Ballard community rallies hundreds for Missing Link

Final route selection is near — the time is now to keep momentum going 

We're still reveling following an uplifting event last Friday, where hundreds of caring members of the Ballard and bicycling communities turned out to support the completion of the Missing Link.

The event, sponsored by the Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Olympic Athletic Club, the Farmer's Market Association and Ballard Hotel, offered up free food and beverages — plus a healthy dose of support for the South Shilshole alternative

Here's a quick recap of the excitement

The evening started with a familiar exercise — reflecting on who has been affected by the Missing Link:

Many hands go up when @CMMikeOBrien asks: who knows someone who has crashed on the #missinglink?

— Cascade Bicycle Club (@CascadeBicycle) January 28, 2017

We also saw strong business support for the South Shilshole alternative:

"It's time to get that trail built & S. Shilshole is the right place to put it." -James Riggle, owner of Olympic Athletic Club

— Cascade Bicycle Club (@CascadeBicycle) January 28, 2017

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways highlighted that this was a change from past Missing Link gatherings:

I've seen these crowds before in support #MissingLink #seabikes
Big change tonight is huge support of local business

— Seattle Greenways (@SNGreenways) January 28, 2017

The sponsors graciously allowed Cascade to say a few words as well. Senior Policy Director, Blake Trask, spoke:

We are thankful to the many caring citizens who have brought light to the issue of the Missing Link for nearly three decades. This has been a community labor of love — with leaders like Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail, and now fresh energy from Ballard neighbors and businesses, as well as groups like the Farmer’s Market.

Over the past nine months, Cascade took an earnest step back to evaluate the four trail options. After a thorough vetting, the clear option forward that is safe, simple and connected is South Shilshole.

Cascade remains committed to open and constructive dialogue with all interests, including those who have expressed concerns about this alignment. We believe there are win-win solutions that can improve mobility and safety for all users in Ballard.

Finally, Mike O'Brien got the crowd going with a call to break ground in 2017:

.@CMMikeOBrien's commitment: We start construction on the #missinglink this year. Let's get this done!

— Cascade Bicycle Club (@CascadeBicycle) January 28, 2017

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials said a final route will be selected "within the next several weeks." A such, Cascade is asking officials to "show the love" to the Burke with a Valentine's Day-themed campaign.

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