The biking and walking trail under the newly-opened Atlantic Street Overpass is now open, fixing a confusing bike connection between E Marginal Way and the Alaskan Way Trail into downtown.
When the overpass opened to traffic early this year, the bike path connection was not yet complete and many people voiced concerns that the new intersection created a dangerous situation for people on bikes. Some reworking of the area eased some of the bigger concerns, but the new trail connection is intended to be a permanent solution for people biking through the area.
Here’s a concept image with labels, from WSDOT:
Of course, the current situation will only be this way until the Highway 99 tunnel opens (if it does open). If it opens, the area could easily become a pretty unfriendly mess for people biking and walking. Below is a concept image that shows the plans:
This new path is wonderful and shows the possibility for continuing a 2-way bikeway south all the way to Spokane Street and then north, when the new waterfront is finally finished, all the way to Myrtle Edwards. That corridor is already heavily used, even with the construction madness now occurring on the waterfront, and there’s enough width for a 2-way bikeway on the west side of the street simply by shifting the existing fractured bike lanes onto the west side of the street (i.e. no lost driving or parking at all). The changes on Alaska Way south of S. Atlantic Street could be made immediately to complete a full bikeway between W. Seattle and Pioneer Square. I would not be surprised if such a change would result in literally thousands of daily bike commute trips into the city.
West seattle loves their cars, I seriously doubt even a dedicated separated bikeway into town would result in any significant increase in bike commuting from that part of town.
West Seattle does love their cars, but imagine what a good bike connection to town would do! We get up to 2000 crossings at the WS Bridge bike counter on the heaviest days, meaning ~1000 people are willing to battle cracked pavement, unprotected crossings, and freight traffic to bike to work. Imagine how many more would choose that option if safety weren’t such a glaring issue! I think the Spokane Street path should be one of the city’s top priorities. I can’t think of another project in Seattle that would provide more benefit for the investment.
Indeed, Jayne, look how many cyclists are already riding from West Seattle despite rampaging truck drivers, speeding motorists, hideous road surfaces, year-round standing water, Byzantine unintuitive and half-assed infrastructure, nearly annual deaths and, for most of us, a giant hill to climb at the end of the ride home.
Thanks for you analysis, though.
Jake, the better investment would be to fix the Ballard Bridge connection. It was the location identified two years ago by SDOT’s poll as the number one barrior to cycling in the city. Of course, since that poll, SDOT has done absolutely nothing, not one thing, to make that passage better or safer.
Kirk – I agree that that is a horrible bottleneck. But I believe that’s a much bigger project than the West Seattle connection. An E. Marginal buffered cycle track could be painted in a weekend, and jersey barriers added with a bit more work. Fixing the Ballard Bridge would take a lot more than that.
That’s what I mean by “return on investment”: consider both the investment itself, as well as the return.
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Now that it is finally open and finished, it works very well. Kudos to the project folks who implemented this. It isn’t an area that would automatically come to mind that needs a solid bike/walk solution due to it’s location, but it sees many, many cyclists coming to and from West Seattle. This model should be extended south to Spokane street, and north to Myrtle Edwards as “The Big E” suggests.
Unlike what “Jayne” believes, West Seattle bicycling is only increasing. Especially as buses are cut, viaduct traffic revisions make life worse, lots of folks want to take things into their own hands. The new bike counter that SDOT installed shows that this is a real area of growth. If you can help make the commute safer by putting in a 2 way path on East Marginal, you go a long way to making that happen.
I don’t ride to work from West Seattle (job is in south Tacoma), but I do use this route to get to the ID on a regular basis. The new path is very nice. I’d love to see additional improvements.
As someone who moved from West Seattle to Vashon, I have noticed that the route also serves cyclists who ride to Vashon – a good number of them. And I know of several people who use this route to get to/from south of the core of West Seattle too (White Center, Burien, South Park, etc.). This is a major link in a busy southerly part of the city that’s long been ignored or received only bits and pieces of cycling improvements. As SGG stated, this is only going to become more important as time and traffic problems increase.
Very nice! Now it would be great if SDOT turned on the lights under the viaduct during daylight hours. The section where they constructed the Bertha sound wall is very dark (dangerous).
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