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Cascade publishes very, very long timeline of work to build the Burke-Gilman Missing Link

Screen Shot 2012-05-07 at 12.32.36 PMIf the Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail were a person born when the city first passed a plan build it, today it could legally go buy a drink.

The tale of the Missing Link is really more of a saga. Well, except that instead of exciting adventure, this saga is full of legal battles, stall tactics and enough studies and documents to easily pave the 1.5 miles of trail. But there is a (mostly) fake train company, which is at least somewhat creative.

This journey was recently laid out in a ridiculously-long timeline put together by Cascade Bicycle Club, which has been active in supporting the city’s legal case to finally complete the trail.

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Mayor Ed Murray’s Move Seattle levy includes funding to complete the trail. That makes him the third mayor in a row to budget for this one short section of trail. Yet construction crews are not likely to start working for two years if things keep on their current course and no new legal challenges increase the delay.

In the meantime, people continue to be injured navigating the area on bikes, even with interim bike safety changes instituted in recent years.

But we’ve been over all this before. The Environmental Impact Statement on the trail is finally supposed to be getting underway after some delays. The Cascade-led community group Connect Ballard is hoping to do what they can to keep the EIS on track and on schedule, according to the Cascade post.

Here’s the timeline. And here’s to hoping it doesn’t get any longer. Cheers, Missing Link:

Right timeline_1-2left timeline_0-2

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21 responses to “Cascade publishes very, very long timeline of work to build the Burke-Gilman Missing Link”

  1. Kimberly Kinchen

    What would make this even more effective is including a tally of recorded injuries for each year, at least for the last decade or so, as well as total estimated costs to date.

    1. You could put a dot for each crash in the month that it happened. Make it red, would show up as a pox running throughout the timeline.

  2. SGG

    Please elaborate on why you believe the rail line to be “mostly fake”. My understanding is that it runs, and is used to move stuff. Just because we are an interest group that has no interest in “that stuff” doesn’t make it fake.

    1. Law Abiders

      I think because the rail line is an LLC owned by the companies filing suit against the Missing Link. That causes people to call it “fake”.

      While I don’t particularly care for the companies filing suit, and in turn, their rail line, I would not go so far as to call them “fake”.

  3. Ballard Biker

    Are any of the injuries actually on the, “missing link” the part along Shilshole? It seems like the injuries were happening under the Ballard Bridge where train tracks crossed the trail.

    1. Kirk

      Most of the injuries do happen at the train tracks under the bridge, but this is a portion that would be remedied by completing the BGT. That section is part of the missing link, anything from where the trail ends at Fred Meyer on 8th over to the Ballard Locks where the trail begins.

  4. Gary

    Seems like it would have been cheaper to buy Ballard Oil, and Salmon Bay Gravel and then as the city owns them, move Ballarrd Oil to Harbor Island along with Salmon Bay Gravel.

    It would alievaite the need for trucks running back and forth on the waterfront, ie no bertha tunnel, the lawsuits would be over, and there would be a bicycle trail to Ballard. The land could be converted into expensive condos and sold at a profit.

  5. Kirk

    On the one hand, it has been an epic failure by the city to understand what is needed to complete this section. On the other hand, The Ballard Business Appellants – Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel (Paul Nerdrum), Ballard Oil (Warren Aakervik) and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce (Former President Michelle Rosenthal of Veris Law Group, with Josh Brower of Veris now representing the BBA) have displayed extreme obstructionist NIMBYism.

    Without a doubt, if the situation stays as is, this timeline will be extended far into the future. These Ballard Business Appellants will continue to sue and use any type of obstructionist tactic they can.

    At this point it seems that the best course of action would be to increase the pressure on the Ballard Business Appellants to drop their lawsuit. I have no idea how that could be accomplished, but I’m sure someone does, and I would be more than happy to participate if I could. I’m hoping that the redevelopment of the Stimson Mill tract and the Yankee Diner area (possibly by Apple) that are adjacent to where the trail will be built will increase the pressure to complete this vital transportation link.

    1. Peri Hartman

      An education campaign is one way to change the tide. People need to realize that if we route the missing link elsewhere, people will still ride along that stretch of Shilshoal ave. I believe the resisting businesses are under the illusion that if the route goes elsewhere the problem is solved.

      Since this is where people are going to ride, that’s where we need to accommodate them.

      Without trying to be political, I’d like to use two analogies. One, rather then tell people they shouldn’t be gay, most people have accepted that gays exist and providing legal gay marriages is better than denial. Two, many people believe that pot usage is relatively harmless and costs too much to resist; therefore it is better to make it legal, regulate it, and tax it.

      Now it’s time to educate people so they realize that riders will use Shilshoal so it’s best to accommodate them there, even with the industrial crossing issues. Once enough people are on board, the words of resistance will only blow into deaf ears.

      1. Richard

        This group has spent decades in the thick of this battle. I cannot believe they’re unaware of these facts.

        Usually education is one of the best approaches to a problem, but in this case only willful ignorance could explain their perspective – and education cannot change willful ignorance.

        They’ve shown they will not stop until they have no legal means to proceed.

      2. Peri Hartman

        I’m talking about educating the general public, not the businesses resisting. I agree with you, they are entrenched. However, if no one listens to them, their resistance will have no effect.

      3. Richard

        Quick clarify, I mean the legal coalition being willfully ignorant. Upon a second reading, I think you’re talking about the general public – but for once, the general public is not the problem. If it were up to them, support for fixing this would be overwhelming. The problem here is a very small number of opponents with an extremely skilled obstructionist legal team. *That* group, I do not believe education would help (for reasons stated above).

    2. Cheif

      Also those people certainly aren’t getting any younger, how long til they start dying off?

    3. Mark

      Diplomacy could very well help. Some ideas: The mayor’s office could work directly with the litigants to back down, as it did with the Westlake cycle path stakeholders. The membership of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, most of whom are unrelated to industrial interests and who would benefit from a neighborhood that integrates cycle traffic into the marine character of their neighborhood, could influence its leadership to change position. How many accountants, acupuncturists, architects, art galleries, bakeries, barbers, etc.—you can work your way down the chamber’s membership category list yourself—are aware of the chamber’s position or are cyclists themselves? Also, it’s worth pointing out that the Google and Yelp review pages for the BCC (g, y), Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel (g, y) and Ballard Oil Co (g, y) are largely devoid of any mention of their direct participation in a scheme to deprive residents and local businesses the benefits of a safe cycle corridor through their neighborhood.

  6. Chris

    I ride this every day, and it is an embarrassment to me that somehow while the rest of the city can get it together to put down miles and miles of trail we’re stuck with these obstructionists. The train is only run often enough so that their right to use the land is not jeopardized — my understanding is that it otherwise becomes abandoned. The train is a joke — they fire it up once in a while and then have to go very slowly because of all the cars parked on the tracks. The timeline also left out the smashed bicycles locked as a threat to telephone poles a few years ago. Why do they care? As far as I can see it is mostly to preserve the free parking and truck staging area where the tracks run. They claim to be worried about liability but the bikes are already there, currently on both sides of Shilshole, so it would be safer with a trail. It is a real shame because those tracks are really the perfect place for the trail: you don’t need to cross Shilshole and the grade is evened out. As it stands now the area behind the Lockspot is an area populated by drug users/homeless — it really isn’t even safe to go back there. I like the idea of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce getting pried out of its current control — how do we do that? How is their leadership determined?

    1. Kirk

      The Ballard Terminal Railroad really isn’t a factor in the delay of the completion of the Missing Link. The trail has been designed so that both can exist peacefully. In fact, the entire trail has been designed so that both users and industry can coexist peacefully, as they do all along the BGT from Golden Gardens to Kenmore. That’s what makes this obstructionism most frustrating. The Ballard Business Appellants are obviously not really concerned with safety, that’s just their story. It appears as if they are just upset with the city’s process, and are bearing a large grudge.

  7. This timeline actually misses the fact that, back in 2003, Washington Bike Law (then known as Anderton Law Office) filed suit against the City and the Ballard Terminal Railroad on behalf of four injured bicyclists and prevailed.

    More here: http://www.washingtonbikelaw.com/amicus_personae/printer_layout/printer_bicyclists_prevail_missing_link_case.html

    Sadly, my article from 2004 concludes, “The area is now safer. Hopefully it will not take another lawsuit before the City finally completes the Missing Link.”

  8. […] The only clear failure is the funding for the Burke-Gilman through Ballard. Here’s a nice post on the history of the project. […]

  9. […] Grant it had won for the Missing Link due to lack of progress on the project. The cost of the completely absurd amount of delay on this trail boggles the mind. What’s even more maddening is that 98.6 percent of people who […]

  10. I’m researching this issue because I want to bring more attention to what’s happening and finally get something done in the neighborhood. Please contact me at [email protected] if you have information that would assist. Jon

  11. […] on the Missing Link. Comprehensive coverage can be found on Seattle Bike Blog, including a timeline with more than 40 years working to build this […]

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