Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels broke ground on a new portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail this morning, bringing the 15-mile bicycle trail...

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels broke ground on a new portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail this morning — bringing the 15-mile bicycle trail one step closer to connecting Ballard with the University of Washington.

Construction will now begin on a one-mile section from Northwest 60th Street near Ray’s Boathouse to Golden Gardens Park on Shilshole Bay that will cost $4.6 million. The project is being funded with city money, the Bridging the Gap property levy approved last year, the parks property levy and some federal money. The city expects to finish construction by the end of this year.

“Our goal is to become the No. 1 bicycling community in the country,” Nickels said.

To represent the carbon emissions that would be saved if 100 people biked 10 miles instead of driving, the mayor showed off a fake 1,000-pound pile of coal at the groundbreaking at Golden Gardens.

“Each 10-mile trip saves 11 pounds of carbon dioxide,” Nickels said.

The prop came from Seattle Opera, which is using it on a Wagner opera set.

The city still needs to connect the trail, which is being designed, between 11th Avenue Northwest to the Ballard Locks. The city’s Department of Transportation expects to finish that $2 million design next year.

The Burke-Gilman Trail now runs from Kenmore to Eighth Avenue Northwest.

Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or schan@seattletimes.com