The Burke-Gilman Trail: A Treasured UW Corridor in Jeopardy

The popular Burke-Gilman Trail (Trail) is familiar to thousands of people who have strolled — or dashed — to class through the University of Washington campus. The UW is the physical and financial steward of a 1.7-mile stretch of the Trail, which is increasingly unsafe due to years of heavy use and lack of funding for maintenance.pend oreille busy with bus (2)

The need to make improvements is urgent. The means to make these improvements lies in the form of a $16 million proposed in the House version of the transportation package. This package is currently under consideration in Olympia’s ongoing budget negotiations.

Why the urgency to fix the Trail? The Trail is the state’s most heavily-used pedestrian and bike path, and it connects commuters to one of the state’s biggest employers and education centers. Trail traffic is expected to more than double in the next 20 years with a new light rail station opening at Husky Stadium in March of 2016, and ongoing residential construction in the U-District.

The House’s proposed improvements would give the Trail critical safety upgrades and expand capacity to meet future demand. Key improvements include separating pedestrians from cyclists, reducing Trail intersection points by 75 percent and building an underpass for bikes and pedestrians where the Trail intersects Pend Oreille Road.

Our favorite part? A $16 million burden would be lifted from the UW, which would allow the University to spend its money on education-related expenses rather than infrastructure unrelated to instruction.

How can you assist? Click here to send an automated message to your elected officials today that asks them to keep the funding in the transportation budget for critical Burke-Gilman Trail repairs and upgrades. Consider clicking “Blank Letter” in the form to write your legislators with a personal story of Trail near-misses, congestion or a description of how a safety improvements would benefit your commute experience.

Your voice counts – make sure they hear from you during these last few weeks of budget negotiations.