SEATTLE -- It's been frustrating bicyclists for years. Now the city will unveil the final proposals for the Burke Gilman Trail missing link.

The popular 27-mile walking and bike trail runs from Ballard in Seattle to Kenmore, except for one stretch near 15th Avenue in Ballard.

After decades of studies, lawsuits and too many bike accidents to count, there's new hope the missing link might finally be fixed. On Thursday, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to present three options it is considering to connect the two parts of the Burke Gilman Trail.

The first and most obvious route is continuing the path along Shilshole Avenue NW, something some businesses along there have fought. And then there's the alternatives: NW Ballard Way and Leary Avenue NW, both busy stretches for traffic moving around the neighborhood. Getting to them would mean making the trail jog a few blocks at both ends.

Some cyclists say the Shilshole route is the only way to go.

"They shouldn't really be considered alternatives, I don't think," said one cyclist. "They'll be studied as such, but I think they will fail on so many of the goals that a complete trail on Shilshole would accomplish."

SDOT is planning a public meeting on Thursday night to give everyone the chance to talk about all three options and what a trail along these busy streets would mean for drivers.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ballard High School cafeteria (1418 NW 65th Street). There will be a brief presentation at 6:30 p.m.; afterwards, community members will have an opportunity to talk with the project team.

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