Seattleites are bicycling in record numbers right now as the city copes with losing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This increased ridership comes despite our leaders thinking biking is a “pretty heavy lift” in January and actively encouraging people to take street-clogging rideshares. I wish I was one of those people getting out on their bikes, but there are two things standing in my way: the height of Capitol Hill (where The Stranger’s office is located), and a lack of bike parking at UW Station.
Capitol Hill isn’t getting any shorter but Sound Transit told me they are fixing that second problem and bringing expanded bicycle parking to UW Station sometime early this year. Right now, UW Station is one of the only Link Light Rail stops where there are only the standard, lock-your-bike-out-in-the-open bike racks. All of the other stops on the line (with the exception of Capitol Hill) have either personal bike lockers or bicycle cages individuals can rent access to.
These improved bicycle parking structures are important for people who want to leave their bikes unattended for long stretches of the day. Commuters, like me, who want to ride their bicycle to a light rail stop and then take a train into the city need a secure place to leave their bicycle for long stretches of time. A simple rack doesn’t offer much security, but these improved parking structures provide a lot more peace of mind. That’s why Sound Transit has installed them across their light rail network.
And it makes a lot of sense to bring them to UW’s station, considering it sits at the nexus of Seattle’s largest bicycle path, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the northern end of our biggest piece of mass transit, Link Light Rail. The station is even designed with bicyclists in mind, as Charles Mudede wrote in a post back in 2016.
The [UW Station] is defined by an elegant pedestrian and bike bridge that flows smoothly into a section of Burke-Gilman Trail that was recently improved by UW Transportation. (Unlike anything coming out of SDOT, this improvement is world-class and understands the mode of those who use their bodies, and not the bodies of things that died in the land before time, to get from one place to the next).
Rachelle Cunningham, a spokesperson for Sound Transit, told me that the agency is working with UW to install electronic bicycle lockers at the station.
“This should happen early this year after Sound Transit has identified a new vendor for more secure, electronic-access, on-demand bike lockers,” Cunningham said. “In the meantime, bike racks at the station provide the most bike storage capacity on the limited station footprint.”
Capitol Hill's station is the only other place on the line without improved bicycle parking. A new mixed-use development is being built on top of that station right now, and it will include more secure parking, according to Cunningham.