In Part 1 of our look at the Missing Link of the Burke Gilman Trail, we focused on the intersection at 11th Ave NW.
Here it is again, looking to the east. Notice the path that has been worn through the overgrowth because so many people walk this route. Clearly there is demand for a sidewalk here. If the Pedestrian Master Plan ends up with adequate funding, perhaps a sidewalk can be built in the next decade or two.
Moving west from that point the route parallels the Ballard short line railroad for the next two blocks. In this section, we have the remains of an old bicycle facility that has been mostly depricated.
We also have a rail switch embedded in the pavement right before a corner.
Even ignoring that the sharrows here do not conform to the city’s current sharrow style, at least one sharrow on this route is either partially or completely under water through most of the rainy season.
Even if we have adequate drainage here, the sharrows are placed too far to the right. One of the ideas of sharrows is to encourage and educate cyclists to ride outside of the gutter zone, the storm drain zone, and the door zone. Notice where these sharrows are placed and where the cyclists end up riding.
Yes, that is a cyclist in the picture riding in the 6 inches between the sharrow and the white line, lining up nicely to get squeezed off of the street when the next car goes to pass and then approaches the stop sign at the same time as the bicycle.
If this were a wide road, we would have bike lanes. It is not, so cars and bicycles share the lane, not split the lane as this type of riding encourages.
Finally, we come to the subject of paint, spilled blood, signatures, band-aids, concussions, a ghostbike, and many many crashes. The crossing under 15th, the deadliest catch.
Believe it or not, the city has significantly improved this crossing with the use of sharrows, arrows, and paint lines.
Yet this would be un-needed if the Missing Link were completed. The trail would be on the opposite side of the tracks, eliminating the need to cross with speeding cars approaching from behind.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our closer look, where we will look at the intersection of NW 46th Street, Shilshole Ave, and 17th Ave NW.