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City to complete Burke Gilman ‘missing link’

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 10th, 2009

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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82 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 motorrad // Jun 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Think Logically,
    Why the attitude in response to my sincere inquiry? Are you just guessing or are the collision and insurance issues really the issue. I was hoping for a non-pompous answer from people with actual knowledge. If I misread the “Do you need further explanation?” comment I am sorry. The truth is that getting bike traffic to be on one path rather than the randomness that happens now is much better for drivers. Traffic of all kinds will move faster and smoother with less risk of incident. Other cities have already been through this. Ballard Oil can be sued no matter where their trucks are involved in a collision. That argument seems like a ruse to cover what the real issue is. Look deeper for the real answer. I just don't see that many Ballard Oil trucks to warrant this as the END of the maritime industry! Really? Quote you source that the Ballard maritime industry brings “in hundreds of millions of $$$ each year. I regret the loss of the industrial areas and the gentrification. I was really disappointed when Fred Meyer went in. So I am not wanting industry pushed out. But industry behavior in this case is shameful.

  • 2 motorrad // Jun 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Ridiculous. The truck-bike collision argument is so lame. It is NOT better to have bikes on the road with Salmon Bay G & S trucks careening by bikes at the end of their handlebars. It is not better to have bikes screwing up traffic by being excruciatingly slow on a too thin road. It is NOT better to have bikes pulling out at intersections or crossing between intersections further disrupting traffic. This is one case where segregation is best. Hopefully driveways where industry wants their trucks to race out into traffic will be marked, giving bikers a warning. And these possible law suits you want us to structure lives around can occur anywhere. Not just at the bike path intersects. As a car driver it can't happen soon enough for me. As a casual biker, it will be nice.

  • 3 Jeff // Jun 11, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Is that map correct, that the actual designated trail will be on Ballard Ave for a stretch, and will require that you cross Shilshole Ave. twice at 17th and at Vernon?

    I don't understand how that is safer than just running the whole trail down the Southside, waterside, of Shilshole Ave.

  • 4 jules // Jun 11, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    archibald: you are not nadine, by any cool chance, are you?

  • 5 gurple // Jun 11, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    The Critical Mass types — like bicyclists who disobey traffic laws — are a small proportion of all bike riders, but they give us all a bad name and keep the debate polarized. Cascade Bike Club has shown that bicyclists are finally becoming a big enough segment of the population that we can be represented effectively by non-extremist organizations.

  • 6 kurisu // Jun 11, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    There will be traffic signals! No more confusion by the Ballard bridge.

  • 7 Ballard Biz Owner // Jun 12, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Well, for me personally, my loading dock will be demolished to make way for the bike trail……eventually, when an insurance representative inspects our new configuration, I have no doubt my “on premises” (as I call it) will be increased. It is okay to most of you, though, my business is “not sexy” and only employs a dozen people. It is another nudge toward moving out of Seattle.

  • 8 motorrad // Jun 12, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Thanks for adding your firsthand info. It sucks that change always comes at someone's expense. There are so many positives with this path, it does suck that some are being put out. I hope the dock can be relocated without issue when all is said and done.

  • 9 lyl // Jun 12, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Just another coffin in the nail for Ballard. Yeah, you spandex yuppies who do not ever do real WORK for a living look down your noses at industry. There will be nothing but condos on the waterfront in not too many more years. No more local businesses except for all your pizza parlors. It's a pity there is no respect for those local people who have been working in Ballard for generations. Money always wins. Workers always lose.

  • 10 BB // Jun 12, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Thanks to all for keeping this relatively civil (the most egregious comments from yesterday were quickly expunged by the Geeky Swedes – thanks – but so was my original post, which was not nasty!!)

    Avoiding the areas near Salmon Bay S & G was meant to be a compromise to avoid the busiest sections, but as another poster noted, their representatives are still the major players fighting this (including George Griffin, of fight-the-plastic-bag-ban fame, among others). As other posters have also pointed out, many of the businesses along here, including SBSG, use the right of way for marshaling, loading, etc. For me, that makes such vehement and unrelenting opposition even more galling — 100 yrs of use of the public right of way for business parking, etc., and when the public decides to use 20 feet of the 100 foot width, not even in front of SBSG, they fight it tooth and nail….you throw in a 30 yr franchise for the Ballard Terminal RR, for free, and you've got yourself a pretty good deal using public right of way.

    Having said that, I do not want SBSG, Ballard Oil or any of Ballard's great businesses to go, and I do not believe this project will lead to that. In fact, I think the opposite could have been true — if those business owners had embraced this, as in Vancouver (ever been down to Granville Island and see the Ocean Concrete plant, smack dab in the middle of one of the most visited sites in BC?), trail design, safety issues, and improvements to business access could have been further enhanced. As it stands now, hundreds of cyclists and walkers have been injured due to unsafe conditions on these rights of way — this isn't future injury or harm, this is now. Building this further section of trail will save hundreds of people from harm in the future.

    I live, walk, drive, bicycle, shop, love Ballard. This has been over 15 yrs in the making, and it's time to make it happen.

  • 11 crownpill // Jun 12, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Well put, BB! I'm a casualty of the “gap,” taking some serious licks (i.e., chronic neck pain) after dumping my bike on the tracks to avoid a car. Never made sense to me how a bike trail on a public right of way had such little protection. It's not industry's road, it's the City's. I'm not saying a safe bike path and industry can't exist, but rather that private enterprise shouldn't have dominion over a public space.

  • 12 Cycling commuter // Jun 12, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Something else will move in.

    Change is inevitable, and someone always gets the short end of the stick.

  • 13 Silver // Jun 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    BB – I'd vote for you!

  • 14 Ballard Biz Owner // Jun 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Well the jobs that I provide, the money that I donate, and the services that I provide will move elsewhere to. This is the age of narrow self interests. I really hope someday, you will have something like this rammed down your throat. The study that the city commissioned was not even considered, in the end. The parking on Ballard Avenue is already scarce. As of now, the people exiting the building near the Bridge on 45th St will be dumping through that already congested little area.

    I understand that change is inevitable, but usually the change represents progress. This stretch of 45th was neglected and looked like a road from Tiajuana 15 years ago. We couldn't get the city to fill in the pot holes……heck, some of it was dirt road then. Instead of watching bicyclists wreck daily, as I get to now……I watched motorists “bottom out” and damage their cars as they sped to avoid 46th.

    I have witnessed the worst of people due to this mess on this street. The mean spirited, self righteousness of some, the ineptitude of government, the battle to survive of business owners, and the utter stupidity of it all.

    This entire thing is a joke and a farce.

  • 15 bilsemon // Jun 12, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    She is a BIG opponent of anything that slows the Interbay trucks down. She fought against a light at 3rd NW and Leary because that would slow down the freight traffic even though that was a very busy intersection w/a bus stop where people need to cross Leary. The city even REMOVED a crosswalk at that intersection forcing peds to walk to Leary & 39th and back to 3rd in order to cross safely. Many peds just risk it and cross there w/o a light and w/o a crosswalk.

  • 16 SaltyRod // Jun 13, 2009 at 12:56 am

    What he said… Bikers = Childish egocentric name callers.

  • 17 motorrad // Jun 13, 2009 at 2:26 am

    This ridiculousness has had me chuckling for days. You would think they were claiming your properties by eminent domain and laying out a 6 lane interstate. I give up trying to be sympathetic. Tee Hee.

  • 18 bb // Jun 13, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Ballard Biz Owner —
    Based on what you've seen of the plans for improvements to this street, won't this help the local businesses? Better sight lines for seeing roadway users, better pavement and drainage, perhaps better driveway access? I don't you think you can just wish that other users will go away — they won't and can't.
    We've got to learn to share the built environment we've got —

    Yes, some bikers are childish and egocentric — some are namecallers — let's ignore them SaltyRod.

  • 19 Ajay Deluxe // Jun 13, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I'm really more worried about being run over by an inattentive truck driver than having a bike path “rammed down my throat”.

    And yes, maybe you'll take your business and its economic impact somewhere else, and I have no doubt that someone else will occupy your vacated space and….provide jobs, donate money and offer services. Supposing all that happens and we have both a bike path and a company that does all of those things better than yours? That would be progress.

    And if we ended up with “just” a bike path and someone who added no more than you: that would also be progress. Some had the space before you, and someone will have it afterwards and chances are, things will improve.

  • 20 bilsemon // Jun 13, 2009 at 5:20 am

    Here's a little reading for you: http://cityofseattle.org/transportation/docs/FM

  • 21 SaltyRod // Jun 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    The irony isn't lost on me either motorrad. Here is a special interest group of whiny brats who claim that they are not special, but need special lanes and paths to ride on. They contribute nothing. Want a new path just for you to ride your not special spandex 5000? Pay for it. Use tax is the most fair right? Pay for yearly bike tabs, take the riding test, pay for your bike license. My guess is that you are too special to support such a idea. Give and take. Ballard small business gives, and gives, you take.

  • 22 SaltyRod // Jun 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Yeah it's fine as long as you don't get the short end, your just too special !!! Look at Cycling Commuter SOOOO SPECIAL !!! YAY YAY !!!!!!!

  • 23 BB // Jun 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    This continued fighting is SO Un-Scandinavian. . . . . let's be like Trondheim Norway, shall we?
    http://www.virgin-vacations.com/site_vv/11-most

    And mixing industrial businesses with bicycles, walkers, tourists? Anyone ever been to Granville Island, where the local cement company embraces it's proximity to all those people. . . . . .
    http://www.seegranvilleisland.com/oceancement/o

    No one 'wins' and no one 'loses' with this Hearing Examiner decision. We all benefit.

  • 24 Vagrant // Jun 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Ahhh, working class left vs. green left. Always a fun fight watching the yuppie left screw the working man.

  • 25 Ballard Biz Owner // Jun 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Someone had that space before me, huh??? IS that a guess or fact??? the fact of it is that it is an ignorant statement. It was an abandoned, burned out structure, along the lines of the abandoned “meth house” behind Sip and Ship.

    I pushed for the stretch on 45th to be made a one way street. That would have allocated a separate lane for cyclists and one for motorists. Utilities would not have to be relocated, the train tracks could be avoided, etc………..a city representative asked me if I could simply renovate my building and install an elevator lift and move our fabrication shop to the second floor……after asking him if he ever had a job in the private sector (the answer was no); I explained that all of those things cost money, a lot of money, and that in private biz that is an obstacle.

    After reading the ignorant ramblings of your post; I think you could be him.

  • 26 Ajay Deluxe // Jun 14, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Before it was burned out and abandoned, it was something else. I'm sure that guy also thought he was an irreplaceable asset to the community, but time marches on, and businesses and neighborhoods change, to the benefit of some and the detriment of others. And organizations that get outmaneuvered politically, well they take their lumps like everyone who doesn't understand that it's a dog-eat-dog world, 24-7.

  • 27 BB // Jun 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you Ballard Biz Owner, for pushing for the one way — the City totally screwed up when it agreed, apparently because of the wishes of OTHER ballard biz owners, to keep two way on NW 45th. Not a fatal flaw in the design, but it sure makes it a more complicated project.

    Did you try to convince your fellow business owners?

  • 28 motorrad // Jun 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Wow. Nice post. Again, it is NOT a 6 lane highway with government seizure of land. The businesses that are against development and this bike path should let it go and admit they blew it and dropped the ball years ago when they failed to keep Fred Meyer out. And again when they let the monstrosity of Ballard Blocks take 'industry' land to service the Sushi crowd. You blew it then and this ridiculous fight against the bike path will not bring back the old Ballard that many of us miss. You screwed up and this fight against the bike path only makes you look small and alienates people who may be valuable to your needs in the future. This fight will not get your dignity back and has put some potential allies out of reach for future battles.

  • 29 BallardBizOWner // Jun 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Ajay….Ooooooh, my…I bet you are a BIG DOG!!! lol

    This trail is and will be a joke. I would be willing to wager that the “serious cyclist: won't use the path on Shilshole or Ballard Ave…..they will ride down the street as most presently do.

    When taxes in Seattle need to be raised again, services are lacking, etc……remember that you do have a nice trail, and in doing so compromised a small part of the City's tax base.

    The City's rep explained to me that 46th would need to be made a one way in the opposite direct ion of 45th; if 45th were to be made a one way street. Something about the City regs……laughable reasoning given the process the City took to run the trail through its current location. Most of the others on 45th were agreeable to the one way street idea………….

    Sometimes I need to remember that those people who were in the lower 90 percentile when I was in school are the majority of the people……….thus the stupidity of the world!

  • 30 xxjpxx // Aug 10, 2009 at 3:05 am

    ag. just came from the ER with 3 stitches on my chin b/c my front bike slid on the railroad tracks. glad to hear this is moving on.

  • 31 adamantra // Nov 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    The Business owners have a right to oppose the specifics of this plan. However, the lawsuits, the presumptuous claims involved with them, and even the comments I'm reading here are way out of line. To oppose the completion of the “missing link” in general is seriously stupid. Look: this city is decidedly pro-bicycle, the trail is completed all the way up to golden gardens, and the only thing standing in its way are a few concerned businesses. It just stands to reason that this public right of way should be built. We have elected officials and urban planners on the payroll to make decisions on how to use public land. Hearings haven't gone the way of the pleas of Ballard businesses. Ultimately, a public trail has more legal rights than industry so long as the trail doesn't completely interrupt the ability to make money on the land. This is why lawyers arguing against the trail are trying to make a case that business would be forced to close. The important fact is that this was already reviewed and found to be erroneous. Sure, it might make their job more difficult, but the city never promised the use of public land (which enables the free movement of materials etc.) in perpetuity. The access to the property will remain (minus an interruption for construction), the access to the water will never change, and the property rights of the businesses will be intact and unharmed.

  • 32 donaldsimpson // Mar 22, 2010 at 4:06 am

    To run the tra il on Ballard Ave. in front of Ballard Sheet Metal and Ballard Hardware is the most dangerest of all options . They have dozens of trucks every day. Someone will be killed. Move up to Leary Way and don't be so dumb. There are no trucks on Leary until you get to Carter Motors . Does anyone look at these sites first? I would suggest moving the bikes to the canal.

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