“The people have spoken with their feet and their wheels.” Jim Jensen (27 year resident) responded at the recent public hearing regarding the environmental review of the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail. Cascade Bicycle Club’s Policy and Government Affairs Manager, Brock Howell stated “The ultimate vision is the “historic Burke-Gilman Trail route - the rail route.”
It is evident to many bicyclists in greater Seattle that bicyclists use and will continue to use Shilshole Avenue NW whether or not the completion of the Burke-Gilman Trail follows the historic rail route. More than a dozen bicyclists rode by today during ten minutes the author took pictures of the intersection of 46th St. NW and Shilshole Avenue NW. That short stretch of road has been identified by SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation) as the “highest bicycle collision location” in Seattle. According to Mayor Mike McGinn in a December 27, 2012 statement, "City records show there were 45 bicycle crashes that were responded to on Northwest 45th Street between 11th Avenue and Shilshole Avenue NW in a four year period (2008-2011).”
About sixty people attended the August 8 public scoping hearing at Ballard High School. Though there were a number of pertinent questions, many attendees took valuable time complaining about the scoping process rather than giving personal testimony concerning the environmental impacts of the proposed completion of the Hall of Fame rails-to-trails Burke-Gilman Trail. It is hopeful, that Seattle residents especially those concerned about the “missing link” as the corridor is called, submitted their statements by the August 16 closing date.
The scoping comment period is over. Now the wait begins. The scope of the EIS will be determined, decision released, and the draft will be written after the analysis has been completed. Once the draft is presented, the public will again be able to comment. However, this time, Seattle Department of Transportation is not waiting. Evidence of moving forward is already present in the markings on NW 45th and Shilshole Avenue NW. As Mayor McGinn also stated in his December 2012 remarks, “... there are a number of improvements that need to be made to address safety concerns for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as vehicular traffic, in the general area where this trail project is proposed. SDOT has prepared specific recommended improvements that will be constructed in 2013 or 2014.