We support a separate, protected and safe trail located outside of the roadway (on the public right of way), which would improve public safety for everyone, including truck drivers and customers.
A few industrial businesses located on Shilshole Avenue Northwest in Ballard have spent thousands of dollars on attorneys and lobbyists to prevent the missing link of the Burke-Gilman Trail from being completed in front of their businesses so they can continue to control and use public property for their own personal and private business purposes.
The 20-mile, regional trail from Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell is complete except for a 1.4-mile segment through Ballard. Here are the scare tactics and untrue statements they continue repeating in an effort to promote an alternative route to complete the missing Link, although they contradict the facts supported by numerous studies that they demanded and the city commissioned:
Big trucks and bikes sharing the road is unsafe: Supporters of the trail agree! That’s why we support a separate, protected and safe trail located outside of the roadway (on the public right of way), which would improve public safety for everyone, including the opponents’ truck drivers and customers.
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Opponents of the trail being completed on Shilshole Avenue are promoting Leary Avenue as a better alternative. However, it would require trail users to cross 17 motorized roadway intersections, instead of only six on Shilshole. Also, it would place the trail and trail users in the street next to cars and trucks, which is inherently more dangerous.
The fishing industry will be harmed: There is absolutely no basis to support this claim. There are no commercial fishing vessels unloading their catch or any fish processing taking place on Shilshole Avenue (between the Ballard Bridge and Market Street) where the city plans to complete the missing link.
The marine industry will be harmed: Completing the missing link of the Burke-Gilman Trail on Shilshole Avenue will not negatively impact the marine industry. The marine businesses located on Shilshole will not have any of their driveways blocked by the trail.
Hundreds of blue-collar living-wage jobs will be lost: There is absolutely no factual basis to support this claim. Thousands of people are already biking and walking in front of their businesses and “no one has lost their job.” This is just a red herring to try and generate opposition.
The majority of businesses and property owners are opposed to the trail being completed: This is untrue, too. In fact, the majority are in favor of it. Tom Bayley, who owns and operates the Stimson property, which comprises 11 acres and represents the largest commercial property located on Shilshole Avenue, has publicly supported the trail being completed on Shilshole Avenue in front of his business “to improve public access, transportation and safety” for nearly 20 years.
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The trail is being built just for bicyclists, which is unfair: The Burke-Gilman Trail is a multiuse trail for people of all abilities to walk, jog, run, bike, etc. It’s not just for cyclists. Also, people don’t just bike for recreation; they also bike for transportation. As Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant stated in 2015 at the memorial of a Seattle resident killed riding his bike to work, “Working people of all nationalities need safe bike routes so people don’t have to make dangerous decisions to get to their jobs.”
In January, a Seattle hearing examiner upheld the adequacy of the final environmental impact statement on the missing link. However, the same industrial businesses that originally filed suit demanding an EIS then appealed the hearing examiner’s ruling in King County Superior Court because the final EIS identified the Shilshole Avenue route as the “Preferred Alternative.” Judge Samuel Chung heard oral arguments Dec. 7 and is expected to make his decision known on Thursday, Dec. 13.