Environmental study required for ‘Missing Link’

Updated: King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers has ruled that the city must perform an environmental study before a decision can be made to complete the missing link of the Burke Gilman Trail.

Although Judge Rogers ruled in favor of the city on a majority of the issues raised in the suit, he sent the project back to the Seattle Department of Transportation for review because a 5-block section between 17th Ave NW & NW Vernon was not studied under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).  It’s unclear how long this study will take.

“We’re really disappointed… It could be years, not to mention the 800 or 900 people who will be injured on the tracks during that time,” said David Hiller with the Cascade Bicycle Club.  He spoke with MyBallard in the courtroom moments after the judge’s decision.

Hiller believes Cascade will now push for the permanent route to be built as soon as possible, that the evaluation of alternative routes be dropped, and that the trail go straight up Shilshole.

In July 2009, 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 complete the Burke Gilman trail. Specifically, the lawsuit questions the city’s environmental review of the project. Among the concerns were safety and parking.

Josh Brower, one of the attorneys for plaintiffs, also spoke with MyBallard at the courthouse.

“Our clients aren’t anti-trail, they’re not anti-bike.  We want a safe trail that allows people to get through this area without undermining maritime viability.”

No final decision can be made on the completion of the missing link until the environmental review on the stretch of the trail from 17th Ave NW to NW Vernon has been conducted.

(We updated this story to clarify that the judge ordered an environmental study, not a full Environmental Impact Statement.)

Earlier: Background on the debate surrounding the missing link

99
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
gurple
Guest

<sigh>. Thanks for the news, Swedes! You're on this before any of the papers.

How many more years of real, actual dangerous conditions will waiting for this EIS give us? Beyond the time we've already spent waiting for this decision, of course. Anybody know how long these things take?

Dan
Guest
Dan

Another “study”. WTF is wrong with this city??

If Chicago is “the city that works”, Seattle is “the city that sh*ts money despite having both thumbs up its ass”

Edog
Guest
Edog

Interesting, so it looks like this was due process, and not some cynical delaying tactic?

It looks like McGinn is going to be aksed to make good on his campaigning at this spot after all. No doubt the Mayor will be called on to do more than pose for photos with his bike with respect to the link.

Promises Promises….

willard
Guest
willard

Thanks to the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, looks like safety will be placed on hold while tax dollars are spent. The boycott of Ballard Chamber of Commerce businesses continues…

asdf
Guest
asdf

Dan asks, “WTF is wrong with this city??”

Answer: It's filled with morons.

dmcmanus
Guest
dmcmanus

Good to see common sense supporting working families. It's also good that their not going to have to push 140 cars that are parked along Shilshole Ave to be displaced into the rest of Ballard and disrupt other business's and families. Congrats to the Ballard Chamber and the Business's that support the Chamber.

gnomie
Guest
gnomie

You all have a choice to ride where it's safe.

Would you ride on Holman road if some bicycle club recommended it as the best route???

Get real, be safe out there!

Biff
Guest
Biff

LOL. I lived in Chicago. To get stuff to happen here, one would need to prepare themselves to be insulted and called a dictator. We have too many committees and too many chieftains. Majority of the critical decisions that need to be made should be administrative by skilled professionals, not left open to endless debate and stalling by whatever obstructionist group needs a hobby. Chicago is known for its architecture -the design review is by professionals in the field whereas in Seattle its by concerned citizens and open to continuous critique, yet we wonder why everything “looks the same”. Although if it doesn't look the same, its critiqued for “not fitting in with the neighborhood”.

As a city gets larger the administrative decision making is necessary and Seattle has passed the threshold I would argue as evidenced by well..the Seattle process.

kurisu
Guest
kurisu

Would you kiss a straw man argument if gnomie told you it was a prince?

msballard30
Guest
msballard30

Actually, the judge said that the stretch between 17th Ave. NW and Vernon, which had NOT been analyzed as part of the SEPA process, needed to be analyzed before a decsion could be made about the trail (i.e., the judge did NOT call for an EIS as noted in the article). The stretch between 17th Ave. NW and Vernon is the most dangerous part of the proposed trail.

mogan_diggens
Guest
mogan_diggens

why boycott local businesses? that just seems so unnecessary & extreme, the chamber has been involved to a degree with bringing ballard the farmer's market, seafood fest, new side walks on ballard ave., and increased security to the neighborhood parks, would you suggest boycotting all those things too?

how do you feel about due diligence and protecting the environment?

Dan
Guest
Dan

Chicago's architecture rivals any “architecture” city in the world. When I lived there, I never took the time to enjoy it. When I visit now, I'm gape-mouth amazed by it. You are correct that Seattle's problem is too many committees and too many open ended debates (and the allowance of too much obstruction by non-elected citizens). People can talk sh*t till their blue in the face about the Chicago “machine” and the evil dictator Daley, but stuff happens in that town. I recall when there was debate about what to do with the airport on the lake (Meigs field) which I believe was essentially for tycoons to use, but on public land. Bitch and moan, gripe and debate…and bam! Overnight, Daley rolled in the bulldozers and raised in the darkness of night. No questions asked (probably illegal too) Now it's a kick ass park. I have to say, I wish we had a little more old city “get it done and shut your yap” mentality out here instead of the relentless entitlement and PC garbage that we are forever mired in.

kurisu
Guest
kurisu

Actually, city designed the trail route to cause the least disruption and the businesses who want to put the trail “somewhere else” are promoting the removal of more parking and conflicts with residential, commercial and industrial driveways in other parts of the neighborhood. What does this have to do with working families? There are thousands of families and workers who use the trail, and thousands of parking spaces in Ballard.

kurisu
Guest
kurisu

Ironic, since the city decided to direct trail users to Ballard Ave along this stretch to prevent the lawsuit. I guess that area past Salmon Bay is part of the “proposed” trail but not the “project.” How many years of splitting hairs and obstruction will it take for the trail to get built and for people not to get injured under the Ballard Bridge?

gurple
Guest

The screamingly frustrating thing about this is that the part that would do the most good, from Fred Meyer to just west of the bridge, isn't particularly controversial. Taken as a standalone project, the city could probably get that through relatively easily.

It would still dump people out onto a busy street and a dangerous left turn in both directions, but at least we'd avoid the rail crossings that break arms and teeth several times a year.

Ytoo
Guest
Ytoo

I don't believe that anyone has locked the doors in other citites so unless you are incarcerated here……..

Geeky Swedes
Guest

Thank you, you are correct — we updated the story to clarify that this is an environmental study, not a full-blown EIS.

kurisu
Guest
kurisu

I agree that a boycott is stupid, but the Chamber still needs to be called out. They have not responded to requests to engage in a dialogue on the issue and have shut out trail supporters for many years. Many businesses have left the Chamber because of their bullying behavior.

CyclistMike
Guest
CyclistMike

“Our clients aren’t anti-trail, they’re not anti-bike. We want a safe trail that allows people to get through this area without undermining maritime viability…”

Right, and crossing the train tracks and being in traffic as it stand right now is safe.

Sigh, I have a feeling this project will never see the light of day during my lifetime, and I'm only 27

CyclistMike
Guest
CyclistMike

Protecting what environment, exactly? It's already polluted because of the businesses there and what hasn't already been paved over?

Coyote Joe
Guest
Coyote Joe

1) Enters Ballard establishment
2) Checks wall for Ballard Chamber of Commerce or asks proprietor
3) If “yes”, politely explain why I won't be shopping there today, leave establishment.
4) If “no”, thank proprietor for not being a member, shop normally.

Remove politicians with your vote, remove businesses with your wallet.

gumba
Guest
gumba

I would dispute that the stretch between 17th and Vernon is the most dangerous part on the proposed trail. The proposal is for a final alignment that parallels the RR spur and does not have to cross Shilshole. I suppose one could argue that this portion of the interim trail is somewhat dangerous because it forces cyclists to cross Shilshole, but the real danger is keeping the status quo. I would support pushing for completion of the permanent trail as soon as possible.

dmcmanus
Guest
dmcmanus

The Chamber raises a ton of money for local charities, promotes business's with family wages, promotes local music and the arts through ArtWalk. Those endeavors are more important to the community than a bike trail through an heavy industrial area of the city. It would seem a little short sited for a business to leave becuase of that don't you think.

zingarello
Guest
zingarello

I hope this 'environmental study' reveals some of the polluting the businesses in the area have been hiding for years.

Coyote Joe
Guest
Coyote Joe

Those endeavors are not reliant on the Chamber's efforts to block a community trail. Their support by local, however, is not.

No one gets a free pass because some of the things they did are good. That's like telling a burglar, “Thanks for helping out at the Community Center, we'll let that little Breaking and Entering thing slide.”

If the commerce of patrons with an interest in their community exceeds the Chamber memberships' interest in blocking the trail, then that will play out. If not, then they will need to rethink and change their priorities.

It's not petty, it's not short-sighted, it's just simple social and economic dynamics. Or if you prefer “It's not a Dollar, it's a Vote”. :-)