Suburban Seattle Parking Purists: We Didn't Plant Those Fireworks on That Bike Lane Construction Site

Comments

1

They live in the City, and this is a stupid fucking plan.

2

We should build a streetcar there. That would solve everything.

3

Just a few blocks over, there's a bike lane running down Roosevelt. We don't need it on 35th.

That statistic makes me laugh about parking, if a business is more inconvenient to get to then logic dictates that sales will suffer. Perception is everything.

4

@3 - the bike lane running down 35th is NOT "just a few blocks over" - it's two dozen blocks over, running through a completely different neighborhood 1.3 miles away.

5

@3 this is straight up, a lie. You're a liar. I lived, for a time, in Wedgewood, on 35th in very fact.

Honestly... your take is massively, and almost certainly, willfully ignorant. This just so happens to be my professional line of work... the thing that makes and breaks businesses on local retail streets is never parking - it's pedestrians (or lack of them). There's no lack of (free) parking in Wedgewood. You'll never need to park more than a block where you're going. Many businesses have their own dedicated parking lots.

I'm a bit bummed they aren't going all the down to 55th and connecting with the Burke Gilman.

A bike lane will change absolutely nothing. Except your property values.

6

Fuck these turds. I ride 35th when I bring groceries to my 93 year old grandmother. They hate my grandma. Fuck them.

7

@3: You’re dumb.

8

I'm a little sad that Natalie didn't call out the various unhinged conspiracy theories in this newsletter, but oh well.

I especially liked the "Are Bike Lane Advocates Trying to Circumvent the ADA?" part... and then a link to the smoking gun, which is an email from the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) president to SDOT pointing out that people were going to want to know about ADA stuff, so SDOT had better have some answers. That dastardly RBCA president, valuing information for disabled residents over the potential for surprise-gotcha-questions. And then after that, supporters of the group asking how we can get MORE handicapped parking spaces. To, y'know, stick it to those disabled people.

9

Oops, supporters of the project, not group.

10

Why is the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association working with SDOT for a bike lane on 35th? Are they getting sick of the cycle traffic on 25th and want it moved?

11

@5
You used to live there. When was the last time you tried to park on 35th? I live near Wedgwood and patronize a few of the businesses on 35th near the intersection of 75th. Never can I park within a block of these businesses.

That’s not to say that I’m opposed to the bike lanes — I just wish people would be honest about the impact on the many small, local businesses on that strip. And that includes the Slog writers who have probably never even set foot on 35th and just link to videos in lieu of actual reporting.

12

@11 I only had a car in my last year there... but every day. In fact, I don't think I failed to find a spot within half a block of my place, ever. But worst case scenario, all the side streets are free and lightly parked.

You can verify this yourself by choosing any block, firing up the old Google Streetview, and letting me know which ones are fully parked up. The shots are middle of the day, 'business hours'. here's a shot on an evidently busy day at the cafe: https://www.google.com/maps/@47.6913739,-122.2907519,3a,75y,52.55h,62.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2logsukQkGR4Lxv1fXWZgg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Let me know if you find anything else to counter.

13

Parallel parking on an arterial is terrible, it just fucks up traffic flow while people try to lube their Subarus into short spots. Build multilevel parking if you really care, but anywhere besides commingling parking with arterial traffic flow. A sensible lowrise business district has surface lots behind the businesses.

14

@12: I'm afraid the only thing left to counter is your unwillingness to accept that you just have a different opinion.

15

@3 oh why didn't I think of that, I'll just pop a mile over to Roosevelt/11th, come 3/4 mi north, and a nice easy mile back on 75th to the business district there.

Tell you what, if you like biking up 75th eastbound, you've got a tighter Lycra butt than I do for sure.

16

@4: You're right, it is further than I thought.

17

Power to the -4%ers.

18

@12

GOOG street view might be a poor information source for that-- knowing their predilection for efficiency, I'd wager their camera teams try to avoid operating during peak traffic hours.

SDOT would be a better, but it looks like they don't have any cameras at that intersection yet: web6.seattle.gov/travelers/

19

@18 it's effective for evaluating the overall conditions during daylight hours. It can tell you if a neighborhood is generally parked up, or if parking is widely available.

In Wedgewood, it's firmly the latter.

20

@Bike Nazis,

Semantics aside, no one uses the stupid fucking bike lane on Roosevelt either - and it's a lot closer to where you'd think people might. They built it, and the bikes didn't come. And won't.

21

For what it's worth, there's also a petition from Wedgwood residents that support the bike lane construction, and we also submitted letters to the mayor and councilmembers when the project seemed to be in jeopardy. Those Save 35th aggro folks don't represent all of us in the neighborhood -- we aren't all anti-transit suburbanites flaunting our single-family homes and ample parking.

And @15 is so right about that grueling climb up 75th. Oy, my poor thighs!

22

I tink the bike lanes will be great. I want more of them. Sometines I come up to a business and can't find parking. There is always a space in the bike lanes for my 1968 Buick. I can usually get out without tipping a plant holder over. The bicyclists are always so understanding by hitting my window to let me know they are ok. They swerve off in the middle of the street with happiness while I buy my lottery ticket. Funny that the SPD has warned me 18 tines not to do this. They are more worried about silly things like RV fires and dowtown protests. Thanks for the free parking.

23

@20. I use it. You're dumb too.

24

(1) this is not "Suburban Seattle"; it is "Seattle"
(2) someone said "oh my I have to park a block away." ...wtf, are you kidding me, you can't walk 5 minutes??? What...did you grow up in fucking Atlanta?

25

@3 it may seem counter intuitive but there is study after study that indicates the opposite. Strong Towns has a great summary article with links to a whole pile of research data. A good place to start "The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking into Bike Lanes" by Eric Jaffe

26

LOL: “our very survival.” Sh*t’s getting real on the mean streets of Wedgwood.

27

@5 Obviously you didn't live in Wedgwood long enough to learn how to spell it.

28

@3 Right idea, wrong street. 40th Ave NE is ideal of a bike lane. That would truly be a win/win. Instead, as 35th backs up, traffic will naturally divert to that street and really alter what is a residential street.

29

@25: I dialed it up. While it is interesting that cyclists and pedestrians spend as much or more than automotive, the data after bike lanes are put in is somewhat sketchy. Certainly business like restaurants, bars, gift shops, convenience stores, and boutiques can do very well without automative - but if you are an appliance repair shop or fabric store on 35th where customers need to bring in or take out large items - you'd be pretty upset now.

30

@29 so if you want to run an appliance repair store perhaps lease a space with your own parking lot? Our undersized arterials are for movement, not free storage of private property.

31

This isn’t just about parking. It’s about people. What best serves the needs of the greatest number of people living in a community?

The cycling contingent represents roughly 3% of the commuter population, a figure that has not only plateaued, but is in decline in Seattle, as well as many other cities, including model urbanist utopia, Copenhagen. Despite the city’s investment of time, money and resources, the bike lobby hasn’t been able to significantly grow their numbers over the past few years, even in a boomtown environment attracting an influx of their target demographic—young, white males. And let’s be clear: Of that tiny fraction of the commuter population that cycles, the vast majority—routinely 75-80% by most estimates I’ve seen--are white males. How do you define privilege? Were the angles of this investment observed through the lens we use to examine most public policy these days rather than as an approved plank in a so-called "progressive" platform, it would be construed as, at best, needless and wasteful given the lackluster numbers and, worse, racist, sexist, ageist and ableist in light of the primary constituency.

I contest the false narrative being perpetuated in opinion pieces like this that any attempt at circumventing an impractical idea is the product of some monolithic cabal of rich, conservative and, as has been suggested elsewhere, white gentry interested in protecting parking for their fancy cars. This isn’t Medina and that’s a move from an antiquated playbook. (For the record, Wedgwood hasn’t been classified as a true Seattle suburb since the decade after World War II, some 70 years ago.) We’re a queer, mixed race family. Two middle-aged men, one with mobility issues, and a daughter. We walk. We bus. We drive. Although we don’t live in Wedgwood, we use 35th as a primary arterial and frequent the many small shops and restaurants regularly. We reside in Lake City, which hugs Wedgwood and is one of the more diverse communities in Seattle, full of many homeowners, as well as apartment and rental home dwellers, of all colors in the human rainbow, as well as immigrant-owned businesses that likewise support the Save 35th movement. On our block alone is an intergenerational, multiethnic mix of several Asian households, an African-American family, a few LGBT folks, and several elderly and infirmed residents in addition to the young couples settling in. Not all of us own. Not all of us drive. No one is happy about this. The little red signs are everywhere.

This experiment at engineering behavior, however noble in intent, is failing, as are the hostile public relations around it. The clusters of coordinated communications defending these lanes, as well as the disrespect for the valid concerns of the citizens of the areas impacted, is hateful, reinforcing every obnoxious encounter I’ve experienced with cyclists as a pedestrian and a motorist. And I’ve been tagged, berated and even called “Faggot!” in front of my daughter when we narrowly missed being struck by a speeding cyclist who failed to signal his approach. Always white males. Always. Guys who revel in a culture of costumed toxic masculinity. Their hubris is galling in light of the evidence, statistical and anecdotal. A few days ago, I ran errands for two hours in my car after work, traveling several northeast corridors restricted to accommodate bike lanes during evening rush hour. Auto traffic from these road diets was backed up from intersection to intersection. How many cyclists did I encounter in the bike lanes? One. Not twenty. Not ten. Not five. Not even two. One. During peak commute hours. How is the pollution from cars stuck sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in residential neighborhoods improving life for anyone? It’s time to rethink this strategy.

Responsible urbanism requires consideration of the unique interests, properties and needs of each village, as well as the gentrification impacts of choices and what yields greatest community benefit, rather than the blanket deployment of uniform tactics from a stock toolkit. Disagree? Just ask anyone with an appreciation for Seattle’s own checkered history of disastrous urban planning efforts over the decades, each wave adamant in the veracity of their convictions until, of course, outcomes prove them wrong and the public is obligated to pay for often egregious errors in judgment. Maybe bike lanes offer a valuable option in areas with large youth and able-bodied demographics and established, dense inner city avenues where it makes sense to appease cycling enthusiasts’ demands. In northeast Seattle, there are countless empty side streets currently used by drivers dodging jams for the entitled bicycle bros to play out their Lance Armstrong fantasies uninterrupted and on their own dime. For the rest of us—in other words, most everyone else in Seattle—we’d prefer to see this energy and our taxes being funneled into public transportation solutions that benefit everyone, not just a few. I guarantee that, in twenty years when the next generation of civic leaders are restructuring roadways to accommodate new styles of automobiles, mass transit options or more practical alternative vehicles because, after a brief special interest vogue, cycling never gained traction in Seattle, they’re going to be shaking their heads, thinking, “What a bunch of dopes.”

32

@31: I ride 35th to bring groceries to my elderly grandmother. So pretty much fuck you and your bigoted notion of what a cyclist is.

33

What is really irritating about the whining by these Wedgwood businesses is that they are making small businesses sound petty and stupid. Holy shit, there is no shortage of parking there, nor will there be, when this is done. You don't need to park on the damn arterial! Jesus, I've been to several of those places, drove every time, and not once did I consider parking on 35th. Because it is a fucking arterial! Who the fuck wants to hold up an entire line of cars while you parallel park, when there are shitloads of parking spaces on every fucking side street. And get this -- it is all free! Parking is so prevalent, that the city doesn't even bother charging for it. If parking really is a problem, then the businesses would ask for metered parking (with a two hour limit). Not only does that not exist, but on the side streets -- and much of 35th -- there isn't even any limit to how long you can park. I can park on those streets all day long if I want, and these people are worried about parking?

Holy shit, get a clue. Trump is totally screwing over small businesses. The state does the same, with its fucked up B and O taxes, and these owners are worried about parking in fucking Wedgwood? Shit, there really are places where parking does matter. This just isn't one of them. I guarantee you two years after this is done not a single business will remember this controversy, because not a single one will notice the change.

34

@30: True. But then they'd have to move.
@33: Typically, people and business don't whine unless motivated to do so.

35

Fuck the bicycles. Menace to society.

36

@33: Typically, people and business don't whine unless motivated to do so.

Are you saying that people can predict the future with utmost certainty? Awesome, who is going to win the Superbowl next year? Better yet, what stocks should I pick?

The point is, these people are whining about something that hasn't happened yet. They are making a prediction that somehow things will be awful once they take away a very small portion of the parking spots (holy shit, there will still be parking on the other side of the street). That is just nuts, based on the amount of parking there. The place doesn't even have meters! My guess is a handful of anti-bike zealots got everyone worried, the same way that anti-change people get worried all the time. Oh My God, we can't possibly put the projects in my neighborhood, there will be drugs and hookers everywhere! You can't possibly change a four lane road to three lanes -- the traffic will build up for miles!

Sorry to break it to you, but more often than not, such predictions are simply wrong. These businesses won't notice the change in parking, and have more to lose by whining about the situation than they will by the handful of spots that will go away. I feel sorry for the other owners of Grateful Bread (the ones that didn't sign up for the video). One of the owners is likely costing them some dough. (sorry -- I couldn't help it, too easy). Seriously though, does she really think that hippies don't ride bikes?

37

I watched the video again (mostly to confirm the Grateful Bread part) and noticed that it ends with a plea to put the lanes on 36th. That is their basic argument -- put the bike lanes on 36th ("a win-win" for everyone). Never mind the fact that it would (of course) take parking from 36th (the horror!) but I feel like they are ignoring something about 36th. Something important -- something final, something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/koy4xayhzbT2. Yep, that's right -- their whole plan is to move the bike lane to a street that doesn't go through. Right where the street intersects an arterial (and there is no traffic light) you would simply ask bikes to just wing it. Just turn onto 70th and then what? Zig-Zag to 38th or something? Holy shit, if you are going to go through the trouble of making a proposal -- let along a fucking video -- at least double check to make sure the proposal makes any sense. I shouldn't talk shit about the neighborhood because I know some very nice people there, but between the cookie cutter houses on View Ridge, the country club, and attitudes of people that probably haven't walked five blocks from their workplace, it is one of the most suburban areas of the city.

38

calling in the ATF? just a wee bit of overkill...it was fireworks, not a bomb.

39

@12
I’m talking about specifically the block of 35th just south of 75th — across from the Safeway, where Eight Limbs, Salon Divine, dentist, etc are. Those spots are never wide open, and I don’t need Google Maps to tell me that. It’s also gotten much busier in the last year.

But again, I’m not anti-bike lane. This stretch of 35th is a nightmare, and maybe this will make it better. I just wish Slog writers would actually go there in person and see how it is, maybe even (the horror!) talking to the small business owners and getting their point of view.

40

@29 all but one business along 35th Ave NE have private parking lots. Maybe if someone wants to buy an appliance or a bolt of fabric they could just park in the private lot instead of the street.

41

What is this critical imperative to have bike lanes for less that 4% of the commuters? It's not the future, otherwise there would be more bicyclists now.

42

@41 the restriping is to improve safety on the street. The bike lanes are part of a full restriping project. Its a dangerous road so SDOT is trying to reduce the rate of injuries on the street. They have successfully used similar methods on other roadways.
I'll also point out that the majority of the population isn't mobility impaired, but we would never question ADA ramps. What is the concern with providing multiple modes of transportation for people to use?

43

@42, Thought someone would bring that up. I may be wrong, but that ADA ramps are based on Federal guidelines adapted to local, not sure. Other than the cost, putting in those ramps have not come at the cost of losing parking or caused road diets.
Mixing a busy business arterial of vehicles and trucks with bikes is not a good idea. Why not make all parking on the street handicap parking only? Sounds stupid. What is this grip you have on this street you won't let go? Find a safer route for the 4%ers.

44

I assume rickshaws will use the bike lane.

45

@42 Half&Half - it's dangerous? Citation really frickin' needed here - with actual stats on fatalities, serious injuries, and minor injuries please? Because as far as I can tell from the SPD reports, there hasn't been a fatality or serious injury on 35th for at least 5 years - which means it already meets the Seattle Vision Zero goals.

46

I lived on 35th from 2010-2017near 65th ave. There is plenty of parking. I never, EVER parked on 35th because in the time that I lived there, 4 housemates cars were towed, 3 lost side mirrors due to hit and runs, and one had his car totaled. Also someone crashed into my neighbors house. Fuck the parking, build a bike lane.

47

@46: Anecdote is not the plural of data.

48

Why do some people above assume the only bicyclists in the city are commuters?

49

LOL at this entire thread of parking enthusiasts in my 'hood. If you want more LOLs, join the Save 35th Facebook Group. Binary oppositions everywhere, just like Slog.

35th NE is one of the lowest-density retail streets in the city. Nearly every business has a parking lot. If its full, walk a fucking block to your destination; you need the steps.

51

I also got hit by a car on 35th and 65hth

52

@pheobe of Wallingford
At least I don’t consider 1.5 miles and a steep a sick hill “a few blocks”. You obviously drive everywhere

53

That’s supposed to read *steep as fuck

54

@52: Yes, your snide postulation is correct. I don't ride a bike.

I'm capable of doing so physically, but not mentally at my age. It's good that I don't risk it.

55

The "alternative bike lane" that Save 35th (and Phoebe) want bicyclists to use is 39th Ave. NE, BTW. 4 blocks east, and it connects to the Burke Gilman down by Metrosexual Market. No destinations are on it. It got put in when Thornton Creek Elementary got supersized. It is not separated from cars; it's just Sharrowed, and the signage is better. Arterial crossings have mid-street curbs.

I do see commuters on it regularly in the morning.

56

@3 Parking sucks in Wallingford and the business seem to be doing okay

57

@55 - or put it on 36th, which is an alternative that was proposed to SDOT.