We have just over one week to help the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) fill in the blanks. As you may know, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently released their draft network map for the update of the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). For the first time in five years, we are seeing new lines on a map that will dictate what type of bicycling infrastructure gets built and where for the foreseeable future in Seattle. And so far, it looks good – or does it?
SDOT wants your input on the proposed network by providing comments on the map by Dec. 17. They have released a new mapping tool that allows you to comment by drawing lines directly on an interactive map (more on that in a minute). However, we have heard concerns that the map is not intuitive to the everyday Seattleite who rides – or wants to ride – a bike through our complex web of city streets, so let me try to simplify the map legend for you before you dig in.
- The red dashed lines indicate an “off-street” bicycle connection, which is just another way of saying shared-use trail like the Burke-Gilman Trail.
- The blue lines that you see on our city’s major arterials are “in street, major separation”, aka cycle tracks. These are the types of projects we’re seeing create world-class bicycling cities across America.
- The orange lines are classified as “in street, minor separation”. When you read “minor separation”, think of separation by paint and visualize a standard or buffered bike lane (which one will depend on the characteristics and context of the actual street).
- The green lines are what SDOT classifies as an “enhanced street”. For the purposes of this exercise, think neighborhood greenway – the type of bikeway that has been so transformative in Portland.
Finally, some lines on the map are highlighted in yellow. These are what SDOT has identified as “multi-modal corridors”, which mean that they are shared by any combination of transit, freight, cars (in high volumes) and people walking and biking. They are also generally the flattest route through an area and may not have an equally good parallel route, making them highly desirable to people on bikes. For example, E Madison St, Lake City Way and N/NE 45 St/NW Market St are all identified as multi-modal corridors. In short, there are already heavy demands on what is otherwise a relatively limited right of way, and there may be trade-offs if and when things start to get built. Just keep that in mind.
Okay, deep breath. Now, as I was saying, SDOT wants your comments on the draft network map by Dec. 17. And they want them in the form of lines drawn on their online interactive map, or via email.
So here’s our request to you: draw them or email them to SDOT. Either way, we need you to help SDOT fill in the blanks in the proposed bicycle network that will serve Seattle for the next 20 years or more.
Specifically, SDOT wants to know where bikeways need to be added to the map. In other words, where are the gaps in the proposed network that need to be filled in order to fully connect Seattle by bike?
To help answer this question, we enlisted the help of the experts when it comes to biking in Seattle’s neighborhoods – people like you, who live there. We polled some of our friends and allies like Seattle Bike Blog, our Community Bicycle Advocates and newly formed groups like West Seattle Bike Connections, organizers within the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways movement, our staff, and others and about what gaps they see in the network. And the response was overwhelming.
So by city “sector” (how the map is divided for outreach purposes), below are the top gaps identified. When you are drawing lines, here are some corridors to consider:
- Leary Way in Ballard
- N 36th St in Fremont
- 15th Ave NW in Ballard
- Aurora Bridge
- Holman Rd in Crown Hill
- Green Lake needs an additional route for bikes along the west side of the lake
- N 50th St
- 17th Ave NE and/or 19th Ave NE in the University District
- Bike/pedestrian bridge over I-5 at NE 47th St (was in 2007 plan and has been removed)
- Montlake Blvd NE, 25th Ave NE, and better connections to University Village
- Lake City Way NE from 12th Ave NE to 20th Ave NE
- NE Northgate Way
- NE 145th St
West Sector (includes Downtown)
- Pike and/or Pine St east of Downtown
- Jackson St (currently categorized as “enhanced street”, but draw the line anyway)
- Denny Way
- Westlake Ave N
- Terry Ave N
- Harrison St
- Franklin Ave E
- E Lynn St (or some way to get from Eastlake to Boylston)
- Fairview Ave E (by way of Yale) between Roanoke and Hamlin
- 18th Ave E between Columbia and Alder
- S Dearborn St between 5th and 6th
- 36th Ave SW from Avalon to Alaska
- Access to SW Admiral Way westbound (uphill) from Spokane St/ Avalon/ Harbor Ave
- East Marginal Way S from S Spokane St to Diagonal Way S
- 38th Ave SE between Fauntleroy and Morgan
- SW Brandon St east/west across West Seattle
- Portland Ave between 9th and 10th
- SW Trenton St
- Rainier Ave S south of intersection with MLK Way S (this is the biggest gap in the sector)
- A better way so connect to West Seattle, such as a continuation of the I-90 Trail route to S Spokane St and across the West Seattle Bridge
These suggestions are by no means meant to be comprehensive and I’m sure there are things we have missed. We want to give a big thanks to everyone who helped inform these lists, but again, you are the expert in your neighborhood – so feel free to let us know if we are missing anything critical in the list above.
And please let SDOT know about these gaps and others that you identify by drawing them on the map or emailing them to SDOT by Dec. 17. Additional elements of the plan will be available for comment early next year, but until then, let’s help SDOT fill in the blanks and fully connect Seattle.