The city has given the green light to complete the “missing link” of the Burke Gilman Trail despite an appeal from a group of Ballard businesses.
Sue Tanner with the city’s Office of the Hearing Examiner has ruled in favor of completing the stretch between 11 Ave. NW and the Locks, long considered a dangerous stretch for bicyclists. Last November, the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing & Industrial Center, the North Seattle Industrial Association and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce filed an appeal (.pdf) saying the city’s plans to complete the missing link would “have substantial adverse impacts to this maritime and industrial community,” from the environment to parking. The Cascade Bicycle Club disagreed, filing a motion to intervene in the stalled process. The decision by Tanner allows the city to move forward.
“I am pleased the Hearing Examiner affirmed the city’s work on the Burke-Gilman Trail,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “I’ve remained sensitive to the concerns of local property owners. It’s time to move forward and complete this popular project.” We spoke with Warren Aakervik of Ballard Oil who is disappointed in the decision. He believes that bicyclist commuters will not use the trail, only recreational riders. “You don’t impact your maritime industry to this degree for recreation,” he says. “We have to stop it any way we can, to stop this to keep the maritime industry around.”
According to a press release from the Cascade Bicycle Club (.pdf), “This project will provide a new, separated trail and signed routes for bicyclists. Two Shilshole Avenue intersections, located at 17th Avenue NW and NW Vernon Place, will be redesigned to allow for safer crossing by bicyclists. In addition, the hazardous railroad tracks under the Ballard Bridge will be reconfigured.”
No word yet on exactly when construction work will get underway.