News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

My Ballard header image 2
 

Cyclists sue city over ‘Missing Link’

Posted by Geeky Swedes on February 12th, 2010

Five cyclists have filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle because of injuries and crashes along the unfinished stretch of the Burke Gilman trail coined the “Missing Link,” according to seattlepi.com. The site reports that the lawsuit claims that because the trail has not been completed, the city “ignored the hazard presented by decades-old railroad tracks crossing the roadway.”

“Hundreds of bicycle crashes have occurred on Shilshole Avenue Northwest under the Ballard Bridge since 1999 as bicyclists have attempted to cross the railroad tracks,” Seattlepi.com reports that Attorney David Middaugh said in the complaint. “The city has known that the railroad crossing … is not reasonably safe for ordinary travel by bicyclists for many years.”

The cyclists are requesting compensation from the city for injuries they received after crashing, seattlepi.com reports.

Last summer, 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. (Thank you Silver for the tip!)

Tags: Ballard   Share

133 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Bark more, wag less // Feb 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Apparently being an idiot is no longer an excuse for stupidity.

  • 2 ballardemican // Feb 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    sounds like a good case — do we know who's representing the plaintiffs if more people might fit the class? And yeah lawyers are the root of all evil, blah blah blah. At least they might make soemthing get done about the problem.

  • 3 wrierbrose // Feb 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    “The city has known that the railroad crossing … is not reasonably safe for ordinary travel by bicyclists for many years.”

    And the cyclists didn't know this? With all of the signs and pavement markings there? Morons shouldn't have standing to sue.

  • 4 caddsf // Feb 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I ride my bike down Shilshole over these tracks twice a day during the work week all year round and yes, it is possible to crash (I have), but no, it is not the City's fault — only the cyclist who wasn't being careful. There are plenty of signs warning on the approach and even pictures for those adverse to reading.

    Plus, there are other railroad crossings on the Burke that nobody seems to complain about.

    Sure, connect the two paths, but perhaps we should find an alternate route. Shilshole is practically a freeway — either drivers are speeding or there's so much traffic nobody can get through.

  • 5 Name // Feb 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Dear City:

    I have seen people trip over curbs. Please remove these hazards immediately or I will sue you too.

    thanks

  • 6 neighbor // Feb 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    while the tracks under the bridge are somewhat hazardous I think using good judgement, slowing down(!), and crossing them correctly is usually enough for me when I cycle that route. I do wonder how people fall on them…

  • 7 ballardemican // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    okay let me put an argument out there. It is likely hundreds of people have crashed in exactly in this spot over the past 10 years. All of these people are morons? One can't seriously argue that. What's much more likely is that the spot is dangerous (which it obviously is).

    Could it be made less dangerous? Of course. Does the city have a duty to make it less dangerous? That is supposed to be what they do, provide services for the well being of residents.

    So if it si dangerous, and they knew, and they had a duty, and they didn't do anything (that worked) then they should be liable.

    Best argument I've heard so far is that they did do something — all the sign and lines. The plaintiffs will have to show that A) these things ought to have been done sooner and/or B) the city reasonable should have known they wouldn't correct the problem.

    I think the best solution would be if 1) the city actually was responsive to this sort of danger 2) we had a public health system to bear the burden of these types of injuries and 3) we then wouldn't need these sorts of lawsuits to get the public interest served.

  • 8 squeakywheel // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Talk about frivolous lawsuits. Nothing short of legal extortion to advance their Eco-nazi agenda. Bicycles need to go down Leary Way and leave these decent paying jobs on Shilshole Avenue in Seattle. How many places in North Seattle can you unload sand and gravel from barges to make cement? Do bicycles get priority over the cities infrastructure? Some things can't be done elsewhere. Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel and its cement mixing and cement trucks have to be *there*. The bicycles can go somewhere else. There are lots of streets for them to use.

  • 9 datajunkie // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    I complain about the railroad crossing on the Burke-Gilman trail. They have this rubber ground material around the rails that is extremely slippery. I think it's made for cars crossing tracks, not for bikes. It really needs a different surface with more traction.

  • 10 scotts // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I'm an experience cyclist having crossed two continents by bike. Yet I have gone down at the railroad crossing, too. If you go through that section enough, anyone will eventually go down.

  • 11 scotts // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    This has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  • 12 ballardemican // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Actually I think it does — the suit is likely tacitly intended to serve a political purpose. I'm generally bothered by this too.

  • 13 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Can I bury some land mines in your backyard and call you a stupid idiot when your leg gets blown off?

  • 14 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    It's only been marked like that recently. It's been a hazard for a long long time and both the city and the Ballard toy railroad knew about it.
    I'm really surprised that they haven't been sued earlier.

  • 15 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Evil Knievel could jump a motorcycle over a bus. Does that mean that we should get rid of traffic lights and install jumps instead?

  • 16 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    If the curb was built with razor blades sticking out of it and the city knew for years that it was regularly hurting dozens of people who were being reasonably cautious, then yes by all means sue if the city doesn't rectify it.

  • 17 Name // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Then don't go down that section……take a different route.

  • 18 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Wonder no longer! They are at an angle that easily catches your tire and is made of a material that is very slippery. Without advance knowledge that these tracks are a trap most cyclists wouldn't expect to be bitten by them. If you go over them every day you probably know that they're dangerous.
    It's the same thing as if the city allowed a pit of pirhannas in the middle of a playground. Sure, you know they're there and you know to avoid them because they're dangerous, but the first time a little kid goes to splash in the pit without knowing who's to blame? The city that knew of the existing danger and did nothing to fix it or the kid who only saw a puddle not realizing it was actually a city built deathtrap?

  • 19 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    If only I could click the “like” button more than once …

  • 20 SPG // Feb 12, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Salmon Bay also has a facility in Fremont RIGHT NEXT TO THE BG TRAIL with trucks crossing it all day. Problem? No.
    No jobs will be lost if the missing link is built. None.

  • 21 Jake // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:11 am

    I've been wondering this as well. The article says businesses closed, but there remains a seemingly robust industrial corridor along there, I ride past it every day. Does anyone have any factual information on the impact of the trail to businesses along that area?

  • 22 fiddler crab // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:18 am

    enough filling up lawyer's pockets…

    let's build the damn trail already!

  • 23 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:23 am

    How often does the choo choo train scoot through there?

  • 24 Ballardwatch // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I'm sure the businesses on Leary, which carries a much larger traffic volume, will be SO happy with your proposal.

  • 25 Frosting Toes // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:36 am

    It should travel up Leary, not Shilshole! Leary has more room – there is barely enough room for one lane in each direction on Shilshole, never mind bicycle riders.

    If they decide on Shilshole, they'll have to stop people from parking on either side of the road. That's dangerous even without bicycle riders; they quickly pull out in front of you, drive a few feet, and turn off the road again. So having a wider street would make it less dangerous. AND, fill in those big holes.

  • 26 Ernie_98107 // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I got ya covered…

  • 27 Ernie_98107 // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:43 am

    “there is barely enough room for one lane in each direction on Shilshole, never mind bicycle riders. “

    Uhmm, that's why they need to finish the freakin trail.

  • 28 Bark more, wag less // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Sure, if you put up a sign that says 'Danger Landmines planted here 50 yrs before you even bought this house'' and I still walk across my yard, you can call me an effing idiot.

  • 29 jasper123 // Feb 13, 2010 at 12:56 am

    As someone who has fallen in this exact spot on the icy tracks because I was not riding carefully enough, and as someone who bike-commutes this stretch every weekday, my feeling as a fellow cyclist is: do not sue the city because you did not ride your bicycle with the necessary care. If cyclists really want to share the road, than they must share it with occasional train track xing–it is not an unreasonable hazard, as the complaint apparently states. I believe that the businesses in that area use the train on a regular basis, I often ride comfortably by it on my way home. There is no reason to disturb these businesses in order to extend the trail or get rid of the x-ing: the roadway works just fine if you ride carefully. Anyway, this case seems like it will be dismissed in a summary judgment, cyclists are well-warned of the tracks through signage.

  • 30 caddsf // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Was Hyperbole your word of the day?

  • 31 ballardpilot // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:12 am

    “That is supposed to be what they do, provide services for the well being of residents.”

    Really? What evidence is there to support that?

    It appears that the city's primary purpose is to make life miserable for those who live here. A dangerous bike crossing that routinely causes injury and suffering seems perfectly in keeping with this city's mission. It's just that they usually apply their efforts at people who dare to own a car. They're only putting a tiny bit of their expertise towards the bicycling population. Welcome to the club.

  • 32 caddsf // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:19 am

    So how many people do you think ride through there and don't crash? You estimate hundreds have crashed — I bet many many more have not crashed.

    So are all those people just lucky? Or is riding with awareness not a requirement every time you get on a bike?

  • 33 motorrad // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Unfortunate. Too bad the lawsuit can't be against the real parties at fault , the business coalition and the chamber. Those of you reactionary knee jerk chumps being sucked in by the sb$g, ballard oil, chamber manipulations need to do research. Honestly. sb$g has a site right next to the trail closer to fremont and that hasn't closed that location down. You really are being duped. I think the bikers would be OK with taking a lane from leary and market for a separate path. Of course that means fewer lanes for your cars. BTW, how is it that these few businesses can use public land for continual private use. Because they have gotten away with it for so long they expect it and sucker people into supporting them. Semi trailers and trucks parked long term or seemingly permanently? I love the trailers with no parking signs on them. Bikers, start reporting infractions. The chamber should be spending their money on lobbying for a real parking facility rather than backing the ridiculous obstructionist suit. I haven't spent money in any chamber members establishment for a long time and will continue that. It appears some members are distressed by all of the negative reactions and want the boycott talk to go away. Then quit the chamber or change the position. There must be enough of us diverting dollars that they notice. Keep it up.

  • 34 sweetrose // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Where will all the Ballard Sunday Market goers park when they build the trail and eliminate all the parking? My guess is they will just stay home. The few, three to a studio apartment, dwelling baristas who live within walking distance will not be able to keep the vendors in the red.

    A silver lining of course, there is ALWAYS a silver lining. The strollers will be gone.

  • 35 motorrad // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Really, Parking over people's lives and safety. Gee, Ballard has been slated for high density development as an 'urban hub' for years and been developed as a destination neighborhood. Why didn't the geniuses pushing this agenda include a parking structure to the plan for all those people that want to drive and park. Seems rather obvious. Push for legitimate parking rather than against something that is good for the community. The more bikes off the road and NOT in my way when I am driving, the better. And what happens when the bikers get smart and start driving to the farmers market taking up more spaces and adding to the traffic. BIKERS: are you ready to start showing how many cars you take off the road?

  • 36 stopgo // Feb 13, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Is anyone actually surprised that a group is getting together to file a lawsuit over the unsafe tracks? In this day and age, I don't think it is really shocking.

    What shocks me is that the city doesn't think ahead and realize these things in advance. Is the lawsuit frivolous? I don't think that is even the point. They should have been doing something to avoid getting into this mess in the first place! They should have at the very least said, hey lot of accidents in this area, we better do something before we get sued.

  • 37 ballardemican // Feb 13, 2010 at 2:16 am

    no, ad absurdum. It means if he recontextualizes your line of reasoning it becomes absurd which shows it isn't logically sound.

  • 38 ballardpilot // Feb 13, 2010 at 2:22 am

    “Why didn't the geniuses pushing this agenda include a parking structure to the plan for all those people that want to drive and park?”

    Because they want to make life as miserable as possible for anyone who dares to own a car. That's their primary goal in life.

  • 39 ballardemican // Feb 13, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I thought of that caddsf — you need to see the matter relatively. Of course the huge majority ride over the tracks unscathed. These same people ride under the Ballard bridge and don't crash at all. It is by multiplier of 100 the most dangerous place along the path, so of course it shoud be labelled as a danger and addressed.

    Put another way, if 1 of 10 thousand flights crashed at Seatac would we say there isn't a problem if the national average was 1 in 10 million? Of course not. we'd call it a danger and get to fixing it.

  • 40 Mondoman // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

    There are other choices aside from “morons” and “dangerous”. I'd say that many of the riders in this area are unskilled at riding in an urban environment.

  • 41 Mondoman // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:22 am

    The city's reply would be that they DID do something, and were ready to send out bids for a proper redo of the most dangerous stretch, when the Chamber (I think) sued them for not fully following their own rules in the process.

  • 42 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:29 am

    like 14th!!

  • 43 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:30 am

    saturdays, all day!!!!

  • 44 kim // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:49 am

    squeaky-you sound like an ad for sb.

  • 45 longboarder // Feb 13, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Can't we just run a monorail over that stretch? Shelbyville did it.

  • 46 jkmwatt // Feb 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

    The railroad is keeping literally hundreds of trucks off the streets between Ballard and the Duwamish industrial area, with huge savings in fuel usage. If these bicyclists can't learn how to safely cross railroad tracks (at right angles, obviously) then they should put the training wheels back on. This collection of e frivolous lawsuits seem to be part of a disturbing trend — the notion that if you get hurt because of your own carelessness or ineptness, then it Has To Be Someone Else's Fault. There are other safer bike routes through Ballard. Enough self-centered whining,

  • 47 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:10 am

    what??

  • 48 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:15 am

    yes ,I here them all day on Saturdays!………. I work close by!

  • 49 stopgo // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I've wiped out on them myself. You'd be surprised how easy it is to do.

  • 50 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Yes, but we are talking about an area that,s been put to different use. This part of the city has been dubbed a potential link with the Burk G. trail. I am all for that ! We all want to share the road but having an off road cycle track just makes more sense . I too use this part of the city to connect with the Burk G. It makes even more sense to continue the trail to Golden G. The city has moved slow on this. Hence the law suit.

  • 51 name // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:46 am

    agreed ,and annoying!!!

  • 52 BTown // Feb 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

    This is America, the only way to get any action is to sue. Right now there is only people fighting this idea in court. A good lawsuit will hopefully get the ball rolling on this serious issue. The Missing Link is a hazard for families, commuters, and countless other individuals.

    I want my daughter and wife to have a safe way to get to the bike trail.

  • 53 Name // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Complete the trail ASAP.

  • 54 fiddler crab // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    that's not true at all.

    hundreds of trucks? to my understanding, those tracks are just for rolling stock.

    they don't take ONE truck off the streets.

    let's face it.–it's someone's toy that got bored of Lionel.

  • 55 fiddler crab // Feb 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, don't build the bike trail.

    The industrial area of Ballard is much better served with people like this guy living there–right?

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/415369_wanted13….

  • 56 ballardemican // Feb 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    All well and good, but does absolutely nothing to stop the problem. Like it or not, experienced or not, aware of the problem or not, people are continually hitting the pavement hard in this spot, at totally unreasonable and unacceptable rates.

    I ride, have raced MTB's, messengered, etc. I slid out on these tracks once when they were frozen and ran out of it. I've crashed very hard in other situations (MTB'ing broke bones, separated shoulders, etc) and bottom line is it flat out sucks to hit the ground hard. As such I really don't get why we don't all want something done about it. A macho attitude lets you say f-it about a hazard that WILL and DOES hurt and injure men, women and children alike? I'm sorry but I just don't get it.

    Let's get this thing fixed.

  • 57 bmvaughn // Feb 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    “Hundreds of bicycle crashes have occurred on Shilshole Avenue Northwest under the Ballard Bridge since 1999 as bicyclists have attempted to cross the railroad tracks,”

    What happened before 1999? These railroad tracks weren't installed then, were they? Or were cyclists safer riders prior to 1999 and never crashed?

  • 58 crownpill // Feb 13, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Amen. I can't understand the macho attitudes that say all those who've crashed are incompetent, unskilled morons.

  • 59 c_pop // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    being an experienced cyclist I'm sure you've spilled in other places than this… i'm fairly confident that after you went down at this location you probably thought to yourself “i knew better”

  • 60 ballardmike // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Sometimes one has to threaten litigation in order to get the city, state, or government to get off it's ass and do something about the situation at hand.

  • 61 Mondoman // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    fc – you're mistaken. BNSF brings cars full of sand, gravel and other deliveries and leaves them on a siding north of the rail bridge across the ship canal. BTR (our local short line railroad) then takes those cars and moves them to the intended recipients. For outbound shipments, the process is reversed. From what I've seen BTR operates mostly at night.

  • 62 Mondoman // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I haven't, and don't see how it could happen if you're paying attention.

  • 63 ballardmike // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    IMHO if businesses can't manage around an increase in bicycle traffic then they are not trying very hard – or not creative enough to stay in business long term.

  • 64 ballardmike // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    You must be in idiot and/or moron to survive the country but not Ballard. ;)

  • 65 Edog // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I thought the city had sovereign immunity to deal with issues like this? As bad as the missing link is, if we go down this road, the city will be worse off in the long run.

  • 66 sweetrose // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Sorry motorrad but I have little opinion either way but do LOVE to watch the rending of clothing and tearing of hair over the issue. I don’t drive to the Sunday Market and I don’t ride a bike. I don’t work at or use the services of any of the businesses. I drive Shilshole every day and will continue to do so where or not the trail is built. This will not affect my life at all.

    Safety is not the issue for either side. Commuting and taking cars off the road is not the issue either. Few folks who live at Golden Gardens will be using this path to commute. Convenience is the issue but safety and ‘green’ sells better.

    I do see the bike trail as just another way to make Ballard into a burbite hell but that’s what’s happening anyway. The Burke Gilman is not and will never be a trail for commuting. Sure a few use it but mostly it is just recreation. Recreation is nice but at the cost of losing business it makes a city a burb. A city is mixed use. When that is lost you might as well live in Bothell.

  • 67 onederfullone // Feb 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Once again, these a-hats in Seattle government show that they only excel in one thing. Getting their asses sued. Time and time again, every single day, they get sued.
    How could we save tax dollars?
    QUIT GETTING YOUR SORRY ASSES SUED!!!!!!
    Sick and tired of Seattles a-hats wasting my tax dollars getting sued.
    The worst part?
    They get sued for doing NOTHING! Or doing something stupid like the gun ban, which EVERYONE knew would end up in a lawsuit, they they would LOOSE.
    They do nothing to protect citizens, and they get sued.
    They say that they do nothing, because if they did something to protect us from thugs, they'd get sued, so they do nothing, and guess what, THEY GET SUED.

  • 68 LBB // Feb 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    It's the official route to get from the burke to the rest of the burke – the signs point you that way. If you're not a resident and you are riding the trail and want to get to the end at GG – this is the way you go.

  • 69 jw // Feb 13, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    . . . back in the days before the big fire . . . I remember more bike commuting traffic using NW 46th under the bridge instead of shilshole. Nice wide shoulders. I suppose the city could rework 46th (needs work anyway), make sure developers build enough parking and provide decent bike lanes there. Both bike and car traffic has increased in that area over the last 20.

  • 70 onederfullone // Feb 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Clearly, the safety of your wife and daughter is the very last concern of the City of Seattle.
    If you haven't noticed, this city is soon to be the most dangerous place on the entire planet.
    Lawsuits will (have) occur daily against this city.
    We are no safer, just more broke.

  • 71 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Cool. I'll get my shovel.

  • 72 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks.

  • 73 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Plenty of skilled riders crash on that spot too.

  • 74 MudBaby // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Oh no! Slog drank the Disqus Kool-Aid too?!!!

    I tried figuring this out, but I couldn't:

    “Register a Disqus Profile to comment
    Username or Email
    Password
    Cannot log in?

    * The e-mail address you specified is already in use. (Do you already have an account?)

    [blank box next to this, with no clues about what posters are supposed to enter into it] * This field is required.

    [blank box next to this, with no clues about what posters are supposed to enter into it] * This field is required.

    Don't have one? Register a new profileAlready have one? Login to your existing profile”

    I won't be posting comments on the Slog anymore.

  • 75 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    It's just a distraction to get people who don't ride a bike to have an excuse to hate the trail.
    Right now Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel uses the public right of way in front of their building on the west side of the street as though it was their own private property. This would be the only potential of a direct impact on a business.

  • 76 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    The train tracks of this stub line were abandoned, then the owner of SBSG bought it. There is only one customer of the RR, which happens to be SBSG making the RR a money losing operation. The train is barely used. So why is it still there? My guess at the only logical reason is that it preserves their ability to use the public right of way as a buffer from their business to the street. Either that or the owner of SBSG likes to spend hundreds of thousands to have a life size toy train to play with.

  • 77 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    They should build a teleporter in Fremont! Or make the trail go directly to my house! Or put in a looptyloop!

    There has been a ton of study on the route and after considering all the factors this was decided as the best route.

  • 78 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    recipient. Not recipientS as there is only one, SBSG.
    From my understanding the RR operates at a significant loss and is not cost effective at all if you don't count keeping the use of the public right of way.

  • 79 SPG // Feb 13, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Maybe they don't have stats?
    Maybe they didn't feel like saying thousands of crashes over it's history?
    They never implied the crashes only started in 1999. It's basic reading comprehension.

  • 80 Name // Feb 13, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Here's what I don't get. With automobiles, in order to increase safety, we impose speed limits, we install traffic circles, we put up stop signs and we put up traffic signals. We're especially likely to put up the stop signs and traffic signals when we have an area known to be hazardous/dangerous, and if that doesn't work, we also lower the speed limit on the roads approaching these areas.

    Why don't we do the same thing here? Either determine what rate of speed will allow cyclists to cross safely and enforce it (I realize enforcement would be difficult, but that's no reason not to impose the speed limit, and those who adhere to it will be safer), or just install a stop sign, which apparently would eliminate the problem completely.

    I understand the cyclist's desire to have a safe ride. Wouldn't a speed limit or a stop sign accomplish this, without lawsuits? And again, we do this with automobile traffic all the time.

  • 81 bbo // Feb 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    As I posted on the forum, the people associated with the railroad tried to get the City to allow them to put up warning signs and do more to warn cyclists. The City, IN WRITING, denied them from proceeding with this. The railroad carries the insurance that hires the lawyers that defends the City in these claims that the City eventually settles. As you all certainly know, this current route was not one of the five that was recommended by a committee that studied the best route for the missing link. Also, as you probably already know, this route was virtually unpassable by bicycle until it was paved upon the arrival of Fred Meyer and the Post Office. Prior to that, much of 45th was a dirt road.

  • 82 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    The trail is not only for bicycle use. It is used by walkers, wheelchairs, runners, scooters, homeless shopping carts, skateboards and families pushing baby strollers.

  • 83 Nick Carter // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Crashing in this spot is one of the things that made me a skilled rider. It's a lesson I wish I'd come by some other way.

  • 84 bbo // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    SPG

    Where did you gather your info about the RR operating at a significant loss?

  • 85 onederfullone // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    This just in….
    Hundreds of homeless with shopping carts are spilling over the tracks…

  • 86 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Yeah, the GB trail is not for bikes exclusively. It's used by many.

  • 87 c_pop // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:35 am

    sounds like SPG doesn't have stats. it's become clear that your referenced “facts” are nothing more than personal conclusion and ranting

  • 88 c_pop // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:43 am

    curb with razor blades? SPG put down the skunk and go eat some taco bell

  • 89 c_pop // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

    really spg? the very first time I went over these tracks I was a newbie cyclist and knew/expected they could be dangerous. i slowed down, looked for traffic, crossed at a right angle and did just fine.

    BTW – landmines, razor blades and now piranhas? dude, might i suggest a little more pass and a little less puff next time you're watching discovery channel?

  • 90 Name // Feb 14, 2010 at 1:10 am

    What's wrong with a couple of stop signs? Don't they already use them on other parts of the Burke Gilman trail where it intersects with traffic?

  • 91 ballardemican // Feb 14, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I've seen staggered gates set up as a solution to dangerous tracks — they work perfectly — but I'm not sure they could be made to work at this site.

    A speed limit wouldn't help, but stop signs might to an extent.

    I totally agree that finding a way outside of suing is by far the preferable option.

  • 92 ballardemican // Feb 14, 2010 at 2:30 am

    “The Burke Gilman is not and will never be a trail for commuting.”

    Look not to be like are you on crack but are you on crack? People bike commute through this area constantly, either from home to work or to shops or to friends' houses or to go out …

  • 93 SPG // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Eat Taco Bell? I'd rather eat a grilled skunk.

    Now you see what I did there? I took part of your silly statement and incorporated it into a sillier statement to make a point and bring attention to the silliness of your original statement. Not only that, but I did it with punctuation and capitalization.

  • 94 SPG // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Okay, hyperbole and ad absurdum is too complicated for you. And what's with answering every post with a reference to marijuana?

  • 95 SPG // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:12 am

    s___rose spewed: “I have little opinion either way but do LOVE to watch the rending of clothing and tearing of hair…”

    I don't usually bother to read anything posted by anyone on here with 'rose' in the name but I read that first line and thought that it was a fairly good definition of trolling.

  • 96 SPG // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:14 am

    In one of the local papers there was a story about the RR, and I saw another piece in a RR website about it too, IIRC, and they both mentioned that it wasn't profitable. The RR site made it sound like a point of pride.

  • 97 c_pop // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:17 am

    yes it's true you have so many dimensions i can't keep up.

  • 98 SPG // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:18 am

    c_poop, Where are your exhaustively researched stats? It seems clear to me that your comments are nothing more than poorly scrawled ranting of the lowest caliber.

  • 99 Lube // Feb 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I certainly think it is something that should be addressed, but I do not think it is something for which the city should be liable. There are some activities that you should engage in at your own risk, and bicycling is one of those things. If you can't do it safely, don't do it. Railroad crossings exist and are one of the first things you learn about if you are a responsible biker (i.e. crossing railroad tracks is not a skill that only “seasoned road racers” have or can obtain). And frankly, with an extremely minimal amount of caution this crossing is no problem.

    Just to reiterate, we should most certainly do something about the missing link, but bikers should not be able to successfully sue the city over this crossing.

  • 100 Lube // Feb 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

    By the way, I am a biker myself.

  • 101 bbo // Feb 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

    SPG

    I know that I try very hard to be factual, and when I am not totally certain I use qualifiers such as “if I recall correctly” but you made a statement of fact, and as one who knows these gentlemen with the RR I don't believe you.

  • 102 Bark more, Wag Less // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    What, no land mines too?

  • 103 fiddler crab // Feb 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    dirt road?

    how about that! we have change!

    now if only ballardites like yourself would evolve.

  • 104 onederfullone // Feb 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    And time machine, and land mines, and the overwhelming desire to do harm to prove some sick point.
    Really SPG, stay in the present, try and stay cogent.

  • 105 onederfullone // Feb 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    It wasn't three days after Steve Charles Hyatt left King County Jail — released on bond for investigation of driving under the influence and with a suspended license — that police said he was back to being a criminal.

    So much wrong with this paragraph.

    Released on bond, for starters. Why does this still happen? Are they so important to society that they have to be released? Are they all right on the brink of curing AIDS or cancer? How horrible would society suffer if we DIDN'T bail these idiots out? Would somebody be unjustly unharmed or unkilled if we didn't release them?

    Second, this mental midget of a writer, had the nerve to say he 'was BACK to being a criminal'…WTF??? at what point did he stop becoming a criminal??

    This is the kind of crap that I see every day that is sickening.

    Quit bailing these thugs out, knock it off! IDIOTS.

  • 106 bmvaughn // Feb 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Basic reading comprehension?

    Bomb throwing isn't helpful when we're all trying to understand the situation.

    I was trying to understand whether the railroad installed the tracks after the road was there in 1999 (in which case the RR should pay for upkeep at some level), whether the city built the road over the RR (so the city should be responsible), and whether the city even designates this as the advisable route to ride.

    We're all neighbors, let's start acting like it.

  • 107 ballardemican // Feb 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    We need a “city cart” program. They can leave one cart at the approach to the tracks; Sally Bagshaw can safely move their stuff across to another on the other side.

  • 108 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Voters approved the funding for this project years ago.

  • 109 ballardemican // Feb 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    nicely put and reasonable argument here, but the city's liability has got to be a matter of degree, right?

    There is an expectation that the city will provide reasonably safe roadways and respond when a roadway is not safe. If for instance if the Magnolia bridge tipped to the side and randomly dumped any car that came too close to the guard rail to its death, and the city just put up some signs and it kept happening, there ought to (and would) be clear liability.

    You can (and do) argue that the carnage at these tracks is the cyclists' responsibility, but not that the city can't ever be liable for negligence. I say this since the reason they are allowed to force us to pay taxes is that they are supposed to be stewards of the common good. If we as individuals didn't have any sort of recourse to make sure they held up their end of the bargain we'd live in a defacto totalitarian state.

    So my bottom line is we are *made* to pay for the city's services, and so it is their responsibility to take measures to forseeably protect our safety. In this case, to me, it seems that they are pretty obviously not holding up their end of the “bargain” they force us all into.

    I'm not saying they need to decommision the track, just do something that will actually work to solve the problem. IF they need to be sued to make this happen so be it.

  • 110 Mondoman // Feb 14, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    The question was about vehicles being taken off the roads, not about profitability. I don't know why profitability would matter to you, but if it does, you'll have to shut down the Majestic Bay Theatres as well.

  • 111 Ballardcrab // Feb 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Come on two-wheel whiners! This is an industrial area! I recall an alternative for you was presented in that area and the bikers refused! There are a lot of working people there. Get your priorities straight – income before recreation!

  • 112 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 15, 2010 at 12:32 am

    I believe the people voted for funding this Burke Gilman trail because it is transportation and not just recreation.

  • 113 Ballardwatch // Feb 15, 2010 at 2:23 am

    what alternative are you talking about? the Green Route is the one that cyclists support and the city chose 7 years ago

  • 114 Mondoman // Feb 15, 2010 at 3:08 am

    I don't remember any vote on this…

  • 115 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 15, 2010 at 3:41 am

    2006 Proposition 1 transportation measure. Bike routes were part of the overall list of improvements.

  • 116 SPG // Feb 15, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Didn't one of the SBSG people say that they thought a bicycle viaduct was their preferred solution? I think it was in the TV report from the finish the trail rally last fall. If they can say that with a straight face, then I doubt any “alternative” they offer is anything other than another distraction or a delaying tactic like this lawsuit.

  • 117 Name II // Feb 15, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Congratulations to the Geeky Swedes for another copy-and-paste post in the name of 'journalism.'

  • 118 chopperw // Feb 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Is that one cyclist riding in the wrong direction. Typical of seattle bike riders to just make their own rules of the road… Either you are a vehicle , or a pedestrian. PICK ONE!

  • 119 onederfullone // Feb 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I'm betting that I can predict the result off this latest lawsuit.
    Result number one, lawyers get rich.
    Result number two, a few injured get a portion of their suffering paid for.
    Result number three, yet another blue ribbon commission is formed, thereby further delaying any meaningful improvement by years.
    Result number four, The city will be required to place signs at the crossings, that will state, RCW xxxxxxxx, “all bike riders must dismount and walk East/(West) of this point.” Fines will be set accordingly for those found in violation.
    Another day in paradise…

  • 120 Mondoman // Feb 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    That wasn't this specific project, just a general “bike routes are good”, right?

  • 121 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Yes, the Burke Gilman Trail.

  • 122 Mondoman // Feb 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Here's a video from Cascade Bicycle Club on how to cross the tracks properly:
    http://www.streetfilms.org/how-to-properly-cros

  • 123 Mondoman // Feb 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Sorry, BT – but the text of Prop 1 says nothing about the “Burke-Gilman” or bike trails or bike routes. It refers only to “Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safety Programs”. Glad to know my memory isn't totally shot! :)
    Here's the link to the text: http://www2.ci.seattle.wa.us/ethics/vg/20061107

  • 124 alex // Feb 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    It isn't that easy, for most cyclists, that missing link is there only way to get to the trail. There just aren't any options for cyclists coming from the part of Ballard, that is why it is called the Missing Link…makes sense right?

  • 125 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Looks like the other side of the street is in pretty bad shape for a bike.

  • 126 Bjorn Toobiewild // Feb 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    The section in the voters guide, written by the current mayor, says the Burke-Gilman trail and it's easy to believe the other references to bikes means the Burke-Gilman. It's going to happen.

  • 127 Mondoman // Feb 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Alex, there are lots of other options. Ballard Ave has been mentioned; personally I usually ride east on one of the streets north of Market st. Once you're over to 8th Ave (which has nice bike lanes), just head south to the Burke-Gilman.

  • 128 Mondoman // Feb 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    They were “abandoned” for a matter of months when BNSF decided it wasn't worth its while to serve the few customers along that line, until the local businesses served by the line got a short line (Ballard Terminal Railway) set up to run it. The group that runs BTR also runs 2 other short lines in WA state. SPG, though asked, has been unable to provide support for the assertion that BTR and/or the overall 3-line railroad loses money, so I wouldn't put my trust in that. It seems to be a private company and thus I don't know how outsiders would even find out such info. In any case, whether a private company makes or loses money is nobody's business but the owners'.

    It seems pretty clear that BTR is still there because it's a LOT cheaper to ship bulk commodities by rail than by truck. No right-of-way conspiracy theory needed.

  • 129 Ballardwatch // Feb 17, 2010 at 3:49 am

    W of the fog line, it's all gravel. It's not the roadway, so there is no right or wrong way.

  • 130 seajay // Feb 17, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I'm just a guy with a family who chooses to ride to work by bike.
    Thus far… by riding safely, obeying rules of the road, and working WITH the cars around me to make life easy on both of us, I've managed to arrive home to my family every day. I'd like to keep it that way.

    I've got no agenda against cars or any goal of getting others to stop driving. I think Critical Mass is one of the worst ideas ever. I think we as cyclists could really help everyone by following the rules and being more patient and polite.
    In general cars are pretty polite to me. I've not had what I would consider a close call in more than 10 years.
    There are certainly a few crazies and unfortunately a few that are not paying attention. But I tend to believe most drivers are not out there to create havoc. We could all use a bit more education, however.

    When those minority of you who spout hate toward all cyclists think of causing harm…please consider there are many just like me out there too.

    If the trail is really going to cause all the issues stated in the past years…All I really would ask for in the Missing Link would be to smooth out about 15-20 inches on the edge of Shil Ave southbound and remove the gap between the traffic lane and that smoother section. I can ride elsewhere with my child.

    Thanks for considering.

  • 131 caddsf // Feb 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Sure, and reductio ad absurdum can degenerate (as it does here) to a strawman argument.

    While its clear you were paying attention in Philosophy 101, when every argument here contains something with razor blades, land mines, or piranhas (not pirhannas), it just makes people not take you seriously.

  • 132 メンズ ファッション ボトムス【g】 // Oct 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    These are really wonderful ideas in about
    blogging. You have touched some pleasant factors here.

    Any way keep up wrinting.

    Here is my blog post: メンズ ファッション ボトムス【g】

  • 133 フィットネス トレーニング スキッドレス // Dec 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I love it when individuals get together and share views.
    Great website, continue the good work!

    Look at my web blog: フィットネス トレーニング スキッドレス

Leave a Comment (read our comment rules)






News from the Seattle Times