Missing Link gets the green light in city ruling

The city hearing examiner has ruled in favor of the city, clearing the way for plans to build the 1.4-mile Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail. (Read the .pdf ruling here).

The ruling said the Seattle Department of Transportation’s analysis of the environmental impacts of the project “satisfies the rule of reason” and is affirmed.

“Today’s decision affirms decades of hard work, dedication and compromise from an incredible variety of community members. Now more than ever we have a clear path forward to realize a 50-year vision of a completed Burke-Gilman Trail,” said Richard Smith, executive director of Cascade Bicycle Club, in a statement.

The Ballard Coalition, a group of industrial businesses along the Missing Link that challenged SDOT’s environment analysis, says the battle isn’t over yet.

“In light of today’s decision, the Coalition will exercise and pursue all of its options, political and legal, including continuing to work with the new mayor and her administration to find a compromise solution that works for all of Seattle, not just a handful of cyclists,” said Josh Brower, an attorney representing the Ballard Coalition in a statement.

The Coalition has proposed another route to close the Missing Link which would steer people to Market St., away from trucking routes.

“At last! We can move forward to complete the missing link of the Burke-Gilman Trail,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien on Twitter. “I look forward to @MayorJenny and @seattledot taking quick action to complete the Burke-Gilman, providing a safer and sound alignment for pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and trucks.”

Thoughts on the ruling? We’ll keep you updated on what happens next…

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

26 thoughts to “Missing Link gets the green light in city ruling”

  1. You sure you want to know what people think? Let the ranting begin!
    As a 20 yr trail advocate, I’m pleased this hurdle is surmounted. I invite all interested parties to attend the design advisory committee meeting tomorrow to see just how great this corridor project is going to be for everyone who lives in Ballard and everyone who works in Ballard, not just for a ‘handful of cyclists’

  2. Before the recent election, Mayor Durkan was asked: “As Mayor, will you support the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link compromise route SDOT is currently designing through a stakeholder process? The latest timeline shows ground-breaking in May 2018. Will you work to keep the project on schedule?”
    Mayor Durkan stated: “I am committed to finishing up the missing link on the Burke Gilman – this is an essential transportation corridor. I also recognize that this conversation has been going for more than 15 years and there has been compromises made by many stakeholders and significant progress on finding an acceptable route. I want a route that is safe, supports local retail and industrial business and cycling. The hearing examiner is currently reviewing an appeal on the EIS and I await that decision.
    I am committed to getting this piece of the trail built while I am mayor. I will have staff pay close attention the DAC process to ensure that this trail is safe, affordable and designed to function well. I want that process to work so we spend time and resources building this last link instead of in court. I am committed to working with biking advocates and stakeholders to finalize and implement the best design.” (Seattle Bike Blog, 11/08/17.)
    Hopefully, now that the Hearings Examiner’s decision has been released, Mayor Durkan will express her support and commitment to complete the Trail.

  3. No surprise at the City’s approval. Every chance the City gets it favours cyclists over tax paying businesses. The elimination of parking places will effect all the restaurants and shops on Ballard Ave and Market. I have followed this push for 25 years. It is as stupid now as it was then. We are bowing to a few cyclists so they can have “their trail”. No matter that this will damage hundreds of workers in both industrial and service industries. What a dumb move.

    I hope the Ballard Coalition prevails and the route is changed to Leary.

  4. 1) I’m still a little miffed some loser stole my handle. “Access Hollywood” was pretty inspired back when the libtards were busy accusing each other of sexual assault after decades of preaching politics. But anyway.

    2) The stretch of trail between the Ballard Bridge and Fremont is often a disgusting mess. I ride this trail and made repeated (talking upwards of 8) complaints to the “SPD Navigation Squad” or whatever about an encampment of tweaker thieves behind Fred Meyer back in the summer. Nope. No response; just later articles about fires and assaults. The dead rats and trash and stench of feces would shameful to any city with responsible, sane, functional, adult leadership. Seattle? Hahaha. Nada.

    Is the city planning on keeping the trail safe and clean? If not, then I hate to say it but I’m in retroactively in agreement with the “reactionary” businesses who fought the city over this trail section. High schools are run more efficiently than this city.

  5. Yes! Let’s get building already. And, Mr Brewer, it’s not “just a handful of cyclists“. And a safer trail will encourage more cyclists, which benefits every Seattleite through fewer emissions and better health.

  6. This is good news – only if the city has the stomach to keep it safe for use. No more bum camps, trash, junkie stuff on the trail…no sense in completing this if it will be left for the campers to overrun

  7. I commute Shilshole by bike daily so this is good news for me. I understand the concerns of Ballard businesses and feel for their employees whose parking will be displaced though I don’t see how the rv’s that have already annexed most of the parking on the shilshole corridor are any worse than the eventual installation of the missing link. With respect to patrons of Ballard businesses, hopefully this will encourage more use of uber or lyft which is better for the local gig economy drivers, reduces congestion, reduces unsafe driving after a night in the bars, and is better for traffic congestion and the environment.

  8. “With respect to patrons of Ballard businesses, hopefully this will encourage more use of uber or lyft which is better for the local gig economy drivers, reduces congestion”

    Sorry, but when I patronize the businesses along here to have parts machined or serviced that are 5+ feet long and can weigh several thousand pounds and require a crane to be loaded I doubt an Uber driver in a Prius is going to be able to help me. But if the trucking company I use refuses to pickup or deliver (or charge a $300 surcharge fee) in this area because they don’t want the liability of trying to drive alongside a bunch of rude, arrogant bicyclists who would rather go under the wheels of a truck than yield to a turning vehicle then it is bad news for me and my business and employees. And if the company doing the work decides to move to Centralia, or Texas, or just goes out of business, and I have to ship machinery to Korea or China to get it worked on and then shipped back, then it is really bad news; not only for my business and employees, but for the employees in Ballard who used to have good jobs, and now don’t have any job.

    I’d much rather support the local blue collar, working class economy than the local gig economy.


    It was amazing when they installed the rest of the Burke Gilman Trail back in 1978 – right through the heart of industries from Fremont to Kenmore – and then another bike trail along the south side of the ship canal right through hundreds of businesses offering blue collar jobs. What happened to all those thousands of jobs? Ohh wait they are still there.

    Your issue is with the thousands of Audi’s, Subaru’s, and VW’s that clog the roads and take all the parking, not with the cyclists in spandex who are mostly out in force on Sunday’s when you are sitting at home watching fat men in spandex bend over and hike balls. But you wouldn’t dare attack the yuppies and developers in Ballard driving the cars and taking the parking spots because they are the ones buying all the cement for their new town-homes, and getting their million dollar yachts and sailboats serviced at the marinas.

  10. By the comments on here, you would think that multi-use trails are so devastating to economies that instead of sending bombs to countries we don’t like, we should send in stealth engineers to construct multi-use trails and watch our enemies implode from within.

  11. @oldlogliner

    Have you considered using your trump tax cut to pay for the extra $300 charge? I suspect with the savings that are projected you could increase your shipments!

  12. Strange how the businesses on Shilshole Ave are so concerned over parking and are against the trail, but do nothing about the armada of dilapidated RV’s that have taken up camp on the easement.

    I’ll take a vibrant trail + rail line any day, over a junkie haven that is beginning to take hold on the Ballard waterfront.

  13. I work for one of the businesses along Shilshole, we have called the city a bunch of times about the RVs and people camping and are either told that it is not a priority, or to fill out a form online so social workers can go visit the homeless in their tents. Maybe I am cynical, but it seems like the city has no interest in doing anything about the homeless problem.

    I can assure you the businesses along here do not appreciate having our buildings broken into and vandalized, our car windows broken so they can steal change, or the constant presence of needles, human waste and trash around where we park and work. I know our customers have made comments about it.

  14. The next step is for the Ballard Obstructionists to appeal the Hearing Examiner’s finding to King County Superior Court. Just like they have done a half dozen times already. Hopefully this will be the last time and it truly will be the end and the trail that will benefit everyone will be built. And the businesses will continue with their business with no change.

    I just wish they would build the trail in the proper place, on 54th. But the city compromised with the businesses in order to get the trail done and put the route on Market (where most of the parking will be lost). Oh, and then the businesses freakin’ sued anyway. Time to back out of the compromise and build on 54th. But if they don’t build it there initially, they will have the opportunity to build it there in the future, like they did on Northlake with the original BGT build in 1978.

  15. 1) I really hope that the ballard business alliance doesn’t waste my property taxes any more and restrain themselves from further litigation. The Seattle times quoted the additional attorneys, redesigns, and multiple EIS studies have added up to more than $5 million dollars due to the opposition of basically 3 businesses

    2) I really don’t buy any of the arguments that opponents make to the south side of shilshole
    2A) It will cost them too much- Huh?? How does adding 2 minutes to look both ways when exiting the driveway on your way to a 2 hour cement run cost too much? 1% max of labor costs?
    2B) Their insurance costs will skyrocket. My family ran a construction business (50+ employees) in another state for 45 years. I worked manual construction and also helped out my family to run it for a long time. I also met with our insurance provider on several occasions. They were always concerned about: The number of employees, the equipment they were using, our training methods/licensing, previous claims, any hazardous environments (we did a few post-hurricane jobs where this was an issue). They never once asked – is the a properly engineered multi-use trail. If that really truly was a legitimate concern, it would have been included in one of the past 4 lawsuits to provide proof that the trail creates an undue burden to them. SBSG also already operates a lot that is south of the BGT.
    2C) It takes away parking — why are their employees entitled to free parking on city owned land when nearly everywhere else in all of Seattle does not. It’s not 2000 anymore!
    3C) Their most condescending concern is that their vehicles are to big. Ask them to explain why a vehicle that can’t just stop along part of their driveway + the railroad (storage) tracks + the trail when exiting the business and they get upset and basically say that your white-collar brain is too stupid to understand.
    4C) There are better routes – Multiple traffic engineers from both Seattle and Portland over the past 20 years all came up with the same conclusion, that Shilshole Ave on the south side was the best.

  16. I know a family that knows the owner of the Ballard Terminal RR, and they state clearly: “He’s running it to keep his right of way, even though he knows he’s holding up progress.” Between that, NEWBALLARDVSOLDBALLARD’s and STEVEA’s points leave one with little compassion for the whiny dinosaurs. Get with the 21st Century; adapt or retire…

  17. Zerb, in reality, the Ballard Terminal Rail Road has NOTHING to do with this this issue. The trail design accommodates the rail road entirely.

Leave a Reply