Murray calls Burke-Gilman Trail a ‘treasure,’ hopes for a safe completion of the Ballard Missing Link

The proposed route.

The proposed route.

Ed Murray’s campaign issued a statement today saying that his comments to the Seattle Times’ Jonathan Martin came off as “overly skeptical” of the city’s plans to complete the Burke-Gilman Trail’s notorious “Missing Link” in Ballard.

We wrote about his comments yesterday, as they seemed to imply that he opposed completing the long-sought trail segment.

Below is the statement in its entirety. From the Murray campaign:

“Yesterday I made some comments to the Seattle Times expressing concerns about safety issues related to the fact that bikes and trucks will have to share a narrow roadway in Ballard under the cycling community’s preferred option for completing the trail. I want to clarify those remarks, because reading them over I realize that my tone came off as overly skeptical regarding that option.

“The Burke-Gilman is a treasured part of our regional trail system in Seattle and it is vital that we complete this ‘missing link.’ However, we must make sure the proposed route is the safest option for all users. The current proposal does place a multi-use trail through an industrial area, which raises some real safety concerns for users. I do not oppose the proposed route, but I think the Environmental Impact Statement process that is currently underway will provide an important ‘second look’ to make sure we make the best choice.

“SDOT is now working on an EIS to survey the route between the Ballard Fred Meyer and the Locks along Shilshole. The alternative route proposed by some local business owners along Leary Ave NE onto Market St via a cycle track is not ideal either as it would not provide as direct a connection and is not a separate trail. My own preference is that we implement an engineered solution to the safety problem, one that uses the planned public right-of-way in Ballard but which channels the bike traffic and protects the entry points into the Lake Union industrial businesses. I believe the outcome of the current EIS will help us to reach a positive outcome that completes the trail in a timely way while protecting the safety of cyclists and the viability of local businesses.”

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29 Responses to Murray calls Burke-Gilman Trail a ‘treasure,’ hopes for a safe completion of the Ballard Missing Link

  1. F Gar says:

    Lake Union? Has Ed Murray ever traveled west of his district?

  2. Peri Hartman says:

    Sounds pretty wishy-washy to me. He could have said “studies have been going on for 10 years. All reasonable routes have been identified and considered. The studies have shown the Shilshole Ave route the best. I think we will see the EIS confirm that when it’s complete. ”

    Or if some other route is better, he could put himself behind that… but I’m not Ed.

  3. charles k says:

    I’m sure he was trying to play it safe with somewhat vague comments about the Missing Link since he wasn’t familiar with the topic and didn’t realize he was repeating obstructionist talking points.

  4. Nancy R. says:

    Ed Murray isn’t about plunking down simplistic solutions in people’s face and walking away, as is the current mayor. He has been pro-cycling for many years and will continue to do so. He works with all sides in doing so and makes sure he has all the info. I wouldn’t use this issue to make a decision about the mayor. We need a mayor that can work together and get things done in a cooperative way. He will fix the critical missing link for cyclists; it has to be done.

    • meanie says:

      malarkey!

      Ed Murray is a openly gay state senator who wants to be Governor one day.

      That’s pretty much it, his politics and campaign reflect this very clearly. His schtick for this campaign is to be different enough from the incumbent to get elected. This includes bizarre uneducated statements like the link comments and playing to the whims of a frustrated electorate. ( WAR ON CARS )

      McGinn has literally done the least possible for bikes , ( SDOT does the work ) to avoid criticism about being the divisive bike mayor, but Murray is actively campaigning on changing that, and only cares about his own personal ambitions.

      • Roger Dodger says:

        “McGinn has literally done the least possible for bikes to avoid criticism about being the divisive bike mayor.”

        Dude, you need to get back on your meds. A) He’s done more for bikes than any mayor in this town’s history; B) There’s no way he’s escaping the moniker of “divisive bike mayor.” He made sure of that when he hired David Hiller as a “transportation consultant.”

        And of course SDOT does the work. That’s what they’re paid to do. You really want McGinn out there with a jackhammer and a bucket of paint in his hand? Sheesh.

      • JAT says:

        Roger, I didn’t interpret meanie to be saying that McGinn hasn’t been working to advance biking so much as he’s been seeking to avoid being seen as doing too much… Though I agree he’ll never escape the divisive bike mayor label.

        Nancy R wouldn’t use this issue to decide the issue of mayor – others would – I care a lot about a lot of issues, but generally apply the single issue voter approach: if it’s bad for bicycling it’s bad for America.

        Poor people can’t afford health care? Cities can’t afford to patch their streets? Tiny but well-funded special interests want to put huge trucks on small roads without regard for the safety of other road users? Foreign policy so divisive on the global stage that police suspect locked bicycles long motorcade routes of concealing terrorist bombs? The private driveways of residents of small lake-front communities take priority over a major cycling thoroughfare? – it’s a long and diverse list of things out there that are bad for cycling, can we defend any of them as making America better?

        I’m going to keep on voting Bike.

      • meanie says:

        Hey Roger, thanks for the ad homien jab about “meds.” Although it saddens me you have such a low opinion of people seeking help for mental illness, it did prompt me to respond.

        McGinn rides a bike, but other than *not* actively obstructing projects, he has very little bike projects to his name. The bike master plan has been basically defunded while he is in office, and the bike related work from the bridging the gap levy has stagnated completely. We had a guerrilla group make national news with bike lane on cherry street, while the mayor of Chicago mocked us for lack of infrastructure. SDOT work on road diets dates back to the 70s and has nothing to do at a practical level with the mayor.

        Unless you have some magic list of bike racks the mayor requested, other than selling himself as a bike guy, and being friendly to cascade I submit he has done the *least* possible.

  5. Gordon says:

    Do I get a point for predicting his response?
    “Hopefully this was a trial balloon and seeing the public dismay at a call for yet another delay, Murray’s smart team will walk back this statement and clarify that Murray meant he supports completing the EIS (which IS a form of further study).”

    http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2013/10/07/ed-murray-does-not-want-to-complete-the-burke-gilman-missing-link/#comment-619382

  6. Seattle Cyclist says:

    Yes, Gordon, you get a point!

    Just don’t go to works for the murray campaign

  7. Shawn says:

    So after he says “there goes the bike vote” he or his handlers discover that dinosaur thinking doesn’t play well in Seattle, so they try to walk it back only to discover that you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The only thing his statement clarifies is how little he knows about Seattle and how little he’s really willing to learn. I’ve said it before, a vote for Ed Murray makes Seattle a ward of the state. He’s as much a Democrat as Rodney Tom…

  8. Matthew Snyder says:

    Does anyone know how much more delay on the part of the appellants is actually possible? Assume the EIS supports keeping the existing planned route and the city’s hearing examiner signs off. How many more potential rounds of appeals can there be before construction gets underway, and what might that translate to, in terms of timeframe?

    • Ints says:

      They will in all likelihood look for a way to challenge the EIS in court. Those who don’t want to accept the recommendations an EIS will do a thorough read of the document and supporting studies to find anything, whether relevant to their desired solution or not, that can be used to trigger additional study. Then the hope is that something comes up in this additional study, or better yet, out of the blue that keeps the project from happening.
      As to timeframe, well that depends on the competence of those doing the studies. If the EIS is solid, then it gets challenged but the challenge dies in court.

  9. Al Dimond says:

    I’m a bit curious about “channeling bike traffic and protecting entrances to Lake Union businesses”. Wouldn’t any sensible design protect bike traffic and channel vehicles entering those businesses into a small number of well-designed, visible trail crossings.

    On Linden we protected entrances instead of people, and there are just too many driveways crossing the trail. Some suburban highway-side trails protect entrances instead of people, allowing uncontrolled turns from wide highways (from which seeing cyclists is an iffy proposition) to cross.

  10. JBob says:

    ” … while protecting the safety of cyclists and the viability of local businesses.”

    WHILE protecting safety and viability? The sooner the trail gets finished, the safer cyclists will be and the better for the vast majority of Ballard businesses. If Murray really appreciated bike infrastructure, wouldn’t that be written: ” … AND protecting the safety of cyclists …”?

    Maybe it’s time for a letter-writing campaign – get in touch with every business you’ve ever spent money at in Ballard and tell them what you like about their product, then explain how the availability of safe and pleasant bike routes affects your purchasing patterns. I live in downtown Fremont and I love Ballard, but I end up going to the U. District probably twice as often because the ride is so much mellower.

  11. SGG says:

    I agree this shows how little time he ever spends in Seattle. If this is the first a guy like him has heard of this issue, it tells me that he should be running for mayor of Olympia, not Seattle. I mean seriously, he of all people should be dialed into the local politics around here more than your average bear, but clearly he doesn’t have a grasp for this issue. Even Malahan had a better idea of what is going on with this.

  12. Shaun says:

    Second look?!? This is more like the 20th look….

    • Gary says:

      No kidding. I think he needs to get on a bicycle and try riding through there and then tell us “it needs a second look.” Once on a bicycle is more than enough for anyone who actually wants to fix it.

      As for being wishy washy, no kidding. That comment about “Lake Union” is totally off the mark. This statement was written by one of his PR handlers.

      Running for mayor is a tight line between trying to get the bike haters who inhabit the Seattle times comment section from working against you, to owning up that the city has spent it’s maintence funds on things other than road maintence and now needs to find a way to fix the roads for cheap. Turns out putting more bicycles on the road does help keep the roads from busting up. (Also lightening the garbage trucks…)

      As for true bicycle support, Mayor McGinn hasn’t done all that could be done, but he’s been better than Mayor Nickles was, and it appears would be better than Mr. Murray. At least the current mayor has ridden on the roads to know first hand what the problems are.

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  15. Jonathan says:

    This guy is a fraud.

  16. Doug Bostrom says:

    “Safest possible route” and “protects the entry points into the Lake Union industrial businesses” unpacks into “cars are big enough that they can muscle their way through but pedestrians and cyclists are simply a nuisance.”

    It’s the same basic asymmetry that produces jaywalking tickets for pedestrians where cars are freely permitted to cross. Bizarre.

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