Bicycle parking along California is supposed to be part of the plan for the two-building Equity Residential project in the heart of The Junction. But supporters of a bicycle “corral” believe the developer is responsible for wheel-spinning that’s delaying installation, and have just sent open letters to the City Council Transportation Committee and Mayor Ed Murray (as well as media). This one is from West Seattle Bike Connections:
Dear Transportation Committee Councilmembers and Mayor Murray,
I am writing on behalf of West Seattle Bike Connections (WSBC) to find out what it takes to get a bike corral installed in West Seattle, more specifically in Alaska Junction at the southeast corner of SW Alaska St and California Ave SW. This letter and a timeline are attached with the efforts we’ve taken to date, beginning in late 2012. We have one simple request: please provide support to have a bike corral installed in Alaska Junction by mid-August of this year.
WSBC has worked with three different SDOT contacts over the last 18 months, where the process began anew with each different representative. SDOT has been asked by the property developer at the location (Equity Residential) to delay installation until construction is complete in 2015. We do not want to wait any longer or go through this process again with new SDOT personnel. We are upset that SDOT is succumbing to a developer for authority over the public right-of-way. We have support from several organizations and businesses who want to see this bike corral installed as soon as possible:
West Seattle Junction Association (WSJA)
West Seattle Transportation Coalition (WSTC)
Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO)
The Junction Church
West Seattle merchants including Bin 41, Husky Deli, Elliott Bay Brewing, Curious Kidstuff, Mashiko
We have agreement that the location on the southeast corner of SW Alaska St and California Ave SW is the best spot for a bike corral. Here’s why we want a bike corral and why we recommend this spot:
This intersection is West Seattle’s busiest retail business location. A bike corral will provide parking for 8 to 12 customers in the same space that provides parking for only one or two customers arriving by car.
-There are over 600 car parking spots within one block of the intersection. Most of them are free.
-There are only 40 bike racks within one block of the same intersection. These racks can hold 2 to 4 bikes, but are all located on the sidewalks where they block pedestrian space when multiple bikes are locked up.
-The year-round Farmers’ Market is one block away from the intersection. Many people arrive by bike and lock them up in random locations throughout the alley, on signs, and anywhere else nearby.
-There is a transit hub at this intersection with most West Seattle bus routes serving this location. The bike corral will assist customers who bring their bikes on a bus for multimodal trips.
-The southeast corner location is in a no-parking zone. Car parking would not be affected for this bike corral.
-The intersection is an all-way crossing for pedestrians and is very visible. We feel it is a safe location.
We know that more people bike during summer months. Delaying the installation may lead to perceived failure and backlash if it’s not being immediately used. We want this to be a success for all involved.
We understand that construction is taking place in Alaska Junction and will propose several options:
-Install the bike corral in the agreed upon location, disregarding the request by Equity to delay until 2015.
-Install the bike corral in a temporary location in front of Husky Deli (4721 California Ave SW). When construction is winding down with Equity, move the corral to the agreed upon location. We have support of neighboring merchants and WSJA to temporarily install a bike corral in front of Husky Deli.
-Other feasible locations would be at either side of the block adjacent to Easy Street Records (4559 California Ave SW) or Bin 41 (4707 California Ave SW).
All we want is one simple bike corral in West Seattle. Dozens of these have been installed in other neighborhoods. We would like this project to be recognized by SDOT as an official project with an assigned workflow number. Please let us know how we can get a bike corral installed in West Seattle by mid-August this year.
Thank you for your consideration, and for all you are doing to improve transportation, mobility and sustainability in Seattle. We look forward to working with the City of Seattle to improve bicycle accessibility within the West Seattle community.
West Seattle Bike Connections
The West Seattle Transportation Coalition also has sent a letter of support, on which we were CC’d as well. Since receiving this, we have spoken to WS Junction Association director Susan Melrose, who confirms that WSJA supports the corral, preferably the west side of the aforementioned southeast corner. Melrose pointed out that no auto parking would be lost because that spot already is a no-parking zone, and that it would improve pedestrian safety by hindering those who attempt to make illegal right turns against the “walk-all-ways” red light. She voiced optimism for the latest round of talks with SDOT, but not so much from the developer, from whom we’re seeking comment next.