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Action Alert: Tell the Port you support a seamless waterfront trail

Map of the Alaskan Way Trail showing it crossing at a flashing crosswalk near Pier 62 then crossing again at a traffic signal at Wall Street.

You have already told SDOT to build a continuous waterfront trail between Myrtle Edwards Park and the new downtown waterfront, but city plans still show the trail crossing Alaskan Way twice in a matter of a couple blocks near the cruise ship terminal at Pier 66. Now Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has another action alert you can use to ask the Port of Seattle Commissioners to work with the city to create a seamless waterside trail that also works for the cruise terminal.

There is so much space on Alaskan Way to work with in this spot. While the cruise terminal can get busy and hectic when a ship is loading and unloading, we’re talking about a few hours on a set schedule throughout about half the year. That’s not a good reason to create what is essentially a year-round trail detour. The risk is that people will not bother following such a short detour, instead opting to ride in the street or on the sidewalk and defeating the entire purpose of this project. It will also add time to bike trips and make the experience less pleasant, a major concern since the public has invested a lot of money to remake this waterfront. If we can build a trail that passes in front of the ferry terminal, then we can do it for the cruise terminal, too. We’ve done all the spins and flips to build a waterfront trail, now we just need to stick the landing.

We can find a solution, whether than means setting up a temporary detour during busy hours or simply designing a trail that can exist safely during busy hours.

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Here’s the sample text of the letter from the SNG action alert:

Dear Port of Seattle Commissioners,

Please support a seamless and safe downtown waterfront trail!

With the still-under-construction waterfront trail ending at Pier 62 next to the Aquarium, and the Elliot Bay Trail not starting until the Sculpture Park, we are left with a dangerous and unpleasant gap that must be closed. Thousands of people walking, biking, rolling, running, and scooting will be attempting to connect these two trails every day.

Thankfully, SDOT is working to build a trail to close this gap. But last year the Port of Seattle asked SDOT to detour everyone using the future trail across the busy Alaskan Way roadway, twice, just to continue onto the rest of the trail. This is not an acceptable solution. 

We must create a direct and safe waterfront trail on the water-side of the street that provides a convenient, safe, and intuitive experience for everyone. If necessary, exceptions could be made for temporary and short detours during heavy cruise ship loading and unloading times.

By supporting a seamless trail connection, the Port of Seattle would improve safety, reduce emissions, increase healthy physical activity, and create a legacy we can all be proud of. Please support a seamless connection. 

Thank you.

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6 responses to “Action Alert: Tell the Port you support a seamless waterfront trail”

  1. Mikey callan

    This would be an amazing addition to our infrastructure

  2. Ross M

    Now that Elliot Way is open, there is no reason whatsoever for this portion of Alaskan Way to be 4 lanes. Move the yellow line one lane east and turn the westernmost lane into bike lanes, and everyone’s problems are solved.

  3. asdf2

    This project reminds me of how the bike lanes on Pine Street for years would be on the right, then switch to the left for two blocks, then go back to the right again. Not surprisingly, I would just treat the bike lane as nonexistent for those two blocks and ride in the car lane. It’s going to be the same here. Any time you build a bike lane lane where it is more convenient for cyclists to take the car lane instead, something is seriously long with the bike lane design. and it looks like SDOT is repeating this mistake again.

  4. Mike Francisco

    When is the city going to start treating bicycles like real transportation? Why would anyone who actually wants to get somewhere use this route, rather than taking a traffic lane?

  5. jay

    Making the westernmost lane a bike lane does not solve the cruise ship terminal’s “problem” (note scare quotes). I get the impression that a bike lane on the west side IS the plan _except_ at the terminal.

    I may be missing something, but is every one ignoring the aquarium in the room? the street is already a narrow two lanes and the sidewalk was narrowed next to the aquarium, were are bikes going? Are they going to restrict cars to less than two narrow lanes? (for a couple of days it was closed and today there was only one south bound lane with construction equipment in the other lane) Is one (or none) general traffic lane the permanent plan?
    I see one map that seems to show no vehicle lanes and a bike path east of the “aquarium plaza” But it is an “90% plan” so I assume that means 90% of it will change before they build it? I’m having trouble visualizing the route, it seems to me, and old guy riding a non-motorized bike, that that would require a pointless elevation change. But maybe I’m not seeing a flat route because of all the construction. In any case I’ll be retired and not commuting along there before it is finished.

  6. Charles

    I’ve commuted on Alaskan Way on my bike for several years now. Before all the construction started, I regularly used the multi-use path on the east side of the street, especially on cruise days (taxi drivers are nuts!). Since I’m used to it, switching sides wouldn’t be a big deal to me. Still, if there were a way to safely minimize conflict between cyclists and all those disembarking passengers without having to switch sides, that’d be nice.

    I’m assuming this plan depends on creating space by removing the old streetcar tracks? I wonder if there’s enough space to create wide bike and pedestrian access on both sides of north Alaskan way all the way to Broad so that bikes and people can choose between passing slowly through the cruise area or going around.

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