Photo by Michael Harthorne
A bicyclist rides Shilshole Avenue's Missing Link, the uncompleted stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail between 11th Avenue Northwest and the Ballard Locks.

Cyclists and Ballard businesses at odds again, Missing Link sent back for EIS study

The Missing Link, the incomplete section of the Burke-Gilman Trail running between Fred Meyer and the Ballard Locks, will continue to be missing for a while longer.

This week, the city of Seattle Hearing Examiner ruled in favor of the Ballard Business Appellants, who expressed safety concerns about a trail going through the driveways of Ballard's main core of industry. The design must now go back to the Seattle Department of Transportation for a full Environmental Impact Statement. This is the third time the Missing Link has gone before the Hearing Examiner.

In a press release sent out by Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel Co., Warren Aakervik of Ballard Oil stated further study is needed.

"The City must study these issues and prove it can safely build a recreational trail through the heart of the maritime and industrial industry in Ballard without putting people’s lives at risk,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another press release, Chuck Ayers of Cascade Bicycle Club expressed an opposing view.

“We are disappointed,” said Chuck Ayers, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club. “The Missing Link continues to be a major safety concern, and this setback perpetuates the problems that already exist with the rail road tracks, navigation, and interaction between road users.”

Though SDOT has said in the past that the completion of the Missing Link would not have a significant adverse impact on the environment, the Hearing Examiner disagreed, saying the Shilshole Ave segment would create traffic hazards.

The Business Appellants have expressed in the past that they would like to see the trail rerouted, perhaps up Leary Way and down Market St, to avoid conflict with trucks.

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