regional transportation network. The BGC is at the nexus of two critical federally-supported transportation projects – the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV program, including the construction of a multi-use path, and Sound Transit University Link and North Link light rail projects.
The BGC will be used by workers of all income levels, students and seniors, and will provide safe and economical transportation options for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. By serving projected demand for bicycle and pedestrian transportation in this corridor, the BGC will help optimize transportation efficiency and support economic competitiveness, improve public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on foreign oil, and enhance community livability.
The University of Washington is planning for the region’s active transportation future. We hope you will look through our studies, plans and our TIGER application and consider adding your name to the public list of supporters.
In 2010, University of Washington Transportation Services began a major study of the section of the Burke-Gilman Trail that runs through campus. Through this study, our department confirmed that the existing trail fails to meet current demand and that trail conditions will deteriorate over time - particularly with increased demand from the recently-renovated Husky Stadium and the brand new Sound Transit Link light rail station scheduled to open adjacent to the trail in 2016.
View a copy of our study conducted in conjunction with SVR Design Company and Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants.
In 2012, Transportation Services began work with Place Studio and ALTA Planning and Design, which ultimately ended with a concept plan for the entire trail. The goals of the concept plan included:
Following on the work of the Burke-Gilman Trail concept plan, in winter 2012 our department applied for a grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. We won a grant for a first phase of construction — 15th Avenue Northeast up to the Montlake Triangle — and our department began work with Place and ALTA on more specific design and construction documents. Funding for this segment of the trail was obligated in September 2013 and the project is scheduled to go to bid in early 2014. We hope to begin construction on this segment by March 2014.
The PSRC CMAQ funds cover the section of the trail running from 15th Avenue Northeast up to the Montlake Triangle. The University of Washington, WSDOT, SDOT and Sound Transit are working together on the Montlake Triangle project, which will drastically change the Burke-Gilman Trail and connections to the triangle, Pacific Place Northeast and the Link Light Rail station. More information about this project can be found on the UW Capital Projects Office website.
In spring 2013, UW Transportation Services, in conjunction with UW Housing and Food Services, renovated a small portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail just north of the Mercer Court Apartments while those apartments were under construction. This small section serves as a demonstration of the treatments that will be applied to the rest of the UW-owned portion of the trail. It also serves as a test phase for how well (or not well) these treatments work and offers an opportunity for the community to provide feedback before the treatments are rolled out across campus.
The Mercer Court section has provided valuable feedback to our department, and in early 2014 we will begin construction to reduce the bumpiness of the pavement bands leading up to the mixing zones, and replace the gravel for runners on either side of the trail with a different gravel material.
On April 22, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its solicitation for applications for the fifth round of TIGER, and the University of Washington submitted an application for the Burke-Gilman Trail Multi-Modal Connector. In September 2013, we received the disappointing news that our project did not receive USDOT TIGER V funding. The BGC came very close to finishing “in the money” with USDOT continuing to ask clarifying questions as near as a week before decisions were made.
The Hec-Ed Bridge
In September 2013, our department, alongside WSDOT and SDOT, applied for another grant from the PSRC, this time for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to study and design a replacement for the Hec-Ed Bridge. Although the Hec-Ed Bridge connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail and serves as a vital connection to resources east of Montlake, it remained outside the scope of the Burke-Gilman Trail project. The bridge-replacment project fits within our department’s commitment to providing quality bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Our department is keeping a keen eye on potential partnerships and grant competitions locally, regionally and nationwide. Unless the BGC is constructed and operating before the University of Washington Link light rail station opens in 2016, the severe congestion on this facility will have a negative impact on full realization of the potential use of the SR 520 multi-use path and Link light rail.