On an unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon, Mayor Mike McGinn got an up-close and personal view of Crown Hill's problems and successes during a Sept. 25 walking tour of the neighborhood lead by a group of business and neighborhood representatives.

The tour started with introductions at the Crown Hill Center, located on Northwest 95th Street and 13th Avenue Northwest.

"I know a little bit about this neighborhood, living so close by," McGinn told members of the Crown Hill Neighborhood Association and the Crown Hill Business Association. "But, I'm looking forward to learning a lot more today."

One of the major stops early on the tour was the Holman Road pedestrian overpass for a view of the busy street below.

Mayor gets view of Crown Hill's problems, successes on walking tour
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Mayor Mike McGinn discusses activation of Baker Park with neighborhood representatives during a stop on his Sept. 25 walking tour of Crown Hill. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

The most recent appeal by a group calling itself the Ballard Business Appellants in the ongoing saga of the Burke-Gilman Trail's Missing Link was denied by the Washington State Appellate Court last week, for the moment clearing the way for completion of the trail.

The appeal was filed in July and based on a July King County Superior Court ruling in favor of the Seattle Department of Transportation on eight of nine issues regarding the city's existing environmental assessment of the Missing Link.

The Missing Link is the uncompleted section of the Burke-Gilman Trail, primarily along Shilshole Avenue Northwest, from 11th Avenue Northwest to the Ballard Locks.

The additional environmental analysis required by the single issue on which the King County Superior Court ruled in favor of the Ballard Business Appellants is currently underway, said Richard Sheridan, Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Sheridan said the department anticipates completing the additional environmental work on the portion of Shilshole Avenue between 17th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Vernon Place by the end of the year.

Most recent business appeal dismissed in Missing Link saga
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Last week, the Washington State Appellate Court denied a motion by Ballard businesses in the ongoing battle over the uncompleted section of the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Six hours in to what would eventually become a more than 30-hour, 620-mile ride, Ballard resident and ultra cyclist, Chris Ragsdale, virtually alone on a rural stretch of road outside La Conner, Wash., was feeling confident. Then the weather changed.

"The winds kicked in," Ragsdale said. "It was traumatic."

This epic ride, taking place July 31 and Aug. 1, was an attempt to set world records in road cycling for most miles ridden in 24 hours and fastest time to 1,000 kilometers.

Ragsdale, a 33-year-old Michigan native who has lived in Ballard for the past eight years, started cycling in 2001 after Sept. 11 convinced him to commit time to doing the things he loved.

In 2008, after setting a competition record in the National 24 Hour Challenge, he told the Ballard News-Tribune his ultimate goal was to attempt a 24-hour world record within the next three years.

This summer was his shot at that goal.

Ragsdale's challenges to setting two world records started before he even mounted his bicycle.

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Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Chris Ragsdale

Ballard resident Chris Ragsdale during his 30-hour, world record-setting ride July 31. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Beginning this month, the city will install new curbs along 28th Avenue Northwest between Northwest 56th Street and Northwest 57th Street to increase pedestrian safety and protect landscaping.

The Seattle Department of Transportation will install a curb between 56th Street and 57th Street on both sides of the street and on the one-half block just south of 56th Street on the eastside of the street.

The curb will provide a better walking environment by creating a buffer between the sidewalk and the street and will provide a protected area for landscaping by preventing cars from parking on the planting strip area, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation press release.

This fall, trees will be planted on both sides of the street. When completed, the width of the street will be the standard for residential streets with parking on both sides, similar to the blocks to the north. The current on-street parallel parking will remain in place following construction.

Seattle Department of Transportation paving crews expect to begin construction July 23 or July 26, depending on completion of work at another location, according to the press release.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Seattle Department of Transportation will be installing curbs and moving parked vehicles off the parking strips along this stretch of 28th Avenue Northwest.

A group of Ballard businesses and maritime and trade associations calling themselves the Ballard Businesses Appellants has taken another step to halt the completion of the Missing Link, the uncompleted section of the Burke-Gilman Trail that stretches from 11th Avenue Northwest to the Ballard Locks.

On July 3, the Ballard Business Appellants filed an appeal in the Division 1 Court of Appeals challenging the city's State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review of the Missing Link, the completion of which, they claim, will cause unsafe conditions for bicycle riders and have dire consequences for the businesses along Shilshole Avenue Northwest.

The Ballard Business Appellants filed their first appeal of the Missing Link in December 2008 over the Seattle Department of Transportation's determination of nonsignificance on the environmental impacts of constructing the trail. The city's Hearing Examiner ruled in favor of the Department of Transportation in June 2009.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

A bicyclist rides Shilshole Avenue's Missing Link, the uncompleted stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail between 11th Avenue Northwest and the Ballard Locks.

A 65-year-old mountain climbing and sea kayak guide from Ballard was the lead bicycle rider June 21 at the start of the Big Ride Across America, a 3,300-mile, 12-state trek from Seattle to Washington, D.C.

Noel Gilbrough was the first in the group of 25 on this bike ride of a lifetime to help prevent lung disease and promote clean air.

The riders, ranging in age from 17 to 65, each raised at least $6,000 to participate. At the opening ceremony, a check was presented for $175,000 for the total funds raised for the American Lung Association.

“My wife Cindy and her community of fellow quilters raised most of the money,” said Gilbrough, the fundraising leader at $12,000.

The riders come from 15 states, and will be traveling through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland before reaching Washington D.C. on Aug. 7.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Klein PR

Ballard resident Noel Gilbrough, with Bridgett Herzog, Cindy Gilbrough and American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific President and CEO Renee Klein, holds a check representing the $175,000 raised by the Big Ride Across America.

In November 2009, Ballard Landmark residents Ned Skavlen and Betty Kent collected 300 signatures between the Landmark and Canal Station Condos to improve the mid-block pedestrian crossing on Leary Avenue south of Market Street. In January, the Seattle Department of Transportation announced improvements would be forthcoming.

"I almost got hit," Kent said in November 2009. "And, a lot of other residents have said the same thing."

"You're taking your life into your hands to cross that street," Skavlen said in November.

This summer, the Department of Transportation will be constructing improvements to the existing crosswalk in the 5400 block of Leary Avenue, the department announced June 18.

This project, valued at approximately $35,000, will be constructed over an estimated seven-day period sometime before Labor Day, according to a Department of Transportation press release.

Improvements include:

  • Ladder style crosswalk markings in the street.
  • Overhead flood lighting in the crosswalk zone.
  • Vehicle stop line for southbound traffic located approximately 35 feet north of the crosswalk.
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

This summer, the Seattle Department of Transportation will be making improvements to this crosswalk on Leary Avenue south of Market Street.

The Crown Hill Business Association recently received a $3,000 grant from the Seattle Office of Economic Development it will be using to commission five murals on the neighborhood's signal control boxes.

Signal control boxes are the ground-level metal cabinets found at most intersections with four-way traffic signals.

Murals have already been added to signal control boxes in various Seattle neighborhoods, including Downtown, Capitol Hill and Columbia City.

Catherine Weatbrook of the Crown Hill Business Association said the association is currently looking for artists to paint the five signal control boxes. They are talking with Urban ArtWorks, as well as individual artists and Crown Hill-based programs.

Weatbrook said there are numerous aspects of Crown Hill that could serve as inspiration for the murals, such as the neighborhood's ravines and orchards or its history as a logging village and a place that was "on the wrong side of the tracks."

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Crown Hill Business Association received a grant to add murals to the neighborhood's signal control boxes, such as this one on Second Avenue in Downtown, this summer.

This June, the Seattle Department of Transportation is starting months-long repairs and improvements, including painting, a seismic retrofit and new lighting, to the Ballard Bridge that will cause some detours for vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

The Ballard Bridge painting project, which will last from June until December, will necessitate the closure of the east side of the bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists for that time period, the Seattle Department of Transportation's Connie Zimmerman said at the June 9 Ballard District Council meeting.

Zimmerman said the seismic retrofit, which will start in 2011 after the painting project, will have less of an impact on bridge traffic.

As much of the work as possible will be done from work platforms to the side of the bridge or from below the bridge, though some lane closures will be necessary, she said.

As part of preparing for future earthquakes, the Department of Transportation will make improvements to the bridge's diaphragms, roadway dowels, seat extenders and columns.

The project is estimated at $7.6 million, which will come from the Bridging the Gap Levy.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Seattle Department of Transportation is starting repairs and improvements on the Ballard Bridge that will last well into 2011.

Cyclists of all ages and genders converged on Ballard Avenue June 5 to comepete for prizes in races that could last more than an hour in the 2010 Second Ascent Twilight Criterium.

The races kicked off at 3:30 p.m. with 25-minute Category 4 women's race. After four more races, the 70-minute men's Pro race got underway at 7:30 p.m. to attract revelers from nearby bars and restaurants.

For more information on the race, visit the Twilight Criterium Web site.

Ballard Big Picture is a column of scenes from around the neighborhood. If you would like to submit a photo for use on this site and in the Ballard News-Tribune, please send it to Michael Harthorne at Be sure to include your name and information about your photo.

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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Racers in the Category 4 women's heat get the 2010 Second Ascent Twilight Criterium started June 5 as they take the corner on Ballard Avenue and Northwest Vernon Place.

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