West Seattle’s first bike corral now in place in The Junction

July 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 56 Comments

West Seattle’s first city-installed bike corral is in place today in The Junction, one month after this open letter expressing concern that the city and the adjacent developer were delaying a project that had been in the works for more than a year. Less than two weeks after that letter, SDOT and West Seattle Bike Connections announced a breakthrough would lead to the long-awaited on-street bicycle-parking zone being installed by month’s end – and today, it’s done. It’s on the east side of California just south of Alaska, in a spot that was already off-limits to vehicle parking.

56 Comments

  1. Im not trying to start a bikes vs cars argument, but is there a reason why bike lock corrals can’t be placed on the sidewalk so they don’t block the road?

    Comment by Alex — 3:55 pm July 30, 2014 #

  2. Well, it is better than nothing, but unfortunately looks pretty lame compared to the creative bike corrals other communities have built in cities around the world. Hopefully, the city, the Farmer’s Market and Junction merchants will address the real problem at the Junction that we run into every week – a lack of secure bike parking near the Farmer’s Market. Year around, we pedal to the market every Sunday and unless it is raining the lone bike rack (capable of securing all of two bikes) is overflowing.

    Comment by William — 4:05 pm July 30, 2014 #

  3. Awesome! My family will celebrate this achievement by putting the bike corral to work this weekend! Well done all!

    Comment by skeeter — 4:05 pm July 30, 2014 #

  4. Alex, good question! Bike parking on the sidewalks is difficult because the sidewalks are pretty congested with pedestrian traffic. It creates a hassle for both the bicyclist and pedestrians. I know from personal experience locking my bike at the junction.

    Comment by skeeter — 4:09 pm July 30, 2014 #

  5. They aren’t “blocking” the road, unless you also consider car/truck parking “blocking” the road. It’s a rather efficient use of parking space. And the sidewalk isn’t wide enough for this configuration – so you wind up with a bike tied to a pole here, a pole there, maybe a standalone rack here, a standalone rack there. As noted in our earlier stories, it’s also considered a safety enhancement in this spot, where right-on-red is illegal, yet attempted … TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:10 pm July 30, 2014 #

  6. @Alex. The honest answer to your question about why can’t bike corrals be placed on sidewalks is this. The original impetus for “bike corrals” was to not only serve bicyclists’ needs, but to allow activists to send what is basically a political message – that each car and driver takes up the same space as a dozen bikes and their riders.

    Comment by William — 4:10 pm July 30, 2014 #

  7. Right on! So: how many bikes fit into one car parking space? A lot!

    Comment by Sarah — 4:26 pm July 30, 2014 #

  8. The article states the corral will be “in a spot that was already off-limits to vehicle parking.”
    The Junction needed safe places to secure multiple bikes. Seems to be a great way to utilize the unused space in our growing community.

    Comment by Rochelle — 4:27 pm July 30, 2014 #

  9. Thank you Tom Rasmussen and SDOT for this! The bike corral is in a “no parking” “no loading” zone and may actually make it more safe for pedestrians by preventing illegal right turns on red at this intersection. The Junction Association and merchants and SDOT agreed that it’s a win-win.

    Comment by Don Brubeck — 4:59 pm July 30, 2014 #

  10. this will be great for those 9 months of rain and cold weather we get here. Sweet!

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 5:07 pm July 30, 2014 #

  11. @smokeycretin,… you may not have noticed, but Seattle Cyclists are HARD men and women, and they ride all year.

    Sweet!

    Comment by JAT — 5:32 pm July 30, 2014 #

  12. Our family looks forward to using the spots, especially in the summer when the junction is busy.

    @smokeycretin
    My kids ride their bikes all year (except when it snows). Some kids are more hardcore than adults I guess.

    Comment by WSEA — 5:57 pm July 30, 2014 #

  13. Yay!!’ So exciting!!! Come on White Center, you’re next!

    Comment by Gurlonanike — 6:03 pm July 30, 2014 #

  14. Don how about vehicles that have the green arrow for the free right turn ? do the bikes still get to take right turn against red ? Not trying to start bike verse car also but why wasn’t couldn’t a bike coral have been installed over in park area around corner off to the side ? seems it would have been a safer spot for all. This seems more of a power play than a smart safe decision.

    Comment by wetone — 6:22 pm July 30, 2014 #

  15. As far as I know, the closest regular bike parking spot is adjacent to Bin 41/Pharmacia. Two bikes can use it but with multiple sidewalk users (walkers, bikers, Parents with strollers, some double-wide, and dogs) it is a pretty difficult place to park a bike and load groceries.
    -
    And yes, bikers and their riders needed a safe place to park — I have traded paint with light poles with flower baskets in the Junction locking my bike while patronizing local businesses and felt bad; but I’d feel worse if my bike was stolen while I was shopping.
    -
    If the bike corral had been installed in the street parking spots, then some would complain that the cars “lost” even though this is where EB Alaska jogs (but the cars may or may not) and it is not the safest location for car nor bike.

    Comment by JayDee — 7:13 pm July 30, 2014 #

  16. Speaking of sidewalks, I’d love for the city to wipe out all the sandwich board signs that seem to breed like rabbits. How many liquor store signs do you really need? And apartment signs, diet signs, tanning signs, and whatever else I’m missing.

    Comment by Sidewalk Walker — 7:53 pm July 30, 2014 #

  17. SW, that’s actually something we’re looking into. I’ve noticed lately that the sidewalks seem to have become free billboard space even for businesses that are far away from the A-boards. Last time I looked up the law years ago, it seemed that they were supposed to be in proximity to the businesses’ physical location. Maybe that changed. /threadjack

    Comment by WSB — 8:11 pm July 30, 2014 #

  18. @wetone: No, the parked bikes are not turning right on green arrow. Nor are they preventing cars from turning right when the light is green. This is not cars vs. bikes. This is about bringing more business to our local business district. Try it, you might like it!

    Comment by Don Brubeck — 9:03 pm July 30, 2014 #

  19. I don’t care. It’s a minimal impact in every way. If this makes avid cyclists happy, great. It’s 12 bikes, hardly any impact on the local businesses at all, but it makes a few folks happy they can lock their bike against a metal u-shape bolted to the pavement. The riders with $6k frames won’t be locking their bikes there anyhow, it would hurt their bike. I’d honestly rather every parking spot along California Ave in the Junction be removed and a parking garage built that can also accommodate a park-n-ride for commuters to downtown, put a full bike cage corral in that too. Charge to park cars, motorcycles and bicycles there for a minimal fee, pays for itself and gets people to take mass transit more.
    .
    This is only 12 bikes and 2 parking spot lengths, who cares, it’s like complaining about 8 people being in a Suburban vs 1 in a Prius, the Suburban actually gets better fuel mileage then, but everyone will rant about how it’s killing everything under the sun.
    .
    okay…I’m done. I’ll go back to sitting on my rear in my couch drinking my IPA now.

    Comment by Mike — 9:34 pm July 30, 2014 #

  20. By all indications, the merchants support the added bike parking. Doesn’t mean it’s unanimous, but they *are* the Junction Association, and WSJA was in this with wholehearted support. Re: vehicle-parking garage, that doesn’t seem likely BUT I do point this out from time to time, two of the Junction projects under construction now (Equity Res. right by the new bike corral, and Spruce in the former “Hole”) have far more parking than the city now requires, because they were designed in the mid-’00s. Don’t know yet how their owners plan to allocate the parking, but just keep it in mind …

    Comment by WSB — 9:42 pm July 30, 2014 #

  21. A pretty broad array of groups: The Junction Association, all the nearby relevant community groups, the Junction church, and most of the businesses on those blocks endorsed this. It’s all in the letter that was sent! More and more people are starting to bike around, as the cost of gasoline keeps hitting more and newer plateaus, or people move into the area who don’t have cars. It’s a simple quality of life thing.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 10:26 pm July 30, 2014 #

  22. Joe Szilagyi, we don’t keep hitting new plateaus, it’s just higher than 10 years ago. We also have one of the highest fuel taxes in the nation and people have yet to slow down on automobile use or purchases (auto companies are making record sales and less than a fraction of 1% are EV sales).
    .
    Anyhow, as long as cyclists adhere to laws and ride safely, great. I love cycling, I just don’t put myself or family in danger on roads in city doing it.

    Comment by Mike — 11:14 pm July 30, 2014 #

  23. “Anyhow, as long as cyclists adhere to laws and ride safely, great.”

    As if car drivers adhere to laws and ride safely? Ha!!

    Same people. Flawed. Don’t ask for other people’s behavior to be superior as a prerequisite for them to exercise their right to share the road and facilities.

    Most Seattle drivers are amateurs or distracted by their cell phones and nevertheless get 99.44% of facilities (roads, parking lots, lights, signage).

    Comment by I. Ponder — 11:41 pm July 30, 2014 #

  24. It’s about time! More power to the cyclists!

    Comment by huck — 6:55 am July 31, 2014 #

  25. My wife and I ride from Arbor Heights to the Junction to shop at the market and at other places on a weekly basis. This new amenity is a sign that I am welcome to the neighborhood. Makes me happier to spend my money there.
    Thank you WSBC and everyone else involved.

    Comment by David Boneham — 8:04 am July 31, 2014 #

  26. First, yay for bikes. Serious, not sarcastic. Second though, it seems like there is a design problem at that intersection now. I was at that intersection this morning and had the green arrow to turn right, but there was a car in front of me waiting for the “straight ahead” light to turn green. Seems like the lane closest to the bike racks should be “right turn only”. Otherwise the green turn arrow is useless because there will usually be a car in front of you waiting to go straight (but stopped because the straight light is red).

    Comment by s — 8:22 am July 31, 2014 #

  27. Mike, your comment pretty much sums it up. “I don’t care”, as long as bikes get their way way, everything’s fine. I’m growing weary of the elitist arrogance. I ride myself, but am tiring of the juvenile(I have 5 teenage grandchildren) me,me,me attitude. I expect that from teens but, oh crap. Why bother in this town.

    Comment by Rick — 8:53 am July 31, 2014 #

  28. I have an endless stream of visitors from out of state all summer. At least five of us cram into my car to eat at restaurants and shop in the junction three to four times/week. So now I see one bike taking the room I would use for five people (including 2 seniors and a small child). No way will I ever use these. They didn’t have to take up parking and they could have been much more aesthetically pleasing. I’ll drive elsewhere.

    Comment by D — 9:53 am July 31, 2014 #

  29. Again, as stated above and in prior coverage of this, *this was not a car-parking space*.

    Comment by WSB — 10:04 am July 31, 2014 #

  30. Yay! I just pulled my bike out of the garage and got a tune up. I’ll be using these “utilitarian” racks ;)

    Comment by heather — 10:47 am July 31, 2014 #

  31. Even if it had been, it could just as easily have been occupied by a car when D came seeking parking–possibly even driven by someone driving alone! So I don’t really get what the difference is from a resource-use perspective.
    .
    People grouch about parking in the Junction all the time, but the garage under Jefferson Square is more than half empty every time I go in there, even on a Saturday night.

    Comment by datamuse — 10:55 am July 31, 2014 #

  32. No one has answered my simple question of why the Bicycle Coral could not have been installed on one side of the park area around the corner, about 200ft away ? It would have more room without having one’s back to vehicles moving 25+mph, safer for loading/unloading especially if one has kids or trailer, better egress/ingress along with a location one can sit and rest. Much safer for drivers as they would not have one more distraction at very busy intersection. What is the proper procedure to get to this coral if bicyclist are not heading north bound on California ave ? I see zero common sense and good safety to location of a in street bike coral installed 30ft from very busy 4way multilane/turn intersection for all. We ride and walk to junction but I won’t be parking my bike at this location due to safety factors involved. Can someone please answer and explain the positives about location ?
    Don don’t know if you drive or have watched traffic in that area but most people have used that curb load/unload area for right turn on green arrow as it helps keep traffic from being so backed up for many many years, as both lanes north bound wait for green to go.

    Comment by wetone — 11:42 am July 31, 2014 #

  33. D- I must admit I am completely confused by your comment. The bike parking results in MORE car parking. If eight people ride bikes and park in the bike corral instead of driving with an average of, say, two people per car, then that is FOUR additional car parking spaces that won’t be occupied. So you and your family of five can take one of those car parking spaces that is available because some other folks were willing/able to ride bikes. Folks, bikes are not part of the problem of our density challenges. They are part of the solution! (Not the whole solution. But part of the solution.)

    Comment by skeeter — 11:53 am July 31, 2014 #

  34. Sure, skeeter, if that’s reality, that would be great. Right now I see a picture of one bike and an empty rack taking up an area large enough for two large cars, which could reasonably carry ten people. If I drive by packed bike racks while I’m circling for parking, then great! On another note, though, I don’t see how those spaces were not parking spaces. I see the red paint stop a few feet into one rack, then I see another car parked down the street, but I don’t see any no parking sign except a temporary one on the sidewalk. Maybe just the angle of the photo.

    Comment by D — 1:35 pm July 31, 2014 #

  35. This is nice. It is really hard to do errands on a bike when there is no place to park.
    .
    Most cycling “improvements” from Seattle DOT have been stupid and/or dangerous, like encouraging cyclists to use the same lanes with cars.
    .
    It’s really nice to see they’ve finally they’ve done something that will actually make biking a better, safer experience.

    Comment by JoAnne — 2:25 pm July 31, 2014 #

  36. Just drove by.

    While not taking up any existing parking spaces it will basically negate the right turn arrow onto Alaska. Unless the car at the front of the line happens to be turning right, that arrow is now useless. It will create bigger backups heading NB through the Junction, but not materially since only 3 or 4 cars could cue up in what is now bike space anyway. I’m all for it.

    On a “somewhat” related note; does anyone know why their is no “right arrow” heading SB @ Alaska? Seems like there would be one when cars heading east on Alaska have a green.

    Comment by Smitty — 3:17 pm July 31, 2014 #

  37. D- I agree you could put about two cars in that area of space the bike corral is using. But lets be realistic about car capacity. Very few cars parked in the junction carry 5 occupants. Sure, some do. It sounds like you do. But most cars have one, two, or three occupants. So lets say an average of two occupants per car. So anytime there are more than four bikes parked in the corral, the bike corral creates a “net gain” in available parking for all folks – bikes and cars. Anytime there are fewer than four bikes parked in the corral, the bike corral creates a “net loss” in available parking for all folks – bikes and cars.
    I’m going to ride my bike past the corral this evening around 6pm. I’m going to count the parked bikes. We’ll see what the count is. I will also take a picture in case there is any doubt.
    Now I realize that when the weather gets lousy, there will be many times the corral won’t have many bikes. But keep in mind it’s when the weather is best that we have the most parking challenges so I would argue that the number of bikes parked in good weather is the best indicator of the overall success (or failure) of easing parking congestion.

    Comment by skeeter — 3:28 pm July 31, 2014 #

  38. D, the problem with your argument/point is that this was never a car parking space, so there has been NO car parking lost as a result. And wetone, the problem with putting this in the park around the corner is that it is then taking up space that is meant for park users. In summation, this particular bike corral results in a gain in parking spaces in the Junction, with 0 loss of parking for any mode whatsoever. And in response to the point about this “negating” the right hand turn onto Alaska from northbound California: there is no right on red at this intersection in any direction, at all. It is illegal.

    Comment by JN — 4:03 pm July 31, 2014 #

  39. JN, the comments refer to turning right on the green arrow, not on red. And while I am in favor of the bike corral I agree that the green arrow is now pretty useless (if it wasn’t already).

    Comment by JB — 4:45 pm July 31, 2014 #

  40. I agree with Wetone, the park would have been a perfect fit. Off the street and safer, too.

    Comment by G — 5:16 pm July 31, 2014 #

  41. Right now I see a picture of one bike and an empty rack….

    .

    Ummmmm……the rack was just installed…

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:07 pm July 31, 2014 #

  42. If people were using this space previously to sit and wait to turn (and it is only enough space for one, MAYBE two cars) that was an inappropriate, unplanned usage of the space. So again, nothing lost whatsoever by the addition of this bike corral.

    Comment by JN — 11:39 pm July 31, 2014 #

  43. There are already 8 racks in the junction that are nearly always empty (Easy Street, Cupcake Royal, etc.) Not sure why anyone expects these to fill up.

    Comment by Gatewood Guy — 8:59 am August 1, 2014 #

  44. s- I was wondering if that was going to happen.
    seems like they may as well remove the right on green arrow light

    Comment by sam-c — 9:57 am August 1, 2014 #

  45. I always thought bike “corals” were closed off and the true benefit was your bike was secure. …not about convenience. ..there are plenty of places to lock a bike but not secure. Why do we need to take something from everyone else to provide a place to lock a bike…am i missing something?

    Comment by tony — 5:25 pm August 1, 2014 #

  46. I was in the Junction park the other day and most of the benches were empty. Wouldn’t it be better used as a parking lot for cars. I’m being sarcastic to show how silly some of the use comparisons are. Things are changing so much in our neighborhood that none of us will recognize the business district within a few years. That is reality. This is a tiny change to an under-utilized street corner. Time to look around and get some perspective. Also, just because you don’t see the value in something, cut your neighbors who do some slack.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 5:34 pm August 1, 2014 #

  47. Tony, you’re missing one thing at least: nothing has been taken away to put this in.

    Comment by JN — 6:36 pm August 1, 2014 #

  48. I. Ponder,

    You’re having imaginary car-versus-bike arguments with some of us. We see the park as a nice fit with plenty of space, we’re not against bikes.

    Comment by G — 8:57 pm August 1, 2014 #

  49. So, G, street parking convenience right next to the business is good enough for car driving customers but too good for bike riding customers? I would say that if I rode my bike to do business at the Junction, I already got my exercise for the day, but if I drove my car there, I could probably use a little 200 foot walk from my car to the Junction businesses.

    Comment by Kathy — 10:51 pm August 1, 2014 #

  50. A Voice of Reason
    This site has got to be the worst site available from a safety stand-point. Move this to the park! I thought we were supposed to be the smartest city in the US. This was obviously was a ‘power-play’ citing choice. I think Seattle intellectual populous needs to demand the city re-cite this…the park or Jefferson Sq. (corner of 42nd Ave SW & SW Alaska St.). Personally, I would’ve liked to the city expand the ‘landscaped islands’ on each side of the mid-street crossing walks to accompany cyclist parking.
    We are ALL partly responsible for this; we as a society just don’t want to get involved until it impacts us on a personal level. Based on what I have read here, I can feel the passion from everyone. Passion is good; now let’s make that work for us, instead of against us. The fact that a few people in the neighborhood ‘took the bull by the horns’ is something to be commended. Now, let’s all step-up and help them in dealing with the city on this issue. This is an issue that will continue to plague the area as the Junction, Triangle and the future rebuild of Fauntleroy St from SW Alaska Street to the West Seattle Bridge reshape our community.
    AlkiBeach

    Comment by AlkiBeach — 8:13 pm August 2, 2014 #

  51. I would like to find out who the ‘players’ (City of Seattle, SDOT, Dept. of Neighborhoods, The Junction Business Association (JBA)…Friends of the Junction???) were in on this decision, so I can get a better picture. I’m take full responsibility for my lack of being involved but I think we are setting a bad precedent here. If I’m in the act of taking off my bike helmet or putting on my bike lock and my elbow gets hit by a passing car. Who could be sued, the driver, SDOT, JBA, me…everyone? Do you see where I’m going here? Can you imagine how fast those cars are going to traveling down Fauntleroy (even with reduced speeds). What if I was your 10 year old son or daughter…would you think differently?
    I’m obviously just trying to make a point. What we do at the Junction has to be looked upon as if you were on the SDOT planning team for the re-build of Fauntleroy. Why you ask? The lawyers will. If they put mid-street crosswalks on Fauntleroy and you make it safer there than you do at the Junction; do really think lawyers won’t be ‘licking their lips’.
    Sidebar Request
    I would like to see The West Seattle Blog and/or West Seattle Herald have a running survey of the top 5 or top 10 trending issues being commented on. This would help these small groups of ‘good-doers’ and our elected officials get a better perspective on what the community feels on a subject without the need for them to even write a simple sentence!

    Comment by AlkiBeach — 9:00 pm August 2, 2014 #

  52. @AlkiBeach,

    You can count me in favor of the bike corral at this location. I used it today it it seems to be a safe design. The staples are close to the sidewalk so there is plenty of room to maneuver your bike away from the traffic lane. It is probably safer than a person trying to get out of their parked car on the traffic side since there is more space for people in the bike corral than there is beside a parked car. I also like that it is close to the all-way crosswalk so you can reach many different businesses safely and easily.

    Comment by Kathy — 9:46 pm August 3, 2014 #

  53. I am pro-bike infrastructure and pro-bike corals, but this coral is placed in a very bad location. It does block a useful right turn area. It should be moved to the area adjacent to the crosswalk on that same block of California. I don’t know what DOT was thinking putting it where they did instead of just using up one current parking space.

    Comment by sn6uV — 10:16 am August 4, 2014 #

  54. Bike rack – great! Loss of right turn lane at California and Alaska – not great! This is a pretty busy, congested crossing area – cars, buses and pedestrians and now adding bikes to the mix. Isn’t there a better and safer place for this “coral”. I think it is poorly planned. Good idea, bad execution.

    Comment by Wendy — 10:20 am August 4, 2014 #

  55. You have to remember this location was decided on by negotiation with the Junction businesses. This is not the original spot that the West Seattle Bike Connections had sought after but through negotiation all the parties agreed to this location. Negotiation, Perhaps a dying art but it is still alive in the West Seattle Junction.

    Comment by alkistu — 8:40 am August 5, 2014 #

  56. @Wendy wrote “Bike rack – great! Loss of right turn lane at California and Alaska – not great!”

    I’m replying because I drove past the rack this evening heading toward the bridge. I used the right turn lane. The bike corral DOES NOT interfere at all with the right turn lane. Where did you getting your false information?

    Comment by I. Ponder — 11:18 pm August 5, 2014 #

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