Seeing Seattle (iv): the Burke Gilman trail (the more urban bits)

As the Burke Gilman trail moves eastwards it approaches Fremont. First, it climbs some hills. Shown here, it sort of merges with a concrete sidewalk (note the sign, which I carefully cut off, with courtesy instructions):



This section had no yellow line:





the view from the hill was fine:


Linkages to other loops and paths were marked out at various points:




We passed a chocolate factory with a sign telling people it wasn’t a retail store. Fortunately, that part was nearby, albeit not with the benefit of useful directions from the factory. Admire our perseverance:





the path became more nicely landscaped, with separated pedestrian and cycling paths, moving alongside the Ballard ship canal, which is a big-brother version of the Rideau canal, with tugs, barges, and ocean-going ships up right close:


It squeezed between some old warehouses and the canal. The warehouses, augmented with new bits,  were converted into hi tech offices (including Adobe, whose outdoor cafeteria is shown below). Alas, these are the converted industrial buildings with character that are so rare in Ottawa, given Greber’s bright idea and the NCC’s mandate to eradicate any signs of physical labour and industry:



The canal teemed with salmon. And seals eating them. The path gets greener …


and passes a famous, trendy park located on the site of a former gas plant, which decorates the park with huge hulking ruins:


I saw some nifty innovative pavement configurations along the trail. This concrete slope, or curb cut, informs the cyclist of the road crossing without going over a nasty curb. The yellow bit is raised dots for the benefit of blind cyclists and others not paying attention. Did you ever notice how often things installed “for the safety of cyclists” in Ottawa end up being impediments to riding, real inconveniences? This crossing was slick and smooth AND safe:



This section of path has a slightly elevated concrete sidewalk for pedestrians on one side, and a shallow drainage swale on the left side, which is the start of a down slope to the left.  Very nice.




Here’s where the “separated” uses disappear as the path leaves the densely built up block:




textured pavements warn users of a change of condition without necessitating a reduction in speed:




Here’s another view. Note the discrete little bike and stick figure painted on the surface to help guide users to the right spot.




This tiny cabin perched on the edge of the cycle track, offering coffee and a few snacks. It was also accessible from the other side by vehicles from a very minor road. While I see animation like this on Dutch and other European cycle facilities, they are invisible in Ottawa. Might disturb the scenic majesty and beauty of the frustrated golf course lawns bordering the Ottawa Commuter Expressway:




While we didn’t eat at the either the porno bar / beer garden or the timber shack, we did have a great lunch at this brew pub. Location wise, think City Centre @ Otrain MUP. The patio has been “carved out” of the building by constructing a niche into the facade. Typically for old industrial properties, they were built to the lot line and / or curb line.




The trail runs right through waterfront Republic of Fremont, although we visited Lenin, the rocket ship, and the Fremont Troll on a separate visit. Here, bits of industrial heritage, sure to offend the NCC:




We continued along the pathway past the hospital complexes, where the path disappeared amidst some construction, and we somehow ended up on a sidewalk near the  U Dub (why isn’t it DubU?) Husky Stadium. Apparently a better aligned riverside portion of the path is being constructed. We then cycled along the north end of Lake Washington to some very pleasant residential suburbs. We lost interest, turned, and headed back to Ballard to return our rented bikes.

While this path is high touted in the guides to Seattle, I suspect the path is primarily of commuter value, and its scenic value will improve over time. The surface varies tremendously in quality and design, with some parts downright primitive. It is not the pinnacle of good, contemporary bike path design. It is functional, and makes a great ride for people interested in urban grit and gentrification. There were only two bike rental shops along the trail, car parking was expensive, and bike rentals not cheap.

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