Ballard to Downtown Seattle


I've been trying to figure out the best (safest) route to bike downtown. I was considering two options,

1. Ballard Bridge, Elliot Avenue, 2nd Avenue all the way to Marion Street. ( Is there a bike path on the Ballard Bridge that I can use)

2. Burke Gilman Trail, 9th Ave, Bell Street, 2nd Avenue all the way to Marion Street.

Does anybody have any recommendations ? Thanks!

Depending on where in Ballard, I'd probably do BGT to Fremont Bridge, then probably Dexter - then the rest as you describe as option 2.

If you're further west in Ballard, how about walking your bike across the locks, then Gilman, 20th Ave W, and catching the waterfront trail? From the waterfront, if you're totally lazy, you can take the public elevator up to the Pike Place Market, then come down 2nd - or you can sprint the couple of blocks up Marion and work on your hillclimbing abilities.

I have heard of people taking the Ballard Bridge, on its lovely sidewalk, but the prospect terrifies me. If you're one of those regular Ballard Bridge riders, you should chime in and disabuse me of my fears, before I infect Ananthi with them.

Thanks Claire! I' ll give both routes a shot and see which works. I live right in the middle of Ballard on 15th Ave so both routes might actually work.

Hello Ananthi!  I've been riding daily from Ballard to downtown for many years.  I always take the Ballard Bridge, and then there are a few routes to take once over the bridge.  Lots of people take the bridge, it isn't too terrifying, especially if you take the first route below.

Heading southbound, you can stay on the sidewalk and head up W Emerson Pl. to 20th Avenue W.  Heading south on 20th Ave. W leads you down next to the train yard in Interbay.  At the dead end, bear left onto the bike path.  There is a nice bike path from there all the way to Pier 70.  From there I head up to the bike lane on Elliott Avenue to Western Ave to bring me up to the Pike Place Market.  If you are heading south, you can continue along Alaskan Way on the waterfront.

Another route, though a little more challenging, is to use the curb cut on the south end of the bridge, and travel south on 15th Ave. W.  The least scary option is to then get on the sidewalk as soon as you can, and then take Dravus to 20th, turn left and take the bike trail as above.

Usually these days, I continue on 15th Ave. W., hitting the BAT lane, which bicycles are allowed to use.  I take the BAT lane all the way down Elliott to the bike lane south of Broad Street.  This is the fastest option, but kind a little more challenging, as you have to ride in traffic.

The Ballard Bridge was identified by SDOT's own poll two years ago as the number one crossing in the city that the citizens of Seattle would like to have improved for bicycling.  Two years late the SDOT has done nothing, not one thing, absolutely nothing, to make the bicycling experience better on the Ballard Bridge. They don't have anything planned for the future either.