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Old 05-25-14, 02:00 AM   #26
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The SDOT have a chance of creating such a decent bike path on Westlake now. They are about to blow it, and that's the issue we are discussing here... right? I'm not sure how Dexter being a residential area is relevant to this topic. If the bike tracker on Fremont Bridge is any indication, almost all cyclists that ride on Dexter and Westlake are commuters that go through the area. They don't live there.


My own commute route is more hilly and less bike-friendly than Dexter, so there I agree with you, but as bike-friendly as Westlake? Where do you commute by bike?
It did kinda get side tracked, my only point was that its not a huge deal that Westlake won't be ideal as it seems more folks use Dexter anyway.

I commute from the Lake Youngs area near the Soos creek trail down into the Kent valley, on 240th and through downtown Kent on James out past west valley hwy.
Its only 7.5 miles but with a 600' change in elevation sawtooth fashion. The roads aren't well suited for bicycle commuting, but folks are patient, and respectful even though I take the lane more than average for most cyclists in the area, but I do my best to minimize my impact when I can.
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Old 05-25-14, 02:11 AM   #27
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It did kinda get side tracked, my only point was that its not a huge deal that Westlake won't be ideal as it seems more folks use Dexter anyway.
You seem to have it backwards. I don't have the numbers with me, but if Westlake doesn't see as many cyclists as Dexter, it must simply be because Westlake isn't as safe a route for them. If they can build a good bike path along the way, I bet the number of cyclists who ride on Westlake will go up dramatically. I would be one of them.
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Old 05-25-14, 02:32 AM   #28
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You seem to have it backwards. I don't have the numbers with me, but if Westlake doesn't see as many cyclists as Dexter, it must simply be because Westlake isn't as safe a route for them. If they can build a good bike path along the way, I bet the number of cyclists who ride on Westlake will go up dramatically. I would be one of them.
He has it backwards because he drives a truck through the area mid-day when all the cycle commuters are at work already. So he does not see the cycle commuters on Westlake during rush hours, but does see the retired or non-working folks out for a bike stroll and maybe a few utility riders on Dexter.

His views from the truck seat really skews his views. All the stories I have read of his are from the truck seat or a motorcycle seat. And when he is driving his truck, it seems he would love the cyclist pushed onto a bike lane, and apparently even a substandard one.
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Old 05-25-14, 02:38 AM   #29
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You seem to have it backwards. I don't have the numbers with me, but if Westlake doesn't see as many cyclists as Dexter, it must simply be because Westlake isn't as safe a route for them. If they can build a good bike path along the way, I bet the number of cyclists who ride on Westlake will go up dramatically. I would be one of them.
I don't know the official numbers, but spending 10 hours a day driving a truck in the area for 2 years, I would say I saw 3 cyclists on Dexter for every 1 I saw on Westlake.
No doubt westlake would be the preferred route if it had a decent path, but that seems unlikely. Too much competition for too little real estate.
There has been so much road improvement going on in that area over the past few years I can imagine where folks ride is constantly changing.
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Old 05-25-14, 03:18 AM   #30
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He has it backwards because he drives a truck through the area mid-day when all the cycle commuters are at work already. So he does not see the cycle commuters on Westlake during rush hours, but does see the retired or non-working folks out for a bike stroll and maybe a few utility riders on Dexter.

His views from the truck seat really skews his views. All the stories I have read of his are from the truck seat or a motorcycle seat. And when he is driving his truck, it seems he would love the cyclist pushed onto a bike lane, and apparently even a substandard one.
At 10 + hours a day I would catch both ends of the commute.

I actually have far fewer issues with cyclists when I'm driving a truck or riding a motorcycle than with any other road user group, they do their thing, I do mine safely and respectfully, no problem.
My not falling in step with a few A&S regulars who constantly whine and make excuses has no bearing on how I feel about my fellow cyclists in the real world.

But I do wish those wonderful bike facilities Seattle has......or even the less than perfect ones.....would make it to the outlying urban areas so I could use them too.
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Old 05-25-14, 03:36 AM   #31
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I don't know the official numbers, but spending 10 hours a day driving a truck in the area for 2 years, I would say I saw 3 cyclists on Dexter for every 1 I saw on Westlake.
No doubt westlake would be the preferred route if it had a decent path, but that seems unlikely. Too much competition for too little real estate.
There has been so much road improvement going on in that area over the past few years I can imagine where folks ride is constantly changing.
See daihard, he refuses to get it.
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Old 05-25-14, 09:47 AM   #32
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Personally, I'd prefer neither. It would take a little more room, and cost a bit more, but the city could channel pedestrian crossings with railings, just like it does along streetcar platforms and waterfront seawalls, so that there would be fewer, well-defined pedestrian crossings.

Though I have to say, I'm not going to be using the facility either way. I'm more concerned with the SDOT's decision to defy the City Council's clear, binding requirement that bicycle facilities comply with safety standards. I've seen far too many substandard Seattle bike projects to believe the "something is better than nothing" trope. Either build it to meet minimum standards or find a route that can meet standards.
I understand Mr. Putnam's point that bicycling facilities ought to comply with safety standards. But the plain fact is that they don't. They comply with what the superstitious popular imagination considers to be safety, which is an entirely different thing. For one thing, what are bicycle facilities? I know of no useful definition. Trying to make semantic legal points about anything as irrational as bicycle facilities is pointless, not worth any effort at all.
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Old 05-25-14, 10:49 AM   #33
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No doubt westlake would be the preferred route if it had a decent path, but that seems unlikely. Too much competition for too little real estate.


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See daihard, he refuses to get it.
FWIW, one big reason the bike track is being created is the current bike traffic that passes through the huge parking lot on the east of Westlake Avenue. Businesses owners have long complained that those bikes are dangerous to their customers. OTOH, the bike commuters have little choice but to use the parking lot, which BTW is owned by the City of Seattle, because Westlake Ave itself is not very safe for cyclists. Building a good cycle track along Westlake would be a win-win for everyone. Cyclists would be able to ride there more safely. Businesses and boat owners will not need to worry about bumping into them.

One point of contention is that the project will eliminate much of the existing parking lot. I personally don't see any issue with it. The lot is owned by Seattle - they should be free to convert it to something else as they see fit. However, the same business owners aren't happy because they "need" those parking spaces to attract customers. I'd tell them they should try and buy the lot from Seattle; that way they would be free to preserve the space. Of course, they don't want to do that.
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Old 05-25-14, 11:23 AM   #34
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I understand Mr. Putnam's point that bicycling facilities ought to comply with safety standards. But the plain fact is that they don't. They comply with what the superstitious popular imagination considers to be safety, which is an entirely different thing. For one thing, what are bicycle facilities? I know of no useful definition. Trying to make semantic legal points about anything as irrational as bicycle facilities is pointless, not worth any effort at all.
My commute is about 75% on 4 lane roads, roughly 1/3 has no shoulder, 1/3 3'-4' shoulder, and 1/3 proper bike lane. There isn't the slightest question that the sections with bike lanes are the safest and most efficient to ride. I sure wish they would fill in the gaps, the east-west routes into the valley are limited and very congested.

When I lived in Seattle, I would occasionally ride Westlake and it sucked, if they could build a proper bike route it would be an improvement of epic proportions.
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Old 05-25-14, 11:35 AM   #35
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FWIW, one big reason the bike track is being created is the current bike traffic that passes through the huge parking lot on the east of Westlake Avenue. Businesses owners have long complained that those bikes are dangerous to their customers. OTOH, the bike commuters have little choice but to use the parking lot,
Wasn't the parking lot actually posted and marked as the bike route before they put in the walkway?
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Old 05-25-14, 11:56 AM   #36
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Wasn't the parking lot actually posted and marked as the bike route before they put in the walkway?
Currently, the parking lot is not posted as a bike route. I can't guarantee that it's been like that for a long time, but I'd find it hard to believe that anyone, let alone Seattle, would designate part of a parking lot as a bike path.

Here is the website for the project.

SDOT - Westlake Avenue North Cycle Track
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Old 05-25-14, 12:03 PM   #37
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Wasn't the parking lot actually posted and marked as the bike route before they put in the walkway?
Whether it was marked as a bike route or not, I'm sure it was a popular choice. Lot hopping (as I call it) is a very common way of riding parallel to a busy road.

I wonder at the city's intent for this bicycle path. If intended as a thru route, it seems a poor choice. But it might be intended as a service route so give bicyclist better access to the stores and waterfront. Or it might be intended to bring some order to what is now a chaotic pattern with lot hoppers, drivers backing out of parking spaces, and pedestrians crossing back and froth to their cars.

Just as all streets aren't highways, I don't have a problem with bike paths that aren't optimized for thru traffic. **** As long as there's no must use mandate****
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Old 05-25-14, 12:12 PM   #38
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My commute is about 75% on 4 lane roads, roughly 1/3 has no shoulder, 1/3 3'-4' shoulder, and 1/3 proper bike lane. There isn't the slightest question that the sections with bike lanes are the safest and most efficient to ride. I sure wish they would fill in the gaps, the east-west routes into the valley are limited and very congested.

When I lived in Seattle, I would occasionally ride Westlake and it sucked, if they could build a proper bike route it would be an improvement of epic proportions.
kickstart's argument claims to have a scientific way to evaluate the safety of cycling routes. That would be a great discovery. Well, kickstart, what is that method?
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Old 05-25-14, 12:17 PM   #39
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Currently, the parking lot is not posted as a bike route. I can't guarantee that it's been like that for a long time, but I'd find it hard to believe that anyone, let alone Seattle, would designate part of a parking lot as a bike path.
I know its not now, it would have been 8-10 years ago, just trying to remember for no particular reason.

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Or it might be intended to bring some order to what is now a chaotic pattern with lot hoppers, drivers backing out of parking spaces, and pedestrians crossing back and froth to their cars.
I only rode it for recreation on weekends, really needed to watch for folks carrying sea kayaks and rowing shells too.
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Old 05-25-14, 12:22 PM   #40
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kickstart's argument claims to have a scientific way to evaluate the safety of cycling routes. That would be a great discovery. Well, kickstart, what is that method?
Its not an argument or scientific claim, but I do know my own mind, and don't understand why some want to deny us facilities many want and prefer.
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Old 05-25-14, 01:13 PM   #41
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I wonder at the city's intent for this bicycle path. If intended as a thru route, it seems a poor choice. But it might be intended as a service route so give bicyclist better access to the stores and waterfront. Or it might be intended to bring some order to what is now a chaotic pattern with lot hoppers, drivers backing out of parking spaces, and pedestrians crossing back and froth to their cars.

Just as all streets aren't highways, I don't have a problem with bike paths that aren't optimized for thru traffic. **** As long as there's no must use mandate****
As I understand it, Seattle intends to build a bike track that will be useful mainly for the bike commuters who pass through the area. The current alternate route, Dexter Ave, runs parallel to Westlake (to a certain point) and has relatively good bike paths, but its hilly nature discourages many cyclists from using it. The hope is that building a bike track on Westlake will encourage more people to take bikes to work instead of driving as well as providing a safer environment for those who currently ride on Westlake.

Seattle currently has no law that mandates the use of bike lanes. I sure hope they don't change their mind anytime soon.
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Old 05-25-14, 02:59 PM   #42
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Its not an argument or scientific claim, but I do know my own mind, and don't understand why some want to deny us facilities many want and prefer.
Evidently you have not understood the argument of the past forty years. The only people trying to deny you the facilities you want are those who think that society's resources can better be used elsewhere; there's no effort expended on denying your desires on principle. The opposition to what you want comes from having those things forced on cyclists for all the wrong reasons. First, American bikeways were forced on cyclists, against their opposition, by the power of motordom, to make motoring more convenient, without regard for the safety or convenience of cyclists. That's historical fact. Second, people with opinions such as you appear to hold jumped on the bikeways bandwagon, arguing that we all must do what the motorists want because that will make us safe. While that statement is accurate, none of those who made this argument dared to say so in these words. Instead we get ideological nastinesses such as "Bikeways for use by all ages and abilities," when that obviously cannot be true. Just so long as government manages to impose bikeway laws and FTR laws on cyclists by using the sociological falsity that they make cycling safe, then the argument will continue. It's not our fault for opposing such impositions; it's your fault for making the false claims about their safety that justify those impositions.
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Old 05-25-14, 04:27 PM   #43
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Wasn't the parking lot actually posted and marked as the bike route before they put in the walkway?
Yes, and the pathway is officially a walkway where bikes happen to be allowed, not a bicycle facility.

The existing pathway was built as part of the Chesiahud Lake Union Loop, Seattle Parks and Recreation: Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop

The Chesiahud plan suggested that cyclists not ride Westlake or the parking lot, but detour a few blocks to the hilly Dexter route. Hundreds of cyclists per day disregard that plan and ride either the sidewalk or the parking lot along Westlake, according to the City's official bicycle traffic counts.

An unknown number of cyclists ride the traffic lanes of Westlake instead; they weren't counted as potential users of the new sidepath. I would agree with SDOT that the path doesn't need to be designed for high-speed cyclists, but if it's going to be built as a bicycle transportation route, it should at least support the average non-enthusiast adult on a bicycle, and 10 mph sight lines and stopping distances don't do that.
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Old 05-25-14, 04:35 PM   #44
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As I understand it, Seattle intends to build a bike track that will be useful mainly for the bike commuters who pass through the area.
Correct, it's primarily a connector to office districts at the south end of Lake Union, in downtown Seattle, and along the southeast shore of the lake. That area has seen very rapid bicycle commuting growth in recent years, especially with Amazon moving its campus to South Lake Union and the many other high-tech offices with casual dress codes and support for bicycle commuting.

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The current alternate route, Dexter Ave, runs parallel to Westlake (to a certain point) and has relatively good bike paths, but its hilly nature discourages many cyclists from using it.
Dexter is parallel for part of the route, other parts are several hilly blocks up from the lake front. Dexter also continues south when Westlake wraps around the south end of the lake, adding several more blocks of hills and intersection delays for commuters headed to the southeast shore of the lake. Many commuters prefer the current warren of parking lot hazards to the hills and intersection conflicts of Dexter.

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The hope is that building a bike track on Westlake will encourage more people to take bikes to work instead of driving as well as providing a safer environment for those who currently ride on Westlake.
The path is also intended to reduce complaints from businesses and customers along Westlake who currently have to watch for 15-20 mph cyclists riding through the parking lot.
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Old 05-25-14, 04:53 PM   #45
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Dexter is parallel for part othe route, other parts are several hilly blocks up from the lake front. Dexter also continues south when Westlake wraps around the south end of the lake, adding several more blocks of hills and intersection delays for commuters headed to the southeast shore of the lake. Many commuters prefer the current warren of parking lot hazards to the hills and intersection conflicts of Dexter.
Yes, that's what I intended to explain. Thanks for the elaboration.

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The path is also intended to reduce complaints from businesses and customers along Westlake who currently have to watch for 15-20 mph cyclists riding through the parking lot.
OTOH, the same business owners now complain that they will be penalized by having the parking space taken away. That leads to my (sarcastic) suggestion that they buy the property from Seattle.
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Old 05-25-14, 05:04 PM   #46
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Seattle currently has no law that mandates the use of bike lanes. I sure hope they don't change their mind anytime soon.
I think that's an important distinction in this. Washington isn't a segregated state; use of bike lanes, sidepaths, and shoulders is at the cyclist's choice by state law. (The state's major cycling organizations did support a proposed compromise a few years ago that would have traded segregation for a mandatory minimum passing distance. The backlash from cyclists killed that proposal fairly quickly, and I don't expect we'll see anything like it again soon.)

Seattle has been making a major push for segregated sidepaths lately, but they aren't doing it to force existing cyclists off the street; advocates want to encourage cycling by the "interested but concerned" people who say they would ride if they didn't have to ride in the street. I suspect they've overestimated the size of that population, and won't get nearly the increased usage they expect out of these sidepaths, but I don't see the paths as a threat to my continued riding in the street.
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Old 05-25-14, 05:08 PM   #47
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OTOH, the same business owners now complain that they will be penalized by having the parking space taken away. That leads to my (sarcastic) suggestion that they buy the property from Seattle.
Based on the parking use studies, simply charging a very modest fee for all-day parking on the public right of way would leave plenty of space for the local businesses. Giving away free parking close to downtown isn't a very efficient way to manage demand for public right-of-way.

There's plenty of room for both business parking and a bike path that meets the city's minimum safety standards for cycling facilities.
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Old 05-25-14, 11:50 PM   #48
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Just wanted to quickly add--the Westlake Path is designed for granny and the kids. Dexter is the route for faster, more experienced cyclists.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:33 AM   #49
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Just wanted to quickly add--the Westlake Path is designed for granny and the kids. Dexter is the route for faster, more experienced cyclists.
Is it spelt out anywhere in the Bike Master Plan document or anywhere else? I've been somewhat following the project, but I don't recall the SDOT specifically stating that the Westlake bike track will be for the "slower" riders.
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Old 05-26-14, 08:54 AM   #50
coolkat
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
Is it spelt out anywhere in the Bike Master Plan document or anywhere else? I've been somewhat following the project, but I don't recall the SDOT specifically stating that the Westlake bike track will be for the "slower" riders.
I went to the SDOT design plan open house last week, and, yes, it was fairly explicitly stated that this was the case.
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