Back in the saddle

Peter McKay, the West Seattle bicyclist who survived getting shot on Delridge last week, updated his blog early today. He writes that he rode to work and back yesterday, and also shares many gracious words of appreciation for the people who took care of him, as well as for the vast majority of drivers who share the road with him without actions such as those taken by whoever shot him (still no arrests reported). P.S. The City Council has now approved the Bicycle Master Plan. This map shows what’s in it for West Seattle.

19 Replies to "Back in the saddle"

  • RobertSeattle November 6, 2007 (10:08 am)

    I haven’t been really watching this issue, but just a couple of comments about the map… Some of the routes have extreme steep sections that most bicylists would prefer to avoid – such as Olga between Admiral and 37th, Yancy easy of Faunteroy, and the bridge over Faunterloy isn’t that bike friendly in the first place.

  • Al November 6, 2007 (10:30 am)

    Yes, the marked route over an overpass (I think you mean the Yancy route over the W. Seattle bridge hill?) is nuts – I would not haul my bike up & down those stairs when I could just take Avalon to 35th.

    Not sure why you are referencing Fauntleroy as the main line, are you referring to Yancy east of Avalon? That’s a major bike route, and many of us prefer to go up those hills rather than deal with the nighmare intersections around Spokane/Delridge and Spokane/Marine/Avalon. There’s few cars ever parked there and a climbing lane would be appreciated on those steep hills. It looks like many of the routes will be marked with “sharrows” in any case, not bike lanes per se.

  • Al November 6, 2007 (10:38 am)

    Let me amend that comment. Most of the bike route through WSea will be marked somehow by signs (???), not sharrows and very few bike lanes. This is better than we have now, which is virtually nothing – try making your way downtown and back with no knowledge of the safest way there by bike. Looks like most lanes, as usual, are going to the north end.

  • Frank November 6, 2007 (10:40 am)

    Be prepared for single lane traffic in each direction on 35th South of Morgan. With a “study” of placing bike lanes north of Morgan to be done.

    The “tyranny of the minority” is evident in Seattle. At best it has been estimated the 3-5% of commuters use bikes to get to/from work. Also goes for mass transit, 5-7% use busses/trains.

    Don’t be fooled by the “we NEVER take lanes of traffic for bike lanes” lie. All one needs to look at is 17th SW, between Roxbury and 100th SW. Used to be two lanes each direction. Now is one lane, with center left turn lane and a bike lane in each direction.


  • Al November 6, 2007 (10:55 am)

    Yes, it’s truly horrible when roads are made safter for everyone isn’t it?

  • JumboJim November 6, 2007 (11:46 am)

    Its not like 17th needs to be four lanes anyways. Its hardly a major road.

  • Frank November 6, 2007 (12:06 pm)


    I have yet to ANYONE use those bike lanes, but I have seen 3 accidents and 4 near misses because there was no longer an extra lane to change to when someone is making a right turn on that road.

    So NO it hasn’t made the road safer.


    That is not the point. The point is that this bike plan will reduce the capacity of roads for vehicle traffic in order to benefit 3-6% of commuters.

    I don’t know if you travel 35th, but I do everyday to get to and from work. From Trenton to the West Seattle Bridge entrance and back. It’s bad enough when busses are in the right lane. Imagine if the is ONLY one lane, in each direction the length of 35th, as planned in this bike plan.

    Don’t even mention that maybe I should take the bus to work. Maybe you have the extra 3.5 to 4 hours spent on a bus each day (I did take the bus 3 times and the fastest I got to work was 1.5 hours. And it’s only 11 miles “door-to-door” to where I work). I don’t have the time to dedicate 8.5 hours of work plus another 3.5 to 4 hours getting there and back.

    This “Bike Plan” like the “Roads and Transit” Prop we are voting on today are nothing more than another attempt at social engineering. Why do you think that Prop 1 is balanced 80% to rail and bus and 20% to roads. Even they (the prop 1 proponents) admit that Prop 1 will DO NOTHING to ease congestion.


  • MW November 6, 2007 (12:39 pm)

    Frank –

    Maybe you don’t have an option to take other means of transportation (you need your car during the day, schedule difficulties, etc.), and that is completely ok, but people in Seattle need more (and better) options when it comes to mobility. I think the big idea here is to provide viable alternatives. Safer roads for bikes mean more people will ride, as “survey says” the #1 reason people don’t ride their bikes is because of safety concerns. And some of the hills are tough, but when I ride into downtown and back, I essentially combine my commute and my exercise, so the hills (in that sense) are ok.
    And I totally agree about the buses – they are slow, and not a great alternative. Hopefully they will get better. Time-wise, bikes are actually pretty quick from West Seattle.
    The problem arises when everybody does the same thing (drive a car, whatever). The idea is to get many different people doing different things.
    If I had to drive my car every day, I’d support the heck out of transit, bike paths, whatever, because they would literally remove other cars from the road. If you consider that 1 bus = 50 cars, buses quickly become your friends.
    Prop 1 is pretty complex, no doubt. I won’t even wade into that one here…

  • Vincent November 6, 2007 (1:04 pm)

    First off, horray for Peter for not letting getting shot disrupt his life, your an example to us all, bicyclist or not. Second, Peter was not shot with a BB, he was shot with a 22lr round that happened to feature bbs if you check his blog post and the post on Metrobloggingseattle you will also find he was not the only one shot in this way. This is messed up, someone is hanging a real gun, not a plastic bird assasin from big five, and shooting people on the street. From a lot of the commentary online, the lack of public outcry is because bicyclist don’t belong on the roads anyway, ymmv. The bicycle master plan is stupid for one primary reason, the people who came up with the routes, don’t appear to have ever ridden a bicyle, they are just some random committee who pics them based on study. This from a city whos mayor once said he was too scared to ride from west seattle to downtown. lastly, Frank whats your damage man? you come off like a total a**hole, or just a major jerk. Listen people driving cars is social engineering, thats why they got rid of the origional mass transit systems is large citys including this one, because detriot wanted to sell more cars. Evertime I hear this mass transit=socialist conspiricy bit I gag, are people really this gulible? If you got off your me me me soapbox for a second you would realise that your ideal drive times are an endangered species and make your arguement about how it needs to be presevered at all costs pretty shallow. If you dont like social engineering go get a shack in the woods and refuse to pay taxes like a true curmudgeon

  • Vincent November 6, 2007 (1:06 pm)

    sweet! one with and one without spell check. Free time waster for everyone. Find the differences.

  • Al November 6, 2007 (1:34 pm)

    Frank, just because you don’t see anyone using the lane when you are there doesn’t mean it’s not used. It’s available – just like any street and any lane and any sidewalk. “3 accidents and 4 near misses”…between autos? Because the drivers weren’t paying attention or driving recklessly? A painted line does not drive one car into another. There’s more traffic yes, but building more roads will not solve the problem. Stay in your car if you choose, that’s not the issue. The issue is alternatives – have you used mass transit in other major cities (New York, Chicago, Portland, not to mention pretty much any major city overseas)? Have you seen bike lanes in other major cities (Portland, Davis, Minneapolis, Copenhagen, Helsinki…) or used them? I have. Automobiles, bikes, trucks, and pedestrians CAN share commutes and large numbers of people are able to move IF systems are put into place. Granted, growing pains from a community focused solely on the auto will happen, but certainly hatred of the unknown (change) will not help matters and taking the hatred out on one small group of people won’t either.

  • Frank November 6, 2007 (3:00 pm)


    First of I don’t hate bikes. In fact I support bike paths/lanes. What I oppose is taking away lanes from cars for the bike lanes/paths.

    What I hate are the efforts of this city council that have no clue how to package a transit plan or run a transit system. If drive times were quicker using mass transit I would take it, but in fact they aren’t. Not by a long shot. The longest time it took me to get to work driving the 11 miles, is still much faster than using the bus.

    Here’s an idea that the powers of this city should have thought of. When the monorail was in trouble, why not propose changing the evevated system from a monorail, to two lanes for buses ONLY. the stations could have been turned into the stops. The cost would have been MUCH less than the monorail.

    Social engineering is when elements of today are removed in an attempt to FORCE people do something. By removing lanes for cars you are making the problem of congestion so bad that people will be forced in to other modes. Last time that happened there was a “special” lane for those in power to use.


    More lanes DOES ease congestion. That is not debatable. One additional lane can reduce congestion by 30-40%.

    I have taken public transportation in the following places:
    San Diego, Chicago, Los Angles, Norfolk, Washington DC, New York, Atlanta, Vancouver, Victoria, London, Rome, Paris, Amstrdam, Copenhagen, Naples, Tokyo, Singapore (The BEST), Perth, Madrid, Malaga, Barcalona, Toulon, Rotterdam, Oslo, Guam…All are better than what we have here.

    Like I said above, I don’t hate bikers. I just don’t see the sense of spending millions of dollars for the benefit of 3-6% of the people. 25-30%, sure.


  • villagegreen November 6, 2007 (4:10 pm)

    Frank, I drive my car to work everyday and am not a biker, but I support the bicycle master plan. If you support bike paths/lanes, where would you suggest that they be put if not major arterials? Several people have suggested side-streets, but how would a bike path work on a two-way street (sharrows notwithstanding)?

    Your long list of world traveling is impressive, but how do you suppose those places got the great public transit systems they now have? It’s called planning for the future – something the U.S. is notoriously poor at. In the increasingly mediated world of me me me, we have a hard time spending money on anything that won’t immediately benefit us. How dare we spend money on something that will only benefit 3-6% of the populace! How about the idea of making Seattle a great place for future generations? Think 25 or 50 years from now.

    It is inevitable that in order for cities to survive in the future mass transit options will need to be in place. Cars in cities will eventually go out of fashion. Tolls will be in place for driving in and out of cities (like they are in London) and people will opt for more efficient rapid transit. I see bike lanes as just one step in this process. You’re right that spending millions on transit for 3% of the people is strange (even though the amount is actually tiny when compared to what’s spent on roads), but the idea is that once safe bike lanes are in place that percentage will increase. I was back in Minneapolis this summer and couldn’t believe the number of cyclists that were on the roads now that bike lanes are in place.

    The whole idea is to give people options. You definitely can’t build your way out of congestion (name me a city that’s done that), but you can give people better options to use once they’re fed up with driving their cars. Seattle is way behind the curve in this area and it’s about time we catch up.

  • Dawson November 6, 2007 (6:25 pm)

    Holy hill climb on some questionable roads. A climbing lane on Admiral? Wouldn’t it be easier to move people over to the Fairmount ravine and have them go up that? Nice scenery too. I really like the routes up Atlas Place and 30th SW. Way steep and 30th SW the cars tear through there. A little more planning on some of these routes would be good. But hey for those of us that bike we’ll have some strong legs and maybe a few cardiac arrests will thin us out as well? Pedal on!

  • Jeff November 6, 2007 (8:43 pm)

    I wish they’d close the gap on the north end of West Marginal already, so I could take friends who are a little more novice on rides down that way. Fairmount hill kills me every time. I much prefer the sidewalk on Admiral (especially with the new crosswalk light) or the sidewalk on California. Ease up for the peds on the sidewalk but usually it’s no problem. If 35th goes on a road diet, it should be because it’s impossible for pedestrians to cross and because there’s no divider to oncoming traffic with turning cars stopping in the left lane at any moment. A “suicide lane” or left turn lanes would be way better than what they have now, and I say that as a driver. Bike lanes would be icing on the cake, but I myself would still probably stick to side roads.

  • kittycatcarlyle November 6, 2007 (9:37 pm)


    Will those in the know please inform clueless people like me: what are “climbing lanes” & “bicycle boulevards”?


  • donald November 7, 2007 (8:18 am)

    Frank is right! Preach on, brother!

  • Frank November 7, 2007 (9:53 am)

    Because of this discussion, I looked at 35th this morning, instead of just robotically driving down it ;-). Was planning on doing it yesterday afternoon but the accident deverted me to Delridge. BTW – this will also work on Delridge.

    There is a way to put bike lanes down just about the whole length WITHOUT infinging on the lanes for cars. Place the bike lanes NEXT to the sidewalk in the strip between the side walk and the curb. This will involve removing the trees and relocating power poles, but does a few things that benefits the safety of bikers. By placing the lanes in this location you remove the danger of drivers opening their doors INTO bike lanes and keeps the bikers safely out on the way of cars. It keeps the parking along 35th too. You could even place a raised curb to seperate the sidewalk from the bike lane.

    It also does City Light a service by removing the trees that have over grown the power lines and present a danger of falling in wind storms.


  • G. Williams November 8, 2007 (1:53 pm)

    I can’t speak to transit in most of those cities, Frank, but I was growing up in the D.C. area when they built the Metro system and you would not believe how much resistance there was to it at the time. It took forever for it to start paying for itself, and even now the city can’t manage to run both it and the buses effectively (the D.C. bus system is notoriously bad).

    Yet now it’s so heavily used that on a recent trip back home, I found myself waiting on the platform one morning as three completely packed trains went by, about three minutes apart.

    My point here is that just about any transit proposal is going to see resistance at first, and probably initially low ridership. But if the system’s any good, people start using it. They even move closer to it for convenience’s sake. I had some issues with the proposal that got voted down, but I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed that now we’re going to have to wait for the NEXT plan to come down the road.

Sorry, comment time is over.