Why the so-called Burke-Gilman ‘Plan B’ is not a solution to the Missing Link

What N 45th Street could look like with a complete Burke-Gilman Trail

What NW 45th Street could look like with a complete Burke-Gilman Trail. That train almost never runs, but it is technically an active rail line. 2008 image from SDOT

After well more than a decade and dumping cement trucks full of private and public money into design and legal battles over the Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail, I can understand why people’s ears might perk up when they hear that there could be a Plan B. The idea certainly captured the imagination of Jonathan Martin, a member of the Seattle Times Editorial Board and a consistent supporter of bold bicycle projects in Seattle. It also caught Councilmember Sally Bagshaw’s attention.

But the group’s “plan” for protected bike lanes on Leary and Market is really just a smokescreen that will not address current safety concerns or complete the trail. It will do nothing for safety of people walking (or jogging or in wheelchairs or pushing strollers) and cannot be considered a reasonable alternative to actually completing the trail.

First, some background for those not familiar with the issue. Back in 2003 around the time the Bush administration was presenting their “evidence” of WMDs in Iraq to justify a war there, the Seattle City Council voted to complete the extraordinarily popular Burke-Gilman Trail by linking the dead end at Fred Meyer to the dead end at the Ballard Locks, thus providing a comfortable biking and walking link from Golden Gardens all the way to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell (with trail links to Redmond and beyond).

Ever crash on the Missing Link? There's a sticker for you.

Ever crash on the Missing Link? There’s a sticker for you.

The unfriendly industrial and commercial streets connecting these two endpoints have been the scene of untold numbers of bike crashes and injuries. It’s safe to say that, when you include unreported crashes, they easily number in the thousands. It’s so common to crash on the Missing Link that there’s even a sticker for people who have done it.

But a crew of Ballard businesses calling themselves the Ballard Appellants lawyered up and have used every possible legal hold to delay the trail’s completion. As a result, people continue to crash and get hurt on the Missing Link. And since the city has still not begun work on a pricey and time-consuming Environmental Impact Statement (“An EIS for a biking and walking trail?” you ask incredulously. Yes, and EIS for a trail.), we aren’t gonna see the final document until 2016. The Ballard Appellants have threatened to sue again if they can find a chance and will do whatever they can to push it back even further.

If there was a time when the Appellants were open to actual and real talks about trail design, it ended sometime during the Bush Administration (and before this blog even existed). In recent memory, it’s been all about delaying the project at any cost and for whatever reason finds traction (in 2012 they threw 19 reasons to delay the project at the judge, who tossed out 18 of them).

Completing the trail is a popular idea and has been politically decided and funded for so long, it’s hard for me to even get up the will to write yet another post explaining why we should complete the Missing Link (this is post number 28, for those keeping track at home).

Need more evidence that the Appellants’ reasons for wanting these bike lanes are not so altruistic? Check out this shameless fear-mongering slide from their Plan B slideshow:

CycleTracksPresentation-fearmongeringYep, completing the trail is essentially the same as sending children to their deaths, says the Ballard Appellants. Good grief.

But like any good hostage takers, they have offered a deal that is not really a deal at all. It’s really just their original demand (“don’t build it here!”) obscured by a smokescreen (“look over there!”). The Ballard Appellants, lead on the legal front by Josh Brower, have been pushing this so-called “Plan B” that would install protected bike lanes on Leary Way and Market Street instead of completing the trail along the rail corridor like the rest of the route. They even have a website now to promote the idea.

While we here at Seattle Bike Blog certainly agree that those bike lanes are a good idea on their own merit (especially on Market Street), they would not complete the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Trails are not just for biking

The Missing Link is not just about bikes. People walking are left without a safe and comfortable connection, too.

The Missing Link is not just about bikes. People walking are left without a safe and comfortable connection, too.

The biggest reason “Plan B” is not a full solution is because it does absolutely nothing for all the people using the trail in ways other than biking. It’s very popular for people out for a stroll, walking to work, jogging for exercise or visiting attractions like parks, the Locks or the Ballard business district. Or at least it would be popular if it were complete. There are many sections of the trail where people walking outnumber people biking, so any “alternative” would need to provide a quality, direct and comfortable connection for people on foot.

It’s not rare to see someone rolling down NW 45th Street in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller along the train tracks. Protected bike lanes two blocks away won’t do much of anything to help people on foot or in wheelchairs complete the 1.5 miles of missing trail. This alone is reason enough to dismiss “Plan B.”

The rail corridor is a gem of Seattle

The Burke-Gilman Trail is one of the most successful Rails-to-Trails projects in the nation, and that’s because it takes advantage of a rail corridor that creates a unique trail experience unlike what you’ll find on a commercial street. It is closer to the water, it has few street crossings, and it has few hills.

From a transportation point of view the Burke-Gilman isn’t even a very direct connection between many high-demand places. It’s roundabout and usually skirts neighborhoods rather than going through the middle of them (Fremont and UW are exceptions). But people go out their way to walk and bike on it, and it can get quite packed. It has few stoplights, so users can get on and cruise or stroll without interruption. Plus, you get a great tour the city’s working inner waterfront, which is a cool part of Seattle that many people rarely see.

Simply put, it’s a gem of the city.

Protected bike lanes on Leary and Market are something entirely different. They are smart neighborhood bike transportation and street safety investments. Protected bike lanes would transform Market Street and could come with a whole lot of crosswalk improvements to make that street the people-focused center of Ballard it should be. Plus it could be a workable bike route detour until the trail is finally completed.

But “Plan B” bike lanes would not be the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the Missing Link would remain missing.

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33 Responses to Why the so-called Burke-Gilman ‘Plan B’ is not a solution to the Missing Link

  1. Zimmerman says:

    It’d sure be nice to know who makes up the Ballard Appellants so I can make sure I’m not spending money at their businesses.

    • Kirk says:

      Ballard Business Appellants: Ballard Oil, Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel, Ballard Chamber of Commerce, Veris Law Group. I guess you can quit buying truckloads of concrete and heating oil from these asshats.

      • Becky says:

        There are many smaller businesses who are part of the Chamber – including Peddler Brewing Co. That is where the customer pressure will work – if enough of their membership revolts, the Chamber might stop backing the Ballard Business Appellants.

      • Kirk says:

        The Ballard C of C is involved in the Missing Link saga because their former president and current ex officio director is Michelle Rosenthal; who is a principal at Veris Law Group, who has sued the city to stop the completion of this vital trail. Her clients are the rest of the Ballard Business Appellants and she has represented them on other matters.

        The Ballard C of C claims to be a “voice for the community at large.” They certainly are not my voice. They claim that ”the Chamber plays a critical role in community engagement and advocacy to advance the interests of Ballard businesses and the broader community.” Um, no they don’t. They are obstructionist NIMBYs that have no interest in advancing the interests of the broader community.

    • Kirk says:

      Yes, build this cycle track AND finish the missing link.

  2. Julian Davies says:

    Good point about non-cyclists, but as a guy on a bike, I *still* don’t want Plan B along with completion of the Burke Gilman Missing Link.

    A cycle track on Leary would be dangerous and stupid. Way too many turning movements and conflicts along this route, with speeding careless drivers making right and left turns all along. Plus, there just isn’t that much on Leary a cyclist would want to go to (Peddler’s excepted). A complete waste of resources, not worth the time and money to even study it, worthwhile only to Josh Brower’s future income when he inevitably sues to block his own idea on behalf of the next group of Ballard businesses. He’s crafty like that.

    For a temporary solution to the focacta Missing Link delays, put a light at 17th and Shilshole, run a protected cycle track up Ballard ave (plenty wide, and is a place people actually want to ride and visit), including a 2-way option on the last one-way block, and build more protected cycle track from Market at Ballard Ave to the Locks.

    Lines of desire. Build the infrastructure where cyclists already ride. Convert the last stretch of Ballard Ave to two-way for cyclists, since so many of us already sheepishly ride the wrong way there to get to calmer Ballard Ave as directly as possible.

    Eventually, a cycle track for the rest of Market, but that’s not a loss of travel lane/parking battle I feel like fighting right now.

  3. kpt says:

    No offense, but I feel like this objection is pretty weak. I mean, the right response to your objection is “yes, plan B shouldn’t just be a cycle track. It should be a complete street treatment, with better sidewalks and crossings and so on.” That way you aren’t just catering to cyclists, but to all non-vehicular users.

    You could object that the complete streets treatment would cost way too much (still worth it, IMO), or you could object that the Appellants are just bluffing – they don’t really want this. I say: call their bluff, then. Agree to move it, if (and only if) the Chamber gets behind it, and gets behind a complete streets treatment. And maybe even gets behind a modest LID to pay for it. They sign that, and all lawsuits go away. The only people that doesn’t benefit is the lawyer who keeps expertly suing the city.

    I really want to get from point A (current end of the BG Trail) to point B (Ballard Locks and beyond). I want to do it on my bike, with my kids. And the Shilshole route would get us there just as well as the Leary (or Ballard) + Market route. But, I’m not actually all that interested in anything between points A and B along the Shilshole route. I’m interested in lots of stuff between A and B on the Leary + Market route. Now, that’s just me – there’s lots of employment along Shilshole, and it would be great to have good non-motorized access. But, there’s lots of employment (and residential) along Leary + Market as well. More, I’d guess. Make a few cheap, short, protected connections south to Shilshole from that route. And north to the greenway on 58th, if you really want to connect things up.

    This feels like a great opportunity for our recently-interested-in-bike-stuff Mayor, if he wants to play the Big Dog: come in here, and get the Chamber to agree to support this all the way, and make a great route through the heart of Ballard for bikes and pedestrians and wheelchairs and everyone. And let the bad guys think they won. While the rest of us enjoy our newfound mobility.

  4. Southeasterner says:

    Not to be overly pessimistic but how on earth does the city think they are going to be able to take away street parking (or traffic lanes) on Leary going through the kingdom of Carter Subaru/Volkswagen? For as much money as Ballard Oil has thrown at the BGT, Carter’s fight against Leary will probably be a magnitude greater.

    I think Leary and Shilshole are both losers that won’t be complete anytime before my great great great grandchildren are biking around.

    Why not just make permanent what we already do on Sunday? Close off Ballard Ave to cars and make it bike/ped only? That way Ballard Oil & Friends and Carter can reap the benefit of all the extra traffic, we can enjoy Ballard Ave, and the businesses on Ballard Ave can open up outdoor space and make it an awesome place. If the retailers don’t think it will work drive them out to U-Village or a covered U-Village (called a mall) and they can see how many more people enjoy shopping when they don’t have to worry about getting nailed by a car when walking between shops.

    • Southeasterner says:

      …and if they complain about the lack of parking walk them a few blocks North to 56th where we have the most ridiculous crater of surface parking on some of the most valuable land in the city.

      Change one or two of the many surface lots into parking structures and you have your solution…and a few private land owners get rich. While your at it re-zone all the other surface lots into anything but parking so the investors sitting on all that prime real estate are forced to actually do something with it.

    • biliruben says:

      After seeing the roving packs of wild hipsters out in force on Saturday, I think it’s past time to close Ballard Ave.

      Holly smokes – Fremont is jealous.

    • Meg says:

      This! This, this, this!

  5. Al Dimond says:

    In Fremont the BGT doesn’t follow the historic rail route or go to the center of the neighborhood, it follows a new route along the water. Check the 1912 map. The street and building layout was totally redone when the office park was built, and buildings are on top of where the rails used to be (I think the rails ran under the Fremont Bridge approach at a level that’s now office parking, but I could be wrong). That railroad actually crossed the Ship Canal around 1st Ave W and continued along today’s South Ship Canal Trail route. The BGT west of there is roughly along what must have been local spurs until the Missing Link. The rails in the Missing Link are mostly in street ROW, then west of 24th it’s apparently a different ROW, probably private again. So there isn’t really one unified historic rail route the BGT follows.

    As for the center of the neighborhood, well, getting to most of Fremont’s businesses or homes from the trail requires awkward maneuvers (for example, how do you get from the WB Burke to WB 34th St or NB Stone Way?), steep climbs, or crazy traffic (Fremont Ave between 34th and 36th). I’m not sure the Burke wouldn’t have been more successful if it had followed 34th into the commercial heart of Fremont at street level, with a really obvious connection to the Fremont Bridge (that connection is pretty well obfuscated today!).

    Within Fremont the beautiful waterfront route and parks (along with today’s offices) were built over the graveyard of an industrial waterfront. The lesson there was that the new route didn’t doom the trail. That it was a beautiful route with few intersections probably didn’t hurt. Farther west, where the waterfront is still industrial, there will be no intersection-free route along the water, so the lesson can’t be applied rote. There are no uncommonly great views from the planned BGT route and it has lots of intersections with lots of freight movements. Deviating from some rail corridor wouldn’t doom the trail in Ballard, either, and it might not hurt to go some places with more destinations.

    I’m far from convinced that Ballard’s whole business community will unite behind true “complete streets” modifications along a Leary/Market route that include great cycletracks. But if they do, if they’re willing to be real partners to make this route happen, I wouldn’t object to calling that The Burke-Gilman Trail any more than I object to today’s route through Fremont. And losing on-street parking on Market Street would be its own reward — no more sitting on the 44 waiting for Seattleites to parallel park, something we’re worse at than any city but Portland, where parallel parking poorly rises to the level of performance art.

    • Al Dimond says:

      That said… as someone that’s done a lot of running along Leary, Market, and every part of SDOT’s Missing Link route that’s legal to access, the idea of starting the detour all the way at 8th Ave NW is crazy without a huge amount of work on Leary, which runs diagonally across the rest of the grid and has tons of intersections and driveways. We can turn north from the current end of the Missing Link at 11th. From there Leary’s intersections are less frequent and at nice standard angles. Leary has another diagonal section west of 17th, but it’s truly not as bad — every street intersects it at a right angle but 20th, and that intersection could be modified or signalized. It would still need a road diet, driveway improvements/consolidation, and support for turning movements for cyclists… but it’s not a long stretch of road, and near more residences and a major pedestrian retail district, giving the changes more natural support, and more possibility for actually great improvements.

      The Leary and Market redesigns would have to be seriously improve safety compared to existing conditions to even think about dropping the existing plan (the existing plan crosses lots of industrial driveways, but primary biking hours and primary local-freight-movement hours are a good enough complement that it’s not so conflict-laden in practice as it would appear from overhead images). The affected stretch of Leary would have to become a three-lane and have some driveways consolidated, as a hard requirement. Market would obviously lose its on-street parking and probably gain some turning restrictions. And I think the interim cycletrack would have to be extended to 17th, with safety augmented for crossing the tracks and 46th. Essentially it has to actually be better for us than the existing plan or else there’s no point assenting to it. But I hardly think that’s impossible.

    • More infrastructure is good says:

      There indeed was a rail line along the waterfront park where the BG trail is located. You can still see it where the Ballard Terminal Railroad uses it, further north. It went west-east along the Ship Canal, under the north side of the Fremont Bridge. The streetcar line to Ballard, a separate line, went north across the Fremont Bridge and then west along N. 36th, north up 3rd NW, west on NW 41st, then north on 6th NW.

    • Michael says:

      The route through Fremont was a compromise that was made with a coalition of businesses (led by Suzy Burke of the Fremont Dock Company, who wanted to build on the former industrial waterfront.) I don’t think that anyone thinks it’s important to follow the exact route of the railroad through Ballard, but that’s the corridor that is available and probably the easiest to develop into a trail. No one has proposed a reasonable alternative to this route — the Leary/Market proposal is a red herring put up by the opponents of bicycling in order to continue stonewalling the process of providing a direct, safe connection of the trail between NW 45th St. and the Ballard Locks.

      • Mark B. says:

        I think at least part of the opposition along Shilshole Avenue is loss of some of the free parking, which exists on both sides of the street. There is plenty of room to build a safe bicycle/pedestrian trail on Shilshole, but some [free] parking would be lost. If the city were to start charging for parking on Shilshole, some of the opposition to a trail would evaporate, replaced by paroxysms about the lost parking.

  6. More infrastructure is good says:

    I would like for both the Trail to be completed and the bikeway on Leary to be built. The bikeway on Leary could be built now while they sort out how the Trail should work with industrial traffic, exactly. It is the fastest way to downtown Fremont from Ballard, hands-down. When I am in a hurry to get from Fremont to Ballard, I choose riding on the sidewalk along Leary (not safe in the street) to riding the existing Burke-Gilman extension and then up Ballard Avenue to my destinations because it is faster. I hope for both to happen!

  7. Marlan says:

    I vote for an elevated trail, a la Copenhagen’s Cycle Snake.

  8. Captain Underpants says:

    The only thing the Shilshole orientation has going for it, is that the shortest distance is a straight line. There is nothing there other than industrial. No retail. Nothing you could even argue you are going to patronize on a bike. Why keep fighting for this when it would be so much better to put this on Ballard Ave? Can you imagine a one way street, with a bike trail. Or even better something like Freemont Street in Vegas!

    • Josh says:

      Ballard Ave would be a fantastic street for this. It’s the kind of street meant for pedestrians. Smaller, quieter, shaded, old, interesting, lots of consumer oriented businesses. It’s also a gentler slope than Shilshole going up to Market and somewhat removed from the worst of the heavy trucks serving the industrial in the area. It would also provide the most direct connection to the Ballard bridge, should there ever be a plan to fix those bike lanes. A route around the bridge could go through the parking lane on the north side of NW 46th using those two stumps of 15th Ave NW on either side of the bridge to tie it all together, and close them to cars as they only add to an already crappy interchange with the bridge. I’m sure there would be a vocal opposition from car advocates on Ballard Ave but it is terrible to be on any time people are out at night and it can’t be any better for drivers with all the poorly marked and lit crosswalks, obstructed visibility around corners and traffic backing up traffic every direction as they all jockey for parking. As much of that as possible should be kept on the neighboring streets.

  9. Josh Brower says:

    Tom, I don’t generally wade into the comments on your website except when I think necessary to correct factual inaccuracies. The slide you include and claim is “fear mongering” is actually from SDOT, not the Ballard Business Appellants. That is SDOT’s design for the Missing Link along Shilshole. You failed to include the source reference on the bottom of the slide, which you can find here: http://www.ballardcycletracks.com/PDF/CycleTracksPresentation.pdf.

    Also, the Leary-Market solution does connect the Missing Link; whether you think that “completes” it or not, I’ll leave to you.

    • Brian says:

      Er…that link is dead, but from the cached version, it appears that the image might be from SDOT, but the dead-children-in-the-street caption seems to be from the Ballard Appellants. The fear-mongering critique was aimed at the caption, not the image.

    • Kirk says:

      Fear mongering and misinformation it is. The slide depicted merely shows the layout of the concrete pour and jointing. The actual design for the Burke Gilman Trail that will be built can be seen here (http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/bgt/BGT_Reissue_ShilsholeDesign.pdf), with a fence on the railroad side and a concrete barrier located in a three foot barrier on the street side.
      Mr. Brower’s comments regarding his planned continuance of obstruction are quite confident. Even if SDOT screws it up again and can’t get it past the hearing examiner, I am sure the Stimson redevelopment of the Marina Tract will change the face of this debate.
      The future needs to be kept in mind; the future development of the Stimson Mill Tract will change the Ballard waterfront. I’m sure the Stimson’s will want bicycle access to all of the tech (?) jobs that will be located in their new campus.

      • jay says:

        The link worked for me.
        To be fair, the illustration is of a driveway crossing, which of course would not have a fence or barrier. Still, I think it is fair to call the caption fear mongering.
        Also note that elsewhere in that document they said:
        “It looks nothing like the FoBGT’s artist renditions. Instead of a tree-lined protected trail with pedestrian amenities, this is what SDOT proposes to construct:”
        I take that to imply SDOT proposes to do the project on the cheap, so their “alternative” is something that could well be an order of magnitude more expensive? But then, I’m sure they don’t actually want anything built.

        What I want to know is what is the point of this “option” (which of course is not an option at all) Do they hope to get all of the rest of Ballard on their side by portraying bicyclists as greedy free loaders who want the city to spend many millions of dollars (>> 10 wouldn’t surprise me at all) and take a couple lanes of traffic just to play with their toys? However, it is not bicyclists who suggested this, (at least not this century, they do mention plans from 1996, but I didn’t bother to research them) and few bicyclists have much desire to deal with the intersections on Leary, bike lane or no, certainly not “Wendy”.
        I’d think the opposite is a possibility (at least I hope so) . The rest of Ballard might see the obstructionists for what they are, and ask why they can’t just give up that patch of dirt they park on for free (not entirely sure about the “free” is any of the Shilshole parking metered) instead of taking lanes on Leary and significantly (expensively) redoing Market.
        By the way, take a look at page 20 of their “cycle track presentation”: Car parked in bus zone, didn’t bother to draw in the curb cut ($$) that would be needed at the bus stop. My point being that whoever did this did not take it seriously.
        Also page 18: still two lanes each way, and parking, and the bike lane? where did that space come from? The “planting strip” next to the sidewalk is gone. So, widen the street, move the street light poles, redo sidewalk, doesn’t sound cheap to me! However, the major rework of the street would give an opportunity for making it a “complete street”

        All in all, I like Julian’s idea, (in addition to a light (or all way stop) at 17th, an all way stop at Shilshole and 46th would be nice. And maybe all way stop at 46th and 14th would make getting to Trader Joe’s a bit easier) I have to admit I’ve never ridden on Ballard Way during peak hours, but I can’t imagine it ever being worse than Shilshole or Leary. Sure, one would have to either walk their bikes a couple blocks, or detour, on Sunday, but there is a good chance that on Sunday the farmers market will be one’s destination anyway.

      • Mondoman says:

        I would think the Stimson development would eliminate any chance of a road diet on Shilshole, due to the massive increase in SOV traffic with that development as a destination (unless they come up with parking on the other side of the ship canal and a park-n-ferry scheme!).

  10. Hutch says:

    I’m generally of the belief that bike commuters (like motorists) are going to take the path of least resistance and the shortest distance between two points, which makes Shilshole the obvious answer. (And we have the current Westlake debacle to illustrate why that’s important.)

    That said, Ballard Ave. is one block out of the way, has no more hills, few stoplights, is more central to the places you’d want to visit on a bike and is much more aesthetically pleasing ride than Shilshole. I don’t object to the idea that there’s value in seeing the “working waterfront” portion of Seattle when using the BGT, but I’m not sure that value is worth riding through a mile of light industrial when the area’s real charm is 200 feet to the NW. Yes, this would mean bad things for street parking and driving (and I eagerly await the Ballard Chamber of Commerce’s fierce advocacy in support of protected bike lanes on Ballard and Market Avenues), but if we were able to do it on 2nd Ave. and Broadway I don’t see why it couldn’t work in a neighborhood like Ballard.

    • Captain Underpants says:

      I suspect you would eliminate even more parking by putting the trail on Shilshole than you would on Ballard Ave… And I agree, Ballard Ave is much nicer with more stuff to do. Ballard is not the working waterfront of Westlake, this trail is going to be set back quite a ways from the water… The lesser of two evils etc.

    • Al Dimond says:

      Ballard Ave needs its travel lanes narrowed and its sidewalks widened, and it needs proper support for contraflow biking on its northernmost block. The off-angle intersections at 20th and 22nd could use some work, too — maybe calming-style traffic circles with super-slow design speed to organize the conflicts you get trying to cross those intersections by any mode.

      I don’t think Ballard Ave is a good place to put a cycletrack or generally to encourage lots of through-traffic. Sending ALL THE COMMUTERS AND FREDS down it would hurt its relaxed character, and its weekly closure for the farmer’s market (not to mention crowds of people outside restaurants and bars that would regularly block any cycletrack) would make it a poor choice for The Burke-Gilman Trail. Keep it a local commercial street, preserve (and augment) the interim cycletrack that provides access to its southern end… keep it for people that go there intentionally. I’m pretty skeptical of closing it to traffic full-time, too, but I think that’s a less-bad idea than sending the BGT down there.

    • Doug Bostrom says:

      Thinking in terms of a commuter or person who is trying to integrate bicycle transport with daily life including such things as obtaining food etc., a route that is central to a plethora of useful destinations seems more useful. From that perspective and if forced to choose between two alternatives, Plan B seems better for cycling as a tool for living, as opposed to a recreational activity.

      Not to say that “this, or that” is necessarily the right way to go. As others here have said, “all of the above” would be best.

  11. Teresa says:

    I am speaking as one of the many crash victims of the missing link. My bike tire was caught by the railway track under the Ballard bridge in mid-June. This crash happened one after the city ‘fixed’ this section of the missing link. They ‘fixed’ nothing – the addition of the extra cones in this section only made it more difficult to cross the open rails at a 90 degree angle. I am still recovering from my injuiries. I am quite literally scarred for life by the missing link.

    All that said, I have zero opinion on the preferred route mapping to close the missing link gap. I would be thrilled with any option that provides a truly protected lane AND covers the railway hazards. Any route that does not address these issues while providing safe passage from Fred Meyer to the Locks does not solve the problem. Any route will do. In the meantime, I know, the Ballard Appellants know, and the city knows that the injuries will continue.

    • Mondoman says:

      With serious respect and the hope that your injuries continue to heal, would you be willing to comment a bit on what makes the railroad tracks so dangerous from your point of view? I ask as someone who has lived many years in both Northern California and Boston, riding bikes on roads that both crossed railroad tracks, and included “embedded” tracks (e.g. disused old lines, or tracks for trolleys). In neither of those areas did I ever witness or hear of anyone having an injury accident due to crossing or getting stuck in a track, so I wonder what makes Ballard (and perhaps other regions of Seattle) so different. Is it an issue of cyclist training and experience? Is there a track configuration by the Ballard Bridge that appears almost nowhere else? Is it perhaps an issue of the type of bike/wheel involved? Thanks for any clarification.

  12. Kirk says:

    Not on topic, but close. As if the Ballard Bridge didn’t suck enough already, this morning I came across signs for the bridge detour this weekend BOLTED TO THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK! Nice job SDOT! This crossing is the worst in Seattle, you have done nothing to improve it, EVER, and now you have made it worse and much more dangerous. There weren’t even any reflectors on these signs, and there must be at least five of them. Riding over the bridge in the dark this morning was quite an experience. Oh, SDOT, don’t forget to Be Super Safe! Don’t forget, “Keeping It Safe is our number one priority!”

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