Several organizations will hold a demonstration at the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman this Tuesday evening to show their support for completing the stretch of the trail. At 5:30 p.m. at 17th Ave. and Shilshole Ave., supporters will hold blinking red lights in a show of solidarity. “We wanted to do something positive and inclusive to demonstrate support for the Missing Link, which has become so embattled,” says Vic Opperman, founding president of Sustainable Ballard and co-founder of SCALLOPS. “This is a grassroots effort.”
The completion of the trail is currently held up in litigation. A coalition of Ballard businesses and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce are challenging the city’s plans to complete the trail. “As businesses who work with heavy equipment, safety is our number one priority,” Eugene Wasserman of the North Seattle Industrial Association tells us, adding that he welcomes Tuesday’s event. “It should give people the opportunity to look at our growing businesses, which provide family wage jobs and are represented by many unions. It should be clear to everyone visiting our area how hard it is to mix trucks, cars, pedestrian, and bicycles safely.” Wasserman says the NSIA has recommended that the city build a viaduct over the industrial area for bicycle and pedestrian use. According to Wasserman, SDOT refused.
The Missing Link is a 1.5 mile stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail without an actual trail. Bicyclists currently ride along Shilshole Ave, sharing the road with cars and large trucks while maneuvering over railroad tracks. Both bicyclists and the large Ballard industries who work along the waterfront believe something must be done to improve safety along the missing link.