West Seattle Bike Connections – Response to Seattle Draft BMP, 2013

Below are excerpts from the “WSBC 2013 BMP Draft Response” sent to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). The “Report Card” that accompanied the detailed response is posted here. Seattle Bike Blog touched on West Seattle a bit as well.

If you would like a copy of the complete WSBC document, you can request a .pdf copy by emailing: westseattlebikeconnections@gmail.com.

…The BMP itself provides much detail about the framework and how it recommends it be implemented throughout the city via city sector mapping of current/planned bicycle facilities. The facilities found on the included maps contain primarily on/off-street bicycle routing and less information about intersections and bike parking.
WSBC provided feedback specific to bicycle facilities in West Seattle (bike routing, facility types, new facilities proposed to close gaps in the bicycling network, and other comments such as those regarding problematic intersections and terrain fixes like stair runnels) to SDOT during the BMP review meetings in the winter of 2012.
Below is a list of the primary streets/routes/fixes proposed to SDOT followed by an explanation of how the items are treated, or not, on the BMP draft released in June 2013. How the treatment is related to the vision and purpose of the BMP is included if it is of concern…

1) E Marginal Way S / Alaskan Way S from Spokane St to S Atlantic St: Install a separated cycletrack or off-street path.
A cycletrack is proposed and under active review by SDOT, forward of the final BMP review and approval. The review by SDOT and final outcome will be closely monitored by WSBC to make sure the proposal and plans continue to move forward and not be forgotten or de-railed by other projects. This route is an essential, highly traveled bicycle corridor linking West Seattle to the city center and SODO. It is also a busy trucking corridor so safe travel and good facilities are needed to encourage more people of all skill levels to cycle in and out of West Seattle. The Port of Seattle’s desire to rebuild this street as a heavy haul route presents an opportunity to provide the separation of bike and truck traffic that both user groups desire.

5) Fauntleroy Ave SW from California Ave SW to SW Alaska: In-street major separation requested, or at least bike lanes in both directions of travel (N/S).
No changes are proposed to this route by SDOT in the BMP. A disappointing lack for those heading southbound on what is a direct, flat route with little cross-traffic. Sharrows are not enough for inexperienced riders or children heading southbound on this heavily motorized route. We strongly urge reconsideration of this section of Fauntleroy Ave SW.

10) SW Trenton from 9th Ave SW to 35th Ave SW: Bike lanes or Greenway added.
A Greenway is proposed along SW Trenton to 10th, not to 9th. The Greenway doesn’t go directly to 35th Ave SW. Rather, the Greenway route uses 18th to Thistle instead of Trenton. Trenton is more direct – although there’s more traffic – and it also connects to the route west to the Endolyne/Ferry dock to the west more directly and makes a good route east to Delridge/White Center and to Westwood Village. Thistle is less direct in any direction. We request reconsideration of this routing. Is SDOT’s proposed route due to terrain issues or traffic level issues? Should the term “Greenway” be used, or should some other on-street facility be identified instead?

14) S Horton St in SODO from E. Marginal Way S to 4th Ave S: Add minor in-street separation or enhanced street with a safe crossing at E Marginal Way.
Nothing is proposed on the BMP map, a disappointment since this is a good, flat route and not as busy with motorized traffic as the S Hanford St route. Horton is a quiet street that continues all the way to 4th Ave South, unlike adjacent streets. We are concerned that the truck route may have taken options for bike routing off the table, exactly what shouldn’t happen per the BMP draft plan. An addition of a flashing beacon sign marking the bicycle route crossing should be a major consideration at this location, as proposed by SDOT traffic engineers, to provide a safe crossing route into the SODO area for West Seattle residents who work in SODO or travel to the SODO Busway Trail or Sound Transit SODO light rail station.

21) Admiral Way SW westbound (uphill) from Spokane St/Avalon Way SW/Harbor Ave SW: Improve bike route connection access to Admiral. This is a busy intersection, connecting cyclists to routes in/out of West Seattle from four West Seattle areas (Alki, Admiral, Alaska and southern areas and Delridge).
Improved (or any) signage is needed pointing cyclists/pedestrians to stairway (already with a runnel!) just east of the Avalon/Harbor Ave intersection. The stairway is not visible from the intersection.
The bike route crosses Harbor Ave SW/Avalon Way SW at the pedestrian signal. Drivers often neglect to yield to crosswalk users. Crosswalk users (both pedestrians and cyclists) cannot be seen by drivers due to the metal bars installed on the top of the cement barrier bordering westbound SW Spokane St. located to the north of the intersection. In addition, the crosswalk is located just to the north of the intersection, allowing drivers to build up speed before encountering crosswalk. This intersection is not noted on the BMP map but has been identified numerous times to SDOT as a major connector that needs improvement so that many cyclists feel comfortable making a route change.
A cycle track seems to be proposed from Avalon Way SW to Admiral Way SW but it’s not clear how the connection between the two will be made. And with the fairly recently added new bike lanes and Sharrows added to both streets can we really expect to see a cycletrack here instead?