829 pages have been added to the already-towering mountain of documents studying the 1.2-mile Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
An estimated 22 people have gone to the hospital due to crashes on this dangerous stretch just since work on this study began one year ago. More will go to the hospital before it is finished, and even more will go to the hospital before this safety hazard is finally fixed.
The draft environmental impact statement (“DEIS”) is an exhaustive study of the project’s alternatives. It’s the same study you would need to build a freeway, which is total overkill for a short extension of a biking and walking trail. But project opponents have been able to successfully sue and delay the project long enough that completing the costly and time-consuming study was the city’s only option.
So what did it find? In short: Just build the damn trail already!
“Completing this section of the BGT has been discussed and analyzed since the late 1980s,” the study notes. It is beyond embarrassing that this has taken so long.
You have yet another chance to comment on the Missing Link. The EIS team will host two open houses in July: 6 – 9 p.m. July 14 and 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. July 16, both at Leif Erikson Hall. You can also email comments to BGT_MissingLink_Info@seattle.gov.
Hopefully, this will be among the last times you will need to weight in on this project, but nothing can be taken for granted with this trail. From the DEIS, it seems that whatever public debate may have once existed has long solidified in favor of a trail following the rail line just like the rest of the Burke-Gilman.
“Two themes were dominant in the comment letters: trail location and safety,” according to the document. “Shilshole Ave NW was the location most often indicated as preferred for the trail. When reasons were given for this preference, the most common reason was that it is the most direct route between the two ends of the existing BGT.”
That’s it. This isn’t hard, and it should not have required this exhaustive study. Make it direct, continuous and safe. That’s all the people want. But most importantly, stop talking and just build it already! Continue reading