City clears hurdle to move ahead with ‘Missing Link’

The Seattle Department of Transportation has determined that the completion of the “missing link” of the Burke Gilman Trail will “not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment.” The city released today its State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Non-Significance for the “missing link” as required by a judge last April.

Ten months ago, King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers ruled that SDOT must do an environmental review on a 5-block section between 17th Ave NW and NW Vernon Pl, which was not originally studied under SEPA.

From the Revised SEPA Determination of Non-Significance (.pdf):

SDOT has determined that this proposal will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. An environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c). This decision was made after review of a completed environmental checklist and other information on file with the lead agency.

Any interested person may appeal this DNS by submitting a Notice of Appeal and a $50.00 filing fee to the Office of the Hearing Examiner.

The appeal must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. March 3, 2011.

The entire SEPA Checklist can be found here (.pdf.) Comments on the DNS and checklist may be submitted until 5:00 pm Thursday, February 24. According to the documents, construction on the project could begin as early as this fall.

“SDOT does expect that this DNS will be appealed,” Rick Sheridan with SDOT tells us. In the case of an appeal, it would delay the call out for bids and construction.

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. (Disclosure: MyBallard is a member of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce.)

Earlier: Background on the debate surrounding the missing link


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Julian
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Julian

Happy days. My favorite part: in the revised checklist, the interim route up Ballard Ave (i.e. the compromise that SBSG and Ballard Oil agreed to before suing to block) has changed from a “will do” to a “may do” … to me, indicating that the adjacent-to-Shilshole routing is being accelerated.

The SEPA Checklist is worth a read … includes updated estimates of lost parking, plans to mitigate, etc. No details yet on driveway crossing treatments, other than possible use of stop signs or vehicle-activated warning signals.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Happy days. My favorite part: in the revised checklist, the interim route up Ballard Ave (i.e. the compromise that SBSG and Ballard Oil agreed to before suing to block) has changed from a “will do” to a “may do” … to me, indicating that the adjacent-to-Shilshole routing is being accelerated.

The SEPA Checklist is worth a read … includes updated estimates of lost parking, plans to mitigate, etc. No details yet on driveway crossing treatments, other than possible use of stop signs or vehicle-activated warning signals.

great idea
Member
great idea

you just had to add the part about “anyone wanting to appeal only needs 50 bucks”

I’m sure the ‘deep pockets of old ballard’ will needlessly slow things down further.

yes, happy days

Gurple
Member

I would like to think that this will be built by the time my daughter is old enough to ride on it.

My daughter is 6 months old. I figure it’s about even odds.

Gurple
Member

Hey, you’re right. It’s not just one “will” -> “may” change, there’s a lot of language about the interim trail that’s been removed. This seems like a pretty aggressive posture on building the full trail at once. Sweet! If it works.

Julian
Guest
Julian

hah … the more of the business’ and our (the city’s) money that gets wasted on lawyers and appeals and endless “whatever works” obstruction, the less sympathy I have for vague “this could bankrupt us somehow” complaints. to the minority of adjacent businesses that oppose the trail: save your money. and the city’s. if you really think the trail will affect your bottom line, save the money you’re currently wasting on lawyers to mitigate whatever you think the impact will be. and let our broke city spend the money elsewhere. parking? lease some space for your employees. plenty of it nearby. insurance? you didn’t become uninsurable when SBSG opened their lot right on the existing trail, but OK, save up for premium increases. my drivers are bound to kill somebody? better training, better mirrors or other visibility improvements at crossings, and slowing the f*&^ down and allowing a safe passing distance would be a good place to start. ballard isn’t ballard anymore? that lawyer money you’re wasting could buy a LOT of pints down at the wherever old ballard goes to complain about new ballard. as for the trail, it’s paid for. get out of the way, spend your money… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I think they also need a reason to appeal. “Garglebargle hippies spandex get off my lawn!” doesn’t count as a reason.

Magda
Guest
Magda

Get the trail done already!

Shelterwood
Guest
Shelterwood

At the risk of being labels a variety of things, I do think the elimination of parking is problem. First, if we really want to talk about sustainability in an urban environment, having a variety of light industries that actually make things that are used locally, is good. And those maritime, sand/gravel, Seattle Times distribution center and other businesses provide much needed middle income jobs. Then there are the restaurants/bars/ and retail in Old Ballard. Ever worked for a restaurant? Even the hip ones? It’s not a great profit margin (as seen by the ever revolving empty store fronts) so employees don’t make much. Not every employee can afford to live in Ballard, anymore. The gentrification has caused housing prices (much less rentals) to become unaffordable if your waiting tables or trying to sell someone hip shoes or gelato. And then there is the evening/Sunday Market parking. It’s amazing to me that the very folks who talk local local local sustainable, drive down the the Market and cruise around looking for parking. If 140 spots are eliminated, that is a lot of parking, frankly. Much less on a Saturday night, that street is packed with cars. While I love the… Read more »

esr
Member
esr

Public transportation is also key to making urban living sustainable. And Ballard has pretty good bus options by Seattle standards.

I actually think getting rid of parking is a great idea — there will be fewer cars and more bus riders, which will lead the public transport options will improve, creating a virtuous cycle.

Shelterwood
Guest
Shelterwood

If you have to be at work at 6AM (Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel guys) or leave work at 2 AM (the hip restaurants and bars), have you ever tried the mass transit system at those hours? Or at least in Seattle. I’ll give you that in NYC it works (lived there, did that) but here? Or have you tried taking a bus from across town to get here? Time is money and when you don’t make much, or work two jobs, or go to school and work…One size does not fit all.

Again, the irony here is that those parking spots are filled to the gills on the Sunday Ballard Market day. A day when locals, I repeat locals, should be walking to the Market. Rain or shine. Filled. Hmmmm, this tells me either locals don’t walk to the market or that market attracts folks from QA, Magnolia, West Seattle, etc. Who spend a lot longer walking through Ballard after they park, maybe go to a movie, maybe eat at a restaurant, maybe spend money to keep the local shops open. Is that a bad thing?

I’m just being realistic here.

Burt
Guest
Burt

The Green Urbanist latte sipping organos Vs. blue collar joes has been the best thing for those of us on the Right.

All I can say is…..Keep it up!

Julian
Guest
Julian

I totally agree with you that a thriving walkable healthy community needs a mix of businesses, retail, living space, etc. I just don’t think the trail will actually put these places out of business. I’m not anti-light industry … I’m just anti-selfish-BS-costly-obstructionism.

As for parking on Sat night and Sundays … I think that problem (if it really is one) is solvable without killing the Missing Link so that people can have free storage of their private vehicles on the public right of way.

There’s lots of parking north of Market (people will find it if they have incentive), and a huge, empty lot that is slated to be (don’t hold your breath) a hotel right on Shilshole. The Farmer’s Market/Ballard Chamber could work out a lease on this lot for weekends and charge a few bucks. Or not.

And come on … you complain that locals drive to the Market but worry about what cutting back on some free parking spaces would do? Hmmmmm indeed. They’d be more likely to walk/bike/ride with the trail, minus some parking spaces. Leaving more room for non-locals.

Simpson
Guest
Simpson

The temp route is really bad. How many people will be killed in front of Ballard Hardware and Ballard Sheet Metal. Both companys have many trucks in and out all day long.
DHS

esr
Member
esr

Yes, I take the bus at all hours and from various locations in the city. I don’t own a car, so that’s how I get around. Yes, it is inconvenient at times, but that is a fact of life. My point is that more demand would cause the system to improve, lessening the inconvenience. Reducing free parking spots would create more demand for public transit. This actually sounds similar to your point about people driving unecessarily to the Sunday market…reduce the number of parking spots and they will be forced to walk / take transit.

I really don’t get your point about peope with less money being better off driving than taking transit…it seems to me that the cost of a car, its maintanence, and gasoline is much greater than the cost of a bus pass.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Jesus wants a bike trail.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

That’s why they’re now getting rid of that compromise route. SBSG/BallardOil/BallardChamber broke their end of the deal by suing and now the trail will be built on Shilshole as God intended.

OyVeyWay
Guest
OyVeyWay

Dream on.

Increased demand for transit does NOT result in m ore/better transit options. It only results in crowded buses and more pissed off people. Take a look at transit NOW. Metro is cutting back, not because of a lack of demand but because they’re in an increasingly dire budget crisis. If you think transit is going to get better, you’r delusional.

Guest
Guest
Guest

I feel bad for retail and restaurants. What a huge blow to their business right when the Economy was starting to pick up. Bad blow to Ballard, huge get for Greenwood and Fremont businesses.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

esr, getting rid of parking doesn’t necessarily mean “more bus riders”; more often it means people choose to work/shop/eat elsewhere, creating a vicious cycle rather than a virtuous one. The way to get “more bus riders” is to make riding the bus less of a hassle; increasing bus frequency would help a lot with this, but since buses require big subsidies, we’d need lots more funding for that. The easiest source of such funding (as it’s already in the law) is increasing local business revenue, so sales tax receipts also increase. A good way to help that is more cheap/free parking in Ballard.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I feel bad for straw men. What a huge blow to keep getting put up over and over again even though they just get knocked down. Bad blow to logic, reason, and intelligent thought.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Increased use of transit means increased revenue through fares means more money for transit.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

esr, not sure why you think that more demand for buses would cause the system to improve. There’s been more demand these past two years, and the system has done the opposite of improving!
You also need to consider that people have options other than being “forced to walk / take transit”, the major one of which is just driving somewhere else where there is easy parking. Tough-to-find parking and heavy traffic don’t make me take the bus to go shopping downtown, they make me drive to Northgate or Alderwood for my big shopping.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Do we really have to go through this every time someone mentions the trail?
The trail is good for business because it brings people here.
The trail is good for commuters on bikes because it’s safer and faster.
The trail is good for commuters in cars because it keeps bikes separated from the road.
The trail is good for cars because every bike isn’t a car taking a parking spot.

The trail will mean a few spots on Shilshole will have to get rearranged and some will probably go away, but the 140 number is from Fremont to the Locks and also includes a bunch of currently illegal spots that aren’t supposed to be parking anyway. The real impact for the downtown retail core is about twenty spots on Shilshole.
The other impact is that SBSG might have to give up use of some of the public land in front of their building that they’ve been using rent and tax free for years.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Ah-hah! You have just shown that having the government build the Missing Link would violate separation of church and state! :)