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West Seattle residents want bike corral at the Junction, White Center discusses first corral on 16th

Click to read the post from West Seattle Bike Connections
Click to read the post from West Seattle Bike Connections

Seattle has been doing a great job installing on-street bike corrals around town this year. Well, maybe not ALL around town. West Seattle still does not have a corral despite demand for one in the Junction business district, and residents have taken to writing open letters and urging elected officials to get involved and help make it happen.

On-street bike corrals make the most sense in business districts where demand for bike parking and sidewalk space make it difficult for people biking to lock up without blocking other sidewalk uses. A sidewalk bike rack might work fine when there are just a couple businesses around. But on streets filled with destinations, bike parking often needs to be moved into the on-street parking area. It makes it more comfortable for everyone and adds parking capacity for the district, since 12 or so bikes can fit in the space used by one parked car.

So far, most the city’s bike corrals have gone into the highest-demand areas in town, like Capitol Hill, Fremont, the U District, the Central District. And they keep coming:

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West Seattle’s Junction is the perfect space for a corral. Lots of businesses, skinny sidewalks and the need for more customer capacity. But West Seattle Bike Connections is tired of waiting for one, so they have formed a coalition and have started asking the city publicly:

Bikes are good for local business districts.  When we travel by bike, we shop and dine locally, instead of at malls and big boxes.  Bike corrals are good for business. That’s why Seattle is installing bike corrals in local business districts. Except in West Seattle.

Our West Seattle businesses deserve better treatment!

With the support of the West Seattle Junction Association merchants, we have been working for 18 months to get SDOT to install one bike corral at the busiest block in the Junction. The Junction Neighborhood Association and the West Seattle Transit Coalition have joined us in this effort.  All we are asking for is one bike corral in West Seattle. The only timeline we have from SDOT is sometime in 2015. We are asking our elected representatives for help!

They have also written a more detailed letter spelling out why the rack should be installed at the corner of Alaska and California. The letter was posted by West Seattle Blog.

White Center

Meanwhile, White Center businesses and residents held a meeting to discuss bike parking needs in the 16th Ave SW business district. A few years ago, some not-entirely-anonymous people installed some not-entirely-legal bike racks in the area, but they are not enough.

Now, discussions are underway to install a bike corral among the many car parking spots in the area. If people agree and make it happen, it could be among the first modern on-street bike corrals in King County outside Seattle. It was also be great for White Center businesses.

As this photo demonstrates, the demand is there:

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19 responses to “West Seattle residents want bike corral at the Junction, White Center discusses first corral on 16th”

  1. Jayne

    There are some good businesses down there but I’m pretty sure I’d never leave my bike locked up on the street in white center.
    As far as our closest-in suburb “west” seattle goes, it’s a decidedly unpleasant place to ride a bike (highwaylike lakecityish roads with hostile suburban drivers stuck in frustrated commute mode, the anti bike clamor on the west seattle blog every time a bike issue comes up, the unprosecuted traffic violence that occurs against cyclists there, the lack of a decent connection to the city combined with their own version of sprawl – west seattle is not a neighborhood but a collection of neighborhoods disconnected from themselves and seattle. Sure there is a cadre of diehard commuters that dare leave “the island” but the fact remains, west seattle is not a destination nor do many people there do any day to day riding for utility, instead relying on their beloved cars and vast free parking lots.

    1. Peri Hartman

      fwiw, I bike from queen anne to west seattle once every month or so. I breach the “island”. Other people who live within a mile or so of calif ave can easily bike there to the business district. Having a place to park bikes is a wonderful idea.

      I’m not sure how pertinent it is to compare white center to west seattle. Might as well lump in tukwilla.

      In fact, there are many places that need more racks or a corral. Bring it on! Let’s be unified to improve our bike infrastructure.

    2. JAT

      Quite a screed, Jayne.
      I’m the first to concede that getting in and out of West Seattle (why the quotation marks, as if it isn’t a real place or hasn’t been a part of real Seattle since, oh, about 1851?) is awful, but I see droves of cyclists making it their destination all weekend long.

      1. Josh

        The isolation of West Seattle is in many ways greater now than it was pre-WWII. Since the 1890s, it was tied to downtown with reliable streetcar service, still reflected in the narrow streets and dense, walkable plats of older West Seattle neighborhoods.

        For a time, the West Seattle Freeway, one of the first freeways in Washington State, provided even faster connections to downtown, killing the streetcars. Then, as it has everywhere else, induced demand clogged the freeway and gave us the bottlenecks we have today.

        Streetcar plats are wonderful for bicycling within the neighborhood, they’re natural neighborhood greenways. But the inter-urban connections that helped build West Seattle have been neglected for generations.

    3. Josh

      Plenty of people who bike in White Center already leave their bikes locked up outside, they just don’t have proper racks to do it — they lock to signs, power poles, railings, etc.

      Of course, in much of the world, daily transportation is done on inexpensive bikes that aren’t such theft magnets. If your bike could pay for a modest used car, it’s probably not the target market for outdoor bike corrals in White Center.

    4. bill

      Jayne, I for one am not disappointed that you are disinclined to visit West Seattle.

      To everyone else — the biking experience has improved a great deal. SDOT has done some nice things with mere paint. A lot more needs to be done, of course.

    5. Painter

      Jayne, this West Seattle resident (and many others I presume) is very pleased that you would never consider visiting our neighborhood. Really, please, don’t ever come over here. Everyone else, please trust Jayne, there’s nothing to see here. Move along. It’s not really Seattle after all is it? You don’t want to live here. You don’t even want to visit. It’s just evil, absolute evil.

  2. AJL

    You know “Jayne,” I’m tired of your comments.
    You clearly do not ride in West Seattle much and maybe from one bad experience you’ve decided it’s a terrible place and not worthy of any improvements. By your judgement NO bicycle improvements should ever have been made because the whole city used to be like West Seattle! *shocker!*

    WSBC, of which I am a former member, recognizes it’s more difficult to ride there. There’s hills, there’s roads that create psychological barriers, there’s not much bike infrastructure compared to Ballard, Fremont, the U District, etc. But that’s why these discussions are taking place! MANY types of people bike to/from/around West Seattle. I see them all the time. Kids, parents, “die hards,” commuters, etc. Blaming the whole “West Seattle region” for lack of bike infrastructure is completely nuts. Calling out SDOT is not; they are the ones that need to make improvements.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Word. Biking to and from West Seattle is a challenge, for sure. But many people do it. Biking within West Seattle (the target customers for a bike corral) can be made safe and comfortable very easily. There’s work to do, but even a couple well-designed protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways will change everything.

      As far as frustrated car owners go, it would make sense for West Seattle to have a lot of them because driving to and from the neighborhood is a terrible experience. I feel for residents who have to put up with the headache of doing that every day, especially since transit and bike options are not very good (unless you can use the water taxi, which is pretty much the coolest).

      But that also means that there are a lot of West Seattle residents who are looking to support alternatives. Because it will never not suck to drive to and from West Seattle. We can’t make it better, it’s impossible. So we have to find another way for residents to get around.

      While obviously we need to be planning truly fast transit to West Seattle, anything more than added bus lanes is a long way off. But we can improve the biking experience with relatively little money and time.

      1. Gordon Padelford

        40% of trips are under 3 miles.
        40% of trips are under 3 miles?
        40% of trips are under 3 miles!

        Not all trips start or end in Downtown Seattle.

        Keep up the great work WSBC!

  3. AJL


    yeah, no one rides to/from West Seattle. That’d be insane!

  4. Riding to and from West Seattle is actually rather easy if you plot a course with gradual inclines. I do a 14 mile daily commute nearly year round that takes me from Arbor Heights, across the Swing Bridge and on into the City proper. I do not say this lightly as I am nearing retirement age and only started as a bicycle commuter last July. I ride a heavy lug framed bicycle with lights, panniers, fenders etc. My commute takes me from 400 feet above sea level down to sea level and back up again on the way home. I ride slowly but I give myself plenty of time to do so and have very little stress as a result. By riding slowly I can often take interesting byways such as the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail and other hidden gems. There is no place in West Seattle that I can’t get to and I am admittedly a weaker rider. It might require a long roundabout approach to reach a destination here but that is part of the adventure of bicycling.

  5. Dave

    Hope that they put it at a corner–this will be a visibility bonus for drivers as it will be one less intersection that an 8 foot tall delivery van can be parked at! I live near Portland and have noticed the benefit of this both while driving and cycling. A bike corral at a corner can sometimes be a genuine win/win.

    1. Josh

      If it’s at a corner, protection from turning trucks can be an issue… make sure it has very conspicuous bollards or other barriers that deter trucks cutting the corner too close.

    2. AJL

      The corral site is not right on the corner, but a little ways back from the corner. It’s a good location that’s been approved by the bike corral planners, WSBC and business leaders. There’s no concern with it blocking trucks due to the setback. In fact, a corral will likely help prevent illegal/rush red light turners at the intersection.

  6. […] received a fun email from West Seattle Bike Connections this morning. After a community push to make sure a proposed bike corral actually happens in the Junction, the group announced that the […]

  7. Kathy

    Jayne, if you think West Seattle is not a destination, you probably haven’t been to Alki anytime the weather is halfway decent.

  8. […] group of White Center businesses are still working to solve their street’s bike parking crunch by converting two car parking spaces in front of […]

  9. […] collection of White Midsection businesses are nevertheless operating to unravel their street’s bike parking crunch by way of changing two automobile parking areas […]

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