Update: Murray clarifies position on Missing Link
State Senator Ed Murray, candidate for Seattle Mayor, has retracted (or clarified) a statement that he made to the Seattle Times regarding the Missing Link to the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard.
In a Seattle Times op-ed published Monday morning, Jonathon Martin had quoted Sen. Murray as saying:
"I took a look at it, and it seems potentially dangerous. I think it needs a second look.
"There goes my bike support"
In the context of the rest of the op-ed which was very critical of completing the Missing Link along NW 45th Street and Shilshole Avenue NW, it appeared that Murray was opposed to the historic envisioned route of the Burke-Gilman Trail and that he was asking for an additional study beyond the current draft environmental impact study that is being conducted by the Seattle Department of Transportation.
On Tuesday, Sen. Murray issued the following statement:
“Yesterday I made some comments to the Seattle Times expressing concerns about safety issues related to the fact that bikes and trucks will have to share a narrow roadway in Ballard under the cycling community’s preferred option for completing the trail. I want to clarify those remarks, because reading them over I realize that my tone came off as overly skeptical regarding that option.
“The Burke-Gilman is a treasured part of our regional trail system in Seattle and it is vital that we complete this ‘missing link.’ However, we must make sure the proposed route is the safest option for all users. The current proposal does place a multi-use trail through an industrial area, which raises some real safety concerns for users. I do not oppose the proposed route, but I think the Environmental Impact Statement process that is currently underway will provide an important ‘second look’ to make sure we make the best choice.
“SDOT is now working on an EIS to survey the route between the Ballard Fred Meyer and the Locks along Shilshole. The alternative route proposed by some local business owners along Leary Ave NE onto Market St via a cycle track is not ideal either as it would not provide as direct a connection and is not a separate trail. My own preference is that we implement an engineered solution to the safety problem, one that uses the planned public right-of-way in Ballard but which channels the bike traffic and protects the entry points into the Lake Union industrial businesses. I believe the outcome of the current EIS will help us to reach a positive outcome that completes the trail in a timely way while protecting the safety of cyclists and the viability of local businesses.” [Read more]
Improving the safety for trail users along NW 45th Street and Shilshole Avenue NW is important. According to recent four-year data, emergency vehicles respond to a bicycle crash along this route nearly once per month, on average.
This is the second clarification by Sen. Murray within the last two weeks on an important bike infrastructure project. Last week a fundraiser for Ed Murray was held by individuals who oppose building the planned and funded two-way protected bike lanes (or cycletrack) along Westlake Avenue.
When asked by Publicola about his position, Sen. Murray said he didn't know the specifics about the proposed Westlake Cycletrack, but stated:
"I support cycle tracks. I used them in Europe. If they think I am opposed, then they'll be surprised."