Delridge Way SW Needs Bike Lanes

The Delridge Rapid Ride H-Line onlne open house is open for comment. Please comment! SDOT and Metro are offering two unacceptable choices for riding on Delridge. Participate and let them know in the last “essay” question that “NONE OF THE ABOVE” is the answer. We expect full implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan with protected bike lanes on Delridge.

Riding a bicycle to and through West Seattle can be challenging due to limited safety provisions for people on bikes, and many hills. Delridge Way Southwest is one of the few north-south connections through West Seattle (along with 35th and Fauntleroy). It is the only major connection for the eastern portion of West Seattle. Delridge Way connects the West Seattle Bridge on the north to White Center on the south, while providing access to other important destinations including the Delridge Library, Boren STEM K-8 school, Southwest Pool, Chief Sealth High School, Denny Middle School, and Westwood Village. It is the only reasonably flat and evenly graded valley route connecting these destinations.

Although the proposed RapidRide H line is promising in terms of overall transportation improvements, there must also be a protected bike lane on the full length of Delridge Way for the people who already use this corridor and ride bicycles, and  more importantly, for people who would if it was safe.

Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan calls for much greater use of bicycles for transportation. The City’s Climate Action Plan goals depend upon a significant increases in bicycle use. We are not yet on track to meet the 2035 goals. The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan calls for protected bike lanes on Delridge to meet these transportation and climate action goals. Provisions for safe bike riding are by far the least expensive way to add capacity to our streets and absorb population growth without adding to traffic congestion. The public health and safety benefits are obvious.

Many parts of Delridge Way SW are very wide, especially the areas north of Kenyon St. to the West Seattle Bridge. These portions could readily include continuous protected bicycle lanes on both directions with minimal disruption to traffic, parking, or existing street trees. On the south portion of the corridor, especially south of Henderson St/Barton Pl, there again are wide streets that can accommodate bicycle infrastructure. We acknowledge that the few blocks immediately to the south of Kenyon St are narrow. We ask that on this short important stretch some parking be removed to provide, at a minimum, standard width bike lanes.

There are no viable alternative routes to Delridge. Members of West Seattle Bike Connections and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways spent considerable effort mapping and then attempting to ride potential alternative, parallel routes. Coming into West Seattle from the north, access to the existing Delridge-Highland Park greenway is immediately challenging because of the steep grade at Andover. Further south, there are multiple further challenges including extreme elevation changes near Sanislo elementary school and unsafe traffic conditions around Dumar. This Greenway, while immensely useful to residents on the east side of West Seattle, does not connect well to destinations in the valley (schools, library, community center, and shopping).

Delridge has the flattest, most even grades up the valley. Nothing “parallel” comes close.

The 26th Ave Greenway provides a valuable parallel route as far south as Juneau, but dead-ends beyond. A steep climb from Juneau along Croft Pl would allow connection to the Delridge-Highland Park Greenway, but the grade is too steep to meet the standards of an all ages, all abilities route. Once Delridge narrows at Kenyon, it is possible to cut over on the unpaved right-of-way at Elmgrove to 22nd. Continuing south on 22nd, there are two major unprotected crossings at Thistle and Trenton, ending at a set of stairs at Barton to reconnect to Delridge or continue south on 21st.

Given no reasonable alternative, Delridge itself requires protected bike lanes. The traffic lanes are wide, so despite recently lowered speed limits, many drivers still pass through the area at uncomfortable speeds for people on bikes. As the flattest route through this part of the city, it is the only logical connection to improve to increase bicycle use for transportation, especially with great connections to schools and other destinations.

City suggested alternate “parallel route”!

We supported the Move Seattle Levy that promised to improve Delridge as a multi-modal corridor. We ask that the City deliver on that promise. We ask that the City follow its plans, and make Delridge a Complete Street.


SW Elmgrove from Delridge to 22nd SW

22nd could be OK if an unimproved right of way at Elmgrove was turned into a paved path, but then it ends in steps at Barton. OK for a route to Westwood Village, but does not connect to White Center by bike.