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Burke-Gilman Missing Link goes back to court today – UPDATE

UPDATE: See below for live-tweeting of the day in court by Cascade Bicycle Club.

The Missing Link is funded and designed. All it needs is the legal nod and work can begin.

But opponents to the project have vowed to fight this expensive legal battle to the bitter end. If the King County Superior Court does approve the plans and the appellants don’t come to their senses and end this painful, grueling fight, they do have a couple appeal options left on the table. But the number of those options remaining is dwindling as the plan moves through the glacial legal system.

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In the meantime, people keep getting hurt:

From Cascade:

As we continue down the legal path, the plot hasn’t dramatically changed.  We continue to believe that the trail section is a necessary safety improvement and connects up the backbone of our regional trail system.  The Ballard Business Appellants keep arguing that a trail would case significant traffic delays, parking loss, incompatibility with land use and wouldn’t be safe.

The quick synopsis. The City went back to study the route yet again a few hearings ago (due to concerns of “piece mealing” the analysis) and still determined that the trail would not cause significant environmental impacts.  Then on July 1 of this year, the Hearing Examiner (think of her like a judge) ruled that there will be no “probable significant adverse environmental impacts.”  The Ballard Business Appellants then appealed the Hearing Examiner’s ruling, which brings us to Superior Court tomorrow.  If we win yet again, the Ballard Business Appellants could appeal the forthcoming decision from Superior Court to the Court of Appeals or to the State Supreme Court.

Again, we hope this is the last time we have to win so we can get on with it.  As I’ve mentioned before, the City has been “eager to begin construction on a fully funded and fully designed ‘missing link’ segment,” according to SDOT.

We’ve got our eyes on the 2012 summer construction season.  It’d be a great time to celebrate.  We love ribbon cuttings.

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21 responses to “Burke-Gilman Missing Link goes back to court today – UPDATE”

  1. Todd

    Yeah it’s annoying this crap continues. But even if it does go through, you’re going to be writing more blogs on this little stretch anyway because it’s riddled with dangers. Obviously a dedicated bike path will help tremendously but I’ll guarantee you you will find something to write about Tom. Even the existing trail north past the Fremont bridge isn’t a trek through the park. I hope it goes through but it promises to be news worthy.

  2. jeff

    Why didn’t the city do an environmental impact statement? Wouldn’t that have been cheaper and faster than all this litigation?

  3. Biliruben

    Which Ballard businesses should we be boycotting?

    1. Gary

      Ballard Oil. But you probably don’t buy from them already.

  4. Biliruben, I think unless you own a bonafide commercial fishing boat then boycotting the business won’t do you nny good.

    As I understand it, this particular business is worried about their insurance rates going through the roof once the “missing link” is completed. I hope that the city could come to some sort of compromise, we need both the trail and the business.

  5. BK

    Ballard Oil. I’ve been in their office when one of their employees was complaining about cyclists and how he had no problem harassing/threatening them. I don’t like putting down local businesses, but these are just facts and this company has a history of fighting public works projects (Viaduct replacement).

    1. I’ve been there to, but never had the problem you did. They’ve always treated me OK so far.

    2. Mondoman

      BK, I’m pretty sure they supported the viaduct replacement (that is, rebuilding it).

  6. Leif

    If a boycott won’t work, then why not a protest ride? Find out what day they get their deliveries or have heavy traffic and get hundreds of cyclists to block their driveways so deliveries can’t be made and employees/customers can’t get in and out of the business. They obviously aren’t going to be reasonable so why not hit them where it hurts: the pocketbook. Any downtime for a business is money lost.

    1. Why a protest ride? What do you think it will accomplish by pissing off commercial fishermen? I guess you don’t understand the nature of the business, and this POV of yours only creates more rife.

      So, go ahead and make a whole bunch commercial fishermen mad, the consequences politically will be bad news for the cycling community and then you can thank yourself for such a foolish action.

      1. Leif

        Yeah, protests and pissing off people has never worked in the past! Those black folks during the civil rights fight should have just waited for everything to work out naturally instead of pissing people off and causing trouble! And lets not forget those Vietnam war protesters who drug the conflict out with their opposition!

  7. BK

    I’d suggest NOT boycotting or protesting. Cascade’s going to win this one. Let’s show them we can be good neighbors and responsible and that their fear is unfounded. That’s what will change public perception and improve our safety and enjoyment while cycling.

    1. Ballard Biker

      If I had any chance of doing business with the Ballard Business Appellants, I think I wouldn’t. Let Ballard Business Appellants have their day in court, it is their right. (But what’s with the Ballard C of C joining? The trail will be a huge benefit for Ballard business. They should be working for the trail completion.)
      When the inevitable happens, and this missing link gets built, I will enjoy thumbing my nose at Ballard Oil and Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel every time I ride by, which will be daily. And then hopefully we can move on to improving the Ballard Bridge for cyclists….

  8. john clarkson

    I’ve ridden this route many times over the past ten years. If we’re so interested in being good neighbors…I’ve never understood why the route can’t be moved back a couple blocks N off the beach. I don’t see how it would inconvenience bicyclists, and apparently it would allow the businesses that rely on that road to continue as in the past.
    Is this a bit of bicycle elitism? “We’re bike riders so we’re automatically in the right.”

    1. I don’t think the terrain would be prohibitive farther north, and the route would probably be more useful. Along any of the streets you’d have quite a few intersections; that leads me to wonder if a “neighborhood greenway” treatment would be a better fill-in for the missing link than an actual trail. But you’d probably have to go up to residential areas to find acceptable streets and political support. I don’t really know Ballard well enough to comment on routes… I have my own ways of getting to and from Ballard, but I’m starting from upper Fremont, so it’s a totally different situation.

    2. julian

      so if you’re going to improve upon several decades of process, planning, and design with a “couple blocks N off the beach” (what beach?) comment, and throw in the elitism charge as a bonus, you could at least propose a specific alternate route so I could tell you why it’s wrong.

      here’s a link to get you started:

      as for the “let’s move all the users of a hugely popular multi-use trail several blocks out of their way both ways to use a short section of an unplanned and unfunded neighborhood greenway” comment, please remember that greenways are not a substitute for other planned forms of infrastructure. and I say this as a huge booster for greenways.

      1. Yeah, when there’s already a shovel-ready, funded plan in place any speculation is pretty idle. I don’t intend my comments to be anything more than very idle speculation.

        I’m a bit bemused, in light of all the flaws of the Burke (especially between Gas Works Park and the missing link), that the new section is probably doomed to repeat most of them. Since it doesn’t really affect me, I don’t care that much… maybe I’ll find the new trail section useful some time when I’m out running or something.

      2. Mondoman

        julian, your link seems to bring up all the relatively recent stuff from the past 5 years, once the proposed route had long been set in stone by the City. Do you have any pointers to the “process” of initially suggesting alternate routes and evaluating them?

  9. john clarkson

    Our needs trump everyone else’s?

  10. Doug Bostrom

    Slightly off-topic, I’ve found myself wondering how has it become mandatory to move oil to fishing boats via truck, when the fishing boats are necessarily situated in a medium ideally suited for moving bulk cargo without any impact whatsoever to landlubbers?

    Analogies spring to mind: frozen fish cakes must be delivered to grocery stores by rowboat, so we absolutely must maintain that canal system connecting QFC to Fisherman’s Terminal regardless of the drownings?

    Has Ballard Oil thought about the implications of “displacement” or for that matter how their customers actually use their product?

  11. […] 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 […]

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