City’s plans for a Westlake bikeway continue to evolve

2014_0728_DACMeeting6Slides_web-1-sidewalkview

Images from an SDOT presentation to the Design Advisory Committee (PDF).

Plans for a safer and more comfortable Westlake Avenue continue to develop, and the city is now looking at two options: One that runs next to the existing sidewalk and one that runs down the center of the parking aisle. A previously-considered option along the west edge of the parking area has been dropped.

The city will continue developing the plans this summer and will present a workable project concept at an October 22 open house. If all goes according to schedule, construction will begin at the end of 2015 and the bikeway will open in 2016.

Planners updated the Westlake Design Advisory Council this week to show the evolving plans and gather feedback. The city will pick their preferred plan based on feedback and the project goals later this summer.

The ‘Sidewalk Concept’

The sidewalk-adjacent bikeway plan still shows the most promise, providing the fewest points of conflict and displacing the fewest parking spaces. The city has improved the idea since first presenting “Concept B” earlier this year by removing some of the twists and turns that some feared would make it less usable.

2014_0728_DACMeeting6Slides_web-1-sidewalkoverheadMuch of the work on this plan has already been completed, since it will utilize the existing service drive between the storefronts and the giant, endless parking lot. The service lane will be converted into a two-way bikeway separate from both the parking lot and the sidewalk. This option also puts the bikeway closer to the water and with more direct access to storefronts.

Feedback earlier this year on the similar “Concept B” plans included concerns that there were too many turns in the routing. Some of those turns appeared rather abrupt, prompting usability and safety concerns for people biking on it. The improved plans straighten the bikeway to address many of these issues and make the route more predictable.

Though materials from project planners note that the width of the bikeway will be ten feet at a minimum, much of the route will be wider than that. Here are the pros and cons from the presentation to the Design Advisory Committee:

Sidewalk Concept – What works
• Better experience for all users
– Few vehicle/bike conflicts
– More comfortable and relaxed experience – Predictable and intuitive/familiar
– More consistent through the corridor
• Fewer construction impacts
• Preserves approx. 80% parking spaces

Sidewalk Concept – Challenges
• Customers and residents must cross the bike facility
• Major landscaping impacts
• Loading must cross bike facility
• Potential use of parking area by faster cyclists

The ‘Center Concept’

2014_0728_DACMeeting6Slides_web-1-centerThe Center Concept is an interesting idea raised by community members during the most recent open house. Basically, it would create a protected bikeway through the center of the main parking area, surrounded on either side by one-way drive lanes and back-in angled parking.

This option more or less makes official the way people bike through the lot today: Right down the middle between rows of parked cars. But the barriers should give users a sense of safety and comfort they don’t have today, where the threat of being hit by a car pulling out of a parking space is daunting.

2014_0728_DACMeeting6Slides_web-1-centeroverheadHowever, this option has more points of conflict than the Sidewalk Concept, since cars will cross the bikeway at every driveway. This option also could lead to conflicts with people making u-turns to snag a parking spot they saw on the far side of the bikeway.

And while it does keep the existing service lane essentially as it is, the center concept would displace more parking spaces than the Sidewalk Concept. Here’s the pro and con list from the presentation:

Center Concept – What works
• High predictability and intuitive
• Increased safety at driveways and crossings
• Separation with mixing zones only at driveways
• Puts loading zones, business access, ADA parking, etc. immediately adjacent to the sidewalk
• Two-way vehicle circulation
• Preserves approx. 75% parking spaces

Center Concept – Challenges
• Places bikes between drive lanes
• Potential misuse by motorists (U-turns)
• Changed functionality of the parking lot
• Major landscape impacts
• Major reconstruction of the parking lot – Extended construction duration
– Reduced accessibility during construction

Here’s a map comparing the alignments of the two options (click to enlarge):

2014_0728_DACMeeting6Slides_web-1-mapHere’s the project schedule:

wct_2014_0520_schedule_v17

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50 Responses to City’s plans for a Westlake bikeway continue to evolve

  1. Peri Hartman says:

    It appears that the “sidewalk” plan could work reasonably well. What isn’t clear:

    – 2′ separation from parallel parked cars – too narrow to prevent doors from opening into bike lane
    – no separation from back-in parked cars – what will prevent them from intruding into the bike lane
    – how will ped crossings be handled?
    – how will service vehicle crossings be handled?
    – it shows minimum 10′ for bike lanes; how much will be 12′ or wider?

  2. Josh says:

    NCHRP research published by TRB indicates the door-zone width of typical passenger vehicles in a 7-foot parking lane is 11 feet from the curb, and bike lane designs should ensure that cyclists remain outside that zone.

    A 2-foot buffer to parking means about 1/3 of the southbound bike lane remains within the door zone of parked cars. For safety, people on bikes should ensure that the tip of their handlebars stays out of that zone.

    In short, unless a proper buffer is used, southbound cyclists should ride near the centerline of this sidepath.

  3. bill says:

    The Center Concept could be improved by reducing the number of east-west crossings for cars in the parking lot.

    I share Peri and Josh’s concern the Sidewalk option is not adequately buffered from parked cars. The drawing appears to show a low fence or some type of raised barrier; is that the case?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Those are the kinds of details I don’t think they have solidified yet. And that’s also great feedback: We don’t want the kind of situation we have on Broadway where there are too many ways for cars to park in the bike lane. It turns out, you need a serious curb or planter box or something, otherwise people will still park there. Even the smurf turds aren’t enough. I wish this weren’t the case, because curbs are pricey. But wherever there is no curb on Broadway, people find a way to park in the bike lane. And clearly enforcement is not an effective tool to stop it.

      And I agree that the barrier needs to be wide enough to eliminate the door zone entirely. Also worthy feedback.

  4. Stuart says:

    The centre concept doesn’t look very inviting or comfortable, even it it was made safe. Who wants to run the gauntlet riding between two streams of cars, where people might be reversing towards you from both directions at once? The sidewalk concept seems more comfortable. At least they have given the right of way to the bikes at the intersections, rather than the cars.

    • Peri Hartman says:

      Unless the center path has jersey barriers. But, even then, there still are a number of vehicle crossings.

      • Stuart says:

        And even then, do Jersey barriers scream “safe and friendly” to you? They don’t to me.

      • kpt says:

        Huh? Yes, jersey barriers do scream “safe” to me. I can much more easily imagine a car jumping a burb than getting through a jersey barrier. I mean, it would be prettier as a planter, sure. But, I feel quite safe behind all that concrete.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Yeah, they might technically fulfill the safety goal, but an over-designed barrier can also be uncomfortable (even if technically safe).

        This video shows a great example: http://youtu.be/zWG49xlZ_eQ?t=4m53s

      • RTK says:

        @Tom

        Star Wars, cool. Now I’m sure my kids will want to ride here if they use jersey barriers.

    • Ben P says:

      The idea reminds me of the type of traffic many Asian cities have, cars, mopeds, and bicycles all slowly competing in a dense flow.

  5. Charles B says:

    I don’t understand why they need to keep the two way drive lane in the parking lot. Couldn’t they just convert to angle parking and drop a lane? It seems to me it would be a better use of space then keeping two directional lanes for what is just a giant parking lot.

    • Peri Hartman says:

      I thought of that too. Wondering the same thing.

      • Jonathan says:

        Because people would inevitably drive the wrong way down the one-way and then end up at loggerheads with an oncoming car, with a long reverse the only way to escape? Of course this is exactly how many of the neighborhood streets in Capitol Hill, QA and Fremont work…

      • Peri Hartman says:

        Well, they’ll learn. There are plenty of examples of parking lots with one-way loops and they generally work fine.

    • jeik says:

      Agreed! A 1-way parking lot with angled parking could fit more cars in less space. It would also reduce cut-through traffic, which can be an issue when the bridge is up.

    • RTK says:

      I vote yes to the one-way plan. It it was heading towards the downtown then cars could easily circulate back out onto Westlake if they wanted to maneuver around for that coveted parking spot.

  6. Ballardite says:

    The Seattle process is exhausting! Earlier reports said construction in 2015, so all this squabbling has put people at risk into another calendar year.

    The sidewalk-adjacent concept is the obvious choice here. Do we really need to keep talking about it for another 17 months?

    And even though I’m obviously kinda bitter about the timeline, it’s encouraging that the city hasn’t buckled to the few and the loud trying to stand in the way of safety.

  7. Carl says:

    I think the center lane option is far superior to the sidewalk option for people trying to make decent time (12-15mph) on a bike. As long as the lane is adequately separated from the driving lanes (more than a curb) and bikes have ROW at crossings (stop signs for cars would work) car interactions will be a minimal problem and no one will walk in it.
    The sidewalk option will have far to many pedestrian-cyclist interaction slowing it down and pissing off both walkers and cyclists. Pedestrians in Seattle are used to having everyone yield to them and will walk across the sidewalk bike lane at any point to get from their cars to the stores creating lots of potential collisions.

    • Josh says:

      The Center Option is shown as posted 10 mph, and its nominal 12-foot width doesn’t account for shy distance to curb or barrier hazards, so really it’s a 10-foot path width.

      Given the narrower of the two parking lot drive lanes gets more ROW than the entire cycletrack, I suspect many riders trying to maintain even a 13 mph Copenhagen-standard speed would divert to the parking lot.

      • RTK says:

        I hope it well understood in the design process that the alternative is always there to ride in the parking lot. The slower the design of the trail the more people will spill over into the general traffic lanes through the parking lot.

        This may be for the best. If I’m in a hurry I will ride through the parking lot, riding with the kids I will have a bike lane with less traffic. I suspect motorists might think differently.

      • Ballard Biker says:

        Unfortunately, that will feed all the arguments against the cycle track on Westlake, and will likely hurt the creation of future road diets. Why should we build cycle tracks etc, when they just ride on the street anyway?

    • PedalURway says:

      I agree with Carl. And I haven’t heard anyone mention anything about the convenience of making a right or left turn from the bike lane. Creating the ‘Center Concept’ would be more helpful to cars and cyclists if a cyclist could easily make a left or right turn when they need to without having to cross over many lanes of traffic. To confine cyclists to one side of a road creates more possible accidents. Are we creating this for serious cyclists that commute full-time, which should be a priority, or is this for families that just want to take their kids for a bike ride, which is what parks are for?

      • Eric Fisk says:

        The sidewalk concept will be like the Burke Gillman- it will be used by commuters during commute hours, and by families with kids in off commute hours. It should work for everyone, including people coming from the Burke Gillman to go to MOHAI and SLU.

        It’s extremely backwards to say that “serious cyclists” should be the priority and everyone else should keep their bikes in parks. That’s not how you grow the pie and move towards a bike centered infrastructure like the Netherlands. That’s how you generate a counter-revolt from drivers that feel they are paying for bike lanes that take away their roads. Bike lanes should be built for all future cyclists, especially those that aren’t cycling yet because they don’t feel it is safe.

      • Jay says:

        “Are we creating this for serious cyclists that commute full-time, which should be a priority, or is this for families that just want to take their kids for a bike ride”

        Pretty sure they are creating it for families and others that don’t want to climb the hill on Dexter. As far as priority, I think you have it backwards, “hearts and minds” don’t cha know.
        One might Listen to about the first half of KUOW’s piece: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/07/14/kuow-family-bikes-and-better-bike-routes-key-to-getting-more-seattleites-to-bike/ then take a look at Bob Edmiston’s paper (link at KUOW) . If one reads Bob’s paper, one will see that the second half of KUOW’s piece is missing the point (or perhaps putting the cart before the horse), sorry Davey :(

        They already built a bike lane on Dexter for all us ungrateful “Eddies”, we need to get the majority “Wendys” on our side to make real improvements to bike infrastructure.
        (Of course “Franz” is already riding at 20+ mph on Westlake’s main traffic lanes and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your cycle track)

  8. Josh says:

    The hand-rendered “Evolution of the Center Concept” shows it posted at 10 mph. Absent 24/7 enforcement, I think it’s safe to expect close to zero compliance with such a low speed, it’s certainly slower than most riders who use the parking lot route today. Seems like an unrealistic choice made to facilitate a design that can’t really meet any of the City’s adopted standards.

    The Center Concept drawings all show a purported 12-foot cycletrack width vs. the 10-foot width of the Sidewalk Concept, but they also show barriers along both sides of the cycletrack, so the actual cycletrack width would be somewhat less than 10 feet, given a legal minimum one foot of shy distance to the barrier hazard.

    “Center Concept – Challenges” doesn’t mention use of the parking lot drive lanes by people on bikes, but with such a narrow path and a 10 mph posted speed, it’s reasonable to expect a large number of cyclists will avoid the path in favor of the wider one-way drive. (The narrower of the two drive lanes gets more ROW than the entire cycletrack.)

    The “Similar Concept” shown for the Sidewalk Concept is the BGT at UW, which has a wider trail bed and does not have door-zone parking beside the trail, and doesn’t have the best record of compliance with the separation of pedestrians and cyclists.

    “Sidewalk Concept – North” shows some sort of barrier within the 2-foot buffer between parking and the path. If that’s a barrier that could actually stop car doors, a continuous fence or railing, it could be a significant improvement. But how thick is the barrier, and does the 2-foot buffer provide adequate shy distance between the barrier and the path?

    “Sidewalk Concept – Middle” shows a nominal 10-foot path, but the grade offsets on either side are hazards that require shy distance, so the real path width would be 8 feet, not 10. 8 feet is very narrow for significant volumes of 2-way bike traffic, even without mixing in pedestrians. (This could be why “Sidewalk Concept – Challenges” acknowledges that cyclists will avoid the path in favor of the wider parking lot drive lanes? But that seems equally true of the Center Concept.)

    • ODB says:

      Agreed that the 10 mph limit is Renton/Cedar River Trail B.S. But how to make it safe to go the actual speed people will be riding. What about the “center concept” with just green paint? No barriers or bollards and thus no concern about shy distance on a narrow pathway. In the middle, bikes will be front and center–visible to cars and able see hazards with lots of reaction time. (This is the key to safety, not the notional protection of plastic bollards, or riding in proximity to doors and unpredictable pedestrians, per the sidewalk concept.) It will be easy to get in and out of the path if necessary to pass slower riders, so less concern about fast riders “opting out.” There won’t be conflict with pedestrians, as is likely with the sidewalk concept, and no “door zone” concerns.

  9. Pete B says:

    Really good points being expressed here – I sure hope the planners are reading all these.

    I like the idea of the “sidewalk concept” better (by a small margin) – it seems overall the easier, less invasive, less dangerous. The “center concept” displaces more parking, and it also will have *lots* and *lots* of vehicle conflicts at the many driveways into/out of Westlake Ave. And also lots of pedestrian conflicts – folks getting from cars to/from the businesses and residences all along the way. I live in one of the marinas (houseboat), and I can tell you that the parking lot is a very, very busy and active place – lots of cars pulling in from and out to Westlake Ave all day and all evening long. Most especially on event days such as the 4th, Seafair, or “any warm sunny day” when boat owners and guests are heading out on the water from the many marinas. I would surmise that the pedestrian conflicts (but fewer/no vehicle conflicts) from the “sidewalk concept” would be at the least less dangerous than the ped AND many vehicle conflicts with the “center option”. So far, my vote (if I was able to have one) would go to the “sidewalk concept”. Assuming that there’s adequate car-door-opening space along the parallel-parked cars. Given the many uses of all the businesses and such along Westlake, there will still be lots pedestrians crossing the cycle path (including plenty of little kids – there are kids’ swim classes, summertime “water camps”, etc.), electric boat rentals with families, NWOC, China Harbor, marinas, … ped crossings aplenty. There’s no perfect solution here – Westlake Ave N is a very unique place with a huge variety of uses and lots of people. Perhaps an elevated bikeway … we can dream, can’t we?

    • bill says:

      It’s nice to read an even-tempered post from a resident. The Stakeholders group has been its own worst enemy in the view of many cyclists.

      I think the discarded route alongside Westlake could have been the safest option if a little imagination and planning had been put into reducing the number of parking lot entrances and good traffic control put in place. The remaining options are going to set bike/ped conflicts in stone for a long time to come. Part of the attraction of a flat cycle route is higher speeds than on Dexter; the proposed designs nix this advantage.

      • Pete B says:

        Agreed. The Stakeholders have not always been their own best friend. But as someone with a foot in both sides (I’m an avid cyclist and also a resident on Westlake) I can tell you what the overall impression has been: that the cycling community has done its best to ramrod this down everyone’s throats. I.e. don’t care what impact it has on others as long as we get our cycle track. So, I’d say that both sides have at times been their own worst enemies. :-/ That said, lobbing rocks at each other doesn’t help a solution form.

        The stakeholders are very, very concerned because so many in the cycling community have no real idea of the complexity of Westlake Ave; it’s a pretty amazing place in terms of the varied uses. Parking can be at such a premium along there. However – it may well be that if the city made more of that paid vs. free then things might be a lot better in terms of normal daytime parking. But even then – most of the summer long it’s just completely packed, and residents/businesses have a huge challenge in parking.

        Your point is a very good one though, that I hadn’t considered – either of these current “solutions” do seem to part ways in some respects from some of the overall most-desired outcomes such as a high-speed cycle path to/from downtown/SLU. I suspect that moving the commuters, racers, and other ‘faster’ cyclists from the rest of the slower cyclists/peds/etc. would go a very long way to “making things all better”. Problem is how to do that. It does seem that having the cycle track ON westlake instead of thru the parking/ped areas gets us closer to what we’d like. But that would involve major traffic changes and also be a pain in terms of a cyclist user navigating from one side of Westlake to the other at either end (bridge/SLU). Tons of cyclists coming from Fremont, GreenLake, Wallingford, BGT cross the bridge on the east side – that would likely need to change if the track was on Westlake itself. Not impossible but probably a big deal.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Thanks for your helpful and thoughtful comments, Pete!

  10. Pete B says:

    Very many folks who have an interest in this discussion likely don’t have a clear and realistic understanding of the complexity of Westlake Ave N. A high percentage of the cyclists who ply the parking lot/sidewalk are not stopping in the middle anywhere – they’re going from one end to the other (which is fine, of course).

    This might have been (and could still be) a more reasonable and pragmatic discussion if people better understood a few things about this stretch of Westlake Ave N:

    1. uses involving cars (businesses, residents, boat owners/users, rental places, NWOC, restaurants, …) are very, very high volume – and that volume can vary dramatically depending on something as simple as the weather – sunny/warm days vs. cooler/wetter days make a huge difference in boat owners/users usage, for example.

    2. these uses are very, very active – in and out, in and out, all day, all evening.

    3. these uses are so varied in terms of purpose and length of time – residents parking long periods; different schools (kids programs, scuba classes, etc.) tend to park longer periods in a day; other businesses with much more rapid turnover; and (currently) as a free park-n-ride for downtown/SLU. The final item will only become more precious as more of downtown/SLU gets built-up over the next years: Amazon and all the offspring from that are movin’ in big-time.

  11. Armando Cruz says:

    As a liveaboard resident on Westlake, I concur with Pete B. I hate to say it but neither of these plans seems to address the commuter cyclist. The speed limit for the sidewalk plans is almost certain to be lower than 15mph, if that occurs commuter cyclists will be back in the middle of the parking lot, drawing the anger of the stakeholders group and ruining any goodwil for the future.

    The centerlane option just seems to embrace the chaos we have now, but with a lot of green paint. This would allow for a higher speed, but I can’t see family use. And there will be chaos in some of the more narrow parts of Westlake where vehicle traffic will enter the bike lane.

    Without a major redesign that takes away exisiting sidewalk or somehow creates more “width” we may be just dressing up the exisiting issue. This would involve planter and curb removal to start over and do it right.

  12. Armando Cruz says:

    I just noticed that the centerlane option calls for a 14′ sidewalk , while the sidewalk option has 8′ (conditions vary). That’s a very important 6 feet to have in the centerlane to work with for buffer!

  13. Kirk says:

    I would like to see a design for this area that takes the issue of transportation seriously. The Seattle Department of TRANSPORTATION needs to design this section for transportation. I would love to see a cutting edge cycle path right next to the Westlake roadway. The entrances to the parking lot would need to be limited, and all of the intersections would need to be controlled with traffic lights, including cars turning into and coming out of the parking lot. The cycle path should be designed very similar to a roadway for automobiles, with signalized intersections with green, yellow and red traffic control signals and stop lines for all users, not the inane flashing red hands. With today’s technology, the traffic lights could be controlled to adjust for actual demand.

    • bill says:

      Hear hear.

      A cycletrack on the west side of Westlake, with good signalized crossings to the east side, would have few impacts on the parking lot. More signalized entrances to the parking lot would make Westlake safer for drivers, too. But apparently the budget is inadequate for this option to even be considered.

    • Jay says:

      “needs to design this section for transportation”

      You do know that is exactly what they are doing right? That is a large part of the problem. The main traffic lanes on Westlake are for “Transportation” so they are not going to give any of it up for turn lanes , much less bike lanes. Without dedicated turn lanes your signaling would cause gridlock and/or (probably and) make the cycle track impassible.
      Parking lots however, are not so critical for “transportation” .
      If you want to ride a bike through there at 20mph, you can either pick it up a notch and ride with the cars or go up Dexter (though at that speed you should probably still stay in the main traffic lanes). If you want to keep your free parking you are going to have to compromise (if you live there, maybe lobby for resident permits so you have priority over the “hide and ride” parkers) BTW. if you are a “hide and ride” parker trying to preserve perking spaces, then not being able to get into/out of the parking lot at peak hours seems like a drawback to your plan.

      • Kirk says:

        “needs to design this section for transportation”
        “You do know that is exactly what they are doing right?”
        I know the designs presented so far are with a 10 MPH design speed and run through a parking lot. That is not a design for transportation.
        Yes, obviously, dedicated turn lanes are needed. It needs to be kept in mind that there is a massive amount of space to use here for transportation. I think that whatever amount of parking is reduced on this publicly owned land to accomplish the transportation goals is acceptable. Free parking on city land for these businesses and residents is not a right. There will be plenty of space left for parking, and with the right performance based parking management, the needs of the area can be satisfied.

      • Peri Hartman says:

        I really like someone’s one-way parking lane recommendation. If that became part of the plan, it might be possible to add the bike lanes *and* increase the number of parking spaces.

      • jay says:

        Kirk;
        Perhaps my putting “transportation” in quotes was too subtle, I believe the speed limit on Westlake Ave. N. is officially 35MPH (probably 40+ in reality) and that it is a designated truck route.

        If we want Seattle to become *Copenhagen we need to get people on board for whom 10mph is a pretty good clip.
        Part of the reason I started commuting by bicycle was because I could make a large part of my commute on the Elliot Bay trail. A year and a half later, I usually ride Elliot/15th because it’s faster, and once in a while I’ll detour around the other side Queen Ann on Denny/Dexter/Nickerson for the exercise. But in the beginning I was very glad to have the trail, mixed use though it is.

        That said, I do wonder if this particular project is the best use of political capital. If one is out for a weekend ride with little kids (at little kid speeds) there is the current sidewalk. If a facility is built that is too slow for commuters or one that is uncomfortable for beginners or parents riding with children, (or worse, one that kills cyclists with right/left hooks), I fear the net results may be negative. On the other hand, surrender shows weakness, so I’d go for “all ages/abilities” (next to the sidewalk) and if you are stronger/faster, then “take one for the team” and use Dexter.

        Sure, the West side sounds great, but there is NO room, there is a bus line on Westlake, so there has to be a way for pedestrians to get to the bus stops, so replacing the sidewalk with a cycle track is not an option, it’s not wide enough for both, and in places it’s unlikely to be wide enough for a decent cycle track alone. Moving all 4 lanes of Westlake, Eastward is unfortunately a non-starter. But given unlimited money it does sound like a pretty good idea, at least until one gets to one of the ends, then again, with unlimited money one could build overpasses across Westlake or maybe simpler, just elevate the whole cycle track and leave everything else pretty much alone.

        *Yes, I know, if we literally want to be Copenhagen we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment, but I think you know what I mean.

      • Kirk says:

        Jay, when I am mentioning transportation, I am referring to all forms of transportation: bicycles, automobiles , transit and pedestrian. What I am envisioning is a solid bike path on the west side of the current parking lot. The Westlake roadway could be kept as is, and widened eastward if needed to add turn lanes, and then a sidewalk next to it on the east side of the roadway, then the bicycle roadway further east.

        A solid bicycle path with fully signalized intersections and clear sight lines would be comfortable for all users, and used by all users. There is a massive amount of public property here that should be improved for realistic and solid transportation by all modes.

      • jay says:

        Kirk;
        Yes, I knew what you meant. Again, perhaps I was being too subtle with the scare quotes around “transportation”. In an ideal world things could be ideal, but we live in this world.
        The people who park cars in the parking lot have to get into/out of said lot, the into is the biggest problem, without dedicated turn lanes signalizing the intersections would interfere with the “transportation” on Westlake Ave N.. Widening the road for turn lanes is probably an enormously expensive project. This is a truck route, not a bike path where one can spread a couple inches of asphalt on the dirt.

      • Kirk says:

        Jay, I understand that this is a truck transportation route, and that the roadway needs to handle heavy loads. But what will be expensive will be the need to remake this corridor in the future when the transportation needs of bicyclists are not met with the10 MPH child’s path that is being planned now.

        What isn’t being mentioned in the current discussions about Westlake is that this is the second attempt by the city to create a bicycle path through Westlake in five years. The Cheshiaud Trail miserably failed to accomplish the city’s goals, and the process of its creation was the progeny of the Westlake Stakeholders Group’s animosity towards the city.

        Westlake is potentially the most important bicycle transportation artery in Seattle. The city needs to get it right this time. The importance of bicycles as transportation is rapidly growing, and will continue to grow far into the future. We need a city government that recognizes this now, and makes the most of current investments.

  14. Armando Cruz says:

    I feel that all concerned should reject a plan that is not designed for at least 15 mph. If it’s 10mph all SDOT will due is take away parking spaces and keep commuter cyclists riding through the parking lot since the path will be too slow.

    Don’t build a track unless it will be used…often!

    • Armando Cruz says:

      In addition, SDOT needs to build this right. If done right this can be a model for other neighborhoods. If done wrong the contention between local business and commuter cyclist will get much stronger

      Unfortunately to do a redesign that will accomodate transportation, business and cyclist needs will be more expensive than what appears to be budgeted, but anything else will be worse than a band aid fix.

  15. Josh says:

    Email from SDOT today says they’re moving forward with the “Sidewalk Concept” and abandoning the “Center Concept.”

    No word of any change in design speed — 10 mph is lower than anything I’m aware of in any of the City’s adopted design standards, it’s significantly slower than the average adult on an upright bike.

    10 mph would certainly be a non-starter in Copenhagen, where the average speed made good (actual travel time including waiting at intersections) is over 10 mph, and they’re spending millions on “green wave” signals to raise that to 13 mph.

    If they stick with 10 mph, expect very poor compliance on the path — casual riders don’t usually even have speedometers on their bikes — and a resulting increase in intersection and curve accidents, while many commuters continue to use the parking lot route.

  16. Kirk says:

    The sidewalk concept will be another failure by SDOT, demonstrating yet again that they don’t understand that bicycles are transportation. This is arguably the most important cycling arterial in the city, and they want to build a child’s recreational path. People using bicycles for transportation will still use the parking lot.

  17. aj says:

    Kirk, I agree.

    And if cyclist continue to use the parking lot after changes are made that will only make resistance to future bicycle tracks that much stronger, (think Westlake Stakeholders on steroids). Again, both sides should reject any path that is not designed for at least 15mph.

    And I say this as a resident of Westlake, it makes no sense building and making changes to the existing lot, unless those changes will be used. If a cycle track is to be built, make it usable and not just a token to say something was done

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