I love cruising down the scenic, flat (which in a city of hills is wonderful), and also pedestrian friendly Burke-Gilman trail on my bike, passing parks, restaurants and coffee shops, trees, and amazing water views all the way from my home (kinda) near Lake Washington all the way to Golden Gardens beach. I have also experienced this “missing link” myself; a spot where the trail just disappears and you’re forced to share the road with giant trucks moving cargo in and out of ports. I always wondered why there was this gap, and I’m glad to see the city pushing to finish the trail.
After months of appeals, the Seattle Department of Transportation SDOT can finally begin construction on the “missing link” of the Ballard portion of the Burke-Gilman Trail, a Seattle hearing examiner ruled last week.
The hearing examiner ruled that the Shilshole Avenue Northwest portion of the “missing link” does not pose a significant environmental risk.
The ruling means the city will not have to conduct a full environmental-impact report for that section of the route, which runs along Shilshole Avenue Northwest between 17th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Vernon Place, and can move forward on its plans for the expanded trail. When that may happen is still undecided, however, said Rick Sheridan, communications manager for SDOT.
“We do fully expect that this will once again be appealed to the King County Superior Court. However, the city is eager to begin construction on a fully funded and fully designed missing-link segment,” Sheridan said.
The missing-link portion of the trail would fill a gap of approximately 1.5 miles between 11th Avenue Northwest and the Ballard Locks on the Ship Canal.
I’m not sure why the city doesn’t have to conduct a full environmental impact, that part is a little concerning. But, considering how built up and industrialized the site already is, I’m also surprised there isn’t one already floating around somewhere they could use or build off of.
I am happy to see cities focusing on making cities more walkable or at least more bike friendly.