West Seattle Bike Connections, Chief Sealth Bike Club meet with SDOT to review draft Master Plan update

(Photo by Eileen McHugh; from left, Adrian Verdugo and Sara Zora from SDOT, Stu Hennessey from West Seattle Greenways and Sustainable West Seattle, Bob Anderton and Bill Gobie of West Seattle Bike Connections)
Two reports on meetings this week to advance the cause of safe bicycling in West Seattle, both shared by Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections. First:

Thursday evening, a group of West Seattle residents met to review the draft Seattle Bike Master Plan Update map with Seattle Department of Transportation representatives. Ten members of West Seattle Bike Connections and Stu Hennessey of West Seattle Greenways met at the West Seattle Library with Sara Zora, SDOT transportation planner and traffic engineer Adrian “AJ” Verdugo, who also lives in West Seattle. They discussed bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle routes shown on SDOT’s draft map, concentrating on two dozen locations where members of the groups have specific suggestions for revisions, AJ Verdugo knew the areas already, and gave frank opinions on challenges and opportunities for each area, and pointers for further action. Sara Zora gave more information about the plan status and process.

From WSBC: We are impressed by the quality of work the SDOT bike planners are doing, and the attention they are now giving to West Seattle, including potential “greenways” routes and difficult spots like the 5-way intersection by the Chelan Café, and parts of Avalon and Fauntleroy.

Some great pieces of information for easier cycling access with less conflict with car, bus and truck traffic:

*The Greenway supported by North Delridge Community Council and West Seattle Greenways is funded.

*A cycle track (basically, a bike lane separated by curbs or other barriers) is in the plan for East Marginal Way / Alaskan Way from Spokane Street to the bike path that exists north of S Atlantic St; and, in South Park, SDOT has funding from bonds for South Park Neighborhood Association’s request to pave S Portland St to 8th Ave S and do a separated 10 foot wide multi-use path to extend the West Marginal Trail into South Park, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to bypass heavy traffic in the industrial area to get to the Green River trail.

Don also sends word of the Chief Sealth International High School Bike Club‘s meeting with SDOT, ahead:

This was the second day in a row for SDOT’s bike planners to visit West Seattle. On Wednesday, Theresa Beaulieu of West Seattle Bike Connections, and her middle school age daughter, attended a meeting of Chief Sealth International High School’s Bike Club (sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club) with Sara Zora from SDOT to go over the Bicycle Master Plan Update.

Nine students participated, with lots of questions for Sara. She explained the process of the update and then laid out the map so they could find the streets they ride to see what facilities were proposed. There were great discussions with the kids about what types of streets they are comfortable riding and what facilities they are looking forward to seeing in Seattle. Sara left the map for the kids to make notes on and offered to come back at the beginning of January to pick it up and possibly talk about their ideas.

Reporting on the meeting, Theresa said, “What a great team of kids and adults who attended. I was impressed to hear some of the long routes some of the kids take to get to school. There were also stories about being hit by cars or close calls they have experienced.”

You can connect with West Seattle Bike Connections via its Facebook page.

11 Replies to "West Seattle Bike Connections, Chief Sealth Bike Club meet with SDOT to review draft Master Plan update"

  • Delridge Mom December 16, 2012 (7:23 am)

    Just curious if the Greenway supported by NDNC is the one planned for 26th and if there was any info about timeline?

  • G December 16, 2012 (11:58 am)

    Are we living in the same city? This is the weather we can expect for the majority of the yeat – you can’t change it. Do you really expect a “critical mass” of people to brave the elements, and for the handful who do, is it fair to inconvience the rest of us?

    I’m not anti-bike, and less trafficked greenways seems reasonable and cost effective, but let’s not forget what city we’ve living in, ie topography, limited light, weather, when we’re planing expensive bike infrastucture in Seattle. Seattle will never be Socal or Amsterdam.

  • Creekside December 16, 2012 (4:19 pm)

    @ G – Thank you for stating what needs to be said. For anyone who missed it, due to topography and weather Seattle will never be Amsterdam.
    Most of the people that do bike are like the ones in the photo. White, middle to upperclass who bike as an option, not out of necessity. Tell the person who relies solely on Metro or their feet that it is more important to spend what little money is out their for anything other than cars on yet more bike improvements. Instead we have bus routes being eliminated and plenty of streets in the poor neighborhoods without sidewalks.
    Someone mentioned to me that it is something like just 250 bicyclists who daily head out of WS and cross the Harbor Island bridge. Two Hundred and Fifty. I would have hoped it would have been at least 2,500 to justify taking from bus and pedestrian infrastructure budgets. I hope that 250 number I was provided is wrong. Really, I do.

  • JN December 16, 2012 (4:25 pm)

    Please G. Bike infrastructure expensive? Compared to what? All I’ve got to say: $4,000,000,000+ for two miles of freeway. Beat that. When the bike investments are $10,000,000 spread over the entire city?? That is the real reason for the difference in car/bike numbers. No real investment = low numbers of users.

  • Don Brubeck December 16, 2012 (7:57 pm)

    @Delridge Mom: the lastest grant is for a separated, multi-use path from Andover to Delridge, as supported by NDNC, and I understand that both the 21st & 26th Ave Greenways are fully funded by the City now. Don’t know about timeline. Our group along with West Seattle Greenways is also recommending pedestrian stairways on the undeveloped street rights-of-way on Brandon to connect these to other areas.

  • Don Brubeck December 16, 2012 (8:05 pm)

    @G: On October 25 on a dark morning in a rainy week at the low level bridge, West Seattle Bike Connections counted hundreds of people commuting to work by bike. These people were not inconveniencing car drivers — at the bridge with its separated lane they are reducing car traffic to the benefit of car and truck drivers. We are looking for cost effective improvements to further reduce conflicts with people who need to drive, so many more will be able to do what they would like to do: ride to work or school. It is not so hard to ride in the rain or dark in our mild maritime climate. For more info: http://seattlebikeblog.com/2012/10/23/how-to-bike-in-the-seattle-rain/

  • Don Brubeck December 16, 2012 (8:17 pm)

    @creekside: Not everyone in that room was white, or rich. Some of the participants rely exclusively on bike and bus for transportion. The meeting with the students at Chief Sealth was predominantly non-white, and including disadvantaged backgrounds. The whole point of our effort is to make it safe and reasonable for 2,500 or many times that number to commute by bike or combination of bike and transit. 250 one way at one spot may be realistic right now in dark, rainy months, but with a few key improvements at far less cost per commuter or per mile than vehicle lanes or bus routes or streetcars we can make bike travel a serious and sustainable part of West Seattle’s transportation.

  • cwit December 16, 2012 (11:00 pm)

    Good to hear that they’re trying to improve the locations that are known to be challenging for bicyclists (and motorists).

  • Al December 17, 2012 (8:29 am)

    Thanks for the information Don! As a regular (not rich, not male) year-round cyclist (cycling is actually cheap compared to driving and to bus riding if your employer doesn’t subsidize your bus pass) who also drives and rides a motorcycle, and uses the bus on occasion, and LIKES roads for ALL modes of travel, as they are are intended, the SDOT meeting was good news. I just hope Seattle steps up the pace a bit as momentum can be lost quickly – decisive pressure on leadership will be needed as this process continues.

  • Creekside December 17, 2012 (8:35 pm)

    It needs to be said again, and again, because regardless of how much the true believers wish, the money and energy being spent on bike infrastructure in Seattle will never make it Amsterdam. Not even remotely close. Seriously people. For all but the young and athletically inclined, Seattle is not a great place to ride as a realistic means of transportation for anything but a small sliver of the population. Them there are HILLS people, and there are lots of them. Everywhere. And RAIN, lots of it to. Take a look at the forecast, really makes you want to forget your bus and instead hope on your bike? I thought so. And no, the numbers of people willing to ride in the rain and dark that is Seattle 6 months of the year will never warrant the precious public funds that could be better used at providing more bus service, sidewalk construction and a Stockbox type small grocer every 1/4 mile or so.

  • Jeff December 18, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    The 250 count of bicycles going over the West Seattle Bridge was only during a couple hours of time. And (as mentioned), it was on a dreary morning in October. I’d like to think that those driving a vehicle or riding the bus would appreciate 250 less cars on the bridge or 250 more open spots on buses during that time.
    It’s a shame that people judge others from a photo. I like to think of riding a bike as “class-less”. I don’t see someone else riding a bike as “lower” or “upper” class. I see a person riding a bike trying to get somewhere. Even in a car, I know there’s another person (or people) in there whether I can see them or not.
    West Seattle Bike Connections is fairly evenly split between male/female. I’ll even dare to say I represent the “young” bike rider from West Seattle, and I’m mid-30’s. I’m impressed with the ladies in our group who choose to ride a bike regularly.
    We have worked with other community organizations to prioritize safe transportation infrastructure for all users. Areas of focus are those that have poor (or no) infrastructure in place (such as South Park and White Center). Greenways are at the top of the list because it should help people connect to places by bike on streets that have little car traffic. Greenways should also help provide safe bike routes to school. Don’t we all want kids to be more active and be able to safely ride to school and around their own neighborhoods?
    There is budget set aside for bike, pedestrian, bus, and other vehicle infrastructure. Bike-specific budget is almost negligible when looking at the overall transportation budget for Seattle. Shouldn’t the percentage of bike and pedestrian budgets match that of the percentage of people who choose to bike and walk for transportation?
    I find it interesting that more people choose to ride a bike here in Seattle regardless of weather or terrain. There are so many cities with great year-round weather and flat terrain, yet have far less (or no) people who want to ride a bike. You should be proud that Seattle wants to continue being one of the best cities for biking.
    I love spending money locally in West Seattle. As engineers with graduate degrees, my fiancee and I might be considered “middle-upper” class with lots of money to spend. I choose to not own a car, which gives us even more money to spend locally and donate to organizations or those who need it more than we do. We choose to live in West Seattle because we can walk or bike everywhere and feel safe doing so. I hope the community wants us to stick around, because Chicago wants to take us (and others) from Seattle…

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