Destroying a Neighborhood?

Maple Leaf Residents Say They Need to Be "Saved" from a Bike Lane


It’s so easy to take potshots at someone who is against a bike lane and Ms. Minard has done a wonderful job in making the concerns of people who live along Roosevelt Way look foolish. Bravo! By doing so, however, she has missed an opportunity to elevate the discussion of what is being done to Seattle neighborhoods.

For the record, the residents of Roosevelt Way are not against bike lanes. Not even this particular bike lane. What they’re concerned about is what the addition of a bike lane will mean to this particular stretch of roadway.

What Ms. Minard didn’t tell you in this article is that SDOT’s own findings showed that the heaviest traffic along this stretch of roadway is southbound in the mornings. Yet, their plan – in addition to adding a bike lane – takes away a southbound lane in the mornings, something the three Metro lines that this stretch of road supports depend on to make their established scheduled stops. What this will mean is backed-up traffic, slower commutes, and increased pollution, something we should all agree is not in the best interests of the city. (Also, one point of correction, the side of the street that is losing its parking and a lane of traffic is the same side of the street, not opposite sides of the street, as the article states.)

What Ms. Minard also didn’t tell you is that when the photographer who came to shoot our neighborhood saw this stretch of road, she exclaimed, “This is too narrow for a bike lane!” and when she saw the busses that now have to be within inches of the curb, she proclaimed it “scary.” Ms. Minard chose not to visit our neighborhood before writing her story.

What she also didn’t tell you is that there already exist beautiful bike lanes just five blocks away on Fifth Avenue. With the Sharrow lanes on 75th, bikers have a clear, uninterrupted shot to travel north. What she didn’t tell you is that this proposal does nothing to help bikers traveling south, which is the vast majority of bike traffic on this stretch of road.

What she also didn’t mention is that recent studies have shown that bike lanes do very little to increase biker safety…, a fact the Cascade Bicycle Club concedes. Safety is what SDOT claims is their reason for this addition.

We put Ms. Minard in touch with numerous stories from many residents, all of which she chose to ignore. It is disappointing Ms. Minard chose to publish SDOT’s talking points verbatim without telling the other side of the story.

Again, we do not oppose bike lanes. What we oppose is pandering to the few (and it is questionable whether these changes benefit anyone at all) at the expense of the many, which includes the hundreds of pedestrians who walk this stretch of road every day.
I'm not from Seattle and don't have a dog in this fight, but sam2300's comment goes awry when claiming that "bike lanes do very little to increase biker safety".

This is an unfortunately all-too-common misreading of a study that focused on severity of injuries in bike-car accidents, NOT on frequency of accidents or some amorphous sense of "biker safety". The study found that "dedicated bike lanes are not necessarily the most important factors in reducing the severity of injuries in crashes between bikes and motor vehicles."…

"The UB study examined whether cyclists injured in accidents with motor vehicles while traveling in bike lanes had less severe injuries than cyclists traveling in the same lanes as motor vehicles. Previous research has shown that bike lanes do reduce the number of bike-motor vehicle accidents that occur, Jehle says." (emphasis mine)

So please, don't let a misleading TV news clip that misrepresents a decent study guide your thinking about the relationship of bike lanes to biker safety. As a daily bike commuter, I much prefer riding in bike lanes, and feel much safer in them.

As you can see from the comments on the komonews site, this study is mostly being used (misread) as a justification for removing bike lanes, not to mention lambast bikers and get them off the road altogether.
Sorry, the link looked live in my preview, but now it doesn't. Here's the link to the U. Buffalo study.
Did the author even look at the street or the plan she's so cavalierly making judgments about? Her use of safety statistics for Stone Way as justification for SDOT's changes to this stretch of Roosevelt is either deliberately misleading, lazy, or incompetent. Stone Way is exactly 18 feet wider than this stretch of Roosevelt, it has a center turn lane, and parking lanes on both sides! If the author is going to cherry pick safety stats, the least she could do is make sure they are halfway relevant to the situation being "reported" on.
What I can never figure out is why city planners think people who ride bicycles want to share busy arterials with cars. Every arterial has a street one or two blocks away on which a Greenway, that included a dedicated bike track between the parked cars and the sidewalk on one side of the street would provide much greater protection as well as a more enjoyable ride. I propose letting Maple Leaf residents save their community by making it easy for drivers to drive on the arterials, and make it much harder to tear around the back streets because the arterials are clogged.
The fact that the author felt qualified to report on this subject without visiting this neighborhood is astonishing. Had her goal been to report on the situation instead of to create another snarky piece, we might have had a real chance for learning and improving our city. What she would have learned, for one thing, is that this particular bicycle lane runs alongside a row of parked cars. One of the top reasons for bicycle injuries is a bicycle running into a car door that is being opened into a bike lane. This proposal does nothing to reduce those injuries, and yet SDOT claims that “improved safety” is the major reason for this proposal. This problem and most of the other issues the residents of Roosevelt Way have raised could all be solved by putting the bike lane ALONG THE CURB of the east side of Roosevelt and get rid of parking on THAT side of the street, keeping the parking on the west side of the street. This way, BOTH sides of the street would have a buffer against car traffic for pedestrians. And yet, for some reason, SDOT hasn’t considered this. Any true journalist would have question why.
@Joe: I'm sorry you live in Buffalo. Sympathies aside, that doesn't mean you can drop your bag and unpack it here. Stay local.
This bike lane wasn't implemented three years ago because everyone saw the safety risks involved with squeezing it in to such a narrow and busy roadway. The plan needed to be altered to be safe, but that didn't happen. Now McGinn is throwing caution to the wind and shoving it through because of his maniacal desire to add more bike lanes to his resume as he heads out the door.
BTW, I hope cyclists going south on this stretch of Roosevelt in the mornings are content to wait in the long line of vehicles that appears there every day. Given this plan, they certainly won't be able to pass by on the right as they often can now. Without the second southbound lane, these cyclists will be stuck at rush hour, along with all the buses and cars, in a backup that will be twice the length it is today. Or, they will just ride down the sidewalk... Wait a minute, how is that safer again?
I find it difficult to express my irritation that this road is being modified despite years of resident protestation.

As a regular driver on this stretch of road, I see problems with this plan that increase traffic. One of these will, in fact, cause me to change my daily commute from Roosevelt to the residential streets nearby.

The occasional line of southbound cars that backs up at the street light on 75th and stacks past 78th will clearly not be reduced by removing a southbound lane. While this is not a daily occurrence, subtracting a lane will increase the length of the backups that *do* occur in addition to severely aggravating the occasional log-jam.

Northbound at the 80th Street intersection, the parking on the right is taken away and the bike lane taken to the curb. Unfortunately, due to the dedicated bus zone on the west side of the street, the northbound driving lane has also been pushed to the right. This creates a situation where the vehicles turning left on 80th to head to I-5 block all northbound traffic until the southbound cars have passed. There is no longer an opportunity for northbound vehicles to pass the turning cars, so traffic between 75th and 80th cannot help but increase noticeably during the morning commute. Add that to the aforementioned southbound log-jam and we will be seeing increased traffic on the residential side-streets from people who don't want to wait 3 cycles of the light to make a right turn.

Apologies to my neighbors, but it looks like I'll be one of them until additional 'traffic improvements' call for modification of every residential intersection with a traffic circle.
You want to see "real" destruction of a one-of-a-kind neighborhood allowed and supported by Mayor MacTheKnife and Dow Constant-Teen, take a look at what happened to the Lowman Beach Park neighborhood this summer. 19 one of a kind, moderately priced rental units in six West Seattle cottages, two story homes, and a couple of small apartment buildings GONE forever. For no good reason, other than elitist landowners south of the neighborhood taking advantage of politics and planning to get rid of those "awful" renters. Gag. Search Re-Elect Dow Constantine 2013 -- "One good flush deserves another dot com."
As a resident of this neighborhood, this is a fairly uninformed look at the situation. I would suggest sitting along Roos during both the morning and evening commutes and watching the traffic stack up. When it does, people start using the residential side streets and driving really fast. I want bikers to have a safe place to ride - but this seems like it will make an already problematic situation worse.
If the author of this piece would like a real-life example of how bike lanes ruin neighborhoods, one need go no further than Ballard. 24th Avenue NW in Ballard has gotten ridiculous because of the bike lanes. Commute times throughout all of Crown Hill and Ballard have gotten longer. While I support bike travel - hey I'd be in favor of banning all cars and making Seattle a transit/bicycle/pedestrian city only! - cramming a bike lane into every nook and cranny - especially along main arterials - makes no sense and does nothing to create a safer situation for bikers.
I'm in favor of bike lanes. They concentrate the targets.
A great thing about bike lanes is they make it easy to know where to scatter the roofing nails.
Seattle has much bigger problems than needing more bike lanes. I remain steadfastly opposed to spending more money on repainting lines in the streets to create lanes that, in my neighborhood for sure, go unused 100% of the time.

I support the Maple Leaf residents in opposing these lanes on a major arterial street. They are too often unused and only add to the traffic danger and congestion. They make sense only in three or four Seattle neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, Seattle badly needs some handicapped street parking. Where are the shrill politically correct advocates for that?
#17, the bike types hate the handicapped, the elderly, the disabled, and others who cannot walk or ride. These people remind them of their own mortality, which they fear terribly, and of problems that cannot be solved, which drive Americans crazy.
It's a shame that The Stranger has become a mouthpiece for McSchwinn's "maniacal" (as Vic1969 so appropriately labels it) desire to stick bike lanes all over the city, whether they belong there or not. Ramming bike lanes up the city's ass at every turn does nothing to improve safety, desirability, or livability of Seattle's neighborhoods for bikers, pedestrians or homeowners. Unfortunately, McSchwinn says "Bike lane," and The Stranger replies, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"
Listen to the NIMBYs wail! You almost want to believe them until you actually bike northbound on that stretch. Either you take the whole lane and make everyone wait, let the drivers strafe you, or ride the broken sidewalk. I just block traffic and let them wait.
These are what those of us new to the city like to call "Seattle Problems". Please go live in Tulsa, Little Rock, Memphis, Detroit, even Chicago or LA and apply this outrage to some real issues.
@20 - you have so perfectly and unwittingly demonstrated why Seattlites are sick to death of bikers and their "We deserve the world handed to us on a silver platter" attitude. You state "I just block traffic and let them wait." Well, I have some hard news for you - the universe doesn't revolve around you! There are other people in this world. People who walk down Roosevelt (leaving a smaller carbon footprint than you do as a biker), people who need - for whatever reason - to drive their cars. Part of the price of being a member of any society is the obligation to take fellow people in the society's needs into account. This particular neighborhood has numerous bike lanes already, as well as supporting three Metro bus lines. Hardly NIMBYs as you point out. What does your neighborhood do to support creating a greener, more eco-friendly environment. I'll tell you what - NOTHING. Because if anything inconvenienced you in the slightest way, you would squeal like the proverbial stuck pig.
If we want to solve the environmental problems we've created, it's got to become easier and more convenient to walk, take mass transit or yes, even bike for those who are able than to drive in single occupancy vehicles. I think car drivers are so used to having their needs prioritized, they don't even recognize how unbalanced it is.
#23, at least we'll get rid of the bike club's best friend, McGinn. But then we'll have Murray, who will be just as bad.
Um....does anybody remember Rodney King?
A recent study found that 4% of Seattle residents bike to work.

Proportionally, you would expect that about 1 in every 25 streets is set aside for bikes, right?

But of course, that's not the case at all. The total amount of pavement set aside for bikes in the city is well under 1%. (Sharrows do not count.)

Believe it or not, I don't ride a bike. I tried, but it's not for me; I'm not in great shape, and I don't like being drenched in sweat when I get to work, and I don't feel safe riding in mixed traffic.

But even though I don't bike, I still recognize that a lot of people do, and that a sane transportation policy would encourage this mode of transportation -- or, at the very least, support the people who are already using it.

(Needless to say, I feel the same way about transit and walking.)
Seattle will NEVER be a biker's paradise. As a former biker, I will tell you, Seattle is WAY to hilly. It will never be a biker mecca like they have in parts of Europe, NYC and etc. It requires you to be an environmental faithist cultist to tackle some of our long uphill bikes after 9 hours of hard work.

Stone Way N by Greenlake is officially a clusterfuck--if it wasn't before. I love bike lanes but this one needs some signal redesign or something. I'm hoping SDOT is planning on doing that.
The bike lane has made Rosoevelt a parking lot betwwen 4:30 and 6:30 nightly. I took 40 minutes to drive Roosevelt from Northgate way to 82nd.

Also moving the south lane over has caused an accident in which a semi truck and trailer were damaged. Repair cost to the City of Seattle roughly 300K.

We also lost a 60 year old tree when the truck hit it and brought it down. It took 3 hours for DOt to clean up the mess at 10:30 pm, that overtime for city employees. Repairs to sidewalk and crub will also cost the city.

The business on Roosevelt are already feeling teh effect of the bike lane. People are not shopping or using the services because of the mess in getting around the area.

SDOT and cascade bike club, tahnks for destroying my nieghborhood.