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Murray reverses his position about NE 75th Street bike lanes

Mayor Mike McGinn announces plans for the NE 75th Street safety project in July
Mayor Mike McGinn announces plans for the NE 75th Street safety project in July. His opponent, Ed Murray, originally said the project was a ‘mistake,’ but now agrees it was sucessful

The Ed Murray campaign this morning backtracked on his answer to Feet First about the NE 75th Street bike lanes, saying the project was “not a mistake.”

As we reported yesterday, Murray had originally told Feet First that the project was a mistake because it removed parking and included bike lanes. However, city studies had shown that the parking was rarely used.

The project was demanded by neighbors after a devastating DUI collision that took the lives of Dennis and Judy Schulte and seriously injured Karina and baby Elias. The city and mayor held a series of public meetings, created a set of options, heard feedback and then redesigned the street within six months of the tragedy.

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Here’s Ed Murray’s statement:

The NE 75th Street project was not a mistake. This dangerous corridor was long overdue for a change that would make it safer for all users, including the children coming and going from Eckstein Middle School. Unfortunately it took a tragic accident for the changes to be made. Still, while the removal of parking and the addition of a bike lane as part of efforts to make the street safer were the correct moves in this instance, and it was supported by the community, it is not necessarily always the best approach in every instance. There are real impacts to pedestrians, the elderly and disabled when parking is removed. Each of these neighborhood corridors is unique and can not be treated with a “one size fits all” approach. The Mayor tried to take this approach on NE 65th Street and was met with strong opposition at a local public meeting in August. This is another reason why we need to take a more comprehensive and integrated approach to our transportation planning. These types of changes need to be made in the context of the entire system, while the benefits to the system and to all users need to be more clearly articulated. We must be diligent about balancing the needs of our limited rights of way.

The NE 65th Street issue he refers to is actually part of the Bike Master Plan. Since the bike plan is a high-level citywide plan for bike routes, it does not include specific design details such as parking removal.

Rather, the bike plan is a guiding document created with the input of a variety of neighborhood and industry stakeholders. It does reference existing transportation plans, like the Pedestrian Master Plan, Transit Master Plan, Climate Action Plan and map of existing freight routes.

The plan update is still being finalized and should go to the City Council for a vote in the coming months. You can read the most recent draft, which outlines its process and goals, here.

In reference to NE 65th Street — the one street on the city-wide plan that has by far received the biggest pushback — the question facing the neighborhood and city (and the candidate who will be elected mayor in November) is whether the 20-year Bike Master Plan should strive for a protected bike lane of some kind on NE 65th Street.

After the public meeting in August that Senator Murray references, the city went back and created a series of options for the bike plan based on the feedback they heard. They then held another open house to collect feedback, and an online survey is currently open for your input (EDIT: It has closed). It would be a stretch to describe this process as “one size fits all” or happening not “in the context of the entire system.”

We have follow-up questions into the Murray campaign asking which NE 65th Street option he would prefer and if he has any other examples of McGinn’s “one size fits all” bike lane projects that turned out to be mistakes.

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23 responses to “Murray reverses his position about NE 75th Street bike lanes”

  1. biliruben

    It sounds like he, or whoever composed his feet first response, may have confused the 65th and 75th St. projects, or some of their details. Probably understandable, for someone who probably rarely comes to the neighborhood.

    1. By this hypothesis he both managed to fail to get the street right and fail to understand what was actually going on just as badly as the screamers at the 65th St. meeting.

  2. Kelly

    Wow. Just wow. This reeks of a campaign that is extremely out of touch with Seattle and is easily influenced by a few loud and cranky voices. Flip, then flop.

    Not that it makes me happy, but Mayor McGinn and SDOT *are* looking at compromise routes on 65th Street. 75th is much more sane now. The redesign has dropped speeds and decreased crazy driving styles. I hope 65th can become that sane in the near future before another tragedy happens. I’m confident that McGinn will keep streets for people a priority. I have no idea what Murray’s priorities are, but they don’t seem in keeping with mine.

  3. Both 65th and 75th Streets are in Ed Murray’s district. If he doesn’t know about these projects he’s not doing his job.


    1. Michael Hooning

      I live in Ed Murray’s legislative district, and I will vouch for the fact that he is totally out of touch with his constituency (except for some cranks, apparently.)

    2. Actually, the part of 75th under discussion isn’t in Murray’s district, nor is the part of 65th east of 25th. Both are part of David Frockt’s district. FWIW, at least portions of 75th ARE bad for cyclists; namely the downhill portions which should be sharrows since cyclists can easily exceed the speed limit on those stretches and bike lanes should be eliminated on those segments (bike lanes are dangerous when you’re going down a hill at 30mph) in favor of bulbouts if traffic calming is the real goal. The uphill bike lane segments are OK. SDOT doesn’t see things from a cycling perspective yet…

      1. Andres Salomon

        Because a cyclist *can* exceed the speed limit doesn’t meant they *will*. Some people ride the brakes on downhills; the bike lane provides a space for them to do that. Other people will go the speed limit; they can move out of the bike lane and move with automobiles. Sharrows, on the other hand, force you to ride with automobiles whether you want to or not.

      2. RTK

        Am I looking at the map wrong? The 75th re-stripe went from 15th to 13th, looks like 8 blocks of this is in 43rd district.

        The most contentious section of the BMP for NE 65th is from 20th to 25th, once again this in the 43rd district.

        Thanks for the link to the map, I hadn’t seen this resource before.

      3. RTK

        Sorry, typo above make that from 15th to 35th.

  4. Chad

    I am a little uncomfortable with the fact that Ed Murray seems to jumps to conclusions and then backtracks later. This happened with the Missing Link as well. At least he recognizes his mistakes and addresses them. That’s a positive, right?

  5. Janine

    It’s not “one size fits all” on 75th and 65th anyway, is it? A road diet and a cycle track are not the same thing. I won’t vote for him in the first place, but it bugs me that he apparently doesn’t think these issues are important enough for him to grasp the details. There seem to have been many of these one-off defenses or reversals, and dumb catch-all phrases like, “it has to be in the context of the system” that have no meaning.

  6. Jonathan

    “The Ed Murray campaign this morning backtracked…” [fill in the blank with today’s corrected position].

    And this guy is leading by (potentially) double digits? What a disappointing mayoral race this has been.

  7. Bob Schmengee

    You have to be kidding me! The only thing I hate worse than McSchwinn is a backsliding weasel of a politician. I’m voting for nobody!

    1. Q

      And you’ll get the politicians you deserve.

      1. Bob Schmengee

        What is that supposed to mean? The only choices are McTurd and a weasel. Help?

  8. Janine


    Mmmm. Mmm……nooo….;)

  9. merlin

    Murray’s backtracking response is if anything even more out of touch than his original statement. The suggestion that bike infrastructure has been imposed in a “one-size fits all” fashion without consulting neighborhoods or considering local conditions is ludicrous. How about Roosevelt between 75th and 85th? Years of repeated parking studies and neighborhood meetings, just to get a downhill sharrow and an uphill bike lane – in a project that pre-dated McGinn to begin with.

  10. Don Brubeck

    any way the wind blows

  11. Fnarf

    This is at least twice he’s blown a big deal with the bike community and had to backtrack. He’s getting advice from people who think the way to attack McGinn is to attack bikes, but that’s a losing strategy, and he’s finding that out. It makes him look clueless, and it makes him look like he’s in the pocket of people who make a lot of noise but don’t have Seattle’s best interests at heart. If he gets elected, he better fix that before he fixes anything else, otherwise he’s going to be on the defensive his whole (single) term.

    I’m sticking with McGinn, thanks. He’s already on the right side; he doesn’t have to fall back into it later.

  12. Doug Bostrom

    Geez, I was never very inclined to vote for Murray, but the crappy, desperate ads his campaign is running combined with fumbles like this pretty much clench the deal for me.

    If this was Murray being cranked by cranks then that’s no good. But it’s almost worse if he can’t successfully manage or doesn’t understand a critical Seattle issue like this even before he’s mayor and when he needs more than at any time to put his best foot forward.

    Whatever his faults, McGinn is a complete expert on the topic of importance here, namely Seattle. That’s why he doesn’t commit silly errors like Murray’s.

  13. sgg

    I am leaning towards voting for neither candidate this time. McGinn has frankly been a terrible mayor, even if we have some modest bicycle improvements over the last 3.5 years there are lots of other important issues. While I wanted to vote for someone else, Murray makes it pretty clear he has never actually spent any time in the City of Seattle and would be a terrible choice for completely different reasons. Murray should learn to simply say he needs to learn more about the project, than to opine based on whoever the last squeeky wheel was.

    1. Doug Bostrom

      Please don’t give up as a voter. That’s a terrible path to follow, for so many reasons..

      I’m sure there’s at least one issue important to you that distinguishes one candidate from another. Find that difference and then vote accordingly.

      Not voting is itself a vote of a kind, a vote of resignation from civic life, never a good voting choice.

      1. Bob Schmengee

        Not voting for two crap candidates is not resignation of civic duties. Sorry. That’s a false premise. It simply says, “Who give a frack!”

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