More 2013-14 budget details + Bagshaw supports bike/walk improvements

Westlake Cycle Track concept image by Cascade

Mayor McGinn’s proposed 2013-14 budget includes some strong support for biking and walking improvements, including a big boost to the city’s Safe Routes to School and neighborhood greenway efforts.

We reported on these proposals previously. SDOT Director Peter Hahn recently presented about the transportation portion of the budget to the City Council (see below), outlining some of the details more clearly.

Among the new pieces we noticed is that the budget includes Federal funds for the Westlake Cycle Track we wrote about previously, suggesting that there is some real momentum behind that project.

In addition to boosts to the road paving and pothole programs, the budget includes creation of a Center City Mobility Plan, which will likely include a full plan for downtown cycle tracks. While we would prefer funding to actually build a cycle track (or two), this is the first time the city has put serious money and attention behind the idea of downtown cycle tracks. If things go well all around, Seattle could be on track to have both downtown cycle tracks and bike share by 2014.

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw strongly supported the biking and walking investments in a recent blog post, which could be a good sign for the proposals as they move toward Council approval:

I am particularly glad to note that enhancements to pedestrian and bicycle mobility are a key component of the 2013-2014 Proposed Budget.  The proposed budget funds bicycle facilities, sidewalk safety, Safe Routes to Schools, the creation of a Center City Mobility Plan, the continued good work of the Bike Master Plan, cycle tracks and greenways.

Also of note in the video: Council Member Nick Licata asked Hahn why the 85th St paving project in Greenwood did not include a road diet. Hahn said it went through the Complete Streets process, but it did not meet traffic number thresholds (i.e. there were too many cars, which sounds like a good reason for a road diet to me).

Hahn also addressed the Ship Canal transit/biking/walking bridge study, saying he did not know where the crossing might be (that’s the point of the study), but options include 8th Ave, in Ballard or near Fremont. The Ballard and 8th Ave options would certainly do the most for providing an alternative to the Ballard Bridge, which is miserable and dangerous for people biking and walking.

The budget also anticipates that construction on the Burke-Gilman Missing Link could begin in 2013. This, of course, is always subject to change.

Here’s the video (skip to 27:00):

Here’s the presentation:


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9 Responses to More 2013-14 budget details + Bagshaw supports bike/walk improvements

  1. Tim Willis says:

    Funny they’re considering 8th Ave as a ped/cycle bridge spot. That’s where the old NP railroad trestle was.

  2. dhubbz says:

    All good news I suppose, although I do find some things frustrating. Like the Westlake cycle track for instance. Great idea, I’m all for it, but is that where we need to be making the investment right now? We’ve already improved Dexter substantially, and while it’s not a cycle track, it’s a pretty good facility, and is well used. Investing now in Westlake seems redundant to me, as it does not really create any new, safe connections for cyclists. I’d much rather see that money go toward building the (hopefully) soon to be planned cycle tracks downtown(!), or a cycle track to another neighborhood that does not currently have good bicycle access. I think that would be better return for the $$$, as nice as a Westlake cycle track would be.

    Secondly, the 8th ave bridge idea doesn’t seem like the best to me. Crossing the Fremont Bridge is fine, crossing the Ballard Bridge is awful (I do it daily on a tandem). An 8th ave bridge doesn’t seem like it would be that much of a benefit to Ballard type folks who are looking to travel on or near the 15th ave corridor, and for folks who want to go along Dexter/Westlake, the Fremont Bridge would seem to suffice.

    • Leif says:

      I was going to say the same thing. Dexter is great as long as you aren’t afraid of hills (and honestly, riding through the Westlake parking lot, while not ideal, is a better bike facility than most roads around here). Right now Dexter is an amazing testimony to biking in Seattle. You can’t drive on that road without seeing someone riding, and during the morning/evening commute times it gets really busy. Why fragment that great visibility? Invest in new infrastructure somewhere that really needs it (downtown).

      And while the Fremont bridge isn’t totally ideal, it too is workable. I ride over it daily and don’t mind it much, whereas I dread the times I have to go over the Ballard bridge. Putting a crossing at 8th seems like an odd option. The crossing should be right beside the Ballard bridge. That’s where people want to cross and it could easily link to 15th Ave and the new trail.

  3. Al Dimond says:

    It’s really great news that something is happening downtown.

    But… why do we need another ship canal crossing?

    For transit it’s particularly obvious that the existing bridges are in the right locations (largely because the city has developed around them, but also because they connect to direct, flat north-south corridors). A bridge on 8th means you’re sending transit to Ballard via an eastern route while missing an opportunity to aggregate transit demand along that corridor in Fremont. Aggregating that demand is the whole point of building a high-capacity system. If you want a route to Ballard that serves SLU and Westlake but doesn’t get bogged down in Fremont traffic, that’s easy. The old route 17 did exactly that for no capital cost (there are parts of the 17 that could have been sped up with capital projects, but I don’t think an 8th Ave bridge to/from nowhere is one).

    For biking this bridge isn’t much better than it is for transit. Improving the Ballard Bridge (including improving connections to bike routes on both sides) would be much better since it’s closer to lining up with the nice flat Interbay corridor.

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  5. michael says:

    How about a cycle track on Pine st all the way to the market? The north end of town seems to be getting a lit of the bike investment. It would connect to the Broadway Cycle Track and provide a safe means to get downtown.

  6. Benjamin C says:

    3rd Ave seems better than 8th if you consider ROW costs. It is also about equal distant from the Ballard and Fremont Bridges.

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