April 16, 2013
EAST MARGINAL WAY
Peter Hahn, SDOT Director, updated the board on issues concerning freight movement. Some of them also concern bike movement. One is East Marginal Way, which he and Christine Wolf, Port of Seattle Seaport Transportation Director, described as the #1 priority for improvement. The “poster child”. The Port wants haul routes redone to support heavier truck loads to make ship-to-rail transfers efficient and competitive with the ports in Long Beach and elsewhere. East Marginal Way is the next big step, along with the current flyover ramp at Altantic and the upcoming underpass at SR99 on the truck haul route to the Argo rail yard. The Sonics Arena project Memorandum of Understanding commits $40M to freight mobility, which could be spent on East Marginal Way. What does it mean for bike transportation in West Seattle? Improvements to East Marginal, along with the 5way intersection at Chelan, are the keys to the city. Improving that road will make it safe and easy for thousands more to commute by bike instead of car to downtown. This will get cars out of the way of bikes and buses. Use of currently illegal 98 ton super-chassis rigs increases safety risks for all road users. If we can work with the Port and SDOT and WSDOT to get a cycle track on East Marginal as part of this rebuild, it will be a win for everyone in our community, including truckers, shippers, bus riders, car drivers and all of us who depend on a thriving Port of Seattle and international trade for our livelihood.
CARMAGGEDON, THE SEQUEL
When the tunnel boring machine is going under SR99 this September or October, the highway will be closed to traffic, just in case it should collapse. We can help mitigate this problem if we can get more people onto bikes to ride downtown or to the water taxi. Let’s help show people what we can do to reduce traffic congestion!
SDOT is about to start an Industrial Area Freight Access Project study that is part of development of the Freight Master Plan. The FMP will follow the Bike Master Plan currently under way, and the completed Pedestrian Master Plan.
WE COVER THE WATERFRONT
Steve Pearce and Mike Johnson of SDOT presented the mid-way design concept for the Central Waterfront. This gets plenty of coverage elsewhere, so I’ll just mention that the preferred bike route alternative, for safety and separation of pedestrians and bike riders, is a two-way cycle track on the west side of Alaskan Way, separated from both the pedestrian promenade and the vehicle lanes.
Preferred by all stakeholders including the freight board members at this meeting. Pier service entries will be mid block driveways, for right-turn-in and right-turn-out only, as most are now. This has the advantage of narrower curb cuts and slower speeds than straight-in crossings at intersections, and works better with the pier layouts, but has the disadvantage of poor visibility for truck drivers on their right side.
The cycle track will have curves, markings and raised paving at crossings to alert riders to watch for pedestrians and vehicles, and will be designed with attention to sightlines for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. This option seemed like it would serve the widest range of riders and be least likely to be taken over by wandering tourists. I say this after navigating dozens of dogs, skaters, runners, strollers and oblivious ice-cream cone consumers in the separated bike path instead of the pedestrian walkway on the Alki Trail this afternoon.