Missing Link update: The FEIS is published and design for a multi-use trail is underway
We’ve reached another major milestone in Missing Link history: The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is complete. The Seattle Department of Transportation released the document today, which includes the preferred alternative that was announced as part of a “framework agreement” between stakeholders back in February.
From years of community advocacy, to thoughtful comments submitted as part of last summer’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the people who use and love the Burke-Gilman Trail have shaped the path that’s brought us here.
However, it wasn’t trail users alone that got us to agreement on a final route. Strong support to improve safety for everyone along the Missing Link corridor brought forward a diverse array of stakeholders and interests — especially the maritime and industrial businesses that are cornerstones of the Ballard community:
So the FEIS is out, what’s next?
Now that the FEIS is finalized, there will be a period of time where concerned parties can file an appeal in court. Despite near unanimous support for the preferred alternative, Cascade expects there will be an appeal; though typically, an FEIS is difficult to challenge.
Meanwhile, Cascade, maritime and industrial partners, neighborhood representatives, and other trail stakeholders have already begun forming a collective Design Advisory Council (DAC). The DAC is tasked with looking at the preferred alternative block by block, to ensure that the final design of the trail prioritizes the safety of all who use the corridor, and preserves access to water-dependent businesses and adjacent buildings. The DAC has already formed a charter and outlined an aggressive schedule that puts us on track to start construction in 2018.
Although the DAC represents many stakeholders along the Missing Link, the public and all bicycle and trail advocates will still be able to provide input and feedback into the design process. The DAC meetings will be open to the public, and the Seattle Department of Transportation has several open house events planned to gather input as the plans progress.
Our work isn’t done yet, but today is one to celebrate. The FEIS is complete, and we’re well on our way to breaking ground on the Missing Link!