The War for 35th Will Be Decided by Jenny Durkan



More fair and balanced reporting for The Stranger!


"They didn’t want bike lanes because they didn’t understand what bike lanes do," Priest said. "Bike lanes aren’t just about convenience for a cyclist, it’s also how they reduce collisions and slow people down."

Really? You think they don't they understand that bike lanes slow people down?


Fuck fucking bike lanes on 35th Ave NE (and SW, should that get funded now that it's clear the the so-called "Move Seattle" levy is falling way short of what it promised). Stupid unnecessary project.


@3: To satisfy only about a few dozen cyclists a day, fewer in winter months.


The greater good requires a motor vehicle-centric approach to 35th. This is a cold, dark, hilly, wet city and if you're not a masochist with a death wish, you are traveling by car or mass transit. Love the turn lane idea! Just what the street needs.


I’m curious about the assertion that only 40% of parking spots are used during peak hours. Which blocks does this refer to? Because I’ve been going to the hair salon on 35th across from Safeway for 10 years, and street parking is full during all business hours, all the time.

I think when people talk about “35th,” they’re referring to 35th Ave between 70th and 75th, which is where the main business strip is. Nathalie — have you actually visited this area and seen it for yourself, or are you just “reporting” based on hearsay?


...and the assertion that the neighborhoods came up with this bullshit scheme themselves is also bullshit.


There's a perfectly fine neighborhood greenway only four blocks away that parallels 35th from NE 89th all the way down to the Burke-Gilman Trail. It was completed just a few years ago. To my mind, the proposed bike Lanes on 35th aren't about bikes


I ride 35th to bring my 94-year-old grandmother groceries. The route is very dangerous. My grandma loves me. Why do you hate my grandma?


Does anyone actually doubt which way Jenny (the Business pawn) Durkan will jump on this?


a center turn lane will eliminate parking, too. look no further than 75th.


@3 - yes, the "move seattle" levy is now falling far short of its promises. this city will simply not do the simple, "boring" infrastructure maintenance - not nearly as edgy as heroin injection sites, upzoning and stupid bike lanes that are barely used.


Durkan is a complete failure as an executive. The crosscut fluff piece tried to paint her as thoughtful. ONE YEAR later and still no head of many crucial departments.

And somehow she knows better than the piles of trained professionals at SDOT? So why are we paying them when we have Swiss army Jenny?

The real problem seems to be we only consider people over 60 to be "leaders" when all they seem to be capable of are advocating to return things to "the way they used to be." Sound familiar?


To be fair, Frederico, the city has ridiculous personnel policies, and it takes forever to hire someone once you have selected that person. And it's probably even worse for executive positions - I'm sure they make candidates meet not only with all the council members, but also every nutcase and weirdo from every neighborhood council.


@6: 30 seconds on google streetview can prove that the block by safeway isn't "full during all business hours, all the time". Yes, it's busier than 40%, but there are spots available in front of Starbucks, in front of the gas station, in front of the bank, in front of the fitness place. In addition, there's multiple parking spaces available in the Safeway lot and in other off-street lots. Go to the next block south, and you could easily fit the few cars parked on that block on only one side of the street. Another block south, and there'e literally 8 cars parked on the entire block. According to the SDOT parking studies, lots of blocks are around 10% utilization.


@2 protected bike lines should only slow traffic by providing visual cues and design elements to slow and "calm" traffic. Apologies if I am making an erroneous assumption, but you seem to be implying that bikes lanes slow people down because they get stuck behind the bike(s). That does not happen with protected bike lanes.

@4 a few dozen cyclists per day (less in winter?). I don't have data to refute this (do you have data to back it up?) but literally EVERY time I ride on 35th I see other cyclists (I've been keeping track since the Save 35th group became vocal). It seems unlikely in the few minutes per day I might be riding 35th, I would see several cyclists if only "a few dozen" are riding on any given day.

@5 to what greater good do you refer? I am neither a masochist nor do I have a death wish yet I am somehow able to commute to work year round (I make an exception on icy or snowy days).

@6 40% of >all< parking spots... agree that some areas will have higher utilization but if you ever shop in other parts of town it is often routine that you need to walk several blocks after parking to reach your destination.

@8 greenways are not the same as bike lanes. People have different needs, but personally I use the greenway primarily for commuting, and 35th (or bike lanes on arterials) to get to business destinations, or to commute when the greenway is too far out of the way. Also, Gabe Galanda (at a community meeting) asserted that 35th is "too steep" for bike lanes, yet he and the rest of Save 35th frequently tell cyclists that we should have no problem riding up and down the equally steep hills from the greenway to destinations along 35th. Just one of several contradictions from this group.

@9 You've made this comment before. Please consider taking this issue more seriously.

@10 I agree I think it is likely she will side with "business" (despite the lack of evidence that bike lanes hurt businesses). I understand though: were I a business owner along a proposed bike lane, I would be worried about the uncertainty, although I would like to think I would actually listen to reason, evidence, and data when presented to me.

@11 That is exactly right, and it proves the point that "Save 35th" is anti bike (they claim to be pro-bike).

It is worth noting that the administration leadership at Eckstein Middle school is strongly in favor of this project, including the protected bike lanes.


Expecting an expensive mediator to bring two sides together when they're already at each others' throats is stupid. All a mediator can do is go back and forth between the combatants; they're not arbitrators who can actually rule on what should happen. Sometimes I don't know what we have a City administration or Council for anymore; they simply do not make or confirm decisions.


The compromise is just that, a compromise. Neither side gets everything they want. I’ve lived near 35th for over 30 years and the neighborhood did not ask for bikelanes. We wanted better crosswalks, left turn lights, and sidewalks. The only ones pushing for bikelanes is Rob Johnson and the Cascade Bike Club. SDOT washed their hands of it when they met with overwhelming resistance to the kluged together plan.


40th is a far better north-south bikeway than 35th. Less traffic, less BS. The only reason to take 35th is if you ride north of 90th and need to fly down the hill toward Nathan Hale.


Science says one thing, community members feel another. This is every story. Side with science.


@20: I need to get to the post office on 35th, because when I miss a delivery that requires a signature - that's where my package ends up. The post office is mid-block between 77th and 80th. There are no bicycle facilities on 77th, 80th, and 82nd. In many cases, there's not even sidewalks.

How do I get to the post office on 35th using your magical 40th bikeway?


@22 Now would be a great time for you to reveal your affiliation with the Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Greenways, and the Safe 35th campaign.


@18 You do not use something, therefore that something is worthless?

@23 People generally seek out groups with similar interests, and participate in activities those groups sponsor and organize. That could be the case for dilinger (I do not know this person). Why is this surprising? Could you explain how this is relevant? Would you like to share your "affiliations" as if they are conflicts of interest?


@22 You make a left on 80th and ride directly there. Why are you trying to make this seem harder than it is?


Calling 35th Ave NE a "suburban arterial" is unnecessary and untrue. From 65th to 95th, it has just a handful of single-family homes,.it has many multifamily apartments and businesses, a number of churches, a temple, a post office, a fire station and a library. It has frequent bus service. It is straight, no curves. Exactly what qualifies it as suburban? Could we please have less slanted, more accurate reporting?


Speaking of slanted reporting, Save 35th Ave. was started months before this October, in time to collect 5,000 signatures in opposition..You failed to mention that CM Rob Johnson formed the pro-bike astroturf group himself. And you failed to mention the 39th Ave. Greenway that makes cycling the same commute safe.


@23: I have no affiliation with Cascade Bicycle Club; none whatsoever. I've probably done one of their official rides once or twice, though. I have volunteered for years for Seattle Greenways, and have donated money to them as well. I also helped with Safe35th, because as I mentioned above - getting to my post office by foot or by bike currently sucks. If you're implying that I'm somehow a paid lobbyist or something, it's the opposite - I'm losing money (and time) by volunteering to help make our streets safer.

@25: I see, so I take 80th, which has no safe bike infrastructure and is quite hilly, and then.. ride the sidewalk, which is unpleasant and unsafe for pedestrians? Or I take the road, and risk getting hit by drivers who are pissed off that I'm in "their" lane? You know what would make it a lot safer for me? Having an actual bike lane on 35th, so that when I make that left, I can actually ride somewhere safe. Or even better, ignore 80th and take 75th, which currently has a bike lane, and then bike on a bike lane on 35th for 4 blocks.


@28 No safe bike infrastructure? Hahahaha. 80th between 40th and 35th is a placid side street! The hills are minor. There are bike directional signs on the street, indicating that the city at least thinks it's a viable bike route. Try it. You'll like it.

Then when you get to 35th, you can either ride 100 meters down the sidewalk to the post office, or cut through the gravel where the fruit stands are in summer. If you're incapable of doing either, perhaps you should turn in your clipless pedals.

It's pretty hilarious that you pooh pooh 80th while you extol the virtues of 75th. Ah yes, 75th, one of the hilliest east-west arterials in the whole city. 75th, right in the middle of the business district with motorists who are likely to clip you with their mirrors or door you when you ride by.

I don't think you actually ride your bike in this city at all. You just talk out your ass.


@29: "try it you'll like it"

Yes, I've ridden on it a bunch; many times hauling kids. It has overly large intersections with drivers not looking where they're going. Side streets in Seattle have been taken over by Uber drivers and people using Waze who have no idea how uncontrolled intersections work. It sucks, and I don't use it.

Also, I don't own clipless pedals, which is kind of the point.

There's no way drivers will door you on 75th; parking was removed during the 2013 road diet, and more recently in front of Eckstein.

"I don't think you actually ride your bike in this city at all"

Yeah, you got me. 9 years of car-free living in this city, with 2 young kids and a cargo bike, and I don't actually ride a bike. I'd be amused, except that I've already heard multiple times "you're lying! you won't ride in this (proposed) bike lane!" by frothing-at-the-mouth neighborhood crazies.


Actually I was thinking of 82nd (where the signed route leads you); 80th has the intersections with terrible sightlines and equally oblivious drivers. Either way, it's hilly and outdated and pretty much useless. Wayfinding signs don't make a route safe.


@26 OK, let's be more accurate and call it a "minor arterial" as it is designated by the city. Although the author inaccurately labels the area "suburban," she is correct in that it "feels" suburban compared with most other Seattle neighborhoods. That seems like a large contributor to why Save 35th is resisting progress: they don't want to lose their "suburban" paradise.

@27 The notion that Safe 35th was started by Rob Johnson is a false claim that has been repeatedly pushed by Save 35th. It is not surprising that a group of citizens supportive of this project would contact Rob Johnson's office and ask "how can we support this project?" That does not mean he formed the group himself. Would you say the same about Save 35th and John Russo, the Los Angeles attorney who began consulting for Save 35th to help them resist bike lanes? And more importantly, what interest does he have in Seattle roadways?

@29 as Save 35th has said (when convenient for them): "let's keep this civil."


@30 I hope you're going out there dressed like a Christmas tree every day. Also, mount a light to the top of your helmet. If a driver freaks you out, turn your head their way. The light and motion together get people's attention. That's my SOP when I'm cruising along and I think an oblivious driver might T bone me.

It really does boggle the mind that you consider 75th safer than 80th, though. Ride on 75th if you want, but I get tired of cyclists who only consider their individual mode of transportation important to the exclusion of all others. Those are the voices seeking to kneecap 35th.


@33 Indeed it is wise to be acutely aware of your environment, and well lit and visible when riding any time of day or night, but it is the responsible of all users of the roads (drivers, cyclists, even pedestrians) to avoid colliding with others.

Much as you get tired of cyclists, I get tired of drivers who only consider their individual mode of transportation important to the exclusion of all others.


@34 I agree! Traffic would flow much more smoothly if we made room for peds, cycles, cars and transit to all do their own thing. But the glaring reality is that the city has made it a priority over the past 10 years to give cars the short end of the stick.

They don't care about parking. They don't care about travel times. All they care about are a few fools who want to plant their two wheels on the very busiest arterials, even if it slows down a river of auto traffic.

When there are parallel arterials but one is more major than the other, it only makes sense to focus on cycles on the slower one and to focus on auto traffic on the faster one. Seattle does the opposite. That's why there's pushback.


@35 "But the glaring reality is that the city has made it a priority over the past 10 years to give cars the short end of the stick"

The >actual< reality is the SDOT budget still overwhelmingly favors cars:
Looking at the two most recent years (2017 and 2018 proposed) bikes got roughly $10m which is roughly 2% of the annual budget. Before the bicycle master plan, it was even less. You can't even argue this is proportionate to commuting rates, falling or not: it is less.

So you might feel like cars are getting the short end of the stick, but they still are prioritized when it comes to SDOT budgets. And you might feel like travel times are slowed because of these projects, but the reality is the rapid growth in this city is more responsible for decreased travel times.

Sure, where parallel arterials exist, and when they can provide essentially the same function for cyclists, it makes sense to put the bike lanes on the "less major" arterials. 38/39th is not an arterial, and serves a different purpose. For many commuters going to and from work, this route works. For many, it does not (especially anyone shopping on 35th).


@36 "The >actual< reality is the SDOT budget still overwhelmingly favors cars: "

That's cherry-picking the data. Replacing stoplights, street signs, and filling potholes are maintenance items that affect cars, transit and bicycles equally.

The only contribution bicycles make on the revenue side is the sales tax collected when they are purchased. If they're purchased out of the city or through Craigslist, then they pay absolutely nothing toward street maintenance. Yet they receive their 2% allotment, plus all the other infrastructure of traffic that I alluded to. Meanwhile, cars pay the sales tax, the gas tax, the EV fee and Seattle City Light taxes if an EV, the annual registration lump sum, and parking fees/taxes. Cars subsidize all other forms of transportation yet are the last priority. THIS is how SDOT makes decisions:

Also, I wasn't talking about bicycles using 38th or 39th Avenues as their arterial, but 40th. From Metropolitan Market all the way up to 90th, it's a great way to ride that avoids all the hubbub of 35th.


@37 Yes 40th is a viable option if it gets me where I am going, just like Lake City Way is a viable alternative for motor vehicle drivers if it gets them where they are going.

Cherry picking data? How much do bicycles contribute to pothole formation?

Also: bicycles don't contribute to the revenue side, the owners of bicycles contribute to the revenue side. The owners of most bicycles pay sales tax on all of their purchases, just as owners of vehicles do. They also pay real estate taxes (directly, or indirectly through rent) just as owners of vehicles do. And keep in mind the gas tax pays very little, just a few percent, to local road budgets.

To say cars subsidize all other forms of transportation is inaccurate: property taxes, sales tax, and B&O tax "subsidize" the bulk of the budget. Yes, this means that some users will pay a little more, and some users will pay a little less for the same services. Our tax structure is not meant to actualize a direct dollar for dollar "fee for service" system, that would be so intricate to the point of bogging everything down completely.