Westlake lawsuit is over, bikeway set to open in the summer

More details on the lawsuit "compromise" below

More details on the lawsuit “compromise” below

The Westlake bikeway lawsuit is over, and construction will begin soon on a two-way protected bike lane from the Fremont Bridge to Lake Union Park. If all goes according to schedule, the bikeway will open in the summer.

Mayor Ed Murray has once again brokered a deal to keep the project moving forward and out of the courts. A project that once appeared headed to the legal hell of the Ballard Missing Link is moving forward. It will be the first flat, direct and (hopefully) safe bike route between the city center and neighborhoods north of the Ship Canal.

But the settlement comes with a significant design change that will create a bikeway pinch point only eight feet wide, far below recommended standards and even further below best practices.

But first, some background

Already a popular bike route, the existing sprawling parking lot along the western edge of Lake Union does not work well for anyone. There is no clear route for people biking, so everyone chooses their own path. This makes walking, driving and biking in the area unpredictable and unnecessarily stressful. And, worse, people biking keep getting injured, often by people who pull out of a parking space into their paths.

The $3.6 million project is funded by a regional grant and local funds, but it encountered some fairly strong backlash from some businesses and residents along the lake. A group calling itself the Westlake Stakeholders sued to delay the entire citywide Bicycle Master Plan in late 2013, but later agreed to drop the suit on the condition that the city create a community design process. And they did.

The sometimes tense and drawn-out community design process went over the entire project inch-by-inch and parking-space-by-parking-space. After a series of major design compromises — some of which have angered bike advocates by squeezing the width of the two-way bikeway down to ten feet, below the recognized best practice of at least 12 feet — a design emerged that preserved 90 percent of the astounding 1,271 publicly-owned parking spaces in the parking area (including private lots, there are 1,712 parking spaces).

But it was a compromise, and it seemed that after so much hard work people were able to come together and work out their differences — or at least reach an agreement. Everyone gave a little. Parking was either preserved or the rules were rewritten to make sure remaining spaces are used to support businesses and residents, not as a free park-and-ride for downtown and South Lake Union workers. A complete and connected bike route was created, which will be a massive improvement even if it is a bit too skinny for the high number of people expected to flow freely (passing may be a bit difficult, especially during busy hours). Hands were shaken, a deal made.

Then came Nautical Landing. A self-described “superyacht” marina, Nautical Landing is a business to support only the richest of the rich. And they didn’t care about the community process or all the compromises made on both sides. They sued to stop the project, anyway. It was a slap in the face of everyone who dedicated their time to crafting a compromise. And it was a slap in the face of Mayor Murray, whose office worked so hard to broker the deal between all the different interests in the area.

The compromise compromise

In the end, Nautical Landing didn’t want to lose a handful of city-owned parking spaces in front of their marina by turning perpendicular parking spots into angled parking (the horror!). And they also argued that splitting the bikeway at their driveway would be dangerous because they have to back up trucks into their driveway, though there seems to be little evidence of that danger. But it doesn’t really matter. They had the money to sue to circumvent the process, so they did. And they got their way.

Below is the area in question. The driveway on the top-left of each image leads to the marina. The sidewalk area next to the greenery is actually a bridge over the lake, though it doesn’t look like it. That structure makes it much harder, more expensive and more lawsuit-vulnerable to simply widen the sidewalk enough to maintain a ten-foot bikeway. The original plan was to split the bike lanes and route one direction into the current parking area. But Nautical Landing didn’t want that. So instead, we get an eight-foot bikeway for a short stretch:

WESTLAKECYCLETRACKPLANS-waterway1composite

The joint press release announcing the deal includes the obligatory happy quotes from Nautical Landing’s Gordy Ruh, Cascade Bicycle Club’s Jeff Aken and SDOT Director Scott Kubly. And it’s true, it wasn’t easy to craft a solution that gets the bikeway built and avoids the courts. And it’s a very short stretch that will be so skinny. This agreement is cause for celebration all around.

But Seattle Bike Blog is totally independent, so I can say what I really think. I have no respect for Nautical Landing or the way the business carried itself through this process. While everyone else had to sit down at a table together and work things out, Nautical Landing behaved like a bully, flexed its bulging wallet and got its way. Their behavior was disgusting, frustrating and sadly predictable. They are basically just acting like cartoons of themselves.

I hate to say it, but letting these superyacht crybabies just have their six extra parking spots while the rest of us deal with a substandard bikeway is the most sensible way forward. Gotta swallow our pride, call Nautical Landing a bunch of names on this blog and move on to other bike route challenges in our city. Come next summer, this bikeway is going to be amazing. And if the problem is too bad, we can work for a fix then.

Hopefully, people are able to be careful and avoid colliding in this very skinny section. There’s certainly a chance that people get frustrated with the pinch point and just go back to biking the parking lot. There’s also a chance that people will spill over into the walking space, which will only be six feet wide. In the end, people biking and walking in this town are used to substandard facilities, and I bet people will make it work. There are busy sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail that are worse.

So feel free to vent below. But in the end, Mayor Murray deserves credit for keeping this out of the courts. Because the Ballard Missing Link still hasn’t broken ground more than a decade after the City Council voted to build it. We have to complete these major connections when we can, and we can’t let a short stretch of substandard bikeway derail the entire project.

Eastlake Ave, Rainier Ave, building out the Center City Bike Network and so many other projects still lie ahead. Westlake is good enough to celebrate.

Here’s the press release:

With design work on the corridor’s improvements now finalized, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will move forward with constructing the Westlake Cycle Track. The final design reduces conflicts between cars, bikes and pedestrians, while supporting mobility and economic vitality along Westlake Avenue North.

“With a better organized roadway for cars, bikes and pedestrians, this new link creates a flat, family friendly option for walking and biking between South Lake Union and Fremont,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “The project supports safer trips for everyone who uses the corridor, especially pedestrians, while preserving 90 percent of the parking along Westlake Avenue North.”

An agreement reached with Westlake business Nautical Landing allows the Westlake Cycle Track project to move into construction. To minimize impacts to neighboring businesses, the cycle track will use the existing pedestrian bridge in the 2400 block of Westlake Avenue N to create a separated bike lane.

“We wish a lawsuit had not been necessary but, with the assistance of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, we were able to reach an agreement with the City that is better for business and bicyclists alike,” said Gordy Ruh of Nautical Landing.

The alignment, which was previously announced this summer, places the cycle track on the east side of the Westlake parking area adjacent to the sidewalk, and uses research based treatments to best address the corridor’s needs. It minimizes the number of vehicles crossing the cycle track, offers a scenic and intuitive route for people riding bikes, is distinct from the sidewalk and preserves 90 percent of the parking spaces.

“We are excited to see this project move forward, so people of all ages and abilities can comfortably bicycle to and from downtown,” said Jeff Aken, Cascade Bicycle Club regional planning director.

The cycle track incorporates input from community proposals, three public meetings, 11 Design Advisory Committee meetings, five community and parking roundtables, and dozens of community briefings, as well as extensive data gathering and technical analysis.

Groundbreaking on the project is anticipated to occur by January and the work is scheduled for completion by the summer.

Project map:

2014_0925_WCT_area_map

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65 Responses to Westlake lawsuit is over, bikeway set to open in the summer

  1. Andres Salomon says:

    Hooray, kudos for the city for making this lawsuit go away and getting Westlake moving again!

    Though, god forbid anyone’s killed on the stretch in front of Nautical Landing (either due to the narrowness, or taking the parking lot to avoid it), that ghost bike/figure is getting installed in one of those parking spaces.

  2. kptrease says:

    Why couldn’t the trees just go away in this small stretch? It looks like we have ROW there, and we can certainly replant trees elsewhere?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      It’s more complicated than it looks from the overhead. The trees and such are on a slope where a bridge meets the shoreline. It doesn’t look like a bridge, and you probably don’t even notice you’re on a bridge when you use it. But widening the path would mean significant changes to the structure, which is the kind of thing that balloons in cost quickly. And it’s a shoreline, so it could trigger environmental laws, etc. That’s why the original idea went around it in the parking area.

  3. Brian says:

    Ok. I’ll bite:
    What a-holes.
    I agree that it’s nice to have this thing move forward now, even under the compromised compromise. But, still, your point about the entire city suffering from the will imposed by a corporate bully is exactly on point. If this were a street for cars, there’s no way the city would agree to this. So, while I applaud the administration to a degree for getting this to go forward in 2016, I’m also more than a wee bit pissed that they didn’t just fight NL’s BS. Force NL to obtain an injunction to stop the construction. Even if they could get one, the bonding on it would be huge. Proceed with construction and force them to actually win their lawsuit. That involves some amount of risk to the entire project. But I read the lawsuit (and used to be a private attorney working in this area of law), and the whole thing seemed incredibly shaky to me — more a leverage point than a substantively strong case. I lament the city’s lack of resolve here.
    So, yeah, great news, I guess. But also pretty sh$%^-y all around. Maybe it gets fixed at some point in the future — I would hope that the city made no permanent commitment on this. But still, it’s hard to see this in a light other than A-holes vs. Ninnies, with the A-holes coming out on top.

    If there’s an upside, it allows me to fantasize about — but certainly not endorse! — the sorts of creative “signage” that could be erected to memorialize this compromise once constructed. What could possibly be a fitting tribute to NL for their selfless efforts in pursuit of the rule of law and effective environmental review?
    “Annotated” signs and driveways?
    A cycletrack version of those Parisian “love locks,” but with U-locks? Attached to what, I don’t know.
    I’m speaking hypothetically, of course. As law-abiding citizens with respect for private property, I sincerely doubt that anyone here would engage in such behavior.

    • Peri Hartman says:

      I couldn’t agree more with you. But I’m willing to compromise for now. Let’s get riders out there. I think the city will have a much stronger position to do what’s necessary once riders are showing the trail is needed and the choke point is hazardous.

      • Andres Salomon says:

        Exactly. I’m as critical of SDOT’s bike infrastructure as anybody, but Westlake needs to be built *yesterday*, and then reconstructed once we can point out the huge demand that’s there.

        SDOT, I hope you’re putting bike counters on this thing!

    • Clark in Vancouver says:

      I agree. We all have to remember that in the future the yacht people will be riding bikes on this trail and will have forgotten that there was a time it wasn’t there. The makeup of the yacht board will be a new generation of folks who don’t care as much about close by parking spots.
      So at some point in the future it could be widened. Can’t say when of course.

  4. Josh says:

    This is a wonderful decision for conservative business owners who didn’t like the 2014 BMP Update and don’t want to see it implemented. For the cost of some pre-trial legal fees, they’ve gotten the City to cave in again.

    Seattle is such a cheap city to challenge, no stomach to actually go to court.

  5. Eli says:

    Personally, I’m less concerned that a small segment is being built to a excessively substandard width than that the entire facility is functionally obsolete as designed, even pre-construction (as Josh and others have called out here.)

    Has anyone calculated the incremental cost of knowingly building an obsolete facility in 2016 that we’ll need to reconstruct almost immediately, to avoid exposing trail users to preventable danger and stress?

    (e.g. I haven’t seen if this will involve concrete work or something that can be done more cheaply)

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      They’re laying curbs. Probably not easy to expand.

    • William C. says:

      +1.

      • Tim says:

        I commented from the very first meeting that I felt their ridership expectations were shockingly low and they should aim higher from the beginning. I never got a response — they were probably too busy trying to save parking spaces.

        The numbers on this thing are going to blow people away. And the mayor and SDOT are going to brag about it being a huge success and pat themselves on the back for the nice compromise. And a year or two later there’ll be calls to expand and we’ll have to start this thing (and the legal challenges) all over again.

        Thus is the Seattle Way.

      • Eli says:

        I’m curious.

        When we have inevitable and preventable bike-on-bike collisions that can be attributed to the City failing to follow their own policy mandate in the BMP to meet or exceed both standards and guidance at the local, state, and national level, won’t this offer natural lawsuit opportunities against the city?

        Has Seattle just traded in a present lawsuit for a future one (or many)?

        As a reminder, this is what modern (e.g. built in 2010’s) 2-way protected lanes looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol3fQbmzKZQ&feature=em-subs_digest-g

      • Gary says:

        I would suspect that any good lawyer would also name the Super Yacht people in any injury lawsuit as they were the responsible party for forcing the narrow and sub standard path.

        Turn about lawsuits are always fair play!

  6. DB says:

    Will there be any changes made just south of the Fremont bridge at the Nickerson intersection?

    There will be a ton of cyclists riding South across the fremont bridge (toward downtown)that will have to find a way to get across that intersection to get to the trail.

    • DB says:

      although I suppose they could enhance the connection to the ship canal trail behind the funeral home. people might just use that route anyways

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        If they know about it. Wayfinding is awful, and it needs bike lanes

      • Al Dimond says:

        Cyclists often use the sidewalk on Florentia to avoid traffic queued up for the stop light, which squeezes all users of the not-so-wide sidewalk.

        One thing I’ve seen (as a Dexter rider) is that a lot of people headed to the Westlake parking lot stay south on the (wider) sidewalk between Florentia and Nickerson then swing left into the crosswalk, while people heading toward Dexter move into the street at Florentia since they’ll be going straight through the intersection. There’s certainly room to improve that block for both Dexter and Westlake riders, provide good wayfinding, etc.

        I think a lot of southbound Westlake riders use the east sidewalk of the Fremont Bridge, too. Heavy southbound traffic on that side is tough for people coming north from Dexter that have to hang out in the street waiting for space on the sidewalk…

      • Fremont Greenways says:

        If you guys live in/near Fremont, or even the fact that you take that route every day, follow @fremontgreenway on twitter and look us up on Facebook. That intersection is definitely worth our group taking a look at for any small improvements that could be made before a larger redesign.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Ooooh, good question. I haven’t heard of anything, but that whole area needs a safety redesign, and that movement will be vital. The real solution will need to be significant, but if anyone has an easy, low cost idea, maybe now is the time to get that going.

    • Brian says:

      Do you mean where the Westlake parking lot begins? If so, there is a connection being made from the existing wide sidewalk along Westlake on the approach to the Fremont Bridge/Nickerson intersection.
      But if you mean changes to that entire whirlwind of an intersection on the South side of the bridge itself, then no, not as part of this project. Maybe as part of something else though?

      • DB says:

        I mean for cyclists heading south on the west side of the fremont bridge to get to the Westlake parking lot.

        But taking right on florentia -> right on 3rd -> ship canal trail would be a safer way to get cyclists to the new Westlake trail rather than having them cross nickerson.

  7. AAA says:

    I don’t find myself needing to park along Westlake very often, but I believe that from now on I shall park in the closest parking spot to Nautical Landing as I can find.

  8. Ryan says:

    I preferred the “start construction right in front of their business right before the lawsuit starts then stop working until its over” approach but this will do.

  9. Morgan Wick says:

    Shouldn’t there be some way of discouraging this sort of tactic? Otherwise doesn’t public outreach become a complete waste of time? Of course if there was the Missing Link would probably be finished by now…

    • Al Dimond says:

      IANAL, but IIRC these lawsuits basically come down to requirements that governments consider impacts appropriately, and if they go through the rather heavy and time-consuming process of an environmental impact study/statement/whatever they protect themselves from them. That requirement came about in the aftermath of the severe impacts of freeway construction in the mid-20th century; though those impacts fell disproportionately on poor communities, the benefits of the resulting legal requirements are reaped mostly by richer people with better access to the legal system.

      I think the city could have got a much better design, overall, through the environmental impact study if it was willing to shut the business owners out of the design process. That might backfire politically if the business owners were able to rally the public against them. I think they could have taken a middle path, starting with an excellent design for the general public, and approached business owners with a deal: you want some concessions, we want to avoid the time and money of a full EIS, so if you agree not to sue we’ll open up some elements of this design… but the minute you sue we’re taking our preferred design, with no concessions, through the EIS process. Murray instead gave the “stakeholders” a privileged seat at the table and got nothing for it, so when they broke faith he had no recourse but further capitulation.

      Also, if we could get EIS requirements waived or greatly reduced for bike and pedestrian transportation projects on public ROW (on the basis that biking and walking inherently have limited capacity for negative impacts, and are usually aligned with public policy objectives involving environmental protection), that would take away the basis for these sorts of suits. That would require legislative help. Again, IANAL so I don’t know the exact magic incantations involved here, I only know some states have at least considered reducing the requirements to cut red tape and lawsuit potential for projects with obvious public and environmental interest.

      • Al Dimond says:

        (I think what the city did is an example of how we do democracy wrong up here. It basically went to the public and said, “Design a trail for us!” Instead it should have led with a strong proposal to use this public land for the greatest public benefit. In the future there’s no excuse for this. We keep electing leaders that campaign on support for these projects, we keep passing ballot measures campaigning on support for these projects. There’s a clear popular mandate for excellent cycling routes, and the public will support its leaders if they play a little hardball with squeaky-wheel legal trolls.)

      • Tim says:

        This, my friends, is the money shot of this whole thread:

        “I think the city could have got a much better design, overall, through the environmental impact study if it was willing to shut the business owners out of the design process. That might backfire politically if the business owners were able to rally the public against them. I think they could have taken a middle path, starting with an excellent design for the general public, and approached business owners with a deal: you want some concessions, we want to avoid the time and money of a full EIS, so if you agree not to sue we’ll open up some elements of this design… but the minute you sue we’re taking our preferred design, with no concessions, through the EIS process. Murray instead gave the “stakeholders” a privileged seat at the table and got nothing for it, so when they broke faith he had no recourse but further capitulation.”

        Murray is getting credit for being such a smooth negotiator (I’d love to see a little more hardball, Tom), but he and SDOT totally forked this up. History shows this kind of thing isn’t a one-off for SDOT or the mayor or Cascade (eg: Missing Link, the unfortunate tradeoff of Dexter for Westlake in the 90s, and so on). They need to do better.

  10. Gary Anderson says:

    Okay, I for one am going to cancel my yacht order at Nautical Landing…..

  11. Al Dimond says:

    I guess this means the only red item on my BMP implementation plan spreadsheet turns orange. Progress!

  12. JamieS says:

    When passing through a dangerous stretch of a bike trail, such as one that is only 8 feet wide, it is important to alert other riders to your presence. So please remember to ring your bike bell for the entirety of the risky segment.

  13. Bb says:

    I would like to see some signs discouraging wrong way cycling over the Fremont bridge.
    Traffic is going to only increase with this path.

    You want skinny, look no other place.

    • sdv says:

      I’m confused, as both sides of the bridge have signs facing both directions, so what constitutes “wrong way cycling” over the bridge?

      • Stuart says:

        He means, for instance, riding south on the east side of the bridge. But that is much more convenient for accessing Westlake, because the traffic light as Dexter is a mess and takes a whole cycle to cross.

      • Jen says:

        I see people do this frequently. They ride north over the bridge, decide they are too special to mix with pedestrians, then ride north in the southbound bike lane. It’s so stupid and dangerous that I can’t believe people actually do it.

        I’ve asked SDOT to add signage to tell people to not do this, but I doubt that will ever happen.

      • Lisa says:

        I’m going to totally disagree with this one. It is a sidewalk, both way riding is fine. It’s ridiculous for someone to cross two busy streets if they are coming up from the Burke-Gilman heading west, and they want to cross the bridge and head downtown through the Westlake parking lot. It can be a bit tight, but everyone can just slow down for a minute and it’s no big deal.

      • sdv says:

        I’m still confused, though, because the lanes are marked for both directions. For instance, the word “SLOW” is marked on the sidewalk facing both directions on both sides of the bridge. So why would SDOT mark the sidewalks for bikes to go both directions, and then insist that they only be used in one direction?

      • Ben says:

        Bikes can slow down, but pedestrians can’t. Bidirectional bike traffic – much like the existing bikes-on-sidewalks traffic along Westlake – is extremely hazardous to pedestrians, and I’ve had some very scary experiences commuting on foot along this corridor. I’m glad to see the new bike lane is finally moving forward on Westlake, and wish they would also implement signage changes on the Fremont Bridge to make that a less harrowing experience for vulnerable pedestrians.

      • Law Abider says:

        I’m one of the “guilty” parties that rides the “wrong way” in the morning to access Westlake. I’ve done so almost every work day for years and have NEVER had a problem. There’s enough room for two cyclists to pass at speed, either head on or one overtaking the other. I slow down and alert pedestrians when passing them, although rarely can they hear me over their headphones anyways.

        Yes, the bridge sidewalk isn’t an ideal width, but two way bike traffic has worked, does work and will continue to work. What you have is a solution in search of a problem.

      • Al Dimond says:

        @sdv: SDOT doesn’t insist people only ride one direction, only some blog commenters.

        I actually think restrictions on cycling direction would be the right thing to do if bike traffic got much heavier, and intersections on each side of the bridge were improved to better support the maneuvers that would become more popular.

    • Josh says:

      Sidewalks don’t have “wrong ways” for bicycling — bicycles on sidewalks are treated as pedestrians, and are legally allowed to go either direction.

      SDOT can’t put up signs that contradict the law.

      • Clarence says:

        You mean like those stop signs they’ve put up in front of crosswalks in order to sort of invalidate the crosswalk? Right.

      • Josh says:

        Trail stop signs at street crossings are legal, but widely misunderstood. The stop sign controls bicycle entry from the trail onto the sidewalk, where pedestrians have right of way.

        Once a bicycle is on the sidewalk, it’s beyond the stop sign, and entry into the crosswalk is controlled by normal crosswalk rules — bikes and pedestrians can’t enter the crosswalk if a vehicle is too close to stop safely, but once a pedestrian or bicycle is actually in the crosswalk, drivers are required to stop.

        Those stop signs are ill-advised, frequently misunderstood, and have poor compliance rates, but they do meet the letter of the law.

        Directional controls on sidewalks would violate the letter of the law, unless the City Council chooses to officially regulate the direction that bicycles can travel on sidewalks. That’s certainly something the Council has the authority to do if they care about bridge safety, but it’s not something SDOT can impose without code to back it up.

  14. Madi Carlson says:

    Woo hoo, I can’t believe this is finally happening! (Well, I’ll hold my breath until the January construction start, but still.) Lately I’ve nearly been hit twice, by people driving on the raised sidewalks, trying to zoom to a parking spot where the parking lot is separated. I’m overly cautious, but expecting cars to speed at me from the side on the sidewalk is a new one. High time this went in. But yes, bummer on the compromise.

    • jay says:

      Et tu, Madi?

      Considering the whining about tree roots on the Burke Gillman, I can’t be the only one who’s not thrilled by the rumble strips. It’s one thing to get one’s butt out of the saddle, but on some of my bikes the rumble strips at Stevens Court (and the thick thermoplastic zebra crossings on the BG in Freelard) bother my hands. It looks like there will be 36 sets of them here, while I’ve seen one rendering ( http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/01/15/more-westlake-bikeway-design-details-construction-will-start-in-the-fall/ ) showing rumble strips only when approaching one of the 18 marked cross walks, a more recent rendering ( http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/11/18/westlake-bikeway-could-open-in-summer-construction-meeting-thursday/ ) shows them both sides, because, of course, people would otherwise ride in the wrong lane to avoid them.

      Another matter entirely is if one is carrying something besides oneself. But I suppose kids are much tougher than a bunch of bananas or a bottle of wine, and some people carry stuff in flexible fabric slings on springy steel frames, unlike my solid box on a rigid aluminum frame, I guess that’s the price I pay for having the Cool Bike.
      Speaking of tree roots, at least they are organically random, and the trees are just being trees, so while I don’t enjoy the bumps, I don’t get too upset about them. But when someone deliberately spends a lot of money just to make riding a bicycle unpleasant it is a bit galling.
      You know, if they just spent the money putting 72 speed humps, plus speed and red light cameras on Westlake, the commuters could ride there and the kids could continue to use the sidewalk.

      As for the problem of drivers not yielding at cross walks, it looks like at least some of the crossings will remain, and while there will be a lot of green paint,
      “Drivers been drivers
      Since I don’t know when
      Crazy people drivin’ around with blood in their eyes”

      • rob_kp says:

        Rumble strips will likely keep me from using this facility. But perhaps the intent is not to provide a good route for commuters, but rather for the bikes are recreation not transportation crowd.

      • Josh says:

        The plans as sent to bid have the stripes across the full width of the path on each side of each crossing.

        Details are on p.69 of the plan set at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/wct/WESTLAKECYCLETRACKPLANS.pdf

        5 stripes on each side of each crossing. Each stripe 12″ wide MMA, spacing of 1-2-3-4 feet between lines (closer together as you approach the crosswalk).

      • Madi Carlson says:

        Hey Jay! Rest assured I share Tom Fucoloro’s opinion (as always :) ), but I’m just trying to celebrate the victory, such that it is.
        The people who have almost hit me with their cars lately aren’t failing to yield at intersections, they’re actually DRIVING ON THE SIDEWALK. The raised sidewalks that run perpendicular to the parking lot flow. So at least that will cease once the new stuff is built. Assuming people don’t drive in or into the bike lanes to reach open parking spots more quickly.

  15. Nathan says:

    I’d be interested to see the details of the settlement. Is there a termination date (eg when Nautical Landing is no longer in that location or some duration)? If this pinch point is problematic, especially with higher than projected use of the trail, it could be reverted to the original design later at – hopefully – minimal cost. I would be disappointed with the city if this settlement agreement is perpetual.

  16. Drew says:

    My independent reaction is that this trail is going to be awesome and I still remember the truly horrifying “compromise” of making bikes ride through the parking lot which the Nickles administration allowed to happen not that long ago. So, I am glad others here are pushing the city to meet better, safer standards, but I am more glad that this will actually get built soon.

    While 8′ is too narrow for a two way bike path and 6′ is not very generous for a sidewalk, I think a combined 14′ of space (that I presume is all at the same level) will be fine for getting through this stretch safely.

    If only this was done to assist a more worthy cause than pacifying a company that sells superyachts to supervillains (that is their primary clientele right?). Honestly I think I am more angry at the fact that Nautical Landing’s parking is subsidized by taxpayers than I am about this design compromise. Can we get Kshama Sawant to pursue a super tax on super yachts? Could this be part of the inclusionary zoning scheme where for every 5 superyachts they sell they need to donate one to the city for a new marina of superyacht affordable housing? ;)

  17. Law Abider says:

    I foresee the City, a year down the line, renovating the cycle track in this area to match their plans after the complaints from cyclists about the narrow width start to drown out the yacht maintenance trolls. Of course, as is standard when the City does this, it will be at an expense almost equal to the cost to build the whole cycle track in the first place.

    It’s frustrating to see yet another conservative leaning business reaping the benefits of socialism, but rejecting other people benefiting. I’m tempted to flip off the people I see every morning, but they are typically just a bunch of workers and it would accomplish nothing except making cyclist seem like jackasses. The owners and those directly involved in this suit are likely never around this area.

  18. Josh says:

    For anyone who wants all the details (except for these changes to avoid going to court), the full plan set as published for bidding is available on SDOT’s web site.

    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/wct/WESTLAKECYCLETRACKPLANS.pdf

    Paving details start on p.17 of the PDF.

    Channelization (signs, pavement markings, rumble stripes, etc.) start p.61.

  19. Kirk says:

    And the Westlake fail gets worse.

    …and it became customary for people riding bicycles to lob eggs at the cars parked next to the trail.

  20. mark says:

    Yes, it’s narrow. I don’t known anyone who can’t handle biking down a 4 foot section at slow speeds. Only jackhole riders and people who should be on a bike in the first place can’t handle navigating a this section. Seriously.

    Are they yacht people dirt bags? Yep. They are rich and they get their way. Thankfully they didn’t OWN the parking lot. Then nothing would have happened.

    And..by the way, the city could have routed the lane onto the street..but didn’t. So..the city is not innocent in all of this. They didn’t want to give anything up either.

  21. Ballard Resident says:

    Rode by yesterday and saw several of limos parked in front. Do they park there for free?They should have to pay dearly for those spots.

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  25. 25 years @ Westlake Ave N says:

    After reading the blog and comments above I am completely perplexed and disgusted by the apparent attitudes of Seattles cyclists. I own 3 bicycles and have enjoyed riding my entire life, at one time an avid NORBA competitor. The waterfront location of Westlake Ave W has provided a livelihood for myself and at times crew of 30 blue collar tradesman workers – none of which have ever had opportunity of money to afford the yachts we work on. The owner of Nautical Landing is simply the other end of the spectrum that all those above represent. Both sides appear arrogant, self-absorbed, only interested in personal gain, and willing to fight the city tooth and nail to get their way. It is entirely evident in their posts above. On the scale of things, why is a cyclist more important than a yachtie or those making an honest living servicing the yachtie? The way I see it neither is more/less important – but it has been wholly apparent through the discussions on the cycle track and the thread above that Seattle cyclists believe they trump all.

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