This is the fourth post in a series analyzing Seattle’s draft Bicycle Master Plan update, which is currently taking public comments. This post will focus on West Seattle, Sodo, Georgetown and South Park. Stay tuned for future posts looking at other parts of the city.
West Seattle residents often feel forgotten when it comes to many city investments, and safe bicycle facilities are no different. To make sure their large neighborhood (really, several different neighborhoods that all-too-often get lumped together), some residents formed West Seattle Bike Connections. They have a list of recommendations and priorities, which we have included at the bottom of this post.
In general, the draft Bicycle Master Plan has taken a similar bold stab at creating a more bike-friendly West Seattle as it did in other neighborhoods. Busy streets with few or no alternatives are presented as cycle track candidates. In West Seattle, this happens a lot. The plan includes cycle tracks on Delridge Way, Admiral Way, Avalon Way, Highland Park Way, Sylvan Way, Roxbury St and, yes, 35th Ave SW.
The plan makes it clear that bridge connections are vital, and includes separated bike infrastructure on the soon-to-be-rebuilt South Park Bridge, improved connections to the 1st Ave Bridge on the Georgetown side (absolutely vital), and a cycle track on East Marginal Way connecting the trail across the West Seattle Bridge to the Alaskan Way waterfront trail and downtown. The plan also calls for a cycle track on Fauntleroy Way, accessing the ferry terminal.
There is also a plan to complete the Duwamish Trail so it fully connects from the West Seattle Bridge trail to the 1st Ave Bridge and South Park.
In Sodo, the most exciting proposal (other than E Marginal Way, which is a no-brainer) is the cycle track on Airport Way. Traffic levels on Airport peaked in 1961, before the opening of I-5 and have been down 44 percent ever since. With five lanes for much of its length and only 18,000 vehicles per day, Airport Way may be one of the most over-engineered roads in the entire city. Recently repaved and preparing to reopen the bridge north of Georgetown (Friday! More details soon), the city may want to consider expediting an Airport Way project to take advantage of these other investments.
Oh, and a trail connection from Airport Way at Industrial Way to an extended Chief Sealth and Mountians-to-Sound Trails on Beacon Hill? How cool would that be?
In Sodo, the plan calls for completing the Sodo Trial, connecting Georgetown to downtown. This would be completely awesome, but likely expensive and years away.
The plan also suggests a protected bike lane on 1st Ave and on E Marginal Way between the 1st Ave Bridge and the South Park Bridge. Lots of people are doing good work with freight leaders in the city, and I am convinced that freight interests—many of which have opposed bike Sodo bike infrastructure in the past—might prefer a protected bike lane that provides fewer chances for their trucks to collide with people on bikes on these key corridors. And, of course, their employees will be more easily able to bike to work if they choose to, which has shown to improve productivity and result in fewer sick days.
What do you see as unmet needs in these areas?
From West Seattle Bike Connections: