Missing Link goes back for more studies, will likely miss 2012 construction goal

If you were hoping this year would be the last time you find yourself navigating across dangerous train tracks on Ballard roads filled with speeding cars and industrial trucks, I’ve got some bad news for you. The Burke-Gilman Missing Link has once again been sent back to the city for further study.

King County Superior Court Judge Rogers agreed with the city Hearing Examiner on 18 of 19 conclusions, but ultimately decided the city needs to have more detailed plans for the trail design (see our coverage of those arguments). So that means the city will do more design work, then go back to the Hearing Examiner and then to Judge Rogers. These delays make the planned (and funded!) 2012 construction look unlikely.

More details from Cascade:

Cascade Bicycle Club, a leader in creating more livable communities through bicycle education, advocacy and riding programs, announces the ruling by King County Superior Court Judge Rogers on the “Missing Link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail. The decision, the latest in a string of suits brought by the Ballard Business Appellants, finds in favor the City of Seattle and joint-defendant Cascade Bicycle Club on 18 of 19 conclusions, but this does not clear the way for trail construction.

Specifically, Judge Rogers ruled against conclusion #9 of the Hearing Examiner’s ruling, asserting that, despite already being at a 10 percent level of design as is usual under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), further design details from the City of Seattle are necessary.

“This decision is yet another set-back for Ballard and the greater cycling community,” said Chuck Ayers, Cascade Bicycle Club executive director. “We worked to find a compromise route – the so-called ‘Green Route’ – yet that wasn’t enough to satisfy the appellants. Today, this case should be behind us, but the appellants continue to frustrate the process with a mentality that bicycling and industry cannot mix. But this has been proven untrue. Cities around the world have succeeded in sharing transportation corridors, and here in Seattle we’re showing it can be done respectfully and safely as with the new Ship Canal Trail and the Alaskan Way Trail.”

The project is planned and funded but progress has been frustrated by years of legal challenges brought forth by a small group of Ballard businesses and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. Completing the “Missing Link” section of the Burke-Gilman Trail has been planned by the City of Seattle since it agreed to acquire the abandoned rail line right of way from Burlington Northern Santa Fe in 1989. The BNSF discontinued rail service and abandoned the line in 1997, and the transfer of much of the property took place shortly thereafter. A handful of businesses opposed the safety improvements along the corridor and have appealed every decision made.

“While we’re disappointed with the result, we are confident that the City will be able to provide the necessary detail to show that the project would not pose a significant impact to the environment,” said Jeff Eustis, attorney representing Cascade. “Cascade continues to support the City as it works to supply the additional information.”

This 1.5-mile Missing Link is located between Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, where the trail approaches from Golden Gardens Park, and the Ballard Fred Meyer, where the trail resumes for another 15 miles to Kenmore. From there, the Burke-Gilman joins with the Sammamish River Trail, giving continuous trail access to east King County communities. When completed, the project will provide a new, separated trail and signed routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, and will solve numerous safety problems. At present, there are few safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians through this section near the Ballard Bridge, which has been the site of many injuries.

“Too many people have suffered serious falls and injuries in this corridor due to years of delays that have blocked improvements,” said Kevin Carrabine, longtime Ballard resident, bicycle commuter and member of the Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail. “I’m sad to hear this will continue. The community has been waiting for a safer trail for too long.”

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42 Responses to Missing Link goes back for more studies, will likely miss 2012 construction goal

  1. Chuck Erickson says:

    Well this is sad news to read.

  2. Eli says:

    What a shame. I almost never do business in Ballard due to the lack of a comfortable bike connection… I guess I can continue saving money not doing business there.

  3. Ryan says:

    @Eli I agree. I go there myself but almost never take my kid to Ballard on bike, instead heading east towards U Village which stinks. As soon as this trail is fixed I can feel safe riding all the way to Golden Gardens even.

    I need to blame someone to channel my grief into… Ballard Chamber of Commerce?

  4. Leif says:

    Certainly bad news, though I’m surprised to read the trail is only at 10% design. I guess that is standard, but I wish the city had been prepared for this objection with a more further complete design.

  5. Kirk from Ballard says:

    To me, it seems that the headline is misleading. It appears to me as if the ruling is to move the work forward with more design detail, not to “go back for more studies”. If the judge had ruled for this conclusion, wouldn’t the next step be to complete the design details anyway? Of course, I realize they don’t have the green light to implement the design, but wouldn’t the design detail be the next order of business?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      It has to be designed, then go through SEPA study. If he said all good, then SEPA would be done and they could just design and build. So there is an extra “study” involved now, which then goes to the HE, then to KCSC all over again….

  6. Matthew says:

    Is there a list of the businesses or landowners who oppose moving forward with this project? Perhaps some more vocal protest or picketing directed their way would help move this forward. At the very least, I’d like to not spend my dollars at these businesses.

    Or maybe these are largely specialized industrial firms, tucked away in the industrial zone where nobody would notice a protest…

    • Skylar says:

      How Gestapo of you Matthew! Maybe we could round them up and put them in special camps too! After all, they’re not like you and me, right? Everyone has to think just the same as me, damnit! Yeah!Let’s penalize some local business owner because he/ she doesn’t agree with my little bike path idea.

      You’re precisely the type of cyclist that gives so many of us a bad name. Not everything in life is: “Give me what I ant or I’ll hurt you.” You should have learned that back in 2nd grade.

      • Todd says:

        I agree. While nobody is happy with the delay and we all want a solution, these folks do have legitimate concerns. The amount of money they are pumping in here is certainly not a personal vendetta against bikers as a whole. I personally do not view industry as our enemy — the same folks that help our economy grow and providing jobs. Let the legal process run it’s course. If a compromise can be reached, so be it. In the meantime, when I’m in this area — I’m riding through “the zone” anyway with or without a bike path because that’s my comfort level. My guess is I’m not alone. It seems to me, perhaps the best course of action to take is to ride the missing link with or without a dedicated bike path. We have every legal right to be there.

  7. Kevin Carrabine says:

    Tom, et al,

    To clarify and try to answer some of the questions raised above –

    The City had fully designed and engineered those sections of the Missing Link for which they had secured funding in May, 2009: they were ready to go to bid to build the 11th to 17th section, install signage on Ballard Ave for an ‘interim’ section, then jog back to Shilshole at Vernon and continue west to the Locks. Design was done, money was in hand, bids were ready to go out. They submitted the SEPA checklist for those funded sections, and the Hearing Examiner signed off them.

    Fast forward to the first appeal that reached Rodgers and the Superior Court – he ruled that the City also needed to analyze the environmental impact of the ‘shilshole section’ (roughly 17th to Vernon Place). The City had not done any design in this section because they had no intention to build at this time, though they had identified this area as the ultimate route of the trail. They spent the money and time (about 6 months, who knows how much $$, but lots) and did complete the typical ’10% design’ of that section for SEPA review and resubmitted the full SEPA to the Hearing Examiner (the Hearing Examiner agreed this was enough and consistent with other projects of this type)

    The Hearing Examiner, reviewing the totality of the environmental impact of the trail design, ruled in favor of the City (again). Ballard Business Appellants appealed (again). In this current ruling, the judge has agreed with the HA on 18 of her 19 findings, but disagreed with her analysis that the shilshole section’s 10% design was adequate to fully assess the environmental impact. Since the City has no intent (or $$) right now for that section, they will now be forced to do a more complete design(30%?), then analyze that environmental impact, then resubmit that portion to the Hearing Examiner.

    So, long story short, complete design and funding of those sections that the City council agreed in 2003 could and should be built was accomplished in May, 2009. The continued appeals are preventing even those sections from being built. I guess the good news is that when the City finally is ready to build the shilshole section, they will have already done a more complete design. The bad news is this wastes time, leads to further acrimony and ill will, wastes taxpayers dollars, and prevents many of you, it seems, from coming to Ballard, the place many of us call home.

    Regarding how to express your frustration, I leave that to individuals to decide. One option is to support the Cascade Bicycle Club’s legal defense fund – they have been providing legal support to the City, which is ultimately responsible for ‘defending’ these challenges. Donations are tax deductible and the work that Jeff Eustis and City attorneys are doing is essential in keeping this project from withering (which is the likely goal of opponents)
    http://shop.cascade.org/content/donation

    Another option is to contact member businesses of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and let them know that you disagree with their efforts to delay trail construction. Also, the Chamber has a Board of Directors, which is responsible for making decisions about appeals. Trying to be respectful but assertive about your views is probably the best approach. On their home page, you’ll see a link to a directory – fyi, they are in the middle of a visioning process and perhaps you could suggest that the vision should include supporting multimodal transportation options for Ballard residents and visitors.
    http://ballardchamber.com/

    I welcome any other thoughts on this – having been in the middle of the 15+ year effort to get this trail built, I have to say that it’s getting a bit old. The support of fellow trail users, Ballardites, and all of the other folks who want to see the trail built is crucial to seeing this through to its completion. I say ‘Keep hope alive’ and don’t stop working to make it happen.

    • Kirk from Ballard says:

      Kevin, thanks for the clarification! I had thought the Shilshole Avenue section was already funded and that the plan was to build that section with the rest of it. Hopefully this next hurdle will at least pave the way for the full trail to be built.

      I think this weekend I’m going to ride the mountain bike on the whole proposed section to check it out – train tracks, oil trucks, cement trucks and all…

    • Todd says:

      Great post Kevin. Thanks.

  8. Mondoman says:

    Let me start by saying that I support bridging the “missing link” with a safe trail. That said, the past dozen years that I’ve watched this fiasco evolve reminds me of the 1960s battles of neighborhoods versus the City’s great and good who wanted to ram freeways through with little input from the locals.

    As far as I can figure out, there’s no reason at all the Missing Link needs to run along the south side of Shilshole and NW54th. Although bike trails certainly can be located in heavy industrial traffic areas, there are better choices. For example, the north side of Shilshole west of 17th has a nice wide sidewalk and cars parked perpendicularly, so no “door zone”. Once you hit Market, both the south and north side of Market have very wide sidewalks/margins, plenty for a trail (and shops that would benefit from the hoped-for bicyclist customer).

    From what I can tell, the City and political powers outside Ballard decided way back to ram through the current proposed trail route in favor of other reasonable alternatives (like the one described above), figuring that any local opposition was powerless to affect their choice and anyway came from fading and undesirable “sunset” industries.

    The locals fought back, and as in the 1960s, managed to surprise the establishment. Unfortunately, it seems as though both sides are losing, and we might already have a decent trail if only the City had been more willing to listen to the locals ten years ago.

    PS – for those wishing to avoid the horrible track configuration on NW 45th west of Fred Meyer, just go north a block to NW 46th St. It also goes under the Ballard Bridge, and merges naturally into the north side of Shilshole.

    • Jeremy says:

      Do both. Slower folks or shoppers can hit the crowded Market Street area, while those looking for a straighter and leveler path through to the locks and beyond or back to Fremont use the ample space available along the present route. This would also mean if one segment is shutdown for maintenance, people wouldn’t be screwed over as they so often are (e.g. as seen during the recent Burke-Gilman work up by Lake Forest Park, or the Ballard bridge work, or on and on and on).

      NW 46th? Raging car-hell and jungle gym of angled concrete slabs, from the one time I recall trying it.

      • MondoMan says:

        Doing both is often the best :) , but there rarely seems to be enough money for that! Just seems to me that a lot of hassle would be avoided and we’d end up with a safer solution on the route I suggested.

        NW46th is asphalt — no concrete slabs. Maybe you were thinking of a different road?

    • Kevin Carrabine says:

      @ MondoMan,

      You have the history a little backwards… it was the locals, through the Crown Hill/Ballard Neighborhood plan who pushed the current route, along the rail right of way (1997). It was locals who organized and lobbied the Mayor (starting with Schell, then Nickels) and City Council to finally make a decision. LOTS of analysis, public outreach, meetings with stakeholders (including the principals of companies that are now suing the City) resulted in the compromise route decision by City Council in 2003.

      The business owners who are unhappy with the Council’s decision oppose ANY trail within the boundaries of what they consider ‘their’ territory. And they’re using any and all legal weapons they can muster to keep the missing link from being built. The vehemence of their opposition is backed with substantial public relations and legal resources. They will continue to appeal to the limits of the law any decision that moves this process forward.

      For trail supporters, the most effective and tangible means of countering trail opponents at this point is to support the legal effort mounted by the Cascade Bicycle Club, whose counsel is working with City attorneys to defend against these appeals.
      http://shop.cascade.org/content/burke-gilman-trail-legal-defense-fund

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      A protected bikeway up Leary and down Market would be great. I am in full support of that “plan” (there is no such plan yet, but this undesigned idea is being pushed by the trail opponents. Which is great! We should definitely pursue this option, too).

      However, that is not the same thing as the Burke-Gilman Trail. A bike facility does not serve people jogging, roller blading, skateboarding, running with dogs, in a wheelchair, etc. There is space for the trail, but some industry folks have expressed fears about sight lines and safety. Obviously, I am concerned about sight lines and safety, as well. But I trust the city can adequately design the facility to mitigate these concerns.

      What’s frustrating to me is that we could have taken all the money wasted on this legal battle and invested it in making the trail safer. With that much cash, we could have truck-activated signals or something crazy like that. But instead we have stacks of lawyer fees and unnecessary studies.

      This trail is going to happen, and it will be safe. It probably won’t be the best part of the whole trail, but I have faith it will be good and safe. If the appellants had simply played ball, they could have gotten the city to install all sorts of fancy safety tools, I’m sure. Instead, they chose to fight an incredibly popular project to the bitter end.

      I was not around for the original conversations, so it was already complete legal warfare by the time I started paying attention. From the perspective of anyone who first tuned in after 2007, it appears the appellants are just stalling the inevitable. And anyone who has crashed on the dangerous Missing Link section is not going to have much patience for their stalling tactics.

      I don’t want any businesses to go under simply due to a trail, but I have also seen trails go through all sorts of industrial areas without harming anyone’s business. We have a trail that goes through a huge train yard in Interbay, one that goes through industrial Freelard, one that goes through industrial shipping areas in Magnolia, several in West Seattle, along the Duwamish River and Harbor Island, and on and on. I think the city can handle this small stretch through Ballard.

      Plus, it’s city-owned land. In the end, they can do what they want. The appellants should have gotten involved to make sure they got what they wanted from the project instead of trying to block it completely.

      • Todd says:

        I’m still of the belief that the best statement that can be made is everyone continue to ride through the zone anyway — regardless of what the business community wants. Since we have a right to be there, and it becomes evident that their efforts won’t matter in achieving the desired results they want, then regardless of what they do in court, it’s not going to mean too much. I for one will be riding this route regardless of the outcome.

      • Mondoman says:

        Tom, I appreciate this blog. However, IMHO it’s not very credible to come along 15 or 20 years after the start of an issue and tell one side to give in because based on the last 5 years they’re going to lose anyway.
        I don’t think the neighborhoods in the 1960s faced with plans for giant freeways coming through and wiping out established houses and businesses would have appreciated someone telling them to stop opposing the freeways and just give in because they’re running up the lawyer bills for everyone and they’re going to lose anyway.
        Turned out some of them *didn’t* lose — ever notice the ramps to nowhere on the side of 520 by the Arboretum?

        Todd – certainly, keep riding wherever you want. Just don’t complain about how unsafe it is there when other, safer choices are available.

      • Todd says:

        @Mondoman — You are absolutely right. I won’t be complaining and whenever given the safer path — I play the probabilities. I ride an extra 4 miles around InterBay and onto BGT at Fremont because riding Eastlake is harrowing at times — and I”m a street rider. But because I maybe ride through this stretch maybe 3 times a year… those are considerably less odds than what you regulars have. I hope you guys can find a solution everyone can live with.

  9. Mike Perry says:

    Why don’t we just give up, quit trying to do anything, and let our city’s infrastructure collapse. The courts, the bureaucracies, the myriad of regulations allow almost any group with a little money to hold up much needed projects almost indefinitely.

    Nothing can be done until it is perfect, it seems. Nothing can be done until everyone, including the usual NIMBYs, sign off on it. This is ridiculous. If 18 out of 19 criteria were met, why not go ahead and fix the last criteria as the project is carried out? It’s not like this missing link is a nuclear waste disposal site. It doesn’t have to be perfect from Day One.

    Getting practical, those who dislike all these delays should learn a lesson from the National Rifle Association. In the 1980s, it looked like gun ownership was going to be as highly regulated and effectively banned as even modest construction projects like bike trails. But the NRA didn’t sit on its hands. In developed arguments against gun control, particularly very effective legal and constitutional ones. It raised money. It campaigned to vote gun-control politicians out of office. And it not only won, but the results of its success show that citizen concealed carry does reduce the crime rate. It showed that what it had been saying worked.

    Keep your cool. Don’t rant, rave and cuss. Take practical steps to change things. If bloated regulations are the problem, get them changed. If people (i.e. judges) or organizations (i.e. some Ballard businesses) are the problem, force them to change or, particularly in the case of judges, force them out of office.

    And this isn’t just one missing link. Greenways through neighborhoods are next in line. Having commuted via bike up Eastlake, I think residential bike routes much better than having bikes mixing with stretch buses on major arterials. But if the missing link is any indication, getting an effective system of them in place could take decades given the present ‘nothing until everything is perfect’ situation.

  10. Mondoman says:

    Those “process” quirks you worry about seem much more desirable to those getting railroaded (ahem!).
    The more the cycling community appears as humble and willing to listen to local and non-cyclist concerns, the better for getting projects done.

    • Todd says:

      Please tell me you are not “insinuating” that the biking community is comprised of — gulp — fascists? Well, I’m not one of them and there are many others on this blog who are able to hold an objective view as well.

      I believe what you are bringing to attention is American politics. It’s a tug-of-war — and each side pulls until the rope snaps — and we live with the results. While I’m not one of those to be pulling on the rope’s end and gritting my teeth — I do appreciate the people who are.

  11. Bruce Nourish says:

    Fail. Just build it, for god’s sake.

  12. jitterbalm says:

    I want to see the wording of Conclusion #9. Kevin C. is not sure if the City is required to meet 30% design requirements. I’m interested in finding out exactly what the rub is. I’m also confused about why the Shilshole segment of the project is holding up the 11th to 17th segment of the project. If portions are at 100% design and others at 10%, what is holding up the 100% part? And if this project was phased, could the City be allowed to improve the road bed/surface under the Ballard Bridge (i.e., removing r.r. track that is dangerous to cyclists) in 2012?

    Also on the Shilshole segment, what exactly are the industrialists saying they require? I continue to hear that Ballard Oil and other old-time Ballard industry giants are blocking the process and funding obstructionist legal efforts. What do they want from the City exactly, if indeed they accept the inevitability of a trail with thousands of users per day alongside their business.

    As an outsider to this process, I think this news related in a non-specific manner is not helpful. We all deserve more information in order to be effective in our individual persuasive efforts. The Chamber of Commerce in Ballard is considering a small fee to all local businesses within a district in order to fund their many efforts on behalf of the community. I support this idea, and yet the natural rub is going to be that the merchants tend to support multi-modal transportation because they see (with some education) business coming their way with the completion of the Burke Gilman Trail. Heavy and maritime industry is a different story. They focus on trucking and the waterway and everything else is gnats swarming which they combat with giant expensive swatters. I believe we need to segment audiences and use different tactics based on the needs of these two disparate business audiences. That’s my two cents, from an outsider’s perspective.

    I’m pro-bicycle, pro-walk, pro-business, pro-maritime and pro-heavy industry in Ballard. And even–gasp!–pro CONDO! If you can imagine that.

    The only thing I’m against is people getting fat, blabbing on their cell phones, smoking cigarettes in their 1/4 mile car “journey”.

    • MondoMan says:

      Kirk, that’s not the court decision — it’s the July 2011 City Hearing Examiner decision, the decision that was appealed to the court.

  13. jitterbalm says:

    9. “The appeal also asserts that the project description is incomplete. It is true that SDOT has not specified or committed to specific safety measures or design tools that will be used on the project, and Appellants’ unease with this lack of specificity is understandable. But SEPA also requires that the environmental review be done at the earliest time, and SDOT routinely utilizes a 10 percent design level, as in this case, for purposes of conducting environmental review. The evidence shows that SDOT regularly uses the kind of mitigation measures described at hearing, e.g., signage, warning devices, consolidation of driveways, and other measures. These measures are within SDOT’s authority to require and would address the impacts that have been identified for this project. Under these circumstances, it was not unreasonable for SDOT to wait to identify which mitigation measures it will employ at a specific location. The project was adequately described for purposes of SEPA review.”

  14. Ballardica says:

    What do the businesses want?
    I really don’t know as the reasons they give publicly don’t make much sense and are easily disproved. It seems that they just don’t want anything to change.
    Right now Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel’s property line ends really close to the edge of their building on the west side of Shilshole. If you look at the facility from the street it sure looks like they own everything right up to the street as they park trucks, cars, and do whatever they want with that public land. They use it like it’s theirs and yet don’t have to pay a dime for it or be responsible for anything that happens on it. Wouldn’t you like to usurp another couple acres for your own use without having to pay for it or be responsible for it? Wouldn’t you put up a fight if the city came back for it after decades of you getting used to having it?
    I don’t know what Ballard Oil’s problem with a bike trail is other than they don’t like anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow view of what “Old Ballard” is.
    It looks like the Chamber got sucked in to this as they’re close with SBSG and Ballard Oil’s owners and were swayed by their friends arguments rather than listen to the retail businesses that welcome more patrons. The Chamber blew a good opportunity to act as a good faith broker between SBSG and the city to lobby for the best of both…a trail that brings people to Ballard and still retains as much parking for patrons and workers as possible. By taking a strong stand against the trail the Chamber alienated quite a few businesses. I know of a few who won’t join as they see this issue showing that the Chamber won’t represent their interests. In fact I just heard that the Chamber is trying to re invent itself as more businesses have joined the other Ballard merchant’s association instead.

  15. Todd says:

    I’ve never understood the argument for NOT having a designated trail. Is it the idea that building one would bring more riders? As it stands, it’s more dangerous for all by having us riding the same streets they use for commerce. Do they think that by not having the trail, the stand on more legal ground if accidents do occur? I guess. I mean why not put most bikers in a pathway where you can expect them?

    • Mondoman says:

      I think the opponents want a different route. The City has been unwilling to discuss changing the route.

      • kevin carrabine says:

        At least 3 different routes were studied in a yr long+ process, w/ the participation of the gentlemen and gentlewoman who are now suing-they disagreed w/ the compromise route that the City Council chose.

        The city started full design based on that decision and finally secured all the funding and finished the design in early 2009. The portions they authorized would be built by now but for the endless appeals.

      • Todd says:

        But this is my point in a way. I’m riding that route anyway. Most of the people I see do too. No?

      • Mondoman says:

        Kevin, only 3 routes evaluated between Fred Meyer and the Locks? There must be thousands of possibilities. For example, did any of the 3 include the stretch of Market St between Shilshole/24th and the Locks? I would think there are at least 5 to 10 viable segment choices for going west starting at the Fred Meyer end. When you see only 3 choices, you know the fix must have been in.

        Todd, it’s probably harder for you the see the people riding routes other than yours, what with the trees and buildings in the way :) No reason for you to change routes if you’re happy with that one. However, as a taxpayer, I feel uncomfortable having the City direct unsuspecting bicyclists onto known-dangerous routes when safer ones are available. Shouldn’t they at least have to put up a sign saying something like “Warning: you are entering a stretch where you will be forced to share an often-shoulderless single lane with cars and parallel railroad tracks. Other nearby roads lack these defects.”

      • Todd says:

        Yeah, I’ll go along with that. I once said I have no interest in being a martyr. I’d never make a good suicide bomber.

  16. Kevin Carrabine says:

    @Mondoman – yes, the original funded design, approved in June, 2009, included an ‘interim’ section from NW24 and Market to 28th NW that involved using the wide expanse of planting area between the south side sidewalk and the roadway. As the city refined the design, I am not sure if they anticipated actually building instead along the rail right of way between 24th NW and 28th NW (otherwise known locally as ‘not 54th street’).

    A bit hyperbolic to say ‘there must be thousands of possibilities’ between Freddie’s and the Locks – sure, that’s true, if you devise some zigzags. SDOT looked at a route suggested by the industrial businesses, a route along the rail right of way, and one alternative in between. (it’s all on the City website). They looked speed, crossings, parking, a whole set of criteria. I don’t think it would have been realistic to intensively study more than three, honestly. Remember, the City was looking at routes for a separated multi-use trail, with attendant sightlines, crossings, signalization as needed, etc, not just a signed bicycle route or a sidewalk/pedestrian path. It’s pretty evident to me (though obviously not to many others) that a route that continues to follow the rail right of way creates the least number of driveway and roadway crossings between Fred Meyer and the Locks

    In reply to all those posters who are wondering what the objections to the trail are, I can say that safety has been the issue most often raised – and the Ballard Chamber has raised the loss of parking issue. It is true that any new use of the right of way for trail completion is going to lead to loss of parking – this has never been disputed and is not really the issue at hand with the recent appeals.

  17. Mondoman says:

    Thanks, Kevin!

    If you could post a link to the actual selection of choices for the 3 routes to be studied, that would be great. When I mentioned thousands, I was thinking of mix-and-match segments. For example, at the west end, N side of Market, S side of Market, and the rail route. At the east end, S side of NW 45th, one or the other side of NW 46th, then head N up 14th median and cross 15th at Market or NW 58th, or S side of Shilshole, N side of Shilshole, Ballard Ave, Leary Way, and so forth. Although there would be hundreds or thousands of actual routes, you’d only have to take a look at each segment once. I wouldn’t think there would be more than 20 plausible segments.

    I agree with you that the right of way would give the fewest number of trail crossings, but in this case I don’t think that’s the least dangerous route, as the driveways/crossing would involve heavy industrial vehicles such as cement trucks and dump trucks.

  18. Ron Proctor says:

    Since nothing is happening anytime soon, how about putting a traffic signal at the corner of 17th and Shilshole? I like riding on Old Ballard Ave, but getting across Shilshole is hard and dangerous. This would be a good temporary fix.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Unfortunately, traffic signals are extremely expensive ($150k or so, depending). But, I agree with you that there must be some temporary solutions the city could put in place to help people get to Ballard Ave safely.

  19. Ron Proctor says:

    Who do you appeal to to request a signal?

  20. Pingback: Rootless in Place » Blog Archive » Riding Seattle 1: Winter 2012

  21. Pingback: City signs off on safe Burke-Gilman Missing Link design. Again. | Seattle Bike Blog

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