Ballard businesses sue over Burke Gilman trail

A coalition of Ballard industrial businesses, associations and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court challenging the city’s plans to fill the “missing link” of the Burke Gilman trail. Specifically, the lawsuit questions the city’s environmental review of the project. “The city has, so far, completely failed to evaluate and analyze impacts from alternative routes, safety impacts from insufficient sight distances, safety impacts from mixing cyclists and trail users with heavy trucks and industrial traffic, impacts from lost parking, and the inconsistency of locating a recreational trail through an industrial area,” explains Eugene Wasserman, President of the North Seattle Industrial Association. Wasserman says the city has not conducted the same level of environmental review that it would require of any industrial business. “We’re not anti-trail,” he said. “The city’s decision is just another example of the Seattle Department of Transportation not treating people equally.”

In June, the city’s Office of the Hearing Examiner ruled in favor of completing the stretch between 11 Ave. NW and the Locks, long considered a dangerous stretch for bicyclists. We’re working on gathering reaction from SDOT as well as the Cascade Bicycle Club, and we’ll update the story as we learn more.

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chrisinballard
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chrisinballard

Living in Ballard and biking a lot I ride through this segment at least twice a day. It's all true of course: it's dangerous, it hinders the heavy vehicle traffic in an industrial zone. But so what? Why is this city street special? Normally, you're not allowed to suddenly drive your fork lift into a lane of traffic, bicycle or otherwise. Why Shillshole? Why is it ok to treat this city street like a private lot and create hazards for cars and bikes alike? Go here on a work day and check out how people act. It's a disaster. Even the pavement gets destroyed (see photo. there's lots worse).

So I repeat, why are people allowed to treat a public street this way? And why is this my fault, as a cyclist? I'm creating a problem by demanding the same degree of lawfulness and safety as on any other street in Ballard (oh joy)? Because I want my lane painted on, in the vain hope that it makes me less likely to be run over?

eric
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eric

oh boy here we go……

(and i agree wholeheartedly with the 1st post)

facebook-25906957
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Preach it, I hope SDOT laughs them out of court. What a farce this is.

Lazowska
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Lazowska

I've lived in Ballard for 31 years. For that entire period I've been a bicycle commuter (I work in the U-District), and I've watched the city and its citizens be paralyzed by the maneuverings of Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel and its Ballard Terminal Rail Road. I remember a community meeting with the city 25 years ago, when the tracks were truly abandoned by any reasonable definition. Someone asked, roughly, “How many trains are there?” The answer was “Three.” Per hour? No. Per day? No. Per week? No. I forget if it was per month or per year. Pretty soon, BTRR was created, a locomotive was acquired, and traffic increased. I had Lionel as a kid — never anything as cool as this! I also remember when Charlie Royer made a big deal, as mayor, about declaring a bikeway through Ballard. Charlie's “bikeway” was nothing more than a few signs on power poles. There was a gala inaugural ride one weekend in which Charlie participated. My wife and I toodled along, joined by our two sons, who were perhaps 4 and 6 I asked Charlie how he would suggest that our sons use his “bikeway” when we were not around… Read more »

lookitsme
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lookitsme

Who wants to bet that these folks pretend to be against frivolous lawsuits?

Anyone who gets hurt riding through this area, particularly on those joke railroad tracks, should consider returning the favor and dirctly suing the obstructionist jerks that have held this up for so bloody long.

Want to know why it's so expensive to do infrastructure projects in Seattle? Here's a nimby case study…

Mondoman
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Mondoman

I'm a bicyclist, but I see the advantages of designating a bike route away from an industrial area with heavy truck traffic, railroad tracks, random parking, etc. As far as I can tell (if I'm wrong please let me know), there's no reason to run the trail there instead of (say) along Leary or along someplace much better suited to bike traffic such as NW 56th.
I do agree that not building anything is not a solution.

aresident
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aresident

Here we go again, a few Ballard businesses trying to control land they do not own. What a waste of public resources to laugh these fools out of court. This area has been studied for years. We need to tell these idiots to leave the city alone so they can build a trail.

chrispy
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chrispy

Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel and the BTRR are a total joke on this issue. I commuted along this route for four years, and that's the thing: people bike here whether there's a trail or not. The trail makes it safer. And WTF honestly is BTRR except a land grab? These people need to be slapped down. They whine that insurance or “one accident” will put them out of business. The bikes are there already, and your drivers are professionals. It will work because it already has been working.

bbb1
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bbb1

And it looks like the Ballard Chamber of Commerce has decided to go along for the ride!! Though nearly 500 of you signed petitions, as Ballard residents and Ballard Chamber business customers, asking the Chamber to bow out of this 'stop the trail at any cost' effort by a couple of millionaires. Though the Crown Hill/Ballard Neighborhood plan, passed in 1998, called for completion of the trail as it's second most important priority. Though the Chamber claims to not be against the trail — those words ring hollow now. This lawsuit isn't about mitigating parking, the Chamber's big concern — it's about some business owners with deep pockets, trying to keep us, the citizens, from building, IN OUR RIGHT OF WAY, a damn trail. For shame. For those that are interested, contact the City and ask for a copy of the Franchise Agreement between Ballard Terminal RR and the City, spelling out the terms of the RR's use of the roadway. There on the final page you will see the signature of the owner of Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel. Then check out section 10 (j), wherein the signatories agree that the City has every right to build a trail… Read more »

SPG
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SPG

Perhaps we shouldn't be asking for a bike trail next to the road, but for the return of the entire railroad tracks to be ripped out and turned into a bike path. If Salmon Bay wants to escalate this, let's show them that we can be ridiculous too. I think we'd have a better case in court for the return of the RR right of way than his lawsuit to stop the trail.
BTW, I don't think I'll be using salmon bay for gravel anymore. Pacific Topsoil will be getting my business.

EnduroDriver
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EnduroDriver

Well aresident, as we see from the other stories up here there seems to be no shortage of residents “trying to control land they do not own” as well.

see:
Parking options on 28th cut in half
Packed house for Greenwood development meeting
Bikini espresso stand to open on 15th
Backyard cottages may soon be allowed in Ballard
Neighbors hear homeless shelter plans

I personally don't care one way or the other about the trail but these businesses are just as much a part of Ballard as you and they are just as entitled to involvement in the process as you.

Don'tGetIt
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Don'tGetIt

So, people complain that business in Ballard is slowing down, because people don't have jobs. If we made this area too difficult for these businesses to run, they may have to close down, resulting in probably over 100 layoffs. This doesn't help business at all.
They can re-route the trail, somewhere that is out of the way of these business. Maybe Ballard Ave. would benefit from the extra exposure, or maybe even Leary, it is a pretty wide road.
This is an industrial area, you don't go down to Marginal and complain about all the trucks, because its expected, not even that, because its necessary! Its our industry, without it Seattle would be NOTHING.

chopper_74
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chopper_74

Well, no matter what the SDOT decides to do, they'll do it two…maybe three times.
And they generally won't ask if it's ok.

Ballard Biz Owner
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Ballard Biz Owner

OH THE IRONY!!!!!!

Chris demands “….the same degree of lawfulness…..” but the businesses are demonized when they request the government to follow its own regulations that us businesses are made to follow if we are to do any development.

Suffice it to say, most of us are biased due to our own self interest….I own up to that on my behalf. The cyclists and government think that they do not have to go through the same “hoops” as the rest of us do……this trail is in no way justified in being classified the same as a “nature trail” in order to navigate around the appropriate impact studies, etc…………

Sue if you are injured. The railroad has to pay to defend the City, but the City ultimately foots the bill on the settlement and the insurance premiums for the railroad increase. Don't believe me??? Look into it.

Ballard Biz Owner
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Ballard Biz Owner

Please aresident, show me the study that recommended this street as the choice for the bike continuation. Show me that study! Do it!!!! This was street was NOT the recommended solution. Prove me wrong, please!!!!

Ballard Biz Owner
Guest
Ballard Biz Owner

I personally raised heck about this road and used photos, the threat of the press, and attorneys to get this road “re painted” a week after is was painted in a more confusing manner than it is now………….SDOT makes The Three Stooges look like intellectuals. No wonder, though, with Nickels at the helm!

gurple
Guest

It was pretty much inevitable that they would sue. I'm glad they at least did it quickly. This goes straight to superior court, right? Hopefully this last shot of the head-in-the-gravel obstructionists can be disposed of quickly.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

aresident, but that's the way it goes in seattle…
…a few vocal folks, well, we can get anything stopped.
That's why leaders are SO important.
Too bad we don't have any.

gurple
Guest

The BNT implies in their article that it goes straight to superior court: http://www.ballardnewstribune.com/2009/07/14/ne

jm
Guest
jm

Maybe a bike tunnel through that area would work?

bbb1
Guest
bbb1

Ballard Biz Owner — here it is…

http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/missingli

At the bottom of this page, you will see the links to the 2003 Study of three alternate routes, with files of the extensive comments made regarding each route alternative.

sdrake1958
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sdrake1958

Why not simply make it mandatory these incessant bike riders get a license plate, big enough for all to see, and use this money for their cause(s)? Why is it bike riders are like alcoholics, in that it's all about them? Takes one to know one. Some here FEEL it's all about them and their bikes. I ask them to dump all of their vehicles. I ask them to pay for their shit. Are there any oposition organizations oposite the CBC? Or are they like the democrats and their one party rule too? Let's just close all businesses. Let's mandate no ownership of cars in Seattle then too while at it fellow utopians. After all, it's all about you bike riders, the less than 1 % making urgent decisions for us all. Squeaky wheels get greased. Bleeping whiners. I want I want I want. No, I demand I demand I demand. Spoiled kids now grown up.

Mondoman
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Mondoman

I notice that none of the anti-S&G folks posting above has provided any reason not to run the trail down Leary instead.

jm
Guest
jm

Well, maybe an elevated bike path would cost less.

bbb1
Guest
bbb1

Hi Mondoman

-it wouldn't get used by trail users
-it would be more disruptive to every mode of transportation (freight, bus, other vehicles)
-the volumes on Leary are too great to eliminate a lane of traffic for a separated trail (as opposed to NW45th)
-there are too many roadway intersections that a trail here would cross
-there are too many business driveways that a trail here would cross.

by the by, I”m not anti-SBSG. I just think they are being somewhat hypocritical — use as much of the public right of way as they do, knowing that the City agreed not to build the trail in front of their business, already having their main truck depot located where trucks have to cross the trail (they moved there after the Trail was built –), having signed on the dotted line, on their franchise agreement, in 1997, acknowledging that the City could and would build a trail — obviously, the process allows them to fight this further, but let's not think of them as a poor aggrieved business. Their eyes have been wide open the whole time — they just don't like the decision that was made by our electeds in 2003