Help push to get the downtown bike network back on track in 2019

Map of the planned downtown bike network. Routes included in the City Council resolution are highlighted in peach.

The downtown bike network has been significantly delayed so far under Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration, but there is hope to turn things around and get major pieces of the network constructed in 2019.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Cascade Bicycle Club are gathering support for a City Council action to require SDOT to complete bike lanes on 8th Ave, 9th Ave N, Pike and/or Pine St, 12th Ave S, King St, and a south downtown pathway between 2nd Ave and the International District. The Transportation Committee will consider the resolution noon Wednesday at City Hall.

Some of the projects would be pushed ahead of schedule, though the 4th Ave bike lane planned for this year will remain delayed. But if SDOT can deliver the proposed set of projects by the end of 2019, downtown would become accessible by bike to many more neighborhoods at a time of serious traffic and transit constraints.

The text of the City Council resolution calls for completion of these segments “by no later than December 31, 2019.” So SDOT could deliver segments much earlier than that if the department puts its heart into the work and gets the political support to make it happen.

Where construction activity limits the ability to install permanent bike lanes, the resolution calls on SDOT to “make every good faith effort to establish “all ages and abilities” temporary connections.”

More details from SNG:

Thanks to incredible community advocacy in support of the Basic Bike Network, we are on the cusp of a major win: the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee is considering legislation requiring the construction of three critical connections by the end of 2019, but we need your support!

Show up at noon on Wednesday, July 18, at Seattle City Hall, and ask the Council to vote for the #BasicBikeNetwork. We will have snacks and signs, or feel free to bring your own.

RSVP and learn more.

Can’t make it? Send an email voicing your support.

From Cascade:

This is a huge milestone, and an important moment to underscore – yet again – that #wecantwait for the Basic Bike Network. We need to send a resounding message to council to encourage a unanimous yes vote. Council must hold SDOT accountable to build a safe, connected downtown network by 2019.

Investments in 7th and 2nd avenues have transformed those busy commercial streets into some of the most pleasant places to be downtown – whether you’re on a bike or not. Why? Because the improvements included additional investments, including sidewalk upgrades, new lighting, and extensive investments for transit and motor vehicles.

But the two bikeways, along with the cost-effective short segment on Pike/Pine that city crews quickly delivered in late 2017, remain islands in an increasingly complex urban street environment. The result? Numbers of people biking downtown are increasing, but not at the rate our sister cities, like Vancouver BC, experienced when they prioritized building a connected network.

Prioritizing connections between the existing downtown network to surrounding routes to the south, north and east, will help the city realize the shangri-la…meaningful mode-shift towards biking – at a time when we need it most… when car congestion is at its worst.

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19 Responses to Help push to get the downtown bike network back on track in 2019

  1. Richard says:

    So the text uses the word “require” – what does that mean?

    We keep seeing “commitments” to bike infrastructure rollouts – the bike master plan, the previous downtime bike network initiative, etc.etc.etc …, but over and over again they end up getting cancelled or indefinitely delayed.

    The text says “required”, but if this moves forward, what happens when they – again – just don’t bother to follow through?

  2. Dylan says:

    Planning? Why can’t they just build them? Clearly they aren’t doing much of anything currently, other than drag their feet and do the bare minimum to not get fired by our useless mayor

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  4. Russell Betteridge says:

    Bicycles are “Vehicles” under State Law (https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Laws.htm) and have all rights in the roadway. Making “separate but equal” bicycle infrastructure does a great disservice to the general public by confusing drivers as to their responsibility to all other users of the right of way. There is no such thing as “protected bike lanes” as all paths have to cross and where they cross they become new hazards that drivers and cyclists must now manage with new understanding. https://www.kiro7.com/news/eastside-news/bicyclist-killed-in-issaquah-car-crash/613258970 ~ All drivers should be made aware of the State Law to share the road and that only the Freeways are going to be devoid of cyclists.

    • Jessi says:

      Sure, that works if everyone is a Mamil. Family bikers, kids, slow riders need better. Just because you and I can jump into traffic when we need to doesn’t mean everyone can or should.

    • Richard says:

      I would be happy to agree with you if we were only talking about the dedicated and confident cyclists that are likely reading here.

      But we aren’t.

      We’re talking about getting MORE people to bike.

      It’s been repeatedly and definitively demonstrated that when there is more extensive bike infrastructure, more people bike.

      It’s also been repeatedly and definitively demonstrated that when more people bike, the rate of bike casualties (both injury and death) decline. The most logical explanation for this fact is that driver mistakes with regard to cyclists are driven primarily by the lack of expectation – they don’t have a habitual, ingrained expectation of cyclists being there, so they don’t check. When cyclists are there all the time, that expectation gets ingrained, so they do check.

      So I won’t argue with your assertion that this infrastructure doesn’t help (and honestly, I could – there’s lots of evidence that it does) – but even if you *are* right and the increased safety of this infrastructure is an illusion, the illusion is *proven* to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  5. Southeasterner says:

    RIP – Alex Hayden passed away today after being hit by a driver (while he was biking in a bike lane) last weekend in a hit and run on Rainier Ave.

    The driver had 5 DUIs on her record.

    Why is it everyone but the DOT seems to recognize that Rainier is a death trap that desperately needs traffic calming and real bike/ped improvements? Where is the real commitment to vision zero?

    • Southeasterner says:

      Also add that why does it seem like most of the fatalities (both vehicle and ped/bike) are caused by people with multiple DUIs?

      There is no constitutional right to drive a car. One DUI should be jail time and a no license for up to 3 years. A second DUI should get you prison time and banned from driving for life.

      In WA state we have people with 5+ DUIs driving on our roads with valid drivers licenses. How is that possible?

    • Dave says:

      Source?

  6. Ballardite says:

    Washington is one of only a handful of states without a DUI repeat offender law. Even states like Alabama, Mississippi and Texas have laws in place to prevent multiple DUI infractions.

    Washington is arguably the most lenient state in the nation in regards to DUI laws (maybe Alaska is slightly worse) which is why we have the highest number of repeat offenders and so many people seem to be getting killed by drivers with multiple DUIs.

  7. ChuDlife says:

    There is already plenty of “Motorized Vehicle Only” infrastructure, where are the equivalent Non-motorized Vehicle Only roadways? Besides the Burke-Gilman there are few pathways dedicated to human powered transportation rather than recreation.

  8. Eli says:

    Especially living in NYC where Transalt are masters at language and naming — I’ve wondered for a while how long the uninspiring “Basic Bike Network” name unconsciously holds back elected official enthusiasm for ever getting this built.

    People don’t get excited about something “basic”, nor does it convey any sense of urgency or criticality.

  9. Andrew Hanhardt says:

    The city has far more urgent needs right now. Coddling the infantile should not be on any list right now.

    Pick anything; the homeless, health care, crime, anything that positively affects the entire community which bikes do not.

    These dedicated lanes are beyond ridiculous. In fact, they’re shameful wastes. Think of the housing that could be provided for each lane mile of yuppie corridor.

    Newsflash: your super cool, high tech two wheeled dream machine isn’t saving Puget sound, not cleaning the air, and it’s certainly not assuaging your carbon footprint. You and that cool, “bike tech” might convince each other it does, but without some kind of usable infrastructure, you’ve got shit.

    Seattle isn’t a bike town for everyone. It’s not ever going to be that. Please, do something that actually helps the community instead of your, “bros.”

    • Richard says:

      Andrew, it would be senseless to attempt to reply to such a trove of misinformation, so I’ll just say this – I’m sorry bikes make you angry. Hopefully you’ll get over it.

      While you figure that out, we’re going to continue fighting to fix the problems that are impacting – or ending – peoples’ lives. Safe transportation infrastructure for everyone is certainly not the only such issue, but it absolutely is one.

      • Harrold Schlopps says:

        Bull. What’s the misinformation? The city most definitely has more urgent needs than to waste tens of millions of dollars PER MILE for biking infrastructure that cannot or will not be used by the majority of Seattle’s population. Healthcare, housing, crime, anything. Andrew Hanhardt has it right.

        I’m all for alternate modes of transportation, but until this region comes up with a REAL public transit plan that works (ST3 is far from a workable plan) bicycles and bicycle infrastructure should be a DISTANT second. Don’t force me out of my car until you offer me viable options. I want to park and mothball my car. I want to get rid of my car. But I’m telling you bicycling is NOT my (and most people’s) solutions. As much as you want Seattle to be Amsterdam, it isn’t and never will be. Making it harder for cars while not offering REAL public transit solution is flat out wrong.

      • Richard says:

        Almost nothing you said is accurate, and you’ve made it clear you have no interest in discussion, only a venue to spew your misguided hate. Thus, I repeat, it would be senseless to attempt to reply to such a trove of misinformation. If I might make a suggestion, you might have better luck in the comments sections of Fox news or some particularly virulent rantz hate piece.

      • Harrold Schlopps says:

        https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/12-million-a-mile-heres-how-bike-lane-costs-shot-sky-high-in-seattle/

        1-2 million average, 12 million high. We spent $3.8 million to put in a protected bike lane along 4 blocks of 7th Ave; that works out to over $12 million per mile. Are you disputing that? Show me a different source then.

        A city bus costs 400,000. Are you telling me 4 blocks of 7th ave bike lane or 9 new buses plus a half dozen vanpool vans? Why is bicycling deserving of so much more resources than people who take the bus? Half the workforce in Seattle walk, take the bus or arrive to work on a train.

        https://commuteseattle.com/modesplit/

        3% bike…

        Truth is, the value just isn’t there – except for a small populace who benefits. As I said, I’m all for alternative transportation and even commuted to work 10 miles on a bike for years of my life. I get it, it’s dangerous, it’s safer when there’s dedicated lanes, but when you rip out car or bus lanes, create WORSE traffic creating WORSE pollution, the city is not being honest about what they are trying to achieve. Dedicated bike lanes without disrupting car traffic should be their goal. Westlake is a great example. That is not their goal. That does not get people out of their cars unless there’s a viable public transit option.

        I promise you, I am as liberal as they come socially. Fiscally, perhaps a bit less but still solidly on the liberal spectrum, but you are so off the mark as to my demographic is laughable.

      • Richard says:

        Thank you for giving helpful examples of why it would be pointless to argue with the sort of person who has no actual interest in traveling by bike, yet seeks out a bike commuter blog to spread anti-bike misinformation. Taking down the dozen or so false claims you’ve made is a waste of time, since if you were honestly interested in dialogue you’d actually look into the BS you’re quoting instead of just posting hateful and misinformed screeds. I don’t have time for that crap. But here’s a small sample: Your own first point makes it very clear that the $12M data point is cherry picked, yet you were happy to use it as a rhetorical representation of the norm (“…waste tens of millions of dollars PER MILE for biking infrastructure…”) – and even as a cherry picked outlier, it falls short of THAT level of accuracy, since some half a dozen different articles in our own local media have already taken down that BS article you linked (hint: almost 90% of the expense wasn’t bike related at all – like filling in the soil under the general purpose lanes and repaving them for HUGE portions). If you cared about accuracy and reasonable dialogue on this subject matter, you wouldn’t be relying on debunked BS articles that rely on cherry picked figures that are inaccurate besides.

        So in parting I’ll just say I just hope you’ll have a life as pleasant as you are.

      • Harrold Schlopps says:

        Thank you for the response on the 12 million quote. I will def be doing further research on that. Blanket refusal to engage on the rest though?

        Your 3% arrogance suits you. I too extend a wish that your life is as pleasant as you are.

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