Yacht owners and operators were among the group of so-called Westlake Stakeholders who sued the City of Seattle in 2014 to block the construction of a dedicated cycle track along the western waterfront of South Lake Union. They were really upset about losing some parking spots—so upset that they wanted to stop the building of the second-most-requested component of improved, safer bicycle infrastructure in the entire city. That particular corridor currently lacks any bike lane at all; the official route has bicyclists passing through a nerve-wracking, hazardous parking lot.
But then the group dropped their lawsuit when Mayor Ed Murray announced that the city would postpone the construction of the cycle track and incorporate the group into a lengthy design advisory process. Earlier this month, after months of open houses and meetings, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced it would begin construction on the cycle track in September. Woo-hoo! Murray's the-1-percent-and-the-99-percent-shall-compromise approach to governance wins!
Not so fast.
Turns out the 1 percent of the 1 percent doesn't give two shits about any of this Seattle process. In a lawsuit filed in King County Court on June 15, Seattle Bike Blog reports today, Nautical Landing alleges that the city's compromise design plans—construction was slated to finally begin this fall, with minimal loss of parking—aren't being environmentally reviewed properly. This is a similar legal maneuver to the one that's been used to hold up work on a missing portion of the Burke-Gilman bike trail.
Nautical Landing is Seattle's "premier yacht, superyacht moorage" location, according to its website, and it's where German billionaire Reinhold Würth parked the Vibrant Curiosity (actual name), his $100 million superyacht, last summer.
"Corporate jet facilities are only 15 minutes away," the company notes. It's important to have speedy access to your jet from your superyacht, after all. And vice versa. And who wants to look at cyclists riding by in a protected lane while you're doing that?
By the way, guess who the host was when the Westlake Stakeholders group held a fundraiser for Murray during his mayoral campaign in 2013? Nautical Landing, according to the Westlake Stakeholders' website. That raises the question of whether Murray can use his sway with the Stakeholders to get them to pressure Nautical Landing to drop the suit. But a spokesperson for Murray declined to comment. SDOT said it can't comment on pending litigation. Nautical Landing and Nautical Landing's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.