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May 15, 2014

A Second Community Meeting On The Westlake Cycle Track

Kirby Lindsay Laney
A map, provided by SDOT, that shows the location of the proposed Westlake Avenue North Cycle Track.

A map, provided by SDOT, that shows the location of the proposed Westlake Avenue North Cycle Track.

The controversial cycle track planned for Westlake Avenue North, between the Fremont Bridge and the Mercer Corridor, will have a second community meeting – scheduled at the Fremont Studios on Wednesday, May 21st from 5:30p – 8p.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will host this project open house, with the presentation scheduled for 6:15p.  Project staff and designers will be on-hand to share more information about the project, take input and give feedback.

The Westlake Cycle Track Project is a proposal to build a cycle track (a dedicated lane) along Westlake Avenue North.  According to the SDOT website, this project has three key benefits:

  • safety for all users – by giving the cyclists a dedicated lane, pedestrians and vehicle operators will be able to navigate without interference
  • connectivity – giving cyclists better connections to surrounding bike/walking trails
  • accessibility – creates a flat, lower-stress path
At the Westlake Cycle Track open house in Oct. '13 the attendance overwhelmed the facility that the presentation had to be given twice to over-capacity crowds.  Photo by K. Lindsay, Oct '13

At the Westlake Cycle Track open house in Oct. ’13 the attendance overwhelmed the facility that the presentation had to be given twice to over-capacity crowds. Photo by K. Lindsay, Oct ’13

Finally, in the 2007 Seattle Bicycle Master Plan outreach process, Westlake was identified as one of the most requested areas for bicycle infrastructure improvement.

However, businesses, residents and users of the parking lots and Westlake Avenue transportation corridor, have expressed dismay at the plans to construct a dedicated lane for cyclists in this already congested area – particularly as there is a wide path already constructed along Westlake for pedestrians and cyclists.  Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has appointed a Design Advisory Group (DAG,) which includes members of the Westlake community, to come together to give feedback on this project.  At the meeting on May 21st, work-to-date by the DAG will also be available for public review.

One of the input boards gathering info at the Oct. '13 Westlake Cycle Track open house.  Photo by K. Lindsay

One of the input boards gathering info at the Oct. ’13 Westlake Cycle Track open house. Photo by K. Lindsay

The SDOT website acknowledged that many travel modes share the limited space of the Westlake corridor, and this is a designated Major Truck Street (a transportation corridor identified for use by freight through Seattle.)  According to the SDOT materials, the cycle track project will strive to balance these needs while improving safety for all.

The public project open house on May 21st will give citizens a chance to let SDOT know who is interested in the Westlake Cycle Track.  Photo by K. Lindsay, from the Oct. '13 public meeting on the Cycle Track Project

The public project open house on May 21st will give citizens a chance to let SDOT know who is interested in the Westlake Cycle Track. Photo by K. Lindsay, from the Oct. ’13 public meeting on the Cycle Track Project

This Project Open House furthers the data collection and analysis period for the first phase of the project.  A survey, now closed, was recently conducted in the Westlake business and residential area.  The results of this survey have not yet been released.  Environmental review and a final design of the preferred alternative cycle track is expected to begin this year, and finish in 2015.  Construction of the cycle track is already proposed for 2015.

Public input on this project is encouraged at the meeting on May 21st, although a project representative can be requested to come speak to community groups.  Contact WCT@Seattle.gov or 206/909-8578 to request a speaker, or with other, specific questions on this project that do not get answered at the Project Open House.

 


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©2017 Kirby Laney.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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