Judge rules against Missing Link plans—again

The years-long effort to connect a missing portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail—aka, the Missing Link—is yet again delayed.

For over a decade, the City has tried to connect the missing 1.4-mile segment of the trail between the Ballard Locks and Ballard Bridge. With the NW Market St section between the Locks and 24th Ave NW complete, the next portion is along Shilshole Ave NW.

Their proposed Shilshole alignment has been challenged again and again by several industry and business owners in Ballard, known as the Ballard Coalition. The Coalition instead wants the trail to be built on NW Market Street and Leary Avenue, away from the industrial traffic of Shilshole.

SDOT’s proposed Missing Link alignment

The Seattle Department of Transportation recently had proposed to realign the Ballard Terminal Railroad tracks along Shilshole in order to build the new section of trail, but a King County Superior Court judge has ruled against the proposal, citing a tradition of legal protections for railroads.

A spokesperson from SDOT said that the department “respectfully disagrees” with the decision, which they say challenges their ability to, “successfully manage the public right-of-way for the health and safety of the traveling public.”

They continue: “This decision could have concerning broader implications for public safety, and we plan to appeal the matter to the Court of Appeals which is already considering a related case about the Burke-Gilman Trail.”

The Burke-Gilman Missing Link construction is one part of the larger Ballard Multimodal Corridor project, which transformed the west end of NW Market St over the course of the past year. Along with trail building, the project includes roadway paving, new sidewalks, storm drainage, and signal improvements.

“These critical changes have been repeatedly delayed due to ongoing legal challenges,” SDOT says, adding that the planned trail alignment, “provides the best public safety option while also mitigating potential impacts to businesses. We will continue to pursue resolution through the courts rather than compromising public safety with an inferior alternative route.”

SDOT says they anticipate the next phase of the Multimodal Corridor project —along Shilshole Ave—will be delayed until late 2021 or early 2022 at the earliest, due to ongoing court proceedings.


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coryclassic
Member
coryclassic

As a cyclist myself I can say that this trail is needed. Cyclists on Shilshole both slow traffic down and put everyone at risk. There is a big dangerous gap in the trail right through Ballard.

However SDOT isn’t the most trustworthy organization. They would have no problem screwing over a business or putting a cyclist at risk as we have seen time and time again. I question their motivations for insisting that Shilshole be the trail. Saying that an alternative route would “compromise public safety” seems ridiculous considering the amount of heavy truck traffic on Shilshole. What other route could possibly be more dangerous than Shilshole?

terryj
Member
terryj

the trail would be nice, it is NOT NEEDED, it’s easy to go around. Lot of $$$ invested over and over again all wasted for a FEW cyclist.

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

This is Seattle, where a few activists control policy at every level. And the city follows blindly without regard to common sense. But don’t tell Mike O’Brien that. He promised Shilshole to the cycling activists and here we are, in a sh-t show. Another few years without a link while a path down Leary screams common sense. Dan Strauss follows whatever Mike says so don’t expect any help there. Dysfunction junction.

Lizzy the Lezzy
Member
Lizzy the Lezzy

What’s your function?

Truth
Member
Truth

So a handful of businesses continue to sue to block the trail, finding small technicalities to continue to block a trail on public right of way that’s been designed and funded for decades and you’re blaming Mike O’Brien?

Your fetishy obsession with him would probably be of great interest to a psychologist.

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

You mean the guy that blindly disregarded business concerns, not to mention cycling safety, to get the trail approved?
Same guy that has real estate holdings and stands to gain from those businesses relocating?
Same guy that got kicked out of an event after the Nordic Museum opening and didn’t know why?
Same guy that was a champion for the homeless, even declaring a “crisis” and did nothing while numbers increased year over year?
Same guy that denies homelessness is in any way caused by the massive drug addiction problem?
And on and on.
Mike O’Brien should be pushed out of every business in Seattle. Not welcome in Ballard.

Truth
Member
Truth

You mean the guy that blindly disregarded business concerns, not to mention cycling safety, to get the trail approved? I’ve seen the engineering plans for the trail, no safety issues that I can see. Care to elaborate? Same guy that has real estate holdings and stands to gain from those businesses relocating? I’m confused. Are you saying he owns the properties the Obstructionist businesses are located on? How would he financially gain by them moving? Same guy that got kicked out of an event after the Nordic Museum opening and didn’t know why? It was the Obstructionists. That was clearly documented in the news. Same guy that was a champion for the homeless, even declaring a “crisis” and did nothing while numbers increased year over year? Last I checked, it was Safe Seattle that derailed most of the homeless solutions put forth by him. Same guy that denies homelessness is in any way caused by the massive drug addiction problem? Drug addiction is one of many causes of homelessness. Can you post a single article where O’Brien denied that it was one of the causes? And on and on. So far you’re 0 for 5, so I’m curious what these… Read more »

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

Haha, you are such a progressive d-bag. – Have you seen the volume in\out of business traffic on Shilshole during working hours? Light and heavy industrials plus employee traffic across the proposed trail. Fairly obvious. – Mike O’Brien is involved with real estate holdings. He owns property all over the area. The real estate those businesses are on now are worth millions in residential conversions. Again, obvious point to understand these businesses are vulnerable on top of Seattle taxes, B&O, payroll tax, etc. Take Keyport as an example https://www.myballard.com/2018/01/23/seafood-producer-keyport-leaving-ballard-over-challenging-business-climate/ – Nordic Museum – Yes, he is so self unaware or utopianly aspirational that he didn’t understand why he was being removed. More importantly, like the missing link, he failed to grasp the obvious impact his policies made on others. Loser. – Don’t know anything about Safe Seattle but the City and Mike specifically, moved hundreds of homeless to Ballard. Remember the “We’ll welcome our new neighbors..” and “they’re just like the rest of us.. no burden…. everything handled with Urban rest stop, tiny village…”. Well, meth\heroin addicts roaming freely, shoplifting sharply up, Commons Hep-A outbreak and numerous needles later, doesn’t seem to have worked. There are models that have been… Read more »

Truth
Member
Truth

That’s every one of your points refuted.

Refuting means providing sources or facts, rather than just listing your opinions or baseless points.

The one link you posted was Keyport leaving Ballard. They listed nearly every reason under the sun for leaving, but a potential bike trail was not on their list. Neither was the fact that they’ll save a ton on rent in Edmonds conveniently.

Look, it’s cool if you don’t like O’Brien, but couldn’t you just say “I don’t like Mike”, rather than continually posting baseless drivel in some attempt to blame an ex-councilmember for all the woes, imaginary or not, in Seattle on a neighborhood blog? It makes you look…desperate? In love? Insane?

Sounds like you are governed by ideology instead of facts that are right in front of your face.

Now THAT’S comedy gold coming from you! Thanks, I needed a laugh on this sweltering day!

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

I don’t blame Mike O’Brien for making Ballard unsafe and encouraging drug use and homelessness. I blame you. You enable bad policy by voting for virtue signalling fools like O’Brien and Dan Strauss.
Look, we get that you don’t care about Ballard businesses and public safety. Got it.

Truth
Member
Truth

You’re never a complete failure until you manage to blame everyone else 👍

panther
Member
panther

Thank God for the judge. The idiots who want to use Shilshole obviously have never worked in an industrial area. The Leary Way alternative is much safer and much less expensive to create.

Truth
Member
Truth

What about the portion of the trail not even a mile east that’s safely co-existed with industrial businesses for decades? And that more recent section of the Ship Canal Trail across the water that cuts through an industrial area?

What is unique the obstructionist industrial businesses along Shilshole that they wouldn’t be able to deal with a trail?

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

Obvious to everyone except those with ideology blinders on.

Truth
Member
Truth

A 2013 survey during the EIS process asked Ballard residents where the trail should go. Something like 85%+ responded that the trail should go on Shilshole. 5% indicated no preference. The other 10% indicated various other routes.

So at least 85% of Ballard would want to know what makes the obsructionists so unique that they can’t handle a regional trail like other industrial businesses in the vicinity?

Not one anti-Shilshole commenter seems to be able to answer this questions and typically descends into ad hom attacks instead, such as this:

Obvious to everyone except those with ideology blinders on.

NA
Member
NA

Cyclists, including myself occasionally, are going to use Shilshole whether there is a trail or not. It’s the most direct route to the Burke Gilman, there aren’t cross streets, and there aren’t 100 stop signs and traffic lights like there are on Leary.

El Grunion
Member
El Grunion

you stop at stop signs AND traffic lights? unicorn alert!

terryj
Member
terryj

i do as well. as a biker and former car driver, i find Bicyclist just a tad worse then car drivers.
I try and let cars know all bikers are not arrogant. I also use a mirror, many of the lycra set don’t. dangerous

Paintking
Member
Paintking

Why is it Spandex nation doesn’t promote safety classes, followed by regulations and well shown license plates? Why is it autos are required to all be very similar to meet state standards, yet cyclists aren’t? Why is it we now have these very expensive bikes on our roads, pretending to be autos, with ZERO regulations except a brain bucket? Can’t they integrate signals and horns? I find yaks and rIckshaws on Market street an interesting thing.

weaksauce
Member
weaksauce

In Hebrew, shilshul (pronounced Shilshole) means diarrhea which is funny because riding down Shilshole Ave on a bike is absolute shit. The mix of cars, trucks, driveways, left/right turning vehicles, bums, glass and various debris makes Shilshole a miserable bike route.

I don’t care about the most direct route. I want a safe and enjoyable ride home so I go up Ballard Ave to 22nd then Cross over Market and pick up a bike route from there. Been doing this every workday for +15 years and I dread even having to cross Shilshole.

What’s frustrating is SDOT wants to continue this dumb fight. It’s been 30 years! 30 frigging years and there is still a missing trail! Just give in and build it elsewhere! Cyclist are tired of waiting.

westerngirl
Member
westerngirl

Shilshole is a Duwamish name and has nothing to do with Hebrew.

Paintking
Member
Paintking

Well, isn’t THAT special. You’re going to do something, no matter what. Stop signs are a mere suggestion to me too.

Pork Pie
Member
Pork Pie

*Stop signs are a mere suggestion to me too.*

You keep saying that, yet you haven’t been seriously injured in an accident. Will you please hurry that up?

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

This stinks like a Mike O’Brien inside job. The stubbornness is rivaled only by the lack of consideration for the businesses on Shilshole. So cyclists have stop signs for a mile on Leary. They’ll have a dedicated lane and not interfere with commerce. Deal with it.
Shilshole link makes no sense at all.

Truth
Member
Truth

Great idea, we can have a regional trail on Shilshole AND a local trail on Leary!

Who knew you were such a visionary!

Mike O'Brien is smart
Member
Mike O'Brien is smart

Hahaha. You should run for City Council with that keen backward sense of ideology.

spark
Member
spark

I’m a cyclist and would prefer to have the trail on Leary than Shilshole. Even with a trail Shilshole is going to suck, having to slow down and check surroundings at every intersection shared with industrial trucks.

Seems like most of the concerns around stoplights on Leary could be solved by just closing off some of the small intersections with Leary Ave. From my experience most of these have very little traffic that could easily just be funneled somewhere else.

IMO the trail is meant to be friendly towards casual cyclists and families. Having to slow down and check for huge trucks barreling around a corner every half-block is definitely not very family-friendly. If expert-level cyclists are okay with doing that then they’re free to continue to use Shilshole without a trail.

edIt: another significant bonus of Leary is that it would pass closer to downtown Ballard, the farmer’s market, and the bus hub at 22nd and Market.

westerngirl
Member
westerngirl

Not that it matters since the world class beauty of Seattle is gone but …as a cyclist myself (as you all like to say.).. I used to ride down Leary. Unaware of the fight over the missing link, I switched to Shilshole because it is safer. A world class trail next to the canal with a complete separation from the danger of automobiles will age far better than some paint on a busy street. It is too bad that the city and the coalition can’t find a way to work through this impasse.

Lizzy the Lezzy
Member
Lizzy the Lezzy

You’re nowhere near the canal on Shilshole. Are you hallucinating? It’s a block or two away at best. No use trying to make it sound like a romantic waterside excursion.

westerngirl
Member
westerngirl

If this is a game, look at the map. The Burke Gilman is also next to Lake Washington and Lake Union but that doesn’t mean it hugs the shores. Romance aside, Leary is truly unsafe and has nowhere near the scenic potential. It also would put people on the east end of Market at a 5 way traffic light or in some perverted mess of crossings and turns. Use the shortest and most direct route. That is Shilshole. The missing link doesn’t affect cyclists that much. We can legally ride on the street. The trail is really for the benefit of pedestrians, joggers, skateboarders, skaters, etc. Let them fight with the coalition.

spark
Member
spark

If they were just going to paint a bikelane on Leary then I would also prefer Shilshole. To do Leary properly they would need to take out street parking on one side and build a fully-separated lane for cyclists, in addition to blocking off some of the side streets (which incidentally would benefit most cars and busses too).

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