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Biking is the fastest way to get around during Viaduct closure

As you are probably aware, some ugly highway (with great views!) through downtown is going to be closed for a week. The event has been dubbed #viadoom, and it may take a little longer than usual to bus and drive.

But, like usual, biking is going to be the best way to get around, especially for people coming from West Seattle. Three public figures “raced” from West Seattle’s Junction to downtown this morning, Joe McDermott took the water taxi, Dow Constantine took Metro Route 54 and Tom Rasmussen biked. The results (see West Seattle Blog for more):

  1. Tom Rasmussen on bike
  2. Dow Constantine on Metro
  3. Joe McDermott on water taxi

So there you have it. Even without increased traffic, biking beats the bus in speed.

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If you or a friend/coworker is thinking about biking the West Seattle-to-downtown commute for the first time, next week may be the best time to give it a try. Cascade is hosting a bike station and ride to help people make the trip for the first time. The two “bike trains” scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Monday and Wednesday sound like the best way to get to work ever (regardless of construction). Here’s Cascade’s schedule of events:

Viaduct Closure Energizer Stations

Monday, Oct. 24

6:45 – 9 a.m.
Trail on the Westside of the Lower West Seattle Bridge

Stop by for some morning cheer! If your bike hasn’t gotten regular use, you’ll definitely need some air in those babies. We also have a limited supply of bike lights for new riders who really need them. Once your tires are inflated and you’re feeling ready to roll, join the bike train, heading into the city. Additionally, WSDOT will have a representative available to answer questions about the closure and the multi-use trail.

7:30 a.m.
Bike Train to downtown
Cascade’s very own Ed Ewing and Robin Randels will lead a ride downtown for everyone who either wants a little guidance or just wants to ride with others.

Wednesday, Oct. 26 (pretty much the same thing as Monday)

6:45 – 9 a.m.
Trail on the Westside of the Lower West Seattle Bridge
Now that you’ve rolled a couple of days, you might notice your chain is squeaky and dry. We’ll help fix that and send you smoothly on your way, squeak-free.

7:30 a.m.
Bike Train to downtown

Tried it on Monday and want to do it again? We’ll be there. Same details as Monday.

Monday, Oct. 31

6:45 – 9 a.m.
Trail on the Westside of the Lower West Seattle Bridge
Even though the viaduct will reopen by Halloween, this is chance to challenge yourself and keep riding. Wear a costume, trick-or-treat with us and join in the holiday fun!

For those of you who bike this route regularly, good news! You know that awful sidewalk/”trail” on Alaskan Way south of Atlantic? You know, the poorly-paved one near that spot with the wrong-way truck problem? Well Cascade says WSDOT is taking action to solve the problem! They will be repaving that trail and fixing some spots where water pools in the bike lanes. They are also working to address the wrong-way truck issue.

From WSDOT’s response to Cascade:

  • Hosting a morning commute meet-and-greet under the West Seattle Bridge with Cascade Bicycle Club. 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 and Wednesday, Oct. 26.
  • Paving over the existing multi-use path on the west side of the street south at South Massachusetts Street.
  • Draining the big “flood” puddles along the multi-use path near the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Adding 90 feet of barrier on the multi-use path near South Massachusetts Street.

Also, we’re aware that some northbound East Marginal Way South freight haulers are illegally using the southbound lane to access the Port of Seattle when a train blocks the intersection at South Atlantic Street. I wanted to let you know that WSDOT, SDOT and the Port of Seattle are working together to address the issue while improving safety for all travelers. Here’s what we’re doing:

  • Adding two temporary left-turn lanes on northbound East Marginal Way South between South Atlantic Street and South Massachusetts Street. Trucks will be able to use the two added left-turn lanes to access the port instead of illegally using the southbound lane to jump the line or to turn left into the port.
  • Increasing traffic enforcement by adding two additional officers on East Marginal Way South. Additional traffic enforcement would likely deter northbound traffic from speeding or illegally using the southbound lane.
  • Working with freight haulers to remind them to watch for cyclists and to use extreme caution when sharing the road with cyclists.
  • Asking cyclists to do their part by wearing bright clothing, using lights at night and riding in the multi-use path or striped bike lanes whenever possible.

Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times has some advice for folks biking, especially people who have to venture through South Lake Union. Expect the area to see an increase in frustrated drivers.

In potentially good news for SLU bikers, 9th Ave N between Aloha and Republican is expected to open in limited capacity Tuesday (October 25), weather permitting. It is currently very difficult to bike from SLU Park to downtown due to a lack of streets with safe crossings of busy streets that do not have streetcar tracks in the way.

Do you have any biking through #viadoom advice?

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6 responses to “Biking is the fastest way to get around during Viaduct closure”

  1. Gary

    Biking beats the bus even in the rain. Nothing like being packed in with 80 of your closest friends all in their wet coats. I’d rather be wet and riding, than that.

  2. ODB

    This is a little off-topic, but I’m looking forward to the first time someone blames McGinn and his “war on cars” for the loss of the viaduct. (Because his pro-bike, anti-car policies are the cause of every inconvenience to vehicles.) That will be a fun ironic moment.

  3. jeanette

    i saw the two new temporary left turn lanes on e marginal way s this morning – great news that they’re also going to repave the crappy multi-use path that runs along there!

  4. No Crap

    Always nice to see the great concern for the disabled among the bicyclists of Seattle.

    1. ODB

      You must not be a regular reader of this blog. Tom consistently advocates for better transit in Seattle, which serves people whose disabilities make bicycling impossible for them. Pointing out that bicycling is faster than a bus in this case is merely stating a fact. A person who states this fact may or may not have “a great concern for the disabled”–there is no connection. Finally, this site is called Seattle Bike Blog, hence the focus on bicycles–it’s not realistic to expect a blog focused on a particular mode of transportation to give equal time to other modes.

  5. I found that biking beats any other form of transportation in big cities every single time.

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