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SDOT (again) proposes completion of Burke-Gilman missing link – UPDATED

SDOT has released the revised SEPA Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) proposing to complete the dangerous and infamous Burke-Gilman Missing Link through Ballard. From Anne-Marije Rook at the Ballard News Tribune:

A DNS for this proposal was originally issued in 2008, but the project description has been revised to include a trail alignment along Shilshole Avenue N.W. between 17th Avenue N.W. and N.W. Vernon Place.

As a result, SDOT has determined that the project is unlikely to have significant adverse impacts on the environment.  This decision was made after review of the proposal’s potential impacts on several elements of the environment.

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The Burk-Gilman Trail is a main corridor for cyclists and runners as it runs unbroken from Issaquah to Fremont but ends in Ballard, where conflicts between cyclists, the city and businesses have delayed the completion of the Missing Link.

UPDATE: Project Manager Ron Scharf laid out the ways in which the project opponents could delay the project further. An appeal to the DNS must be filed by March 3. The project would then go to the Hearing Examiner and go through public testimony.

If the hearing examiner gives the project a pass, the revised SEPA checklist will go back to the same judge in King County Superior Court who ordered the revised SEPA. If the judge gives it a pass, opponents could appeal to Washington State Appellate Court. The Appellate Court can turn the case down, but if they choose to take it up, it can take a while to get on the court’s calendar.

Assuming opponents pursue all appeal options they can, as they have promised, Construction would not likely begin before 2012. Meanwhile, city legal costs are stacking up.

I would like to make a courteous plea to opponents, such as Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel and Ballard Oil, not to waste their money and the city’s money (also, Cascade Bicycle Club’s money, though I’m guessing the opponents probably don’t care about that) delaying an important and popular transportation and recreation project. Your fight has progressed far beyond the realm of absurd, and there’s no shame in just adding the money you were going to spend on delaying the project yet another year onto your employees’ bonuses. Or you could use that money to buy your employees bicycles so they can have a cheaper and healthier commute to work on the new world-class bicycle trail at your business’s doorstep.

There are lots of great documents about the project to dig through on SDOT’s website. The SEPA checklist says construction could begin as soon at autumn of this year if there are no delays. Here are some fun images to get you re-excited about the project:

Looking towards Fremont near Fred Meyer
Alignment along Shilshole

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4 responses to “SDOT (again) proposes completion of Burke-Gilman missing link – UPDATED”

  1. John

    What about adding a concession to industrial sites along the route. Something along the lines of railroad style gates that are triggered by a waiting vehicle? Standard stoplight gauss sensor thing with timer. That way if big trucks are waiting to get out (in would be harder) trail users could be warned to give way. I’m making the big assumption here that some of the owners have some reason for opposing beyond pure malice.

  2. JAT

    I don’t like the look of all those street and driveway crossings in the artist’s impression of a be-trailed Shilshole Ave. I feel like mixed use trails tend to be better suited to walkers than to riders, and drivers’ behavior being what it is cyclists are going to be doing a lot of yielding at intersections where on the road they’d have legal and practical right of way.

    Having said that, I think your proposal to the industrial tenants is well phrased and makes a lot of sense.

  3. Chris

    I’m a little surprised this project got a DNS. From what I can tell there are mitigation measures included in the checklist, which tends to make it a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance.

    A number of the parking spots people a complaining about losing were never intended to be parking like the ones along the railroad tracks on the road right of way.

    As someone who moved to Seattle 10 years ago from somewhere else, I am continuously amazed that anything gets done here. We can’t get this trail built through Ballard after years of bickering and we’re just one inevitable earthquake away from the Viaduct crashing down and the 520 bridge sinking.

  4. […] city has spent piles of money on studying the trail, and every time they do so, the city’s traffic engineers determine that the project will be safe. The […]

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