Why the Missing Link needs to be completed on 45th Street & Shilshole Avenue

Like so many Seattleites, we read the Seattle Times this morning and found Jonathan Martin's Op-Ed; "Ed Murray: 'Missing Link' fix for Burke-Gilman trail is “potentially dangerous.”

missing-linkThe Burke-Gilman Trail (BGT) is one of the most well-used bicycle trails in America. Created in 1978 as multi-use trail, it follows a historic rail line from Bothell and through Kenmore, the University of Washington and Fremont.  Once in Ballard however, the trail just drops dead into NW 45th Street at the intersection of 11th Avenue NW, near the Fred Meyer. Trail users are left to fend for themselves against speeding cars and narrow shoulders along NW 45th Street and Shilshole Avenue NW. This is the “Missing Link,” and for over a decade the city has been working to complete the BGT but continues to run into  ”legal log jams.”

Meanwhile, the Missing Link is one of the most dangerous areas for bicyclists in the city. Because of the dangerous conditions on Shilshole & 45th,  a bicyclist goes to the ER every month. Many more are injured.

Ed Murray won't fix Shilshole and 45th, and that's unacceptable.

The only way to really complete the Missing Link is make 45th Street & Shilshole Avenue safe.

Here's why a two-way trail/cycletrack on 45th & Shilshole is important:

(1) One bicyclist a month goes to the ER every month on this stretch.

(2) It's the most direct connection for trail users to continue to the end of the Burke-Gilman Trail, and they will keep using it regardless of whether Leary Way is improved.

(3) 45th and Shilshole have fewer pull-ins & pull-outs than any other route, minimizing the potential for driveway/intersection conflict.

(4) It's the historic route of the Burke-Gilman Rail and thus, the Trail can only be finished along this route.

Read more in our EIS comment letter.

Mayor Mike McGinn understands this. He defended the completion of the Missing Link against litigation brought by special interest groups, then moved the project forward outside of the courtroom by pursuing a full environmental analysis. Currently the administration is finalizing interim measures to improve the safety along the route.

Currently, SDOT is already implementing temporary improvements to 45th St that we hope will be upgraded into the long-term solution. But we're still waiting for final design work for those temporary measures, due out very soon.

Want to help complete the Missing Link in Ballard? Help Cascade elect pro-bike candidates this fall.

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