Completion of the Burke Gilman Missing Link delayed once again

Cascade Bicycle Club announced on Wednesday, Feb 16, that King County Superior Court Judge Rogers has once again sent the design for the completion of the Burke Gilman Trail back to the City of Seattle for further study.

While Rogers agreed with the City Hearing Examiner on 18 of 19 conclusions (in favor of the completion of the trail), he ruled against conclusion #9 of the Hearing Examiner’s ruling, asserting that further design details from the City of Seattle are necessary.

The "Missing Link" section of the Burke Gilman trail refers to the area where the trail ends at Ballard's Fred Meyer and people are left to find their own route to the Chittenden Locks where the trail picks up again.

The Ballard portion of the Burke Gilman Trail has been in limbo since the 1990s and this ruling is latest in a string of suits brought by the Ballard Business Appellants, which includes the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and businesses like Ballard Oil and Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel.

“This decision is yet another set-back for Ballard and the greater cycling community,” said Chuck Ayers, Cascade Bicycle Club executive director, in a statement. “We worked to find a compromise route – the so-called ‘Green Route’ – yet that wasn’t enough to satisfy the appellants. Today, this case should be behind us, but the appellants continue to frustrate the process with a mentality that bicycling and industry cannot mix. But this has been proven untrue. Cities around the world have succeeded in sharing transportation corridors, and here in Seattle we’re showing it can be done respectfully and safely as with the new Ship Canal Trail and the Alaskan Way Trail.”

This ruling makes the planned and funded 2012 construction unlikely but the proponents of the trail are convinced that the City will again be able to show that the trail extension will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment, as was determined in last year's SDOT review.

“While we’re disappointed with the result, we are confident that the City will be able to provide the necessary detail to show that the project would not pose a significant impact to the environment,” added Jeff Eustis, attorney representing Cascade in a press release. “Cascade continues to support the City as it works to supply the additional information.”

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