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On tap for March Bike Board meeting: Westlake, bike plan, complete streets + budget updates

I’m trying something new for this month’s meeting of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. I’m posting the agenda now in case you want to attend (they are open to the public). But and I will update this post during the meeting tonight to fill you all in on what is discussed.

The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board is run by volunteers who are approved by the City Council to advise the city (especially SDOT) on matters relating to bicycling. SBAB meetings (first Wednesday of each month) are often interesting, but items discussed don’t always get turned into full stories here on the blog. I’m hoping this will be a way to get interesting stuff out there. So check this post later for updates.

Here’s the agenda:

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SBAB Agenda 03-05-14 copy


It is wet outside. Lots of soaked rain gear in this room.

Bicycle Master Plan Update

Appellants dropped appeal to plan February 14 (“A nice Valentine’s Day present”).

Working with new Council staff, since Bill LaBorde moved from CM Tom Rasmussen’s office to SDOT.

Comments are still coming in amid the delay in City Council adoption. Any changes would have to be pretty major to get in at this point. Staff have been making minor tweaks.

Transportation Committee will take it up on April 8, could get voted out of committee to be put up for a full Council vote in early April.

Q: Has the delay in the plan impacted the city’s work? A: Not yet, but they are starting to develop a multi-year work plan, and it would be great to have the plan passed.


Budget presentation not happening at this meeting, but Sam Woods wants to know what specific budget info the Board would like to see.

Part of the problem is that it’s sometimes hard to tell what is a “bicycle” project.

Complete Streets

Reiterates that safety is SDOT’s top priority.

Notes that city ordinance 122386 was “an unfunded mandate.”

Seattle arterial streets are 60-65-feet on average, constrained for so many competing uses.

SDOT is the only department that is responsible for complete streets. If another city department (say, utility), wants to do work and patch the street back up without making it a complete street, they can.

Since passing in 2007, bike commuting is up 41 percent.

Complete Streets elements include things like proper lighting (sidewalks and streets) as well as things like freight access where applicable.

Apparently there is an allowable exception to the complete streets ordinance for the sake of “public safety.” Susan says she has not seen this used.

Complete streets process within SDOT: Complete Streets staff (Susan) work with each project’s manager to identify needed improvements, often pulling from the Bike and Walk Master Plans.

Among ongoing projects: 23rd Ave, Holman Road, Madison BRT, Broadway Streetcar Extension, 3rd Ave Transit Corridor.

Merlin Rainwater (Bike Board member) questions the idea that a parallel street can make an arterial street “complete.” We’re making “complete streets” not “complete corridors.” A nearby neighborhood greenway doesn’t adequately improve access to the many amenities and destinations on a commercial street.

Perhaps the next generation of complete streets will involve other departments, not just SDOT.

Westlake Bikeway

Goal to start construction in 2015.

About 1,275 parking spaces in the corridor.

Why a bike lane on Westlake when Dexter is so close?

  • If you’re on Westlake, you can’t get up to Dexter (there’s a big hill)
  • There is a lot of growth in the area.
  • Dexter is not an all-ages-and-abilities facility.

$3.6 million project, $1.7 million from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Forming the Design Advisory Committee now. 13 members, should be announced soon (part of the bike plan lawsuit settlement).

Next open house is in May.

Survey will go out to residents and business owners tomorrow.

Design advisory committee will be appointed by Mayor Ed Murray. Will advise the design team during Phase 1, and may evolve into a another role later.

SDOT will retain final design decision ability.

Looking for people who live, work and travel through the area. People who walk and bike will be part of it. Cascade has a spot for sure.

Meetings will not exactly be secret, but also not totally public. Trying to cut down on disruption, hoping the committee members will be able to develop a relationship with each other and act as liaisons to their communities.

Will there be an environmental impact statement? Unsure yet if the project scope will meet the requirements for one.

Putting the cycle track on the west side of the street is looking pretty pricey. Either it requires retaining walls if the street is maintained as is (four lanes), or it is built into the street and the drainage must be redone.

City is not waiting for the light rail project. Westlake is one of the options for a high capacity transit route to Ballard and beyond, but that is operating on a much longer time frame than this project.

Questions? [email protected]

Neighborhood Greenways Workplan

A couple routes added to this year’s workplan include:

  • East-West Route in the Central District (likely using the Columbia Street crossing planned as part of the 23rd corridor project)
  • North-South route in the Rainier Valley
  • A route in the International District (maybe King Street?)
  • The Lake Washington Loop greenway route has been removed from a map originally planned so that the city can coordinate with Phase 3 of the 23rd Ave Corridor project (and the neighborhood greenway planned there)

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13 responses to “On tap for March Bike Board meeting: Westlake, bike plan, complete streets + budget updates”

  1. David

    If you need a quick way of describing what the difference is between Dexter and Westlake, just say it’s like climbing 9 flights of stairs. It’s about 90 feet of elevation gain. Would you rather climb 9 flights of stairs to get to work or none?

  2. merlin

    Thanks for taking notes, Tom! I’ll use yours to create the minutes!
    The overarching question for the meeting: How can SBAB get the information it needs in order to be effective “stewards of the Bicycle Master Plan?”

  3. Eli

    Thanks, Tom! This is awesome!

  4. RTK

    Thanks. Appreciate getting the information out quickly in this format.

  5. Richard

    I have to question Susan’s comment that city ordinance 122386 was “an unfunded mandate.” — What does that mean, and why does that matter?

    Is she trying to make the case that it is only binding when they get extra money? If so, that doesn’t make sense — It’s like arguing that the law requiring lane markings painted on the streets is “an unfunded mandate” – yes, it’s unfunded on the whole; each individual PROJECT must include funding to comply. It sets requirements for when you DO fund something. You wouldn’t build a new street, not paint it, and claim the lane marking laws was an “unfunded mandate” – you’d fund every aspect of the street that was legally required.

    I wasn’t at the meeting, so maybe I’m missing some context around that remark??

    1. merlin

      Richard, I was at the meeting. Thanks for your comment. She didn’t mean that Complete Streets would not be required unless extra money was obtained, just that there’s no pot of money set aside specifically to fund Complete Streets. Your example of funding for lane markings is a good one: the funding for Complete Streets is included in the budget for whatever project is undertaken, and every SDOT project must include Complete Streets, with some specific exceptions (most frequently, projects that are considered “routine maintenance”).

  6. Davie Dave

    I’ve been attempting to find out the approximate
    Numbers of actual bikers that utilize the bike lanes on a
    Daily basis.
    Three years ago (maybe more), when the first bike
    Lanes were being created, and all the asset providing
    Parking meters removed on fourth ave, in front of
    The YMCA, I did a rather unscientific assesment
    Of how many bicyclists actually were using the new
    Lane. In one hour I counted none.
    There was not one bicycle. How many as of today
    Use that 4th ave lane.
    I am going to utilize several of my media whore friends
    And create the same experiment, but with a group of
    Six of us. We will branch out to four locations over the course
    Of two days.
    Weekday and weekend day.
    I would like to hear what your thoughts are on my
    The recent homeless man that decided to defile
    A statue dedicated to the loss of life of public servants
    Known as firemen, makes me realize I must be
    Clever and say something about the fact that
    We have thousands of homeless people, and we
    Spend more on destroying revenue enhancing
    Property (meters), and on these lanes for I’m assuming
    For great fewer people than all the homeless combined.
    Please pas over the typos, I’m on my iPhone at the moment.

    If we can make budget money for bicyclist, then we also
    Should be able that least house the homeless in large
    Shelters designed for out of control homelessness.

    1. Richard

      data.seattle.gov already has quite a bit of tracking data on bike infrastructure usage at a number of locations throughout the city. Short answer to your question is: a lot.

  7. Davie Dave

    Hi Richard,
    Thanks for the reply. However, I’m looking for a
    Real answer, and not a defensive postured answer.
    I have yet to find a clear number of how many bikes
    Are using the lanes each day.
    I can however call any number of agencies to find
    Out how many homeless folks are being served,
    And a fairly accurate count of the homeless that
    Seem to be at every block around king county.

    Thanks so much!

    Any others have a REAL COUNT, not a defensive
    Self indulgent answer like “lots”….

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Be polite to others in these comments, please.

      That was a real answer. Go search data.seattle.gov. The city does measure this, and that data is available free to everyone. And the short answer is: A lot (tens of thousands city-wide, varies depending on bike lane)

  8. Davie Dave

    Perfect, thanks. That is a much clearer answer.
    Thank you.
    I’m all for progress, but if the benefits of one expense
    Are at the cost of our neglecting others less fortunate
    Then all purpose if civility is lost.

  9. Teri

    Homeless people like to have places to bike too! Maybe better bike infrastructure= more people biking= people with more money for housing and food= less homelessness? Bikes to the rescue!

  10. […] As with last month, I’m posting the agenda in advance in case you want to sit in on the meeting. If you can’t make it, I’ll post updates below during the meeting. […]

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