Cyclists sue city over ‘Missing Link’

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!)

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Bark more, wag less
Guest
Bark more, wag less

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

ballardemican
Guest
ballardemican

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.

wrierbrose
Guest
wrierbrose

“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.

caddsf
Guest
caddsf

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.

Name
Guest
Name

Dear City:

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

thanks

Chris
Member
Chris

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…

ballardemican
Guest
ballardemican

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… Read more »

squeakywheel
Guest
squeakywheel

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.

datajunkie
Guest
datajunkie

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.

scotts
Guest
scotts

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.

scotts
Guest
scotts

This has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

ballardemican
Guest
ballardemican

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

SPG
Guest
SPG

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

SPG
Guest
SPG

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.

SPG
Guest
SPG

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

SPG
Guest
SPG

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.

Name
Guest
Name

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

SPG
Guest
SPG

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?

SPG
Guest
SPG

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

SPG
Guest
SPG

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.

Jake
Guest
Jake

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?

great idea
Member
great idea

enough filling up lawyer's pockets…

let's build the damn trail already!

JM98107
Member
JM98107

How often does the choo choo train scoot through there?

Ballardwatch
Guest
Ballardwatch

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

Frosting Toes
Guest
Frosting Toes

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.

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