Do you see anything missing from the image above? There are no bikes!
The city is in the design phase of a so-called “Green Boulevard” on Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave SW (AKA I-35) and SW Alaska St just east of the Junction. SDOT will host an open house tomorrow (Thursday) from 4–6 p.m. at the West Seattle Senior Center.
A quick look at the project goals on the city’s website shows no mention of bicycles, despite the fact that Fauntleroy is the most direct route between Avalon Way SW (a popular bike route) and SW Alaska and, therefore the Junction. Since the Junction is the neighborhood’s commercial center, and Avalon is a key bike route to the West Seattle Bridge, creating a safe-for-everyone bicycle facility seems like an excellent opportunity to boost the bikeability of West Seattle.
SW Alaska between Fauntleroy and California is ripe for a modern street upgrade, and the city seems prepared to invest some real money into this short stretch of Fauntleroy. Any urban vision that doesn’t have bikes is living in the past. So let’s dream big. How about bike lanes between the sidewalk and the planters?
Here are the project’s stated goals via SDOT’s website:
The Fauntleroy Way SW Green Boulevard Project derives from the West Seattle Triangle Urban Design Framework that was drafted in November 2011. The design framework takes its cues from the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village Neighborhood Plan, which was published in 1999. Several aspects of the neighborhood plan speak directly to the future of the Triangle planning area including the following:
- Fauntleroy Way SW: create a community gateway, enhance pedestrian safety and comfort, retain vehicle capacity while calming traffic
- Encourage the provision of parking for shoppers and employees
- Allow higher density mixed use residential, but not height, in the Triangle area bounded by Fauntleroy/Alaska/ 35th
- Encourage a diversity of housing affordability levels
- Develop opportunities for public open spaces, community gathering spaces and pedestrian/bicycle trails, including the use of unneeded portions of street rights-of-ways
- Promote greening and beautification of the neighborhood
As part of this plan, SDOT began conceptual design on Fauntleroy Way SW between 35th Ave SW and SW Alaska Street.
The bike lanes would seem to fit with these goals. They would make the pedestrian environment even better by putting the car traffic even further from the sidewalks, and the separation from traffic would give the bike lanes a more friendly and “trail-like” experience than the standard painted bike lane.
If we are going to invest big in this area, we need to get it right. This is a huge opportunity for the heart of West Seattle to not only catch up with more bikeable parts of the city, but pass them up by creating a modern bike facility that would make Ballard, Green Lake and even Capitol Hill drool.