City to complete Burke Gilman ‘missing link’

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.

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Archibald
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Archibald

Get that work started soon! I look forward to the improvements.

boardbrown
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boardbrown

Yee Haw!

gurple
Guest

Woo hoo! This will prevent accidents, speed up everyone commuting through the area, and make the whole NW part of the city safer for bicyclists.

For me personally, in an eon or two when this is done it'll shave at least 5 minutes off my commute and make me feel a lot safer.

gcm
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gcm

woohoo! anything that makes biking around town safer is goodness.

b
Guest
b

That is awesome! I am getting my bike ready!!!

Biking mom
Guest
Biking mom

Glad I won't have to worry about biking with my children to Golden Gardens when this is complete! Yay Cascade!

gurple
Guest

Apparently the industry group is already talking about an appeal to superior court:
http://www.ballardnewstribune.com/2009/06/09/ne

If I weren't already a Cascade member, I would be joining now!

srcsmgrl
Guest

I am so glad to hear that! Yay for the trail!

Fredrickson
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Fredrickson

Amazing. My hat goes off to the community for their relentless effort to push this through. And major respect to Nickels and the city for the funding that has already been allocated for the project. Nickels has already completed three of the remaining segments during his term, and here comes the fourth and final segment!

SaltyRod
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SaltyRod

If the bikes would follow the law there would be no problem. Ballard industry YES. Special interest hobbyists NO!

gurple
Guest

I disrespectfully disagree, LeakyRod. I commute to work by bike most days (special interest? hobbyist?), and I obey the laws. There are two pain points on my route:

1) in the morning, turning left onto Shilshole after getting down there from Ballard Ave.
2) in the evening, making a diagonal crossing of the intersection near Fred Meyer at the end of the B-G

Both of these spots are inherently dangerous. 1) has low visibility and cars moving at high speed. 2) forces cyclists to do something that no one is happy about: change from being a 'pedestrian' to being a 'vehicle', while crossing a busy intersection; the inevitable “you go! no, you go!” slows everyone down.

In addition, when I started riding I had a nasty fall crossing the tracks just west of Fred Meyer. I've since learned to deal with them, but at least once a week I see someone making the same mistake and getting on the wrong side of them.

There exists a problem. This will help solve it.

Long Timer
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Long Timer

Hip hip hooray !!!!

Biking mom
Guest
Biking mom

Uhhhh SaltyRod, if you think there aren't “special interests” behind opposition to this plan (and your safety and your nonmotorized mobility), you're head's in the sand & gravel. At least bicyclists are transparent in their advocacy work.

scotts
Guest
scotts

In response to the Ballard Oil owner, I guess we should stop building roads that drivers use for non-commuting purposes.

Silver
Guest

YES! This is such good news!

Bounce bounce bounce!!!

eric
Guest
eric

yeah, finally.

the business groups have block this long enough.

Kyle
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Kyle

This normally-bike commuter will appreciate it. By the time it's built, I'll be long healed from my current injury — nearly broke my elbow going over my handlebars after hitting a bad patch of pavement on another bike trail.

Pumped
Guest
Pumped

Woo-hoo! I am a bicycle commuter who will ride on it every day! I will ride on it on the weekend for going places, too!

DEF
Guest
DEF

I regularly commute on the trail to the East of the danger stretch, and often ride for recreation through it. I'll be really happy to see the trail completed. But–Ballard industrial businesses must feel like they've been hit with a one-two punch after this decision and the deep-bore tunnel plan's lame neglect of trucking routes to Ballard. I wouldn't blame them for thinking the city was out to get them. Don't forget there is another kind of big business that can benefit from putting the squeeze on maritime industry: developers. Having a working waterfront is a good thing. It brings diversity to the kinds people working in Ballard and to the city's tax base. And let's face it, biking through nothing but a canyon of condos and office parks (which is what will replace the working waterfront if it's shut down) would totally suck. I hope Ballard bicyclists will rise the occasion and prove that a bike trail and business can coexist. I think they can if the trail's well designed and riders are willing to give the right of way when it makes sense. And how about putting some of that activism toward making sure we get a better… Read more »

boardbrown
Guest
boardbrown

It's not only up to cyclists to ensure coexistance. It's everyone's job. Bike or no bike.

fuzzbeans
Guest
fuzzbeans

“Special interest” means anyone who doesn't think like you, right?

motorrad
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motorrad

Hey bumpyrod,

I have been trying to understand how this will negatively impact industry and businesses. I see a huge positive impact to traffic as now hopefully bikes will be out of the traffic lanes. It sucks having to watch out for the bikes especially at the intersection turning left toward Golden Gardens or straight onto 24th! Now cars won't have to wait while the bikers start slowly up the hill by where Mandrakes was. I really am confused as to how this will hurt business. The funny thing is that when those businesses started lobbying selfishly put people's safety in jeopardy, bikers started to boycott businesses in the area. Oh, I am sure it didn't mean much dollar wise. but many of us felt better.

And curvedrod, in this case the few businesses trying to stand in the way of a bike path that benefits all traffic in the area, cars and trucks, is the special interest lobby! I hope that at least that you think of how you would want a driver to drive around a loved one of yours, while riding their bike.

bilsemon
Guest
bilsemon

Suzie Burke will not like this. At all.

motorrad
Guest
motorrad

Can someone please explain how a bike path is a huge blow and detriment to the Maritime industry? I have tried to see it but just don't.

Fredrickson
Guest
Fredrickson

WTF are you talking about? There already is a trail along all of her fremont properties. I was unaware that she owned anything near the missing link.