City won’t appeal ‘Missing Link’ ruling

The City of Seattle made it official this morning, deciding not to appeal a judge’s ruling on the missing link of the Burke-Gilman Trail. Instead, the city will follow this judge’s order to conduct an environmental review of a small section of the missing link that was left out of the original study. SDOT tells us the review on Shilshole Avenue from 17th Ave. to Vernon Place will take about six months.

A group of businesses fighting the proposed missing link lost in court on 8 of the 9 issues that went before the judge. Once this environmental review is complete, the group can still appeal those 8 issues. Attorneys for the businesses tell MyBallard they haven’t decided what steps to take, but they continue to push for an alternative “cycletrack” through downtown Ballard.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

60 thoughts to “City won’t appeal ‘Missing Link’ ruling”

  1. We are still waiting for the Ballard Chamber of Commerce to state on their website and issue a press release that they will not appeal the latest ruling concerning the missing link. If they do we can begin to move forward as a community, build a safe path, and end the boycott of all Chamber of Commerce business members.

  2. Well, the desired outcome seems to have been achieved – further delay. That's the way it goes, and the process remains mired in legal challenges. You got to live by the rules….

    A plea to those businesses that continue to fight this effort through available legal challenges – let's spend some of that money on further implementing safety features for the trail, even beyond what the City's design has built in – if safety is truly the issue, then let's make it even more safe. Don't waste your money and our money (taxpayer money funds further analysis, and the fight against legal challenges of course) continuing to challenge something that has now been vetted and debated and designed, and has stood up to environmental challenges x2.

    As for a cycle track, I suspect we'll see these same businesses offering to spend … ?$50k? of their money to study this. We should be doing everything we can to make biking and walking safe, of course, but a cycle track is not what we Ballardians want – we want to keep creating contiguous sections of multi-use trail, as has been designed. To paraphrase, the current design is safe, simple, and it's connected.

    I hope the Chamber and other litigants can step back, take a deep breath, and start working with We (who) Are the Missing Link (pictured above, at an October, 2009 event with nearly 300 in attendance) to address the loss of parking in creative ways, and consider adding to safety features already built into the designed trail.

    Hope springs eternal. Does thoughtfulness and common sense??

  3. I really hope this backfires on sb$g and ballard oil. By the City's actions I am hoping that the environmental review of the missing link will enable them to build the trail along shilshole for it's entirety without the stupid detour. That would be justice.

    For residents against the bikers and trail, you do realize the cycletrack the businesses propose would essentially make Laery and Market one lane each direction. YOu are being duped.

  4. Seattle, get over yourself!! Nowhere else have I seen so much complaints, fighting, debating, lawsuits, et al in the name of conservation, neighborhood character, preservation, and so forth to the point of impeding PROGRESS. If it weren't for these character flaws, Seattle for sure would be far more progressive and more of a LEADER of all the major cities of similar size on the west coast.

    Businesses along Shilshole: You know change is coming. The area is no longer an industrial playground it used to be. If further change doesn't happen soon, it sure will in the coming years (or the next economic growth cycle). You're just trying to delay the inevitable.

    City: Learn from SF or NYC and just f*ing get sh*t done! I'm sick of paying taxes and have no results but only have more consultants and lawyers hired to weigh more options so you can scratch your head and/or belly to wonder what to do.

  5. John:

    I am certain you are very important, and I am not meaning to diminish your importance to the tax base, but the fishing industry and those industrial businesses in that area contribute an incredible percentage of the City's tax base. Don't be myopic folks!

  6. I'm sorry, John, but how much do you and your fellow biking hobbyists contribute to the local economy and tax base, compared to the LOCAL BUSINESSES you just demeaned? Face it: Bikes are not meant to go everywhere. The next thing you know, you and your fellow radical activists will be petitioning to dredge the Ship Canal because it is too wet. GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

  7. Indeed.

    John, those businesses that you dismiss as standing in the way of “progress' were here long before you and your pals moved here. If you didn't want to live in a neighborhood that had a few businesses left in between all the bars and condos, then you shouldn't have moved to Ballard.

    Go back to NYC where, as you say, they “just f*ing get sh*t done”. I'm sure you will fit in much better there with all the Important People than you do with the unsophisticated rubes who made Ballard what it was before you and you buddies showed up and decided to transform it into something cool enough for you.

  8. “I'm sorry, John, but how much do you and your fellow biking hobbyists contribute to the local economy and tax base, compared to the LOCAL BUSINESSES you just demeaned?”

    Probably more than you! Keep in mind the average cyclist also owns a car. That means they pay taxes on their car AND their bike. In my household the combined (and taxed) purchase price of our car, truck and 4 bikes is over $80k. Did you pay more than that for your vehicle? No? Then stop whining about cyclists not paying their fair share of taxes! On top of that cyclists on the whole tend to have higher incomes than non-cyclists which means we spend more at local businesses and pay more in taxes.

    As for cyclists and local businesses, ever hear of a local company called Starbucks? They're run by an avid cyclist and last I checked they paid a LOT more in taxes than any company in Ballard. I also know that the CEOs of REI and Redfin are active cyclists as is the head of X-Box over at Microsoft. I long ago lost track of how many doctors I know who are cyclists. For better or for worse, cycling is quickly becoming the new golf for the well to do. Not a surprise when you look at what road bikes sell for these days!

    “Face it: Bikes are not meant to go everywhere. “

    Well duh. Who is calling for bikes to go everywhere? Last I checked this issue was about a single stretch of road a few blocks long out of the thousands of miles of paved streets in Seattle.

  9. PS – I am against the plan to run the bike path up Shilshole. Given the traffic on that street it makes more sense to go up Ballard Ave. I ride and I avoid Shilshole at all costs.

  10. Exactly the type of replies I expected… Note that I did not advocate FOR or AGAINST the BIKE trail in my post. Personally I don't like the idea of adding the bike trail along Shilshole as the road needs more lanes first (and the railroad needs to go). The intersection at Market & Shilshole is terrible.

    I suppose I could've made my comment more clear, however. I meant PROGRESS as in the growth & development of Ballard, whether it be retail, commercial, service, or residential. Inevitably, the commercial lease rates will go up and old school businesses will be forced to relocate elsewhere where rents are cheaper. What was once an engine shop, for example, may turn into another bar, restaurant, or be entirely demolished for another mixed condo/retail building. These are market forces at work, people! Get used to it. It happened in many cities across the country and it will happen here sooner or later, it's just a matter of when.

  11. Obstructing the completion of the trail is a ridiculous way to go about as well.
    I've stopped doing business with Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel over this, and I'm now at the point where a boycott of the Chamber members isn't out of the question anymore.

  12. …but the bike path would separate the bikes, pedestrians, joggers, strollers, etc FROM the traffic. Going up Ballard would make the bikes have to cross Shilshole twice, and then ride with and through any traffic on Ballard Ave while avoiding getting doored. It's much more dangerous to run the path on Ballard Ave than building the separated path on Shilshole.

  13. Right now those industrial businesses are receiving a de facto subsidy in that they are zoned Industrial only. Once that changes and the landlords can rent them for the real market rate, those industries will be forced to move.
    That's the real battle that the industries will need to fight and the way they're acting now they'll have few friends in the neighborhood willing to stand with them. If anything I'm going to start actively agitating to rezone that entire area as mixed Industrial/commercial/residential.

  14. I loves me a pedestrian mall as much as anyone, but I don't think that it's a viable alternative for the other six days a week. It's great occasionally, like festivals and farmers markets, but during the week people still like to park to “run in” to their store.

  15. I think it's only 6 months if they wind up doing an EIS. If they go through the checklist and nothing stands out (likely) they may be able to move ahead much sooner.

  16. True except you have all the trucks/cars coming out of the businesses on Shilshole. You know they'll pull out and block the path, possibly without looking first and hitting someone. It's similar to the separated bike path along Alaskan Way which is a nightmare to ride on compared to riding on Alaskan itself.

  17. This trail will be completed; it is just a matter of time. And now it will be along the final route and not the waste of time “interim” route. The businesses between 26th and 28th have already removed their back fence and moved it away from the tracks sufficiently so that the trail can run there. Check it out, they did that in the last few weeks.
    Shilshole Ave and that small stretch of 45th are some of the few streets in Seattle with no sidewalk. This will be rectified when the BGT is complete.
    And once more, the Burke Gilman Trail will be completed.

  18. I have no idea how anyone who regularly drives this street (I do 3+ times a day for the past 10 years) thinks this is a good idea…I have a hard time driving there, have to keep my eyes peeled for cement trucks. How is it remotely fair for a company that runs delivery trucks to yeild to a bike trail just to get out of their own driveway? Cement trucks + bikers = bloody mess. Let's err on the side of preserving human life please. It's just not safe, and I don't want to see another father/husband/brother/son killed and family destroyed over this legal crap. Let's bike SAFE.

  19. “If anything I'm going to start actively agitating to rezone that entire area as mixed Industrial/commercial/residential.”

    you want Ballard = the new Belltown? (homeless bums + bars/nightlife + condos)

  20. I think they were talking about doing it like Alki…parking on both sides, but a bike lane in-between the parked cars and sidewalk. (works on Alki)

  21. Hi BBB1,

    Hopefully this reply will be more true to form…

    Many years ago, the Ballard Terminal Railroad had just began to run and I worked for a company instrumental in restoring it to useable condition. I had a nephew at the time who at 4 years old was dying of lukemia. Through that connection, I was able to arrange for my nephew, who didn't understand dying wish but had a wish all the same, to go for a ride on the train- not in a car, but in the driver's seat. The train didn't come to pick us up on a regularly scheduled trip, but made a special trip just for us. The owner drove the train. It was the only time I ever met him.

    It stikes me as curious that this man the other fellows who are opposing the bike path through legal means are referred to as “Luddites,” since they represent industry, not the contrary. Obstructioninst I can uderstand! But let's consider what they are obstructing.

    It has already been much discussed and elaborated on but it bears repeating- the bike bath is not what these folks are opposing. The bike bath is merely emblematic of the greater changes to lower Ballard, and indeed all of Ballard, which “John” has so clearly stated.

    What I am going to say next is purely fiction, but I imagine, somewhere along the way, these fellows took a look at what was happening in their little corner of Seattle, they saw the encroaching modernism, drew a line in the sand (road) and said “not in my lifetime.”

    And I guess this is where I disagree with many of the SBSG, BTR, BCC detractors- in short, I agree with them. I like old things. My motorcycle is 39 years old, my house is 101, my car is 23. I like old trains, old bicyles, old furniture, I really like old boats, specially old fishing boats, and I like old Ballard. I like the old street signs denoting the past, I like Old Ballard Ave before the coming of sushi bars, and oyster bars. I like Ballard Hardware when you had to have a guide to find anything.

    It's not that I don't like Kings Hardware, or Ballard Sunday Markets, or Oyster Bars instead of Kolstrand's, or bicycles, But it is so easy to see what is motivating these people to take the stand they are taking. Have a look around and ask yourself what is left? There are only 4 businesses left on Ballard Ave- Broomfields, the back door of Covich-WIlliams, the new Ballard Hardware and its pipeyard, and Canvas Supply. Ballard Ave used to be virtually all businesses which catered to the fishing industry including the bars, and that was as little as 15 years ago.

    Shilshole and 45th are going the same way. There are little pockets left, but the changes are of course inevitable. I suppose (or I hope) there will be new entrepreneurs who will start new businesses in other Seattle districts who will still cater to the fising fleet, or perhaps not. Perhaps the fleet, will move to Port Townsend, or some other port more hospitable. I can't say.

    All that is neither here nor there because people want facts. They want to know how a bike path is harming these businesses. The short answer is IT'S NOT. Maybe they should have long ago embraced the bicylists as allies, though I'm not sure how that could have worked. But deserving of it or not, whether they like it or not, the cylclists are the manifestation of all things modern and wrong, the symbol of change in an area steeped in tradition, old ways, and not welcoming of change. Kind of like that little house now surrounded by the Ballard Blocks.

    I know many of you want change- perhaps a green wateside park in the place where SBSG, Covich-Williams, and other now are. Maybe a big new condo with a bunch of pleasant shops on the ground floor, a big new hotel…

    But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. I have a hunch Shilshole is considered the last stand and nothing short of death will signal the end of the battle.

  22. I work in a marine industry on the canal. I also bike to work. Business owners: you do your argument no favor by characterizing bikers as 'hobbyists'. I don't consider commuting to my office a hobby. Bikers: be careful, you may get what you want. If (when) the small industrial business' are run out of Ballard, you will have lost the one thing that makes this neighborhood unique: its healthy mix of shops, light industry and housing. Do you really want to live in Kirkland and buy your hardware at Mega Lo Mart? Ballard is a great working-class place, do what you can to keep it integrated, not dis-integrated.

  23. Why not just put the bike lane where all the parking is and leave the industry side the same? Problem solved, could be resolved in 3 weeks of construction. :D

  24. I agree. I like those old things as well. What I dislike is that people are getting injured because of the alignment of the railroad under the Ballard bridge. It's not an old thing, that particular arrangement was made rather recently in Ballard history. It shouldn't be a hard fix. I don't understand why the businesses can't agree on the compromise that the city proposed and painstakingly designed.

  25. Hi BoatGuy, I live in Ballard and enjoy the mix of industry and shops and homes. I walk my dog along many of the streets daily and shop locally.
    I can see the trail enhancing this part of Ballard. I do not want any of the business owners to move and I don't believe they will because of a trail. However the big fear for them that I see is that the area will change and someone will sell out and a business/condo unit will appear and then there is a problem for the industrial type businesses as the area will become trendy and they will have to move out. I think that is what the real problem is here.

  26. You know BTown, as I rode down Shilshole today I thought to myself “why not just put a sidewalk along here ? Bikes are legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk in Seattle and that would solve the problem!

  27. I can't get into it now because its time for bed… but

    I'm not sure how much of the news of that time is searchable online but the whole battle began against Fred Meyer. Although the natural path of the trail lended itself to following 45th, Fred Meyer forced the issue. The purpose of starting the BTR was to make it illegal to run the path anywhere near the tracks, and also to preclude Fred Meyer from being able to build in and industrial area. Fred Meyer had bigger lawyers, got the laws changed or gained exceptions, and brought the bike path with them (45th was mostly dirt and gravel before that). So why is everyone riding down 45th? Is it Fred Meyer's fault? They wanted and brought the trail to the end of their property and left the rest for us to argue about. The BTR has every bit as much right to exist as Fred Meyer and the stalemate between the two is why the bikes go over the tracks. I am over simplifying and there were most certainly other players involved, but the fact remains, the path of the path is atleast partially the doing of Fred Meyer.

  28. Too late, dear. If you haven't noticed, Ballard is little more than bars, bums and condos now. So sad what has been done to this neighborhood.

    At least the people of Belltown were smart enough to start harassing the scumbags and make it less of a magnet for them. They didn't try to solve all the world's problems. They pushed out the lowlifes. And their neighborhood has improved significantly.

    This is a lesson that Ballard has obviously not learned yet. Ballard has thrown open its welcoming arms for all the creeps that other neighborhoods have been trying to get rid of for years.

    How can we find a neighborhood that's even more stupid so we can push the bums there?

  29. How is it remotely fair that these cement trucks have to yield for anyone? Cars, women, children, traffic, they should be able to crush everything in their path since they're Ballard cement trucks!
    It is patently ridiculous to believe that these trucks are somehow special. You know that they have another facility in Fremont that crosses the trail with less visibility that Shilshole provides and there are no problems there.
    If a cement truck can't pull into traffic without killing everyone around it, it shouldn't be allowed on the road at all. Luckily that's not the case and the drivers are competent professionals who know how to drive their trucks. Let's move on to the next ridiculous straw man argument.

  30. At this point I'd rather have some offices, restaurants, and condos down by the water with people who will support the betterment of the community, or at least not stand in the way of it. The industries of Ballard are proving that they don't give a damn about what the neighborhood needs and couldn't care less about how much blood is spilled on the streets while they obstruct the trail.
    Someone's going to jump in here and cry about the gazillions of dollar a day fishing industry and all the jobs…well offices have employees too. If that cement facility wasn't there already, would you really want one there? Of all the options for a waterfront location is that the best one?

  31. You can't build condos in an area zoned industrial. You also can't charge true market value for the land since it's zoned industrial. Since the businesses are being such a negative force on this issue of the trail, they'll lose a lot of support from the people when the inevitable rezone issue comes up. I can tell you that when the rezone comes up I'll be lobbying for it instead of fighting to keep the industry here like I would have a decade ago.

  32. Channeling the industrialists for a moment: “Because then those spandex clad sushi eating faggots will win and destroy the billion dollar a day maritime industry!”

  33. Business along Salmon Bay (both sides) have been industrial since the first European American inhabitation of Ballard. Maritime companies supplied oil (Time oil) and services like boat building and repair along the bay. The old Ballard Mill (among other industrial companies) is why the Ballard Locks exist (to transport coal and timber out of Lake Washington). This is Ballard history from the beginning of Ballard. Making the industrial zoned area anything but is just death of Ballard history and some of us are holding onto the last threads of original history the neighborhood has left. I mean, what are they going to take from us next? Norwegians? Maritime industry? Because historical preservation now is labelled counter-productive to “betterment of the community”? (RIP BALLARD DENNYS AND SUNSET BOWL to make way for “betterment of the community”)
    It's not about what is best there (I'd rather have residential and business all along the downtown Seattle waterfront instead of ferries and a viaduct), it's about what was there first and how that is representative of the history of our great neighborhood (city!).

  34. From an Old Ballard and Industrial perspective:
    I think cdpenne characterized the issue well, and I like old Ballard, I moved to Ballard for the old feel not the new, even though I am a young software engineer and I prefer to live in a small house in Loyal Heights. I like the old dive bars and restaurants. I have been rebuilding a sailboat and have made much use of Ballard's industrial resources in doing so, and it's something I really love about Seattle the fact that there are so many maritime resources and experts available right here in the city, mostly Ballard area. Guys like Broomfield on Ballard Ave who built me a custom exhaust system for my sailboat for $500, American Flex who had the pipe fittings I needed, Clyde over at Pam Pacific who let me stand in the shop while he rebuilt my perkins diesel, and Seaview and Canal boatyards where I hauled out. Covich and Williams is the only place I can get the type oil my engine takes. And when I discovered Seamar down by the fishermans terminal, I was like wow, forget West Marine! Anyway I am just an amateur pleasure boater and still all these places made it possible for me. Now imagine the importance of each and every part of the maritime industry to Seattle's commercial marine and fishing fleet. This is a huge part of our city's economy and without it we would not be Seattle. These guys were here before the gentrification of Ballard, so they do have to be respected. They've already been shit on with the Viaduct going away, and you can see the concern of cyclists intersecting with the truck driveways. I am sure they really don't want to ride over a biker (and be sued) any more than I want to kiss a cement truck.

    From a biker's perspective:
    Now I think the thing about the Environmental Impact Study requirement is clearly a stall tactic. Maybe they should have called it a Business Impact Study? Will a bike trail really affect the ENVIRONMENT and is that what these guys care about? Doubt it. Was consideration made like for other industrial sites on the BG trail where there are biker slowdown warning strips and stop signs? Would bikers agree to stop for truck traffic on the trail if there are stop signs? If safety is really everyone's goal, then both sides will have to compromise, because the current system is not safe, but neither would be a system that did not slow or alert the bikes at certain spots.

    Now the train track is just dumb and should be torn out or cemented over. Time to modernize this area, just like westlake avenue. That street used to be a gravel lot on one side with train tracks and do you think the improvements have hurt the maritime businesses there? True the “bike path” on westlake is not great, but it's something.

    Yes I bicycle to work downtown and would love a safe path from golden gardens to the BG trail. A cycle track on Leary doesn't seem to have anything to do with the Burke Gilman trail. I mean how does that connect between the Locks and Fred Meyer? I've been to Netherlands and the cycle tracks are really cool. Maybe we should have those too. But it's not an alternative to the BG trail unless it too bridges the gap in a safe way.

    Also important for downtown bike commuters is the ballard bridge, this really sucks for bikes and cars alike. Trying to exit the sidewalk on that southwest side is a death trap. There may as well be a stop light there, because when you are heading north in a car traffic is always stalled here, and heading south people are always braking suddenly in the right lane to turn right. And having to drive through that roundabout on the southwest side if you want to go to Nickerson is just dumb.

    Can we just admit that a lot of the roads in ballard/interbay are outdated and need to be re-engineered? If we can't afford to do it now, that's fine, but if we do these little projects piecemeal I hope they can be done with a future goal of a more modern overall roadway around here. There need to be better east-west routes in North Seattle, and the BG trail is the bike part of that.

    For going downtown by bike I am happy to add 5 or 10 minutes to my commute and just go through the locks and then to the Elliott Bay/Terminal 91 trail. Sure you have to walk through the locks, but it's a lot more pleasant than riding 15th to me. Yeah 15th has a “bike lane”, but 3 lanes of traffic either side, buses on my ass, and parked cars… not what I am looking for in a bike ride. I could get to 15th easier if there was a Ballard Burke Gilman trail, but then what? The Ballard Bridge part still needs to be fixed, and since we are handing out cycle tracks can 15th have one too?

    Just curiosity, do most people who want the BG trail completed ASAP want it for the Ballard/downtown commute, Ballard/points east commute, or pleasure cycling? Or is the train track crossing the biggest concern?

  35. How fair is it that I have to yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk in front of my driveway? Heck, sometimes when I pull out I have to wait a full 5 seconds to find an opening.

  36. The path along 45th is not the issue. It's the pinch point along the tracks at the Ballard Bridge. The city should be allowed to reconfigure it to separate the tracks from other traffic.

  37. Thanks cosmoking for your perspective- as for your questions, I bike commute to Sand Point, which takes only 15 minutes more than driving. The tracks are the big concern, because that's where people are getting injured.

    As for the Ballard-downtown commute, I use the bridge when I'm in a hurry to get to a meeting, otherwise go through the locks. Coming back, the ride up Dexter is quick but then you still end up at the Missing Link on the way back to Ballard.

    There are major improvements to the Ballard Bridge in the works – maybe even a wider bike-ped bridge attached to the side. Since it's a historic structure, they are limited in what they can do even thought it has seismic issues.

  38. This is the dumbest argument for anything.
    Just because something was here, or is here, doesn't mean that it's good. In this country, slavery was here first, should we bring that back too?
    I'm not making the counter extreme argument that everything new is good either, just that what seems to be the real foundation of the argument against the trail is utterly stupid and bogus.

  39. oh! The horrors! SPG used a naughty word to make a point! Get the smelling salts and prepare the fainting couch! The strong industrialist can't take that word being used!

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