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Sanders: W Seattle bike commute was ‘easy, urban, beautiful, bracing’

The recently-completed Alaskan Way Trail shortly after it opened.

Eli Sanders over at Slog rode along with the evening commute back to West Seattle and found the ride to be easy, fast and even historic, given the views of Viaduct construction (deconstruction?) you get to take in along the way.

As we wrote earlier this week, biking is absolutely the best (and fastest) way to get to and from West Seattle. Cascade Bicycle Club has been helping first-time bike commuters get downtown with group rides this week from the Junction to downtown.

From Slog:

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Bike commuters pulled over to the side of the bikway, gawking like little kids at the giant orange machines that were jackhammering and sawing apart the big double-decker roadway, or else jawing about in its remains.

There were tons of them, the commuters, a steady stream out of downtown in the kind of gear that only serious, regular commuters wear—the highly reflective gear that looks basically like what the Viaduct destruction guys had on. If there was fury and gridlock on the roads around us, we were blissfully unaware down there on the sea-level bike path, which was too low to allow direct sightlines to the lanes of I-5 or the decks of the West Seattle Bridge.

I heard many anecdotes that there has been a significant increase in people commuting by bike to and from West Seattle this week. Have you noticed an increase? Are you one of these first-time commuters?

Also, how easy is it to get a bike on the water taxi during commute rushes? I’ve never done it, but it sounds like a pretty cool option for a truly unique commute.

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8 responses to “Sanders: W Seattle bike commute was ‘easy, urban, beautiful, bracing’”

  1. LWC

    I was stationed under the WS bridge for a bike count a couple years ago. I spent 10 minutes with the Cascade folks there this morning around 7:15, and saw WAY more cyclists than when I was there counting… that’s a bit anecdotal, but I think we can safely say that there are a lot of cyclists out!

  2. Todd

    Yeah getting to work would be a breeze. Have fun with that return trip.

    1. Gary

      There are a number of folks from my office who commute to and from West Seattle. They don’t seem to mind it at all. But as for an increase in riders, I can’t really tell.

  3. AJL

    I am aware of two people at work who are cycling to/from WS during this week. Hopefully they will keep it up. As someone who cycles year round there’s most definitely more cyclists out there right now. We’ll see if it keeps up when the rain hits. It will be interesting to see what happens to traffic after the viaduct re-opens since the road will be slower, narrower and with some pretty drastic curves…hopefully more people will choose to bike after this week too!

  4. RTK

    Tuesday afternoon I came north up the Duwamish River Trail then east across the swing bridge. Serious traffic backup for all the folks trying to drive west over the bridge. Didn’t have to duck between trucks where the trail crosses the port entrance at the NE end of the bridge. Very unusual, I guess the port trucks were stuck in traffic.

  5. onshay

    I am a regular commuter to/from WS and would guess that I saw double or triple the number of riders that I would typically see this time of year. It’s a great and relatively safe ride and it’s great to see more people out there.

    Also, there have been alterations to the traffic to and from the port (the dangers of this area were posted a few days ago…). It looks like they added a few turn lanes to Marginal (making 3 total heading north) which makes the intersection by the port entrance much more comfortable. I have to say, it was also nice to see a police presence there a few days ago – before the new lanes were added…

    I had to bus yesterday and it too over an hour to get home – compared to 35 minutes on bike.

    1. Gary

      In the video the workers at the station say they counted over 300 riders.

      That compares well with the 2008 counts http://blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/files/2011/10/untitled.jpg

  6. Nick N

    Bikes are able to get on the water taxi. The boats have been packed, but that’s a result of the certified limit by the coast guard and doesn’t impact bringing a bike on board. With that said, folks I know that ride their bikes to the water taxi are instead taking the long way ’round by bike to avoid the hassle of lines and other commuters on the water taxi.

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