If you’re a college football fan you probably know this already – the UW Huskies defeated Eastern Washington Eagles 30-27 last Friday in the opening game of the season. As the scoreline shows, the game was close, much closer than it should have been, and the Huskies were lucky to escape with the win.
But that’s not the whole story. The first game of the season also signaled a shift in how bike parking is handled at Huskies games. As many fans who biked to the game probably noticed, the bike parking is different this season. The most significant change is the placement of five new racks (with a capacity of 75 bikes) in the Montlake Triangle immediately adjacent to the Burke-Gilman. These racks accommodate cyclists who arrive at the game on the trail and who do not want to walk their bikes through the crowds of fans closer to the stadium. Since the racks might be difficult to find, wayfinding signs were placed along the trail directing cyclists to the new parking.
This change came about through a year-long conversation between Cascade and the University of Washington Athletics Department. It began last year when I went to a Huskies game in November to count bikes and track traffic flows. This led to a number of recommendations for how to better accommodate cyclists and place parking to reflect cyclists’ desire lines, thereby reducing congestion, improving the fan experience and encouraging bicycling to games. The Athletics Department was very receptive, and with their help, we refined the recommendations and identified some easy wins for the new season. As a number of fans I talked to last week said, the new parking and wayfinging is a huge improvement over last year, and everyone I talked to is planning on biking to the next game.
While great, these improvements are not the end of the process. A stadium renovation and improvement project will begin before the end of the 2011 season, and we hope that bike parking and the needs of cyclists will be included in the redesign.
If you haven’t biked to the stadium before, this Saturday’s game against the Hawaii Warriors is a great opportunity to try it for the first time. Biking to the game couldn’t be easier. Hop on Burke all the way to the stadium, enjoy the beautiful weather, avoid the terrible traffic, save money and check out the new bike parking.
Did you bike to a Huskies game? Tell us what you think in the comments.