Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel Co. and their “business” friends are at it again, trying to make sure the Burke-Gilman trail is never completed and that people continue having their pleasant rides turned suddenly into a potentially deadly and violent ride along Shilshole and Market.
Cyclists, who support the city’s plan, point out that the gap in the trail has become a safety hazard. Some who have crashed on railroad tracks that cross the roadway already have sued the city. Cascade had sided with the city in the industrial group’s lawsuit.
“We can’t understand why the City and Cascade Bicycle Club, both of whom claim the trail is necessary to increase safety, are so opposed to conducting a safety study,” said Paul Nerdrum, Vice President of Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel Co., one of the businesses comprising the Ballard Business Appellants, in a statement.
SDOT expected the environmental review to be completed in six months and will continue with that process, spokeswoman Marybeth Turner said. The appeal likely will delay the project further, although it’s hard to say for how much longer.
According to the Ballard News Tribune, the appellant businesses are Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel, the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, Ballard Oil, the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing and Industrial Center, the North Seattle Industrial Coalition and the Seattle Marine Business Coalition.
Clearly, this is all just an attempt to further delay the project, causing more and more people to injure themselves in serious bike wrecks after the lovely, safe path — which magically runs through other industrial areas without destroying those businesses — dumps riders into industrial hell. Experienced bikers will find the area confusing the first couple times, and inexperienced bikers are completely lost.
Many try to ride between the tracks on NW 45th south of the Ballard Bridge and crash. Others try to ride in a small space between the tracks and oncoming traffic on Shilshole north of the Ballard Bridge, which is also very dangerous. I’ve seen an experienced biker fall when his tire got caught on the inch lip while trying to merge into the traffic lane from this shoulder area. Luckily traffic had enough room to stop before hitting him as he sprawled out in the traffic lane. Others try to ride in traffic on Shilshole, which is safe enough if you are used to riding in traffic with large angry trucks, but is not so safe for someone who is new. If you are going to learn to ride in traffic, I should suggest many streets before trying Shilshole.
But this appeal has nothing to do with safety, and everybody knows that. I really don’t understand why the Ballard Chamber of Commerce would oppose it, though. What could be better for Ballard’s local retail than a bike highway dumping tons of people into the retail core? Clearly, the average Ballard business is not represented by this chamber.
The only Ballard establishment that will see more business due to the further delay of this trail is Swedish Hospital.