Voice your support for a better Burke-Gilman Trail

Right now the University of Washington (UW) has a unique opportunity to compete for federal funding to significantly improve the 1.7 miles of the Burke-Gilman Trail running through the UW campus.

Right now the UW needs your support.BGTweb-button

This portion of the trail is the closest thing that bicyclists get to gridlock: pedestrians crossing the trail at all hours at marked and un-marked locations, damage from tree roots on the trail surface, low-visibility because of dense tree cover, overcrowding of all modes and resulting conflicts.

Once University Link Light Rail and the SR-520 bridge replacement (with a new, dedicated bike/ped path) come online, congestion will get worse. Studies from the UW indicate that by 2030, this section of the Burke-Gilman Trail will see a 92 percent increase in the number of pedestrian trips during peak hours, and a 238 percent increase in the number of bicycle trips.

The University has already started working on a small portion of the trail, and is currently assembling funding to fully rebuild the entire 1.7 miles and with this grant, the project timeline can be compressed, saving money and ensuring that the trail is ready in time for the opening of the University of Washington Sound Transit station.

The future trail will see new improvements for crossings and mobility - photo courtesy of UW Transportation Services

The future trail will see new improvements for crossings and mobility – photo courtesy of UW Transportation Services

While the UW has a great start on funding for improving the Burke-Gilman Trail, they’re trying to secure the last-dollar-in by applying for a TIGER grant, a highly competitive federal grant in which only about 4 percent of applicants win. Projects from the Puget Sound region have won in all four rounds of TIGER grants thus far; however, none of these projects were exclusively bike/ped projects.

What’s most exciting? The proposed project will serve as a model for pedestrian and bike trails nationwide, including new standards for mode separation, safety improvements, interchange design and long-term durability. Very few TIGER grants have been solely focused on biking and walking – this sets precedent.

In order for the UW to be competitive against a national pool of road projects, the University needs our help. Please take just a few moments to register your support. Every online endorsement and letter of support counts!  The grant application is due on June 3, so getting letters in as soon as possible is critical.

Further information and details on the Burke-Gilman Trail improvements through the UW’s campus can also be found at: http://uw.edu/burke-gilman.

Image courtesy of UW Transportation Services

Image courtesy of UW Transportation Services

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