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A smoother bike ride under the Ballard Bridge is on the way

Blog stats: 500 words | 3-minute read

We’re gearing up to pave a section of bike path along Shilshole Ave NW that currently crosses railway tracks beneath the Ballard Bridge. The new asphalt covering will allow people to bike through the area without crossing the tracks at a sharp angle. It will help transform the way bikers navigate through the area, reducing the need for bikers to slow down to cross the tracks. 

We expect to complete the paving work this Thursday and Friday (Oct. 26 and 27), but work is weather-dependent and exact timing is subject to change. While this work is taking place, bike riders will need to detour around the work zone via 14th Ave NW and NW 46th St.

View of a bike path along a section of street with railway tracks to the right. A bridge is to the top of the image, with parked cars in the background.
Photo of the area where paving will take place along Shilshole Ave NW. Photo: SDOT

The area that will be paved is shown below:

Diagram showing a paving area, shown in orange. It overlays a section of bike path and railway tracks along Shilshole Ave NW.
Diagram of paving area. Graphic: SDOT

The Seattle City Council passed legislation today allowing this work to move forward.

“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. I am proud to deliver this outcome for District 6 and our City by bringing people together to find common ground.” – Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss

“We’re thrilled to improve the paving and enhance safety for people riding bikes under the Ballard Bridge and we are moving forward immediately to do so. Our dedication to improving safety and accessibility for all members of our community remains steadfast, and we eagerly anticipate the positive transformation these changes will bring to our city’s cycling network.” Francisca Stefan, Senior Deputy Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

Cascade supports paving over these railroad tracks that have been a safety concern for some time among our members. This would be a step forward in making this short section of the Missing Link safer. We look forward to further improvements to the Missing Link to make cycling safer for everyone.” – Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Lee Lambert

The legislation transferred an existing 30-year railway franchise agreement from the Ballard Terminal Railway Company to Meeker Southern Railroad. This agreement covered a portion of the former Burlington Northern and Santa Fe’s Fremont to Ballard Branch Line from 6th Ave NW to NW 67th St.

Following the legislation’s passage, the Ballard Terminal Railway Company and the Meeker Southern Railroad have agreed to allow the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to pave over a portion of the right-of-way covered by the franchise agreement. This section is located beneath the Ballard Bridge where a bike path crosses the existing railroad tracks. 

This work is not related to the Burke-Gilman “Missing Link” project along Shilshole Avenue NW that has been litigated for years.

Please stay tuned for more updates, and we wish you many more smooth, enjoyable bike rides to come.

Editor’s note: this blog post was updated on Oct. 25 to clarify the type of bike path and its location.