FOLLOWUP: Construction also starting soon on West Marginal Way protected bicycle lane

(SDOT photo of Green Lake bike lane like the one to be built on West Marginal)

Another “construction starting soon” notice just in – this time, for the permanent protected bicycle lane on West Marginal Way SW. It’s a two-way lane that will run just under half a mile on the west side of the street between the bridge and the Duwamish Longhouse. (The temporary bike lane installed during the low-bridge closure is still in place there.) Along with building the permanent lane, SDOT will be “updating all 17 Duwamish Trail / driveway crossings on the east side of the corridor with signs and pavement markings.” All this is expected to start in early April – weather permitting, SDOT hopes to finish the bike-lane construction over the first two weekends of the month. Here’s the construction notice, which notes: “Construction will be on weekends for the bike lane and on both weekday and weekends for the Duwamish Trail driveway crossing treatments. Trail detours in short sections will be noted on signs. Please dismount bikes and walk around wet paint near driveways.”

BACKSTORY: SDOT first unveiled the bike lane as an option in January 2021. Various rounds of discussion ensued (including a February meeting at which attendees were invited to begin with a “moment of meditation and reflection”). Then the department told the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force in July 2021 that it would go ahead with the plan. Here’s the design they showed then:

SDOT promised at the time that construction wouldn’t start until after the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge (which has now been back in service for 6 months, following its 2 1/2-year closure). The department says the change will add a few seconds at most to travel times. Other changes will follow as part of the corridor safety project, as noted on its webpage.

54 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Construction also starting soon on West Marginal Way protected bicycle lane"

  • Gatewood skeptic March 24, 2023 (2:54 pm)

    Mixing and encouraging bike traffic on West Marginal, which only serves
    the small community of recreational bikers—a unique combination of leaning in on privilege rather than focusing on places where people
    are actually getting injured or killed in actual neighborhoods.

    • D-Ridge March 24, 2023 (4:03 pm)

      A biker was killed on Marginal just north of here; this is part of a larger plan to protect bikers along the entire extent., a biker dying is not the only metric for when safe facilities are needed, sheesh.

    • bolo March 24, 2023 (4:33 pm)

      “…only serves the small community of recreational bikers”

      NOT TRUE.

      Bicycle commuters use this route, and have for years. And there will be even more as the cycling infrastructure is improved.

      What is your motivation behind your shallow lie?

    • Amy March 24, 2023 (5:44 pm)

      Can you please explain how giving safe access to bikes regardless if it is for commuting or recreational leaning into privilege? 

      • Jort March 24, 2023 (9:15 pm)

        Exactly. What is the “privilege” level of somebody cycling when compared to the costs of owning, insuring, fueling and driving a vehicle. The average monthly cost of owning and driving a vehicle is more than the one-time cost of a single bicycle. But “privilege?!” Seriously?! “Privilege?!”

        • Canton March 24, 2023 (11:24 pm)

          Actually, owning a car can be cost effective. If you are able to change the oil, replace the brakes, and change the spark plugs, you can keep costs down. A 4 hour commute via bus, is 35 minutes to a hour round trip.

        • Canton March 24, 2023 (11:41 pm)

          Please define privilege…

    • Jort March 24, 2023 (9:13 pm)

      If it’s wasteful to build safe cycling infrastructure because it might be used by “recreational” cyclists, then I’m sure there will be no further spending on roads, since people might be driving their cars on vacation or on a road trip, right? Should taxpayer resources (which overwhelmingly go to cars, anyway) be restricted for “serious” uses only? Who cares why a person is riding their bike? Why does it matter? Because people hate cyclists? Seriously. Who cares?

  • CarDriver March 24, 2023 (3:23 pm)

    Will be interesting to see how many bikes actually use this section for a) commuting to work or b) recreational riding.

    • bill March 24, 2023 (4:29 pm)

      Really, CarDriver? Are you going to camp out all day and take notes? And what of it? What proportion of car drivers on West Marginal are driving to recreation?

    • Amy March 24, 2023 (5:46 pm)

      Why does it matter if it’s commuting or recreational? Do you think certain road should be rated on a scale for what they are used for. Nonsense. 

    • Jort March 24, 2023 (6:32 pm)

      The tagline for the LeMay automobile museum in Tacoma is “Celebrating America’s Love Affair with the Automobile.” Sounds pretty “recreational.”

    • Foop March 24, 2023 (6:57 pm)

      This will make it easier for my partner and I to actually go to South Park.I hate the drive and park game and it takes just as long to bike there. The Highland parkway hill is too steep and unsafe for us as well. This adds some mileage but it’s a much shallower grade and not having to ride on that narrow sidewalk will do wonders for anxiety.

      • D-Ridge March 25, 2023 (9:32 am)

        Agreed Foop, I go to South Park on bike myself but have never felt safe taking my toddler with me, this will help immensely. Now if only we can fix 14th in South Park as well, we’d have protected facilities from W Seattle well through Kent!

  • DelridgeDriver March 24, 2023 (3:42 pm)

    It’s good to see the city finally following through on promises. It’s also nice to see them working against the narrative that safe transportation infrastructure only belongs in north end neighborhoods. But still, this seems like a lot of time and process for 0.4 miles of bike lane. The city is going to have to do a lot more of this, and a lot more quickly, if they’re actually serious about their vision zero and climate goals. 

    • Jort March 24, 2023 (9:25 pm)

      Indeed. The city sent, at taxpayer expense, a postcard mailer to every household with a mailing address in West Seattle about this bike lane. This bike lane will cost less than most city infrastructure repairs. Do we all get a postcard when an aging sewer main line is replaced? No. Why for bike lanes? Why do bike lanes deserve this much “public outreach?”

      • Hammer in Hand March 25, 2023 (9:17 am)

        Because they are reducing road way space that was once built and like paid for with car transportation fundsi have no issue with building stand alone bike lanes  for their exclusive use just do it without reducing traffic lanes. 

        • M.B. March 25, 2023 (8:01 pm)

          Reducing the width of traffic lanes slows the speed of traffic reducing the severity and frequency of accidents. This would have been good for the car driving public even if no bike infrastructure was added. 

          • Jill Loblaw March 26, 2023 (6:55 am)

            I agree, 100%. As a former car user of West Marginal, I saw so many overconfident drivers who just wouldn’t slow down because there weren’t any police monitoring this stretch of roadway. Tailgating, speeding and cutting others off occurred all the time. This  dedicated bike lane segregated from traffic by a Jersey barrier, is a great solution not only for cyclists but drivers as well.

  • Josh March 24, 2023 (4:09 pm)

    Awesome. With this one can ride as far south as Puyallup from Alki with now only a very short stretch around South Park not separated from traffic. To the whiners: let not the perfect be the enemy of the good. Every inch of separated bicycle infrastructure is a win. If you build it they will ride. 

  • Katie Van Fleet March 24, 2023 (4:45 pm)

    I’ve literally never seen any bikers on this stretch of Marginal Way….

    • Neighbor March 24, 2023 (5:43 pm)

      As we all know Katie Van Fleet is famous for having personality seen everything possible in the world.  Clearly this bike lane is a waste of resources.  Or maybe bikes are hard to spot.  Or maybe they are so efficient they don’t often get stuck in traffic jams.  Or maybe riders take advantage of infrastructure after it is built instead of before.  How many cars drove over the Duwamish before bridges were built?

    • Bike Commuter March 24, 2023 (6:18 pm)

      I can let you know when I am going to bike home if you have never seen anyone.. we can wave to each other 

    • Jort March 24, 2023 (6:33 pm)

      How many cars were on interstate 5 before it was built? 

    • Don Brubeck March 24, 2023 (9:00 pm)

      Katie, if you are not seeing bike riders at this location you are exhibit #1 for why protection and separation are needed for safety of all the people who bike this route daily or occasionally.  The Duwamish Trail is a regional bike route.  The protected bike lanes will also prevent car crashes caused by impatient drivers who currently are passing on the right at high speed around trucks with big blind spots and other cars on the short stretch with two southbound lanes before it narrows again to one lane.

    • Pdieter March 25, 2023 (4:13 pm)

      I always enjoy when automotive drivers cite that they never see bicycles as a reason to not increase bike safety infrastructure. Presenting exhibit A for why bicyclists are in such danger without the slightest clue they are doing it. 

  • Sunny.206 March 24, 2023 (5:10 pm)

    Unfortunately, it’s never a good idea to mix semi trucks and bikes in any manner, truck vis a Jersey barrier fails too. ☹️

    • DelridgeDriver March 25, 2023 (11:08 am)

      Good points. Maximum separation between bikes and semis is a must. I’m really glad to see that they’re using jersey barriers here. As you point out, hitting a jersey barrier is not good for any vehicle. This is so much better than the worthless plastic posts the city has gotten into the habit of using, which do essentially nothing to deter drivers and protect cyclists.

  • CarDriver March 24, 2023 (6:11 pm)

    Bill;Amy. I’m NOT against bike infrastructure. I AM against spending money for routes that in reality will benefit very few vs spending money that actually helps many. My example is the bike lane on the uphill section of Admiral Way from Spokane Street. I honestly can’t remember when I last saw a bike rider going uphill. Was that money well spent to make that bike lane?

    • Jort March 24, 2023 (6:48 pm)

      How much do you really think that stripe of paint costs compared to the amount spent in the road for cars? How much? Seriously. How much?

      • Marina March 24, 2023 (7:05 pm)

        It’s the city of Seattle, Jort. Minimum, 200k. 

    • Foop March 24, 2023 (7:02 pm)

      I biked that daily when I was commuting from NA. That area would be completely unsafe to access by bike otherwise. I’ve tried Fairmount, it’s steep and narrow, the road by seacrest, no shoulder, curvey and steeper. What, are we supposed to ride to the junction then hop on the back roads up? California is also dangerous to ride with no shoulder (just car parking) and high speeds.

    • Joe Z March 24, 2023 (8:30 pm)

      You have to have a death wish to bike that section of Admiral. I’ll bike it when there is a concrete barrier between me and the cars. Yesterday the car in front of me crossed the center line and nearly hit a truck coming down from the hill. The driver was looking at her phone. 

    • bill March 24, 2023 (8:34 pm)

      CarDriver: I have ridden the bike lane up Admiral frequently. My favorite part is at the top, where I can stop all the cars with the pedestrian light and cross safely into the residential area. I would not need to do that if the city had built the bike lane all the way to California. Narrowing the lanes and replacing the median planters with a jersey barrier would create plenty of room for a bike lane. Not to mention eliminating the annual maintenance of those planters. If you want talk about wasting money, that there is an ongoing prime example.

    • newnative March 24, 2023 (8:47 pm)

      that’s odd, Admiral is my commute road and I see a biker almost every afternoon. 

      • Byron James March 24, 2023 (9:46 pm)

        “A biker almost every afternoon” One person on a bike, on some days.

        • CAM March 25, 2023 (12:00 am)

          Yes, Byron, because a “commute” involves driving the same stretch of road back and forth back and forth consecutively in order to observe all conditions over the entire day. 

    • PDieter March 25, 2023 (4:44 pm)

      Cardriver, they are there that’s a fact please let it sink in that they are there and you aren’t seeing them. THATS privilege btw 

  • time March 24, 2023 (7:03 pm)

    the city has money to burn. If they don’t spend it now, they won’t get to suck it out of you next year. They would have to, god forbid, lower taxes.  I’d expect to see at least a couple of bikes using it. Go hawks!

  • Hooray for protected bike lanes March 24, 2023 (8:08 pm)

    I am grateful for any bicycles replacing cars on our roads.   This is a real step toward cleaner air, better physical fitness and safer travels for everyone.  Maybe not perfect, but I am still grateful – and proud of our city.

  • Tim March 24, 2023 (8:35 pm)

    I rode west marginal for over 20 years from WS to Kent 50 miles RT and welcome a dedicated bike lane. Southbound was OK on west marginal  during rush hour but northbound took the trail.

  • Joe Z March 24, 2023 (8:35 pm)

    These complaints are really saddening. Anyone who has biked this route knows that it is miserable and dangerous to ride that section of sidewalk. It’s also the best and safest way to bike from West Seattle to South Park. The city is finally implementing a fix to make it far more pleasant, patching a critical hole in the network. And yet people complain anyway. 

  • Don Brubeck March 24, 2023 (9:12 pm)

    Great news for making it safer and more comfortable to use this regional bike route for commuting, other transportation, and recreation. This route connects the south end of West Seattle north to SODO and light rail at the SODO Station, Pioneer Square, Beacon Hill, Downtown and points north and east via the Spokane St Bridge. It connects the north end of West Seattle to South Park, Georgetown, Tukwila, and the Green River trail via the Duwamish Trail and First Avenue and South Park bridges.  Thank you to SDOT’s Vision Zero team for proposing and working with all stakeholders, using real data, and doing the trial runs that showed everyone that impacts on vehicle travel time and driveway use would be negligible.  The project will also reduce car crashes by eliminating right-side passing by aggressive drivers  in the short stretch that will go from two traffic lanes to one.

  • Byron James March 24, 2023 (9:57 pm)

    “The Seattle Department of Transportation released a review of its “Vision Zero” plan. The goal is to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries by the year 2030.Though deadly crashes and pedestrian deaths were down slightly in 2022 compared to the year before, overall, since 2018, traffic deaths in Seattle have increased.”

    • DelridgeDriver March 25, 2023 (10:26 am)

      Yeah, it’s ridiculous isn’t it? We’re in the midst of an emergency, which the city even acknowledges, but we spend years talking about an planning one 0.4 mile stretch of infrastructure. Infrastructure that requires no more than some jersey barriers and signs to implement, no less. We’ve gotta stop wasting time and getting serious about this problem. It should be possible to get between any two points in West Seattle safely without a car.

  • KB March 24, 2023 (11:16 pm)

    LOL. Yeah this bike lane will be as busy as the Delridge bike lanes. So, not used at all. More wasted money for privileged cyclists and politicians who can claim some phony moral high ground. 

    • D-Ridge March 26, 2023 (2:49 pm)

      First, Delridge doesn’t have bike “lanes,” it has one southbound lane which is the main issue with why we don’t see more bikers there, a one-way lane does little good. Second, the reason Delridge only has a southbound bike lane is because SDOT of five years ago capitulated to drivers and decided to keep car storage in the road instead of adding actual complete bike facilities. Marginal is an opportunity to learn from that mistake and put in a real two-way bike facility.

  • Amy Thomson March 25, 2023 (6:31 am)

    I use West Marginal several times a day, as it is our only access to the wider world.  The bike lane is annoying, but I can live with it.  What worries me are the bikers who will not use the bike lane, but ride in traffic in the southbound lane of West Marginal, rather than cross the street to use the already built bike lane.  I hope they all have organ donor cards, because they are taking their lives in their hands when they do this.

    • Foop March 25, 2023 (12:24 pm)

      This is a preposterous non-issue. No sane person would do this. Have you ever seen this currently? If not why do you think you’d see it with an added bike lane?

  • Pinto March 25, 2023 (7:26 am)

    Re: climbing Highland Pk Way SW: can cyclists turn right and climb the trail that winds up to Riverview playfield through the woods?looking at using the W. Marginal trail with the family to go to Little League games. 

    • Craig March 25, 2023 (8:32 pm)

      I bike this both directions, and occasionally with a kid or two with some negotiation.  The route is mostly a gravel road that’s a little rough here and there but okay with mountain bikes.  A bit of a grind, especially at the top but ridable.   Hopefully there is some fuel in the tank for the baseball game:)  Coming from the base of the hill, the first parks built gravel trail on the right(heading north just uphill from the power lines) will take you to Lost Pond, first left as you crest out leads to the lower ballfields in Riverview.     

  • WestSeattleBadTakes March 25, 2023 (8:17 am)

    Bring on the bike lanes!

  • Not important March 25, 2023 (10:03 pm)

    Anyone who uses bike lanes should have to pay the a car tab type fee/tax too. If we have to share the roads with them; they should pay for the maintenance of the roads too. 

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