Ballard Bridge repainting project

Ask a roomful of Seattle bicyclists to identify dangerous places to ride a bike, and the Ballard Bridge will quickly rise to the top of the list, second only to its notorious neighbor, the Missing Link.

Bicyclists just looking for an excuse to avoid the Ballard Bridge will be pleased to hear that the bascule portion will be undergoing a six-week repainting project starting the week of November 14.

The project will require closures of one sidewalk and adjacent travel lane at a time, starting on the east side of the bridge. SDOT has established bicycle detours via the Fremont Bridge (~ 4.5 miles) and the Locks (~ 3.5 miles).  While the extra distance may not be convenient, nor the detour segment along the Missing Link safe, neither is riding on steel bridge grating that is slicker than snot .

Plus, consider that the Fremont Bridge detour offers multiple bonus features that ARE bike-friendly. Depending on your route, you can ride the brand spankin’ new ship canal trail, the redesigned Nickerson Street or the mighty fine buffered bike lanes along Dexter Avenue.

Of course, while the painting project may enhance the aesthetics and extend the lifespan of the Ballard Bridge, biking across won’t be any prettier afterward. Fortunately, Seattle’s Bike Master Plan is scheduled for an update in 2012, which will be an important opportunity to identify key enhancements to improve bicycle safety on this – and all – of Seattle’s bridges and roadways.

Ready... GO!photo: Grant M. Haller, Seattle Post-Intelligencer