Some Ballard business owners prepare to fight city over link in Burke-Gillman trail

VIDEO: Missing link of Burke-Gilman trail

The 20-mile Burke-Gilman Trail is popular for both commuting and recreation between Seattle and the Eastside.

But a 1 1/2 mile incomplete segment known as the  "missing link" has been a topic of debate for more than 20 years.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has plans to connect the trail starting in early 2019. It would run along Shilshole Ave NW in Ballard.

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"I'm a biker and I wouldn't bike on this road," said Mary Ann Leede.

Leede is the office coordinator for Hatton Marine Engine and Generators which sits on Shilshole Ave NW and 17th Ave NW.

“It's very narrow, it's heavy industry. We're gonna lose hundreds of parking spots. It's gonna hurt the businesses down here,” Leede said.

The Ballard Coalition - a group of businesses opposed to putting the the Missing Link on Shilshole -- suggested Leary Ave to the north as a better option.

Lawyers for the group will present that alternative at a city appeals hearing Friday morning.

“It's not as heavy and as narrow as this spot is. There's not nearly as many businesses. You wouldn't lose as many parking spots,” Leede said.

Some bikers KIRO 7 spoke with disagree -- Shilshole is the preferred route because it's flatter and a more direct route.

“They simply don't want to lose a little bit of parking. And they're using safety as a bogus argument of not doing it,” said Ron Whitman.

“I think it's completely possible to have a trail pass in front of businesses and have businesses stop their cars and trucks and let bikes go by and let bikes stop for cars and trucks. It works all over the world there's no reason it can't work on Shilshole,” Amy Snover said.

Several bike clubs have expressed support for the completion of the Burke Gilman trail.

Friday's appeal hearing begins at 9am at the King County Courthouse.