Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hurray for the Ship Canal Trail!

blue dots are proposed trail, red line is dead man's curve

A new stretch of bike trail to be finished in the coming months will connect the Ship Canal Trail to the Elliot Bay Trail, closing a crucial gap in (north) Seattle's bike infrastructure.

For those Night Riders who know too well "Dead Man's Curve" (otherwise known as the Nickerson/15th Avenue West Ramp to southbound 15th Avenue West, see red line on map above) this tiny stretch of trail is glorious news. Among the north end's most pressing problems -- the Ballard Bridge -- this is up there.

Dead Man's Curve will be closed for a month to secure the wall above the future bike trail, which means cyclists will have to take a somewhat dodgier route to get to Magnolia and beyond. (See green arrows for suggested route)

Something the union's Engineering Committee discussed in its analysis of bike infrastructure published last year, the influential Grape Swisher Report, is that the completion of the trail means more users and more users using the road that runs by Fisherman's Terminal, W Emerson Place, to connect the Elliot Bay Trail.

The little stretch of road has a short, but steep, incline over the BNSF mainline to a four-way stop at Gilman Avenue. It also is narrow, rough, and sees many engines gunning.

This could end up being a weird little bottleneck for southbound riders, especially not especially strong riders. Quite a bit of industrial traffic uses that road, as well as a lot of office workers. At rush hour the place is a mess. Add to that it is one of only three arterial roads in and out of Magnolia, this piece of road might start to totally suck.


  1. That's a tricky stretch. Going east, I've taken to cutting down to Dravus. Going west looks like suicide, until they construct the new trail.

    Luckily I live in Spokane now and my only current worry is freezing to death mid winter.

  2. Here you have to worry about drowning!