South University District Trail - Feasibility Study

The South University District Trail Feasibility Study, currently underway, assesses the potential for constructing a shared-use path from the south end of the University District Bridge to the Ben Burr Trail. The proposed trail would provide east-west access for safely walking and bicycling through the South University District area.


The City's Bicycle Master Plan proposes a pathway connection from the south end of the University District Bridge to the Ben Burr Trail along Erie Avenue, connecting underneath Sprague Avenue, as shown in the map below. The proposed route would run along the edge of the rock outcropping above the BNSF Railway main line. This study enlisted the services of Toole Design, a transportation planning and engineering firm specializing in active transportation for walking and bicycling, to assess the feasibility of establishing a public trail along this route. With input from property owners along the proposed trail alignment, which crosses their private property, this study identified an updated alignment, and proposed a conceptual design to inform cost estimates for final engineering, procurement of right-of-way, and construction.

Study Area

A map for the 2015 Comprehensive Plan amendment that added this alignment to the Bicycle Master Plan can be found at the link below:


After identifying risks and issues that maybe a factor in placing a trail in this area, this study will define a recommended alignment and preliminary design concepts. When complete in mid-2020, the study will identify:

  1. A functional alignment accommodating topography and private property needs,
  2. Needed right-of-way to construct a 12-foot wide shared-use pathway,
  3. Requirements of trail construction adjacent to BNSF Railway lines
  4. Constructability, including a geotechnical assessment
  5. Design up to 30% in order to inform a reasonable cost estimate

Initial Concepts and Next Steps

Following initial phases of the study in 2019, a recommended alignment and design concept has been identified, as shown below. Subsequent phases of the study will determine detailed feasibility and specific site accommodations in partnership with adjacent property owners, as well as preliminary cost estimates for all phases of final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.

Preliminary Design Concepts:

The preliminary concept shown above would connect to the Ben Burr Trail and the Sprague Union Business District with a short section of on-street improvements for walking and biking facilities on the north side of Sprague Avenue. All concepts shown above are preliminary only. Further development of this concept will depend on additional public feedback, right-of-way discussions with affected property owners, and funding.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Colin Quinn-Hurst
Assistant Planner II
Planning and Neighborhood Services