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Will Mayor Durkan meet the City Council’s downtown bike lane 2019 deadline? – UPDATED

From a March 19 presentation to the City Council Transportation Committee (PDF).

SDOT will update the City Council Transportation and Sustainability Committee today on the progress (or lackthereof) on the downtown Basic Bike Network.

The City Council passed a resolution last summer calling on SDOT and Mayor Jenny Durkan to complete key sections of the downtown bike network by the end of 2019, including Pike/Pine, 8th and 9th Avenues, King Street, a south downtown connection and a segment of 12th Ave (see the resolution’s bike lanes in orange in the map above). The presentation notes that Pike/Pine and a south end connection are on target for December (so, as late as possible to meet the resolution), but does not include an update on the rest of the projects.

UPDATE: SDOT’s Jim Curtin told the committee Tuesday that the city had reached a “breakthrough” on 8th and 9th Avenues that will allow construction to start in the third quarter of this year. The biggest hangup for building the south downtown connection is Metro bus layover space, he said. And he noted that the stretch of 12th Ave between Yesler and King “will be very difficult.” You can watch the update via Seattle Channel (starts around the 34:20 mark).

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The mayor and SDOT have nearly stopped building bike lanes, especially downtown. The only downtown bike lane to open under Mayor Durkan’s watch was already under construction before she took office. The City Council’s resolution last summer was essentially an attempt to remind her that the bike network is a Council and voter-approved priority. After years of bike network delays, SDOT would need to dramatically increase bike lane construction to catch up to the progress promised to voters who approved the Move Seattle levy.

The Mayor has already blown her chance to have a downtown bike network in operation before the city’s major transit and highway changes began earlier this year. The plans, funding, Council and voter support were all ready, but she chose to stop it. Even without a bike network, biking helped absorb a lot of trips during the initial Viaduct closure. This happened because neighbors got organized and people took it on themselves to bike despite her administration’s clear disinterest in helping people do so. And now that buses are due to be kicked out of the transit tunnel, another transportation crunch is about to begin. And once again, the mayor will have done essentially nothing to help more people shift to biking.

Has the number of people biking during these downtown transportation crunches inspired the Mayor’s Office to rethink their anti-biking stance? Will they rise to the challenge the City Council unanimously set last summer by building a connected skeleton of a downtown bike network by the end of 2019?

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16 responses to “Will Mayor Durkan meet the City Council’s downtown bike lane 2019 deadline? – UPDATED”

  1. Sal Ponce

    Not only has construction stopped but the expensive 7th ave bike lane was blocked for Pacific Place construction staging.

  2. Jort

    Ron Howard narration: “No. She won’t.”

    Durkan governs by gauging public opinion based on Seattle Times comment sections and editorials. She knows that bike lanes are one of biggest triggers for moron internet commentors, which translates into an unofficial policy of cycling infrastructure inaction.

    As long as bike lanes hurt internet commenters feelings, we will not have new bike lanes. This really isn’t complicated.

    1. Ballard Biker

      Betteridge’s Law of Headlines would also state that the answer is “no”.

  3. Aaron Pailthorp

    The long delayed Dearborn diverter (https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/bike-program/protected-bike-lanes/dearborn-street-upgrades) to stop the popular cut-through of the Jackson Place neighborhood will be a near term test of cycling infrastructure inaction. The list of reasons for delay has been ongoing but is getting shorter:

    > Crews are planning to install the diverter this spring. I wish I had a more precise date for you, but its timing is being coordinated with the remaining work as part of the Dearborn Street Upgrades project which is weather dependent and depends on crew scheduling.

    1. asdf2

      Notice that even with the diverter, there is still no crosswalk across Rainier on the south side of Dearborn. It looks like bicycles will get a dedicated signal phase to cross Rainier, but pedestrians don’t get to use that same signal phase to also cross Rainier – they’re expected to go the long way around and wait for three crosswalk signals instead.

      Missing crosswalks like this have no place in a city that takes pedestrian mobility seriously. How many more cars are actually going to get through the intersection by not allowing the bicycle green phase to continue 10 seconds longer when a pedestrian needs to cross the street? Especially since we’re not even talking about every cycle – only the specific cycles where someone presses the beg button.

  4. If they don’t know what *street* it’s going to be on (pike or pine), probably not.

  5. Southeasterner

    Given the absolute embarrassment that is Rainier Ave I think we have proof that ped/bike safety isn’t just a low priority it’s a distraction to the mayor and SDOT.

    In any other city every transportation resource would be dedicated to accelerating solutions on a street like Rainier…even if it meant, god forbid, removing free on-street parking.

    But she has no spine and she could care less if cyclists and peds are slaughtered on her roads. But hey she loves hockey and is bringing a team to Seattle! Hurah!

  6. Marko

    I’m beginning to think that she talks a good game but is unwilling to follow through. The question may become whether to judge her at the next election by her words or her (in)actions. For me it will be the latter. Still hoping for better from her.

  7. ST206

    I voted for Cary Moon.

  8. […] Seattle Bike Blog covers the latest update on SDOT’s bike lane work downtown. […]

  9. (Another) Tom

    I voted for Durkan and I regret it.

  10. During the briefing, SDOT admitted that placing a PBL on 12th Avenue South between South King Street and Yesler Way will be very difficult; the issue is providing bus stops and transfer opportunities; the First Hill Streetcar also uses South Jackson Street. Mayor Durkan is dealing with a very constrained environment. When Murray-Kubly intalled the 2nd Avenue, Pike Street, and Pine Street cycle tracks, general purpose lanes were taken way; this slowed buses. The Murray-Kubly two-way cycle track on 4th Avenue would have also taken a travel lane and slowed or even jammed buses. Durkan stalled it until after Northgate Link. Councilmember Bagshaw has suggested a northbound bike lane; that seems feasible but would challenge the parallel parking at the hotel north Spring Street. On Rainier Avenue South, the flow of Route 7 and getting its rider between bus and curb has to important as well. the intersection between the several modal plans is difficult.

    1. donttreadonme

      The only “difficult” thing is removing on street parking, which is met with the highest degree of resistance for no apparent reason.

      1. eddiew

        12th Avenue South at South Jackson Street has no parking.

  11. NickS

    Not a chance in hell for the south-end connection. South-end bike connections simply do not matter to the Mayor and SDOT. They will “study alternate solutions” and “consult with Metro” regarding the Metro layover conflicts. The study will propose some half-assed alternative that will work for exactly no-one, and find reasons to discard any straightforward route. Even the half-assed alternative will probably end up on the cutting floor due to budgetary constraints.

  12. […] Will Mayor Durkan meet the council’s 2019 bike lane deadline? […]

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