The saga of the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail continues, with a ruling yesterday that delays construction through Ballard.
Following an appeal hearing last week, King County Judge Samuel Chung has sided with the Ballard Coalition, who have been fighting against a Shilshole alignment for the trail. The Coalition argues that the trail’s impact on local industry along Shilshole would be significant, and have long voiced concerns about the hazards of trucks turning in and out of driveways across the trail. The group has proposed a NW Leary Way/NW Market St alternative, which they say makes more sense for trail users, drivers, and local businesses.
While Judge Chung ruled that much of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was sufficient, his overall ruling against the EIS came from concerns over how the Shilshole alignment would financially impact local businesses. According to the Cascade Bicycle Club, Judge Chung was specifically concerned about the potential for higher insurance rates to industry along Shilshole.
“Unfortunately the real cost of this obstruction campaign is borne by the over 300 people a year who suffer injuries on the Missing Link,” Richard Smith, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club said in a statement. “For over 20 years, a few deep-pocketed individuals have delayed while the community of Ballard has waited for their preferred route.”
No word yet on what this means for the construction that was meant to start in early 2019 — we’ll update when we know more.