Have you ever biked to the airport? UW group wants to know how it went

Screenshot of King County bike map

Screenshot of King County bike map

A group of UW students are studying bike access at SeaTac Airport, and they need your help.

Have you ever biked to the airport? What did you do with your bike once there? What would make it easier and more inviting? Let the group know by completing this short online survey.

From the Bike2SEA group:

Have you ever biked to the airport? Would you bike to the airport? Urban Planning students at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments want to know what you think about biking to Sea-Tac International Airport.

Please take a few minutes of your time and complete this survey (tinyurl.com/bike2SEA).  The survey will be available until October 31, 2013. Your input will be used to help us shape our work for our UW bike planning course.

Feel free to share this survey with other bicycle enthusiasts, blogs, and websites in the area.

If you have any questions about this survey please contact us at [email protected].

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17 Responses to Have you ever biked to the airport? UW group wants to know how it went

  1. Doug Bostrom says:

    –Somebody– is biking to the airport, or maybe going intermodal. I routinely see obvious and constantly stirred “user bikes” in the racks adjacent to the bridges leading from the garage.

    Seems like a punishing environment, though. Vehicles in the vicinity are operated by stressed-out drivers; driving in the area is no picnic so walking or biking must be a hair-raising activity.

  2. Andrew Squirrel says:

    I’ve thought about this many times. Mostly when my flight lands late in the evening (or on Holidays!) and the last light rail has left the airport. It would be great to have a couple rows of bike boxes you can reserve and feel confident about leaving a touring bike or small cargo bike (see: CycleTruck) locked inside for extended periods.
    I’d be interested in looking at the best route into the airport via bike.

    • Doug Bostrom says:

      I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to try it with an expensive bike but the bike racks immediately adjacent to the entrances to the skybridge/walkways from the garage to the terminal strike me as the kind of location where even the most brazen thief would hesitate to operate.

      Access to the garage with a vehicle means being captured by myriads of cameras, same on foot. On the other hand, thieves aren’t known for intelligence or foresight so maybe it would be foolhardy to lock a nice bike to these racks for an extended period.

  3. rob says:

    I’m sure there must be people who work at the airport who bike to work. As for biking to the airport to take a flight, I have thought about it several times but never gotten past the problem of how to get my bike box to the airport on my bike. If there were someplace at the airport to rent a bike box from for my trip, I’d absolutely do it.

  4. biliruben says:

    I’ve done it, but it was so long ago (pre-link), I don’t recall my route. Weaving up and down through Burien and Seatac, trying to stay off dangerous arterials, and cutting through parks, is all I remember. It took awhile, and I haven’t really been anxious to try it again. It wasn’t a particularly friendly environment.

  5. Zach Shaner says:

    I biked once for a meeting at Port offices, though I biked only as far as Tukwila’s light rail station and took Link for the last stop.

    I remember seeing a random bicycle wayfinding sign to Sea-Tac in the International District, at 6th Ave S and Dearborn IIRC.

  6. Bill says:

    I’ve ridden around and past the airport, and from it after taking Link*, but never to it to catch a flight. The official route across the 1st Ave Bridge is pretty bad. It’s better to cross the West Seattle bridge, take the Duwamish Trail to South Park, then Des Moines Memorial Drive. Go left on S 156th St, right on Air Cargo Way, and you’re at the terminal.

    *Bikes on Link are a bad joke. Any adult-size bike hung up on the bike hook sticks out in the aisle, so everyone trying to get past gives you the evil eye.

    • Zach Shaner says:

      Yeah, my 58cm commuter bike sticks out quite a bit when hung on Link.

      Aviation geeks who bike would probably enjoy biking 154th between Tukwila and Burien, as it has a nice bike lane and puts you directly under the flight path just north of the runway.

    • Morgan Wick says:

      I’m pretty sure that “official route” predates the current bikemania; I don’t know if the Duwamish even existed then. If Seattle had to put up wayfinding signs to the airport now I bet that would have been the signed bike route, but even then the route through Georgetown certainly looks more direct on a map.

  7. Sea says:

    Bike share stations at the airport seem like a good option.

    • JAT says:

      This made me chuckle out loud. I presume it’s a joke.

      If not, FFS, look at all the regular hard core Seattlebikeblog readers saying treacherous, impractical, did it once not eager to do it again,…(including me) Seriously, unless you’re going to the DoubleTree Inn, what good is a Bike Share station going to do out there?

      • Sea says:

        It would save having to leave your bike unattended at the airport for days at a time. If you’re not a strong enough rider to get to the airport via bike, take the light rail instead of whining about your shortcomings.

  8. Mike says:

    The airport is one of the few places that I go regularly and would never bike to. I’m either going somewhere which means I’ve got luggage and a need to store my bike for a few days. Or I’m picking someone up, which means I’ve got luggage and passengers.

    If I worked at the airport (which thousands of people do), then I could see the need.

  9. Lisa says:

    I’ve been using Car2Go to solve the terrible late-night frequencies after I get off Link downtown, but if I had a place to securely store my bike at Westlake I would absolutely do that. Biking 3-4 miles with luggage doesn’t really bother me, I always just use a hiking pack. I guess I could put it on the light rail and store it at the airport if they had some good bike cages or something, where I could leave my helmet and lights and everything on my bike.

  10. Gary says:

    If I owned a folding bicycle, and one of these folding bicycle suitcases, you could bike to the airport and have your bicycle with you at your destination. I think that the suitcase is big enough to put a carry on suitcase inside of it, once you take the folding bicycle out.


    And riding down Hwy 99 to the airport on the last mile or so looks dam dangerous. I did see a guy doing it who looked like he worked somewhere down there at near midnight. He needed better lights but he moved from the road to the sidewalk as soon as the road started to rise a bit.

    But this should be a possible thing as it’s a touristy thing to do, arrive at the airport, and want to ride your bicycle from there to one of our great national parks etc….

    One thing would be for there to be “bike boxes” for sale there so you could ride to the airport and box your bike up. With a discount for a “used box” so that you could sell it back to the vendor while you are out riding, buy it back if you are leaving from SeaTac etc.

    On my long trip, I used the bus partly because of cost and partly because I could ship to myself an empty box to the bus station, and pick it up, put my bike in it, and ship myself and the bike home.

  11. asdf2 says:

    I have never biked to SeaTac airport before, but I do like the concept. While not ideal, SeaTac is still better than most other big-city airports in terms of non-motorized access, as even the big streets near the airport have decent sidewalks. Once, I even drove to one of the satellite lots along SR-99 and opted to walk to the airport, rather than waiting for their shuttle, because walking was faster and more direct. Compare to Newark Airport, where I was once forced to wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to show up to take me a mere 1/4 mile (which I could have walked in 5 minutes) to the on-airport hotel – all due to high-speed roads lacking sidewalks.

    If you’re looking for a good example of non-motorized airport access, I recommend the airport at Santa Barbara, California. This was the only airport that I have ever left from, on my own power, without a motorized vehicle. The airport is small enough so that car traffic on the access road isn’t too bad. The road even has a bike lane which, after, about 1/4 mile, gives way to a comprehensive off-street trail system that will take you all over the city. In my case, I traveled with a foldable kick scooter, which was small enough to gate check and avoid the bag fees. When my plane arrived, I unpacked the scooter, hopped on, and rode a mile and a half to the UCSB campus, where I was staying for the week. It felt both iterating and strange to just hop on my scooter at the airport terminal and ride away.

    For Seattle, I realistically think I live a bit too far to making biking to the airport with luggage feasible. However, I would be very interested in secure parking options at Link stations – especially the UW station currently under construction – which would allow me to bike a short distance to the station without getting my bike stolen.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      Ditto. Google maps says it’d be at least a 20mi drive from my house to the airport; no way I’m going to bike that with luggage and a kid over unfriendly roads.

      Once the UW light rail station opens up, I’ll be biking to it to get to the airport. It will beat the heck out of my current system of taking the 71 (which gets stuck in traffic and is late way too often) to Westlake.

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