- THE LATEST DESIGN PLAN for the cycletrack, which would run along Westlake Avenue North, connecting Fremont to South Lake Union.
Some people really, really treasure their parking spots. Among them are the so-called Westlake Stakeholders, a group of business, home, and boat owners who sued in February to block Seattle's whole Bike Master Plan over a cycletrack (protected bike lane) along the dangerous Westlake Avenue North corridor because of concerns that it would lead to less parking.
So what happened to the "stakeholders" crowd? Well, they dropped their lawsuit after Mayor Ed Murray created a design advisory group that included a bunch of their members. The advisory group has been deliberating all summer, and it's clearly making progress, but it looks like the Westlake Stakeholders are still upset.
Last night at a Seattle Department of Transportation open house event, urban planners showed off the latest design plan for the cycletrack (that's what the image above shows; the top is West, the bottom is East). The plan involves a redesigned parking lot with more back-in parking, leading to a net decrease of just 15-20 percent of parking spots. Currently, cyclists must pass through the parking lot itself, where they're vulnerable to colliding with hundreds of entering and exiting vehicles.
As I reported back in May, SDOT initially projected a higher 20-40 percent fewer parking spots as a result of the cycletrack's construction. That was justified by studies "showing that paid parking spots in the lot weren't meeting the city's utilization targets."
"In my opinion," writes Tom Fucoloro writes over at Seattle Bike Blog, "the project includes too much concern for parking preservation and misses chances to create new creative public spaces and wider sidewalks. But I suppose that’s what compromise looks like."
The Westlake Stakeholders, however, are still raging against SDOT's plans, despite sitting on the advisory committee that met several times over the summer, despite fewer parking spots being slated to disappear than was originally projected.
Last week, they distributed a "Call to Action" urging people to show up at the open house event. In it, they complained about "major negative impacts" of the new cycletrack alignment and grumbled that SDOT has "rejected" their design suggestions.
What's their big idea of an alternative? Split the cycletrack into a southbound-only lane on the west side of Westlake Avenue and a eastbound-only lane on the eastern side. One of the major benefits of this plan is that it would "prevent unnecessary loss of parking spaces," the e-mail says.
Construction is expected to begin next fall on the $3.6 million project. But last night, both sides—bicycling advocates and cycletrack critics—packed the house, many of them in matching t-shirts. The same scene played out at another SDOT public forum back in May. Apparently, matching t-shirts are all the rage in cycletrack shouting circles.
A huge turnout for the #Westlake Cycle Track Open House. Good stuff people! #Fremont @fremontuniverse pic.twitter.com/LJduHKryfL
— Conduit Coffee (@ConduitCoffee) October 23, 2014