City Prevails in Appeal of Missing Link EIS!

The City Hearing Examiner has rejected the appeal of the Ballard Coalition on the City’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Missing Link – a great day for trail supporters.

  • This decision affirms the extensive, multiyear Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that received over 4,500 public comments, of which 77% of the respondents supported building the Burke-Gilman Trail on the City’s preferred route.
  • With this ruling the City of Seattle has the authority to move forward and complete the Missing Link.
  • The vision to complete the trail in time for the 50th anniversary of the start of the Burke-Gilman Trail moves forward with strong Ballard community support.
  • With designs for the Missing Link nearly complete,  the entire community of trail supporters call on Mayor Durkan and City Council to move forward on construction in early 2018 for completion of the Missing Link by 2019.

Contact Mayor Durkan: and tell her to move forward on trail construction when final design is done (expected within weeks)

Link to Cascade Bicycle Club press release here (details regarding the legal history)

Link to Hearing Examiner decision W-17-004 Findings and Decision 1.31.18


New Year, New Mayor, New Trail

It’s time to show our new Mayor, Jenny Durkan, that the community supports completion of the Missing Link.  Working with trail stakeholders and the business community through a Design Advisory Committee, Seattle DOT has nearly completed the corridor design.  Building the Missing Link in 2018 will provide community benefits for those of us in Ballard and beyond for decades.  It’s time to get it done! 

We’re throwing a Happy Hour to bring  trail supporters together.  Your attendance and support sends a message to our Mayor that the time to build is 2018. 

  • What: Happy Hour at Peddler Brewing, 1514 NW Leary Way (just west of the Ballard Bridge)
  • When: Wednesday, January 17th, 5:30-7:30p 
  • What Else: Family Friendly * Snacks * Cash Bar
  • Even More: A chance to see the most recent design, hang with trail supporters, and hear from several of the original citizen activists who, 40 years ago, agitated and lobbied to get the first sections of BGT built!

Please RSVP and Spread the Word!

Hosted by: Mike O’Brien, Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail, Stimson Marina and Salmon Bay Center, Seattle Farmers Market Association, Groundswell NW, Olympic Athletic Club, Peddler Brewing, Cascade Bicycle Club

Couldn’t attend? 

Send an email to Mayor Durkan ( letting her know that you support completing the trail in 2018. Be positive and emphasize:

  • This is a multifaceted corridor project, with improvements to business driveway access, new traffic signals prioritized for freight mobility, safer crossings of Shilshole Ave for business employees and night time Ballard Ave patrons – and includes a safe, simple, and connected Missing Link!
  • Remind her that this project helps sustain Ballard’s industrial and marine family wage jobs through the above business access and mobility improvements, while it significantly reduces the likelihood of conflict between pedestrians and bicyclists as the corridor is currently configured.
  • Ask her to proceed with trail construction even if litigation is still ongoing – and to continue to defend and support the EIS and work that SDOT’s own Design Advisory Committee has been doing for the past year. Every square foot of this corridor has been analyzed and safety improvements made for all corridor users. Let’s get it done!

updated 1/17/18

SDOT Open House – Thursday, October 12th, 2017  5-8 pm

Design Advisory Committee (DAC)/SDOT conducting field testing, finalizing design        Self-guided walking tour also scheduled

Members of the DAC, including representatives from FOBGT, business representatives, and stakeholders met along the missing link route on Shilshole Ave yesterday, using a mockup of the trail to assess truck turning movements and trail safety features. This is part of the extensive outreach and validation that SDOT and their partners are doing as the project moves closer to a ‘final design’. It’s time to share the current plans more widely and solicit more feedback – all part of the process laid out in February, 2017 when litigant/opponents and trail advocates agreed to the route recommended in the final Environmental Impact Statement.

  • When: Thursday, October 12th, 5-8 pm, Presentation at 6pm
  • Where: Ballard-Eagleson VFW Post, 2812 NW Market Street in west Ballard
  • What: SDOT staff and DAC members will review the current design, take questions, provide opportunities for you to comment
  • SDOT is also offering a self-guided walking tour of the route on Saturday, October 14th, 10-2pm. Learn more about this at the October 12th meeting or see the SDOT Missing Link page below.

What about parking along the route? I heard that most of the existing parking will be lost? 

The good news is that close to 70% of the current regulated and unregulated parking spaces along the corridor will be retained after the trail is completed. This had been a huge concern of adjacent businesses and visitors to Ballard. Ongoing studies of parking capacity and parking use in Ballard are being done to make sure that businesses can thrive as our neighborhood continues to change and grow.

How can SDOT construct a safe trail when there are so many business driveways to cross and so much traffic on Shilshole Ave?

SDOT staff and trail designers met with every single business along the corridor, during the EIS process, and continuing as the design moves forward, getting detailed information about their business needs. Field testing of driveways and truck movements is part of the process. New traffic signals along Shilshole (finally, a light at 17th NW!) along with traffic sensors and warning lights will be used at busy trail/driveway intersections. The focus of all this work is safety for trail users, improving business ingress and egress, and ensuring smooth traffic flows for vehicles along the three segments of the trail.

What about the lawsuits and appeal of the EIS? 

Though the primary litigants involved in prior appeals agreed to the recommended route and a framework for completing final design of the trail, one business owner changed his mind after agreeing, and has been leading continued opposition to the current plans through legal appeals and lobbying. The appeal of the final EIS will be heard by a Seattle Hearing Examiner later this fall. The appeal process further obligates the City and Cascade Bicycle Club to spend tens of thousand of dollars on needless legal fees – a strategy that trail opponents have used since 2003, when then Mayor Nickels became the second of four Mayors to recommend the Shilshole route for the trail (Schell, Nickels, McGinn, Murray).

Link to Cascade Bicycle Club to make a donation to help offset legal costs

Missing Link Legal Fund

Link to SDOT page to sign up for alerts, make comments, or call

Questions for FOBGT:

SDOT Open House Thursday, July 13th, 5-8pm 

Design Advisory Committee update

What’s the latest on the Missing Link and Design Advisory Committee (DAC) work?

SDOT and their consultant, EnviroIssues, have been leading regular meetings of the DAC, composted of business, community, and trail user stakeholders, moving the process along from the preferred alignment to final design and construction. FOBGT representatives Davidya Kasperzyk and alternate Jennifer Macuiba have been attending the meetings and providing trail advocacy input. They recently held a very productive mini-charrette session with other trail advocates to identify opportunities to improve connectivity with existing facilities (e.g., greenways, street ends, Ballard Bridge, other walking and biking connections).

Want to learn more about the project? 

SDOT will host a community Open House on Thursday, July 13th, 5-8pm at the Ballard-Eagleson VFW Post,  2812 NW Market Street in west Ballard
  • Overview of the project and progress to date
  • Opportunities to view the current alignment and ask questions/comment
  • Speak one-one with SDOT staff, DAC members
If you are unable to attend, all materials related to the project are available online via the link below. If you have specific questions or issues that you would like FOBGT representatives to bring to the DAC meeting, send an email to

Hope to see you on the 13th!

SDOT Missing Link page 

Project Team for the Missing Link project


Adopt-a-Street cleanup planned for Sunday, April 23rd, 9 am
Earth Day Weekend

Come help cleanup the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. Volunteers are needed to help pick up trash along the trail route in Ballard, including both the completed trail in the vicinity of Fred Meyer as well as the yet-to-be-completed route along Shilshole Ave NW. We will provide trash bags, canvas gloves, litter grabbers, safety vests, and snacks. 

Meet at the northwest corner of the Ballard Fred Meyer property (SE corner of 11th NW and NW 45th) at 9:00 am on Sunday, April 23rd. Clean up will conclude by 12:00 noon – come for part or all.

For further information and to RSVP, contact Ben

Announcement of route for the Missing Link
Next steps

By now, most of you have heard that an agreement has been reached regarding a route for completing the Missing Link in Ballard. It’s only taken 20+ years, and it’s not built till it’s built, but this is a very hopeful development.

What happens next? 

  • SDOT will finalize the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the announced route as the preferred option. They hope to release the final EIS in May, 2017 and it will include basic design level details for each of the segments.
  • The Mayor’s office and SDOT will convene a Design Advisory Committee (DAC) to guide more detailed design in each of the segments – 11th NW to the Ballard Bridge along NW 45th; south Shilshole Ave from the bridge to NW 24th; south side of Market Street from NW 24th to the Locks.
  • The DAC will include trail advocate stakeholders and business and property owners along each section of the trail. The plan is to complete final design work by the end of this year.
  • Construction should begin in 2018.

Kudos to Mayor Murray, Scott Kubly and professional staff at SDOT, many property owners and businesses along the trail route, Cascade Bicycle Club, and the thousands of you who have continued to make your voices heard. Litigation to stop the trail is still a possibility – we’ll know more when the final EIS is released – but from the Mayor on down, the City is committed to completing this missing portion of the trail, and doing it in a way that is safe, simple, and connected. It’s time.

Link to 
Press release and conference announcing decision on the route

SDOT Missing Link Home Page

Questions? email us at

Here are the details about the special Transportation and Sustainability Committee meeting scheduled for this Wednesday, February 15th, 12 Noon, in Council Chambers, 600 4th Ave, Second Floor, in downtown Seattle.

At the meeting, SDOT will review the route options and update their analysis in light of Draft EIS comments. A Public Comment period follows. We will be presenting Committee Chair Mike O’Brien with more postcards and Valentines in support of the South Shilshole alternative, and speakers will have an opportunity to voice their support for a preferred route.  We hope some of you will be able to make, but we realize that many of you will not be able to – check out the live stream on the Seattle Channel or use the call in line to listen: 206-684-8566.

See below for actions you can take TODAY to get the Missing Link completed.

Thanks to all who attended the January 27th Missing Link Happy Hour – it was a great success, with hundreds of supporters of the South Shilshole alternative for the Missing Link in attendance.  We heard from industrial land business owners, representatives from local businesses, and Mike O’Brien, Council District  representative, all describing why the South Shilshole route along the rail right of way makes the most sense – it’s the safest, the simplest, and the most connected option.

We know that Mayor Murray and his SDOT staff took note of the big turnout and enthusiasm and that they plan to choose a route option in the next few weeks. Now is the time to let them know of your support for the South Shilshole option. Here’s what you can do:

1 – Send a comment to the Mayor  ( If you have a picture (see below), attach it along with your message. Tell him why you support the So Shilshole route as the safest, simplest, and most connected way to complete the Missing Link. You can also call his office at 206-684-4000.
(You can also send an email to Scott Kubly, SDOT director ( and tell him the same.)

2 – If you are a Facebook user, and had your picture taken at the Happy Hour event at our photo booth, log in to FB and find your photo – then share it, tag it, tweet it, Instagram it, and send it to the Mayor with a message of support for the South Shilshole route.

3 – Attend the special Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 15th at 12 noon.

4 – Send a Valentine to the Mayor via the Cascade Bicycle Club website.

5 – Pass this along to anyone you know who supports the South Shilshole route and encourage them to take action.

We’re close – but we thought the same in 2003, when Mayor Greg Nickels choose the South Shilshole alternative and the City Council affirmed that route. The money to complete the trail is in the SDOT budget, much of the design is done – now we need the Mayor to reaffirm the decision made by his predecessors.

Please help him make the right choice by taking action today.

Please join us for Happy Hour to express your opinion about completing the Missing Link of the Burke Gilman Trail in Ballard. Supporters of the South Shilshole alternative are invited to gather with fellow trail users, get an update on the EIS process, and take further actions to show our Mayor and SDOT that this alternative is the safe, simple, and connected one.  RSVP below. 

Council member Mike O’Brien will join us to discuss the current status of the project at 6 p.m.

Complimentary Beer, Wine, Food, and other beverages will be provided
Event: Burke-Gilman Trail “Happy Hour” Meeting

Date: Friday, January 27, 2017

Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: Ballard Bay Club/Ballard Elks Lodge 
6411 Seaview Avenue NW, Seattle WA 98107

Complimentary: Food, Wine, Beer, & Well Drinks

RSVP: Online at

Sign-up deadline is Friday, January 20th. Space will fill up quickly! So, please RSVP soon

to reserve your seat. Plenty of free convenient parking for vehicles and bicycles.

Questions? Please call Mark or Melissa at 206-850-3521 or email:

SPONSORED BY: Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail (Ballard) /Friends of the Seattle Farmer’s Market Association (Ballard)/Olympic Athletic Club/Hotel Ballard


Missing Link EIS – it’s about Safe, Simple, Connected

Safe, Simple, Connected….it was true in 2003 and it is true now. To complete the Missing Link of Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard, the configuration needs to fulfill those three criteria.

  • Safe – this is the foundation for trail completion, and the primary focus of SDOT when completing projects. It has to be safe for trail users and those who intersect with the trail
  • Simple – greatest ease of use and trail experience for users, with limited to no conflicts
  • Connected – the goal of the Missing Link project – to connect the two segments of this regional trail

After review of the four alternatives presented by SDOT on June 16th, we believe the South Shilshole alternative meets those criteria – this alignment is consistent with the City Council Resolution in 2003 regarding a preferred alternative ,  with the 1997 Operating Agreement between the City and the Ballard Terminal Railroad, and with the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Seattle. We urge trail supporters to let SDOT know that the South Shilshole alternative is the preferred alternative. Use the information below as needed to support your comments. Thank you for supporting the trail and completion of the Missing Link!!

SDOT meetings with a presentation of alternatives and opportunities for public comment are as follows. We Need Trail Supporters to Be There to Comment!!

Thursday July 14th  6-9 pm Leif Erickson Hall   2245 NW 57th Street

Presentation at 6:15pm, Public Testimony 7-9pm 
Saturday July 16th   10am – 1pm  Leif Erickson Hall  2245 NW 57th Street
Presentation at 10:15am, Public Testimony 11am-1pm
Comments can be submitted through July 31st to 
Mail comments to : Scott Kubly, Director, SDOT, c/o Mark Mazzola, PO Box 34996 Seattle WA 98124-4996
It’s easiest to think of the Missing Link as consisting of three distinct sections, given the location of the rail line and current use patterns on the trail and missing link sections. What follows  is a review of the South Shilshole alignment through the safe, simple, and connected lens.  Feel free to use these points as you make comments to SDOT  by August 1.
11th NW to 17th NW, along southside of NW 45th
Safe – The two-way cycle track safety improvement that were put in place nearly two years are also used by walkers and strollers as a de facto trail. Based on comments of a representative of marine industrial businesses, no conflicts or accidents at driveways or intersections have been reported in this section.
Simple – NW 45th continues the route of the current Burke Gilman trail  used by trail users who reach 11th NW – The south side alignment on NW 45th mimics current south side alignment of trail where it ends at NW 45th and 11th NW. There are a minimal number of street intersections and both dead end to the south, so there would be limited traffic impacts.
Connected – This route creates a seamless trail from the current trail in BINMIC (Ballard Interbay North Manufacturing and Industrial Center) from 3rd NW to 11th NW all the way to 17th NW.
17th NW to 24th NW, along southside of Shilshole
Safe – Only one street intersection crossing (at 24th NW) – which is a dead end. There are driveway crossings only, with slow moving vehicles and the majority of those vehicles are operated by professional drivers.Simple – There would be no need for extensive intersection reconfigurations. Driveway crossing designs would be repeated at each driveway, leading to a consistent trail experience and understanding for trail users and motor vehicles.Connected – Continuation of ‘straight’ and seamless trail, without jogs or traffic signals. Follows route used by current cyclists who use unsafe Shilshole Avenue roadway. A much needed traffic light at 17th NW would provide easy access onto Ballard Ave and Ballard retail and commercial core.24th NW to Chittenden Locks, adjacent to north side of rail lineSafe – There would be two instersections, at 26th NW and 28th NW both of which dead end. There would be a limited number of driveway crossings, again with the majority of vehicles being operated by professional drivers of the local businesses.Simple – There would be no need for extensive intersection configurations. No disruption of roadway rights of way (e.g., Market Street or Leary Ave.) as there would be in the other alternativesConnected – In conjunction with other South Shilshole segments, this route would provide a continuous trail for all users, minimize intersection crossings, with no ‘jogs’ or diversions, and provide access to Locks and to Golden Gardens in the least disruptive way.

Route Safe Simple Connected

Shilshole South Alternative

41 driveways/load zone crossings

Best sightlines for driveways

Improved safety for all trail users

Most direct route

Crosses only 4 roadway intersections, all dead ends

No complicated intersection configurations

Shortest distance at 1.38 miles

Maintains the most consistent ‘trail’ experience


Shilshole North Alternative

58 driveways/load zone crossings

Challenging sightlines on many driveways

Requires multiple turns, including a left onto busy Market Street 1.48 miles

Similar to the route travelled currently by people bicycling


Ballard Ave Alternative

42 driveways/load zone crossings

Crowded pedestrian environment could result in trail conflicts between people walking and people bicycling

 Requires the most turns and jogs of all routes

Trail users would cross 16 roadway intersections

Interrupted access during weekly Ballard Farmer’s Market

Longest route at 1.65 miles

Does not provide a ‘trail’ experience

Adjacent to local businesses on Ballard Ave


Leary Alternative

33 driveways/load zone crossings

Both Leary NW and NW Market Street are arterial streets with higher traffic and truck volumes

Reduces sidewalks up to 12 feet on NW Market Street

Requires multiple left turns across arterial streets

Users would cross 13 intersections with greater wait times at arterials

1.54 miles

Does not provide a trail experience for users

Negative impact on traffic at nearly all intersections and for transit is projected with this alternative


Draft Missing Link EIS is out

FOBGT Annual Meeting Tuesday June 28 to review

On Thursday, June 16th, Seattle Department of Transportation released the long-awaited Draft EIS for the Missing Link sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. For long time trail supporters, who looked forward to the City completing interim and permanent sections of trail in 2009 (at which time full funding and design was completed) based on City Council resolution 30583 in April 2003, this is just one more small step on what has been an VERY LONG process!

As we at FOBGT digest the 4 alternatives and dig deep into the report, we also want to let you know about a chance to learn more about the DEIS prior to the public meetings. At our Annual Meeting, SDOT staff and consultants will be on hand to review the report. We hope you can join us – spread the word.

We’ll provide some thoughts on the alternatives and suggested approach to comments for trail supporters in the coming weeks. Please sign up for our mail list to make sure you get the latest.

Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail Annual Meeting

Tuesday, June 28, 6-7:30 pm   Ballard Eagles Hall    5216 20th Ave NW

Thanks to all for your help with Trail and roadway cleanup!! 

Adopt – A – Trail Clean  Up

Saturday, June 4th, 2016, 9a – 12p

Ben Peterson of Friends of the Burke-GIlman Trail will lead a planned cleanup of our adopted section of the Missing Link, including the BGT near Fred Meyer, NW 45th Street and portions of Shilshole Ave. See information below.

When: Saturday, June 4, from 9 till noon

Where: Gather at the southeast corner of 11th NW and NW 45th Street in Ballard (NW corner of the Fred Meyer parking lot)

What: You’ll be picking up trash on the south side of the road and trail – we will provide gloves, safety vests, trash pickers, bags, and snacks. But bring any supplies or snacks you like

Contact: RSVP please to Ben Peterson,

Want to help with the site? Email us at

The Burke-Gilman Sammamish Trail, commonly referred to by locals is “The Burke,” is a 27-mile multi-use recreational trail that runs through the heart of Seattle, Washington. It is part of the King County Regional Trail System and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and occupies what used to be a the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway corridors.

For two decades, neighbors, businesses and trail users have worked together to complete the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard, filling in the final Missing Link of the trail. Completing this section would mean a seamless, safe path from Golden Gardens Park all the way to the city of Bothell. The city of Seattle recently made improvements by adding a two-way protected bike lane NW 45th Street, and the city is currently conducting an 18-month environmental impact study (EIS) in order to complete the trail. We’re working to expedite this EIS process. More information here.

Where does it go?

The Burke-Gilman segment is managed by the City of Seattle south of NE 145th Street. The trail begins at 11th Avenue NW in Ballard and follows along the Lake Washington Ship Canal and north along Lake Washington.At Blyth Park in Bothell the trail becomes the Sammamish River Trail and continues for 10 miles (16 km) to Marymoor Park, Redmond, on Lake Sammamish. With the completion of a connector trail through Marymoor Park in May of 2009, the trail network continues to the city of Issaquah via the East Lake Sammamish Trail. With the addition of the connector, the longest unbroken segment of the trail currently extends 42 miles. It runs 14.1 miles (22.7 km) between Ballard and Tracy Owen Station inKenmore (its initial eastern end), or 17 miles (27 km) to Blyth Park. The Seattle Parks Department considers the Burke-Gilman segment of the trail to end in Kenmore; The total distance from Golden Gardens Park to Bothell, including the proposed “missing link” through Ballard, is 19.8 mi (31.9 km). King County considers that the segments divide in Bothell, Judge Burke and Daniel Gilman‘s original Road east ran past Snoqualmie Falls, before North Bend.