My Ballard reports that the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks will open at 6:30 a.m. instead of 5:30 as they have been in the past year. They will still open before the posted hours.
“For the past four years, we have been opening the gates at 5:30 a.m. for the Muckleshoot Tribe to conduct fish counts and other research,” Andrea Takash with the Army Corps of Engineers tells us. “The Locks’ staff recently conducted a security review. As a result, we are opening the gates closer to the posted hours. The Locks’ staff will now open the gates at 6:30 a.m.”
For cyclists, the Locks can be a double-edged sword. It’s nice to be able to dismount and cross the canal at the Locks instead of dealing with the Ballard Bridge, which is often out of the way and is among the worst bridges for cyclists in the city. However, depending on the Locks as a transportation corridor is problematic, and I’m sure there are at least a couple early morning riders whose commutes just got a little longer.
One problem the Locks pose is that they make bike route maps more confusing. Should Google Maps take people across the Locks for their biking and walking directions? The city’s bike map has a note telling riders they will need to dismount, but it does not have the hours.
I have found myself staring at the closed gates at least twice. My mistake for not paying attention to the time, I know. But I’m sure my case is not rare. It’s kind of a bummer sometimes to realize you now have to ride miles out of your way to the Fremont Bridge (or face a very unfriendly Ballard Bridge).
On the other hand, it is a unique urban route that adds flavor to the sometimes oddball Seattle bike network.