Lake Union bike track would drive out boaters, businesses, group says

A cyclist rides through a parking lot along Westlake Avenue North in Seattle, the site of a proposed future bike track.

A cyclist rides through a parking lot along Westlake Avenue North in Seattle, the site of a proposed future bike track.

A bicycle track slated to be built along the west side of Seattle’s Lake Union could mean a significant loss of parking that would be devastating for marinas and other maritime businesses, a stakeholder group says.

The Westlake Stakeholders Group says parking is already so tight along Westlake Avenue North that a loss of spots could drive away boaters and customers of the businesses along the stretch, which, according to data compiled by the group, includes 19 marinas, 20 boat dealerships and about 50 marine repair shops and haulout facilities.

“This is going to drive the marine-related businesses away,” said group member Martin Nelson, whose family owns the Marina Mart building and moorage, as well as another building on the strip.

Nelson estimates he could lose at least 20 percent of tenants at his marina as a result of the project, which will be the subject of an open house tomorrow night.

“People don’t come to boats on bicycles. They come to boats with all of their gear and all of their stuff,” he said. “They will go to other marinas that don’t have parking issues.”

Martin Nelson, whose family owns the Marina Mart building and moorage, says the bike track could be devastating for businesses.

Martin Nelson, whose family owns the Marina Mart building and moorage, says the bike track could be devastating for businesses.

The track would run along a 150-foot-wide city-owned right-of-way on Westlake Avenue North from Lake Union Park to the Ship Canal Trail in front of Diamond Marina, just south of the Aurora Bridge.

Scheduled to be built late next year, the two-way bike lane would be at least 10 feet wide, with a physical barrier of some type separating it from vehicle traffic, and would run through a series of parking lots along Westlake.

Currently, cyclists traveling along the strip either ride on Westlake, through the parking lots or along a broad sidewalk — and in some areas, a service lane — in front of the Westlake businesses.

Stakeholder group member Cam Strong said the Westlake community only found out about the track last August, after it had been funded, when someone spotted surveyors in the parking lot and asked what they were doing. The stakeholder group mobilized, hired a lawyer and sued the city over the bike path and its Bicycle Master Plan.

“There was no community outreach on it,” said Strong, who moors his boat at Diamond Marina. “They have basically railroaded this thing through.”

Parking spots along the strip were full on a recent afternoon.

Parking spots along the strip were full on a recent afternoon.

Under a settlement resulting from the lawsuit, the city formed a design advisory committee for the bike path project with representation from the Westlake stakeholders, a 22-member coalition comprising marine business owners, liveaboards, cyclists and others concerned about the proposal.

The committee also includes freight interests, pedestrians, bike advocates, boaters and representation from the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA). The NMTA and the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association are jointly funding an economic impact study to determine how the bike track might affect businesses.

The track was identified as a high priority in the city’s 2007 Bicycle Master Plan. But some question the need for it, since there is already a buffered bike lane on Dexter Avenue North, a block away.

The city counters that Dexter, a high-traffic route with steep slopes, is more suitable for experienced cyclists and that a flat, protected bike lane along the busy, four-lane Westlake corridor is needed to provide a connection from the Burke-Gilman Trail to the South Lake Union area.

The city says the Westlake track, expected to cost about $3.6 million to build, will improve safety, make bike traffic more predictable and accommodate increasing demand for a bike connection through the area.

“It’s very unpredictable and confusing,” said Sandra Woods, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) project manager for the bike track.

“Even if you’re driving there, it doesn’t feel comfortable. The objective is to create a more predictable environment so everyone will be safer.”

Demand for parking along Westlake has intensified in the past few years as Amazon-driven development has boomed in adjacent South Lake Union. Strong said increasing numbers of people are parking in the Westlake lots all day and going to work elsewhere, and there is very little parking available on the other side of Westlake.

SDOT put forth two general options for the track that it estimated would have eliminated up to 40 percent of parking spaces, but withdrew them at a meeting last week. Woods said the city realizes the “uniqueness of the corridor,” which has more dozen distinct parking areas with various configurations.

SDOT will be looking at each area individually, she said, and considering measures to address the issue of all-day parkers. The city has been meeting with stakeholders along the stretch to hear their concerns, she said.

“I think that more individual outreach to stakeholders and getting the input at the open house will be really valuable to helping us move forward with the design,” Woods said. “We’re interested in how everything operates along that corridor.”

Nelson emphasized that the Westlake Stakeholders Group is not anti-bicycle.

“I ride a bike frequently,” he said. “I am pro-bike. But I’m also pro-business.

“I think there are alternatives that would minimize the loss to the marine-related businesses and maximize safety,” Nelson said. “I would like to think that logical minds would figure out a way to make everybody happy.”

An open house about the project will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, May 21, at Fremont Studios, 155 N. 35th St.

Additional information about the bicycle track is available on the project website.

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136 Responses to Lake Union bike track would drive out boaters, businesses, group says

  1. Michael G May 29, 2014 at 6:04 am #

    It is illegal to drive your car through the parking lot as a form of commuting, such as taking a shortcut. The cyclist are under the same laws as automobiles.
    I also observe that a large majority of the cyclist are going way too fast, even on the sidewalks – they belong on the streets.

  2. Stuart Weibel May 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I attended the ‘open house’ for the project. One of the three ‘priorities’ identified in the talk was to sustain the economic vitality of the corridor. The first question from the audience was ‘when would an economic impact study be done?’ The answer from the city was ‘we don’t do economic impact studies for projects like this.

    I see.

  3. Avatar of Sean Munger
    Sean Munger May 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    Yes, absolutely needed, a very dangerous area for peds. And bikers.
    We all have to cooperate, and find a solution that’s ensures bikes and peds. Are safe.
    Too many cars in this darn town.
    Boaters will come because that’s where the lake is, they will accommodate themselves as usual.
    SV Cloud Duster

  4. Julian Davies May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Question for Martin Nelson, quoted in the article.

    Marina Mart already has the underused access road next to the sidewalk, so I don’t see how the customer parking in front of your business would be affected, with the SDOT option B of cycle track next to sidewalk.

    What am I missing about impact to your business that is so “devastating”?

  5. govment peep May 21, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Over the last 20+ yrs, I’ve watched several ideas come and go – just for Westlake. The biggest problem I see with this area is that with all the beautification that’s happened or is proposed under this new Cycle Track plan boils down to this: There are no plans for sidewalks for peds to use. I Often see people walking along side the street in traffic! Several times, there were disabled citizens in their wheelchairs on the streets with buses zooming by! To me, THAT’S a much bigger issue than another way for bikes to get from point A to B. I want to know why SDOT isn’t looking at building a sidewalk with a cycle track alongside – next to the street. The parking spaces are very ample in the lot. You could tighten up the spaces (like they are at grocery stores or other parking lots.) You don’t need double width back-up space in your parking lot. A sidewalk and cycle track next to it would solve all the issues with business owners and visitors. And it would keep the pedestrians out of the street. I was told there wasn’t $ for peds to get a sidewalk But there is $ for bikes!! How about that?? This is a much bigger issues than just bikes.

    • Mike W May 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      But… there *is* an extremely nice wide sidewalk along that corridor, between the parking lot and the businesses. Perhaps signage telling pedestrians about it might help?

  6. Avatar of Marty McOmber
    Marty McOmber May 21, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Just a friendly reminder to keep the conversation civil. We love a passionate discussion at Three Sheets Northwest. And this is one of the most passionate we’ve seen (outside of the proper approach to varnishing).

    Our comment rules are simple. No personal insults, threats or attacks. Try to keep on topic. And remember, boating is supposed to be about having fun.

    Now, back to the discussion. . .

    • Peter J. May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am #

      Marty,

      I hope that you are planning a follow-up article based on the open house. To take this beyond the posturing seen in the comments here there needs to be more substantive information about the actual proposal. The article outlines that there is a controversy and from the comments it is clear that people feel passionately about the issue. But, it doesn’t really provide any insight into the substance of the issue. In order for this not to degenerate into a bicycle vs. business flame war there needs to be more information provided such as:
      1. Has a parking study been completed? This gives insight into things such as how full the lots are (when) and what the turnover rate is (visitors to businesses park for less time than people at work).
      2. How many parking spots would be removed to construct the bicycle path? And what is the City’s strategy for optimizing the remaining number of parking spots?
      3. What is the current bicycle use through the area and what is the predicted level of use?
      4. How would this impact safety?

      Businesses are understandably sensitive to anything that they feel with impact their bottom line. Cyclists are very sensitive to their safety.

      Thanks for your coverage of the issues.

  7. Brock May 21, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    @Taxedtothemax: In Seattle, the gas tax covers less than 4% of the street/transportation budget. On average, more bicyclists own cars than the public at large … and their cars frequently sit in their garage with their car tabs paid.

    So while it’s true there’s no fee, charge, license, or tax on a bicycle (except the sales tax) so bicyclists get the roads “100% free” (at least according to your opinion), given that car drivers get their roads ” 96% free,” is it really fair to give car drivers a half ocean of free parking near the densest part of the city?

    Or, maybe we should have a better parking management system, use the right-of-way better, upgrade the existing Lake Union Trail that many bicyclists already use, and make sure all users can be safe as they travel to/through the corridor?

    • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      When I’m at home on Westlake I ride my bike to the market or whatever errands I have to run. I ride through the parking lot, never forgetting that I am riding through a parking lot and that cars can pull out at any time…I’m not riding through a bike line or a bicyle right of way, I ride at a safe speed where I can stop in time.

      I’m not entitled to my own path, I share the road responsibly and I realize that people make a living where I choose to ride…and I’m responsbile for me

    • Nigel May 21, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      So again, because some rich white guys on bikes don’t want to ride up a hill, we have to spend the cities scarce resources creating a platinum package for the 200 or so per hour peak users? If those spandex clad jackasses slowed down, there wouldn’t be a problem. This is a continuation of the push to get blue collar work out of the city.

      • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 10:04 am #

        all because 200 peak hour riders don’t want to climb a hill..that they lobbied for…

        • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 11:28 am #

          Most people who use the roadways are just looking for the easiest way to get to their destination. Don’t insult their intelligence. They aren’t lobbyists. If you want to go to downtown, Dexter makes a lot of sense. If you want to go to Lake Union, it makes very little sense.

          • Joe C May 21, 2014 at 11:42 am #

            So instead of riding on a bike lane that: has right of way; that was created for safety and that was lobbied for, cyclists are choosing to ride through a busy commercial area that is: 1 to 3 city blocks away from the bike lane, nowhere near as safe since it is in constant use by commercial and residential traffic and are complaining about safety??

            Reminds me of someone who moves near an airport and complains about the noise

          • Stuart Weibel May 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

            the Dexter bike lanes pass within two blocks of the point at which the proposed cycle track terminates in South Lake Union. Two downhill blocks.

      • casey carver May 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

        I’ve been a cyclist in Seattle for about 30 years and have used the streets, trails, bike lanes and the Westlake parking corridor hundreds of times. For god’s sake people, if you’re going to want to ride a bike in a city, you’d better strap on a pair and learn to ride in all conditions because this ‘nanny state’ mentality has got to stop. Climb the hills you babies or stay home
        I’m all for the businesses along Westlake and also in Ballard’s missing link area to keep putting up the good fight.

    • Taxed to the Max May 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      I am entirely unsympathetic to any complaint from bicyclists about city streets or other facilities. Until you pay vehicle taxes on your bikes, I think you should have no voice whatsoever. Beggars can’t be choosers. You should take whatever your betters decide they’d like to give you. If you object, too bad.

  8. Avatar of JB
    JB May 21, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Well, every other business in central Seattle seems to be doing ok with a fraction of the parking that Westlake has. As far as I can tell, the only places where parking is so tight is where they charge absolutely nothing for it – charge even 50 cents an hour and I’m sure demand and supply will even right out. If people have money to spend at the businesses down there, surely they have a few bucks to spend on parking.

    • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 8:49 am #

      It’s not a question of free versus pay parking…it’s a question of parking and jobs versus people not wanting to climb a hill…

      • pragmatic May 21, 2014 at 8:55 am #

        No, it’s not. It’s a question of how to solve a problem. If you choose to stand out there all day and convince people to ride Dexter instead of Westlake, be my guest. I doubt you can change the course of the river.

        So, it’s better to find a solution, like it or not.

      • Avatar of JB
        JB May 21, 2014 at 10:25 am #

        I like to ride a bike, but I am also pro-business. You can trot out all the false dichotomies you want, but the fact is there are a lot of good reasons for a cycle track on Westlake besides “not wanting to climb a hill.” Just for one example, I row at Lake Union Crew, and prefer to cycle there – how much good does a bike lane on Dexter do in that case? I end up driving sometimes because the parking lots on Westlake are such a pain to cycle through. Put in a cycle track, and that will be less parking that people like me need.

        • Joe C May 21, 2014 at 10:39 am #

          JB…I live near there and parking is probably the main reason why Lake Union Crew moved there…

          Since your familiar with the area you realize that there isn’t room for a cycle track since all of the parking spots are being used throughout the day, but at the same time a lot of cyclist are transiting the area and some like you have a place to go…

          Speed Bumps to slow everyone down would help in the short term…and a track on the west side of Westlake using the Sidewalk that I’ve never seen anyone use…

          or a massive build out and planter rip out over Lake Union to create more sidewalk space, but then you would involve the State, and Feds due to restrictions on placing anything in the bottom of Lake Union.

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 11:06 am #

            Plenty of room for a cycletrack. The choice is how to do it while lessening impacts. There is no reason for three lanes of vehicle traffic *within* the parking lot (two ways plus one lane in the loading zone). It’s poorly organized to maximize the use of the available space by more people.

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 11:08 am #

            As the analysis shows, not even close to all the parking is being used “throughout the day.” Your scaremongering about jobs is not helping, since you have no evidence that parking would have to be reduced by very much. The plan can accommodate all the existing customers at those businesses.

          • Joe C May 21, 2014 at 11:19 am #

            Tax pedestrians…that’s true on the south end, but not on the North end of the parking lot…where at best there is 1.5 lanes between the parking spots,…which barely allows room for commercial vehicles that make frequent deliveries in the area…it’s also the narrowest point

            and yes..it is busy throughout the day

          • Joe C May 21, 2014 at 11:22 am #

            And the analysis was faulty for it did not include any type of business impact study or gather any input from residents

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 11:30 am #

            If there is no study measureing business impacts, than don’t claim job losses without doing the study. What’s apparent is there are plenty of parts of Westlake that have plenty of parking, and some of the business have more than enough while some could use more. Or, you could just price the parking so that fewer Amazon employees hide there and walk the rest of the way.

          • AC May 21, 2014 at 11:55 am #

            The Westlake Stakeholders Group had to pay for their own business and residential impact study…SDOT dreamed up this whole idea and had no intention of doing one…That’s where the business impact data comes from.

            Parts of Westlake could fit a bike path, others no possible way without expensive construction.

            And I agree parking meters could be adjusted to shorter term parking and residential passes. But that would not help at the narrowest and most impacted points of Westlake Avenue.

            The primary issue is cyclists riding at unsafe speeds through the parking lot, in no way are they giving themselves a safe stopping distance. And cyclist are constantly weaving through vehicles as they are trying to park as if it is a road and not a parking lot.

  9. Paul May 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Aside from the whole parking spaces vs. bike lanes, I find it annoying that the city spent a whole bunch of money on Dexter to make it bike friendly, but now is saying because there is a hill there they have to do the same on Westlake a half mile away. They didn’t notice the hill before.

    Even it bike happy Seattle (and I do ride a bike every so often so I feel some investment in bicycling infrastructure is a valid use my property and sales tax funds) there is limited money for bicycle projects (as it is for any public infrastructure). I support intelligent bicycle infrastructure projects but if the city is going to build a 2nd bike route through the same part of town because someone forgot to look at a topographical map building the first one, that not only limits the amount of resources for improving non-motorized transportation in other parts of the city, but also casts serious doubt on the competency of those who created the “Master Bike Plan”. Of course these are the same geniuses who gave us the “Sharrows” going up steep inclines.

    • pragmatic May 21, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      I agree with you. It does seem that Dexter should have stayed simpler with regular bike lanes.

      However, the fact of the matter is currently 200 people per hour cycle through the Westlake parking lots during peak hours. That will continue to grow. Short of making it illegal (which isn’t going to happen) to ride through the parking lots, there will be more and more incidents.

      Thus it is important to address this past mistakes or not. Either bike lanes on Westlake (which the city won’t do because they have designated it as a truck route) or lanes somewhere in the parking lots.

      • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 8:56 am #

        How about speed bumps to slow down both cars and cycles through the parking lot as a first step…so 1600 cyclist over an 8 hour day (over estimate) who transit the Westlake and don’t want to climb a hill are worth an estimate of 500 full time jobs who make a living wage on Westlake.

      • Paul May 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

        A speed limit of 10mph that is enforced in the parking lot will protect the bicyclist. I don’t drive my 2 1/2 ton truck 20 mph through a parking lot and I shouldn’t ride my 25lbs bike that fast either. The signs are a few hundred bucks to install and the police cost will be covered by the tickets they write (two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon once or twice a week will be enough). All the better if they nail a few of the stupid motorists driving to fast in that parking lot as well.

        • Paul May 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

          PS: Any cyclist that wants to go faster can ride up and down the hill on Dexter.

    • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Let’s not for get the sheer genius of Broadway, where a Streetcar and traffic share lanes , while a cycle track and parking fight for what’s left…a complete charles foxtrot.

  10. Nigel May 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Good to see the city continually focus on rich white guys trying to get to South Lake Union… All the while the roads crumble, and transit is underfunded. If there is not a war on cars there is definitely a war on the marine trades and blue collar work in this city.

    • SGG May 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Lost in this conversation is that there are already boatloads of cyclists riding through this area using the parking lot. This fixes a very dangerous situation. A big win for the community if you ask me.

      • Nigel May 20, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

        And of course by, “community” you mean a vocal minority.

      • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

        I think you meant to say boatloads of reckless, selfish, dangerous, freeloading bicyclists who adamantly refuse to pay their way.

        • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:24 am #

          I bike 2 days a week and carpool 3 days a week. I guess you’d prefer I drove (myself perhaps, since I have 2 licensed cars) every day. Would I be “paying my way” in that case or imposing more costs of delay due to congestion on other people, and taking parking spaces that they might be able to use?

          You say that you are taxed to the “max,” yet car tabs are actually lower than they were a decade ago. Our taxes are so low that our roads aren’t being paid for and are crumbling. So none of us are paying our way. By “max.” what do you mean exactly?

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

            I really don’t care what you do, as long as you stay out of the way of productive citizens who pay their way.

    • Jo Hull May 21, 2014 at 7:25 am #

      Heinz 57 (not all White) widowed female (Woman) marina owner here. And I sometimes ride my bike (but not to work)

      SDOT is wasting our tax money with proposal to tear out recently poured concrete/landscaped sections of Westlake Ave. N.

      As of this moment SDOT doesn’t have a plan. But at the recent DAC meeting, a Metro rep. spoke of possibility of a tunnel through Queen Anne hill. That’s right, another tunnel? What about Bertha?

      Good grief, SDOT, please use bike track monies to restore bus routes for folks who aren’t physically able to ride bikes to doctor appointments, classes, work.

      • pragmatic May 21, 2014 at 8:13 am #

        Staying on topic, what do you propose to do about the cyclists in the Westlake corridor? Nothing?

        Status quo means more accidents in the parking lots, perhaps more bikes on Westlake slowing traffic, more peds getting hit by bikes.

        • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 9:00 am #

          Cyclist obeying the rules of the road and staying under 10 mph would cut accidents in half on Westlake…most of the accidents are due to “unable to stop”

        • Paul May 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

          10 mph speed limit that is enforced

        • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

          The reason there are these accidents and peds getting hit by bicyclists is because bicyclists are reckless, selfish, and uncaring about anyone other than themselves.

  11. mikey May 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    wow, I have worked at Aloha and Dexter for the last 15 years and witnessed a perfectly good road be hijacked to bicycles. there was no need to spend millions of dollars just to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic that could funnel through ..all at the same time building thousands of condos requiring more cars. I have been literally forced to drive Westlake now. Who’s idiotic idea was it to install bus stops that block not only the traffic lanes but the ability to even make a free left or right at intersections because they are now installed in islands immediately before the lights? Mismanaged and not collaborated with the general public …for sure dudes.

    Now when I do ride my bike in, I opt for the Westlake route proper …hell no would i ride through that adjacent parking lot. I do a lot of business at those businesses BTW and have even totally knocked a girl off her bike backing out because a cluster of cycles were speeding and passing each other …and i completely am careful pulling out knowing the bike issue in there. Bikes should not be allowed in that parking lot period, there is way too much commerce and activity going on. Ride you bikes on the road dudes …its totally fine. What kind of pussies are you guys anyway? Look at the parking situation and the amount of time that has existed. Its been a problem for decades …and now someone has a bright idea to eliminate 40% of it so pussy bicyclists don’t have to use the regular manner most of the country uses …even after they got a multi-million dollar street turned in to a bike path that immediately parallels it? Jesus Christ people, what do we all have our heads up our asses? THINK! The issue is nonsense. Show up for the meetings and fight this one to the end with passion. We cant get bullied around by all the corrupt politics and back room deals that are being made with the city and the bicycle lobby.

    • Mike W May 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      I tried riding Westlake proper once and felt very lucky to have survived the experience. Cars on that road are constantly jockeying for position, making rapid lane changes while moving at 40+ mph.

      I agree the parking lot is also unsafe, but I have more control over my safety in there and a collision is likely only going to result in some scrapes. A sideswipe from behind by an aggressively driven car moving 20-25mph faster than me is hard to avoid and would certainly end with a trip to a hospital or worse. If that calculation makes me a “pussy”, I proudly admit to the label.

      • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

        Yeah, Mike, you have more control over your safety, but you couldn’t care less about anyone else, nor will you or your kind pay road use fees for your bicycles like everyone else must pay on each motor vehicle. Is it any wonder that Seattle’s “bicycle community” has a terrible and declining reputation?

        • Mike W May 21, 2014 at 6:53 am #

          Taxed, that attack on my character and that of others on this forum are completely inappropriate and unfounded. I realize you’re probably just trolling, but the adults are trying to have a conversation. Please stop.

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

            Bicyclists like you ride recklessly through that parking lot, and couldn’t care less about anyone but themselves — all while freeloading off of everyone else. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

        • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 11:33 am #

          A few bucks in your pocket is clearly more important than people suffering disabling injuries that impact their families. Obviously, they are the selfish ones.

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

            Ooh, now a bicyclist who hates cars (the major meands of transport for the elderly and disabled), and who hates pedestrians, and wants to freeload off lof everyone else, makes accusations of heartlessness. Very special!

      • pragmatic May 21, 2014 at 7:59 am #

        Yes, I’m a “pussy” too when it comes to riding on Westlake. I’ve tried it and the traffic is way too fast. I usually take Dexter, but a lot of people have decided to take Westlake, via the parking lots.

        We can ask people to take Dexter, but the fact of the matter is more and more people are starting to ride and they are largely choosing Westlake.

        So either we deal with more parking lot incidents or we make improvements.

        By the way, the original plan at the time the existing Westlake parking lots were built called for bike lanes on Westlake. They were never built.

        • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 8:45 am #

          Actually they were built with an oversize sidewalk…but striping was never done and to be honest that would be a flippin mess

  12. Allan May 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    If bike safety is the key issue, lets’ begin with something like a 10 mph speed limit for cyclists riding down the parking lot. That can be accomplished very quickly and for little cost.

    Cars backing out of parking spaces often have very restricted vision in either direction while bikes go speeding by.

    As a business owner and marina manager along Westlake Avenue I’m very concerned about future lack of access to our location. Sure, more of our employees can carpool to work but our retail clients arrive from all over the PNW BY CAR in order to spend their money HERE. Westlake Avenue is essentially the ‘Boat Dealers and Services Mall’ for Western Washington.

    The boat and service sales generated here bring millions of dollars into our local economy. Without parking we will be faced with moving and losing the collected synergy we have with all the dealers located in very close proximity to one another.

    Unfortunately, our marina tenants are not going to bicycle in with a cooler on the back or their three kids in a bike trailer…they’ll simply move their boats and pay for moorage and services somewhere else. Why destroy all of this?

    Why not take Westlake Ave down to one lane each way (with a turn lane) and put the bike path on the west side with greater traffic/pedestrian separation and lower impact. (and re-open Dexter with two lanes in each direction to take more cars). whose silly idea was it to put bike lanes up a steep hill anyway? (SDOT?)

    • Mike W May 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      Allan,

      As a daily car and bicycle commuter along Westlake (sometimes I drive, sometime bike), I whole-heartedly agree with your suggestion to turn Westlake into one lane each way, plus a turning lane. Given my experience with the similar construction done on Nickerson, I suspect this would improve car traffic flow as well as solve the bicycle lane issue, without further restricting the already insufficient parking along there.

      I do ride the parking lot (very carefully), but am extremely cognizant of the dangers it presents. The sidewalk is often worse, though, as it is heavily used by pedestrians.

      • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

        Mike, stay out of the parking lot, you selfish jerk. You have Dexter. Go there. Or you you too lazy?

        • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:40 am #

          Why not park on Dexter and walk down?

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

            Because there’s a parking lot on Westlake, and we don’t want freeloading, lazy bicyclists to be permitted to steal it.

  13. JOE C May 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    cyclist need to ask themselves, “Is me not wanting to climb a hill worth someone losing thier job or business?”

    • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 1:04 am #

      Their answer will be: “Yes, of course! Why would you ask?”

    • pragmatic May 21, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      The answer is the lanes can be built through the parking lot with no loss of business and residential parking. How so?

      A large percentage of the stalls are used by commuters who are parking near SLU or downtown for free. By restricting parking to 4 hours or other mechanisms, the spaces taken for the bike lanes can result in no net loss of parking for those who are working, living, or shopping on Westlake.

      Finally, the parking lots are city property. In most retail parts of the city, public parking is not free and unrestricted. This is an unusual case.

      • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 9:11 am #

        That solution might work on the Southern part of Westlake, but on the Northern and Central parts of Westlake there just isn’t enough room…the lot is narrow and there is a lot of Commercial vehicles delivering and receiving goods…Speed bumps would be needed anyway…speed has to be lowered to a safe stopping distance, which is the law in all parking lots

  14. Chuck Quick May 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    I work on Westlake right along the area that the proposed Bike Track will be. If this track goes in the way it is proposed, it will definitely hurt commerce. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out. I also cringe every time I hear a siren, thinking another bike rider has been hit by a motor vehicle. Some thing should be done. License all bikes with the local Fire Departments each year. Fire Department personnel would preform visual safety checks each year. All money would go into a fund to improve/make bike lanes. The real answer to the dilemma on Westlake is to build a Bicycle Viaduct from Mercer St. to Fremont Bridge. Problem solved!

  15. Bruce Nourish May 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I own a boat, live in Ballard and work in Fremont. I ride my bike to West Marine and other marine businesses on Westlake on my lunch break when I need to pick up some new lines or some paint. For a long time before getting my place in Ballard, I commuted via the Westlake parking lot, dodging the backing cars, because it was safer and easier than Dexter. It sucked for me and it sucked for the drivers trying to get where they were going. I can’t tell you how happy I will be when this cycletrack gets built.

    The line the Westlake “Stakeholders” are pushing is scaremongering baloney — the protected bike lane will be safer for everybody, the parking loss will not be great as a percentage of what’s available, and a huge amount of the parking is currently being used as hide’n’ride parking by Amazon/SLU employees who walk or bus the last mile rather than pay for a garage in SLU. If the “Stakeholders” actually cared about something other than reflexive whining about bicycles, they’d have been asking the city for years to switch the parking to a two hour limit.

    Space is tight in the city. The city can’t function if everyone drives their car everywhere. Bicycling is growing and bicyclists are entitled to have their safety considered in the allocation of public right-of-way. If a business owner wants guaranteed parking at their doorstep, they need to purchase the land to make that happen (like the West Marine on Westlake), not freeload off the public and whine when some more compelling use of the space arises.

    I’m a boat owner, car owner, taxpayer, and a patron of these businesses, and I support the cycletrack.

    • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      But you’re a selfish freeloader as it concerns your bicycle. Grow up and pay your way, and then we might listen to you. Until then, the answer is “No.”

      • Bruce Nourish May 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

        People demanding free parking, on public property, exactly where they want it, even if it entails making the lives of others unsafe and inconvenient, are the selfish freeloaders.

        • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

          Bruce, we pay to use the streets. You don’t. You have no rights in the matter.

          • Bruce Nourish May 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

            Just like everyone else in this city, I pay property and sales taxes, which (mostly via transfers from the general fund) account for the lion’s share of SDOT’s budget. The taxes we pay on our vehicles and fuel don’t even come close to covering the use of those vehicles impose on the city, to say nothing of the space-inefficiency and pollution externalities of cars.

            On this subject, you are ignorant and wrong. Deal with it. Or leave. Yes, maybe just leave?

          • Tim Flanagan May 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

            Oh, so Bruce doesn’t own a car? Oh wait, he’s already told us he owns a car. He pays exactly the same “taxes to use the street” you do. Your logic about who is a stakeholder with a voice and who isn’t seems…self serving, at best. But unfortunately, it happens to be invalid in Bruce’s case, since he owns a car that we assume he licenses with the state and fills with fuel, just like you do.

            Glad we cleared that up. Now that you’ve been educated, we will await your acknowledgement and apology.

            By the way, If you want to be taken seriously online, use a real name. Until you do, “you have no rights in the matter”. Them’s the rules of genuine discourse on public affairs.

            As both a cyclist who rides this route daily AND a boat owner who until recently moored at 2470 Westlake Ave. N, I would be THRILLED to have a safer bike path through here, for pedestrian safety if nothing else! My very strong preference would be to accomplish this with ZERO NET LOSS of parking spots.

          • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

            Bruce’s car taxes give him the right to drive his car on our streets. As soon as he climbs onto his bicycle, Bruce Nourish becomes a selfish, demanding freeloader like the rest of this city’s bicyclists. He, and you, are irritating pests who increasingly irritate those of us who pay our way.

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:42 am #

            The parking on Westlake is wider than the lanes. I’m not allowed to use it as a storage unit, but people can park cars for free in most of those spaces. What street use fee are you paying relative to someone else who can park there? Are you paying more money to support the businesses there than everyone else who could potentially pass by and park there?

      • rufus May 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

        I don’t believe you!

    • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      I’m happy that you are able to carry “some new lines or some paint” on your bicycle. Contrary to belief sometimes not all boat gear can be carried on a bicycle, like metal fabrication and graphics that shouldn’t be folded, or even a passenger. Let’s rip out 40% of the parking on your street without studying the impact on the community.

      I’m a boat owner, part time resident of the community, taxpayer and patron of the businesses, and I not only do not support the cycle track, but feel that it will hurt small business owners due to the loss of business and the city in lost tax revenue.

      • Andres May 21, 2014 at 8:14 am #

        I’m pretty sure no one is suggesting ripping out 40% of the parking.

        For the record, I have biked to Westlake businesses three times in the past year to catch boats. I have never driven or taken the bus there. Obviously, I’m not a regular user, but I *am* a paying customer. Or at least, I was; if the stakeholders keep pushing back against protected bicycle infrastructure, I will be sure to avoid giving them money in the future.

    • Avatar of JB
      JB May 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Excellent post Bruce

  16. Paul May 20, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    The businesses that located here did so with consideration to the infrastructure available, which included parking. Just as businesses down town factor in transit and parking into their decisions. The parking was there when they made a decision to invest their time and money. I’m more upset about how a huge chunk of the Bridging the Gap money went into rebuilding Mercer which increased Paul Allen’s property values much more than the small businesses and land owners on Westlake getting a benefit from a public resource that has been there for a long time.

    • Anon May 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      @Paul I’m sorry, but if your business is based solely on street parking located in a public right-of-way, near the dense urban core of a city’s downtown, you’ve made a terrible choice. These businesses are built, literally on the water. They could have chosen places with private lots, but didn’t and get little sympathy from most. Most will survive the loss of a couple of parking spots, and those that don’t, will get replaced by businesses that can.

      • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Anon, If your business is based on street parking, Boat Repair, Maintenance, and Moorage, where else should you locate? SODO isn’t an option since there is no WATER.

        Lake Union is a longtime working waterfront and moorage that provides Marine services. Westlake is also a Truck Route and major arterial. Dexter was stripped of two lanes of traffic for bicycles and with the way the Mercer Mess was laid out not good for Trucks…Cyclist need to get stronger legs to climb the hill, or they should have thought about the hill when they lobbied for the Dexter changes.

        • Anon May 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

          @Joe Dexter doesn’t take me anywhere near my place of work, so why should I be forced to use that to save 100-200 public stalls of a 1200-1300 public stall lot? If you think the loss of those ~200 stalls is going to have a fatal impact on business, you have a lot to learn.

          Also, there are many marinas around Seattle that have private parking. Why should these Westlake marinas get unconditional use of public ROW, when there’s plenty of space for everyone? 10 ft out of a 150 ft ROW is nothing.

          • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

            except the 10ft goes across all 150′ of parking spaces and we are talking almost 2 miles of 10 feet, which is 10,520 feet, so it is not 200 public stalls, it’s many more. And over half of these stalls are metered.

          • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

            and Anon….really your going to take jobs and business away from people, since you cannot peddle at best 3 extra city blocks.

            One other thing, you are riding your bike through Westlake, parking spaces are needed because people are driving to Westlake…it’s the destination not the path

          • Anon May 20, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

            If there is legitimate concern about businesses losing parking, we can convert the free parking to 2 hour, unmetered parking, geared towards parking for the businesses. And if that’s not enough, we can convert some of the RPZ parking to 2 hour, unmetered parking, again, geared towards parking for the businesses.

            If that’s STILL not enough, they can feel free to build private parking, off city ROW.

          • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

            Anon…okay I give where would you build said parking…there’s not a whole lot of room to build much of anything unless it floats…again Dexter was converted to use for bikes and it is a short distance away.

            The parking on Westlake is half metered and I agree metering should be changed, but at best that still leaves a 20 to 30 % reduction in spaces, when the occupancy rate of the area is increasing and summer is coming which only increases the number of people using their boats.

            A simple solution…you choose to ride, you choose to climb a hill

          • Anon May 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

            @Joe I don’t see how choosing not to take a hill route, that goes nowhere near my destination is any more unreasonable than asking business built above water to build their own parking, if they are concerned about losing a few PUBLIC parking spots.

          • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

            Anon, you should be grateful for everything you get, freeloader.

          • Anon May 21, 2014 at 6:51 am #

            @Taxed Wow, your argument really hits deep. I’ve seen the errors of my way and will no longer support safe cycling, will buy the largest Humvee I can find and start voting Tea Party only! Then I can be just like you, such a well rounded, functioning member of society.

        • rufus May 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

          Agreed

  17. Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Bicyclists demanded and got elaborate facilities just one block over, on Dexter, but they appear to be too lazy to use them. I really don’t see why they should be pandered to, especially seeing as how they don’t pay the same vehicle taxes to take their bikes on the street that everyone else pays to take their cars, motorcycles and trucks on the streets. Will the demands from these freeloaders ever stop?!

    • Bruce Nourish May 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      Car owners have that whole street, Dexter, just up the hill. That street has 70% of the roadway allocated to parking and driving their vehicles, even though fuel and car taxes make up only a small portion of SDOT’s budget (most of it comes from property tax) and their vehicles are overwhelmingly the cause of wear and tear on the city’s arterial streets. Are they too lazy to walk up those staircases on the side of the hill or something? We need to come down hard on those freeloaders. The pandering to entitled car owners has to stop.

      • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

        Nice try, Bruce, but you’re wrong about the pavement wear and tear. 99% of pavement damage caused by vehicles comes from the weight of heavy trucks and buses. An automobile, SUV, or pickup truck does no more damage to a street than a motorcycle, moped, or bicycle. You’re a bicyclist, and selfish and ignorant as all get-out. All you ever do is demand and take.

        • Bruce Nourish May 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

          If you think a car and a bicycle put the same amount of wear on a road surface, then we have identified the source of counterfactual ignorance in this conversation, and it’s not me.

          • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

            The ignorance is entirely yours. There is a long-established mathematical formula that establishes the truth of what I wrote. If you choose to ignore the facts, you’re just one more in a long line of bicyclists who prefer to ignore reality.

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:43 am #

            Do you have studded tires? I don’t.

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

            Nor do I. When Seattle’s incompetent city government fails to plow the streets, I use chains.

      • rufus May 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

        @ bruce nourish, It is pretty obvious you hate cars!

    • Anon May 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      How about we close Westlake to cars, since they can use nearby Aurora, Dexter, Eastlake or I-5, or are they too lazy?

      And vehicle taxes don’t pay for city streets, property taxes do, which all residents of Seattle pay.

      • JOE C May 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

        when the majority of taxpayers ride bikes, you might have an argument, until then, the many are paying for the few

        • sdv May 21, 2014 at 9:35 am #

          Given that currently 50% of Seattle residents are bikers, your claim that the “many are paying for the few” is a false. The many are paying for the equally many.

          http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikedata.htm

          • JOE C May 21, 2014 at 10:02 am #

            So your seriously going to argue that 50% of the city bicycle commutes??? At best 50% own bicycles…try again

          • sdv May 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

            JOE C. No, I never said that. I pointed to actual data that 50% of Seattle residents are bikers. It doesn’t mean they ride every day. But given that they self-report as such, it seems to be relevant. Especially more so than your ridiculous claim that bikers only matter when they constitute a majority.

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 11:52 am #

            Then we should be able to add $15 million a year to city revenues at $50 a bike (x) 300,000 bike owners. Scale back the master bicycle plan to match, and it’s paid for!

    • Tim Flanagan May 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      “These freeloaders”? I’m a guy who rides a bike sometimes. I own a car (three of them, actually, one of which gets 15 mpg, so I pay plenty in gas taxes, too). I own my home (I pay property taxes). I own a boat (I license it with the state). So I will assume you wouldn’t include ME in that “freeloaders” comment EVEN THOUGH I ride a bicycle along Westlake every day. You mean…some OTHER cyclists, I guess. The freeloading ones. Just not me. Or that guy Bruce from the earlier comment.

      Have I got that about right?

      I had knee surgery recently. I’m cycling to strengthen and exercise the knee. I’m not climbing the hill on Dexter, for the time being, while I get back in shape from the winter hiatus. Unless you’re volunteering to manage my knee rehab and pay my medical bills, you have no right to tell me where I may or may not ride my bicycle, as long as I’m obeying the law. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course; it just doesn’t carry any weight whatsoever; it can safely be disregarded with impunity.

      • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

        Your surgery doesn’t matter here, nor do your car tabs or your property taxes. You ride a vehicle — your bicycle — that does not pay the same road use taxes that every other vehicle is required to pay. You are therefore a freeloader, and you should sit down and shut up until your group has to join the rest of the adults and pay your way.

        • Tim Flanagan May 21, 2014 at 10:09 am #

          Oh! I understand now. Thanks for clarifying. I’m going to have to concede the argument to you.

          ANYBODY who rides a bicycle on public right-of-way is a freeloader because ALL of us, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, consistently and stubbornly refuse to pay the bicycle vehicle licensing fee.

          A fee that doesn’t actually exist.

          So yes, you have won. I cannot possibly expect to prevail when the premise of your position rests upon the rock-solid foundation of an imaginary licensing requirement you made up. I am defeated. Well played, sir.

          Hey, by the way, everybody else playing along at home: I was freeloading my way along the Westlake walking/parking/commerce-but-not-bicycling corridor this morning, and I just about hit a car backing blind out of a parking spot! That stretch is such a hodge-podge of arrangements: parallel parking here, then stall parking over there; one-way here, then two-way there. Wouldn’t residents, business owners, motorists, commercial vehicle operators, and pedestrians all benefit from some sort of “unconfusing the mess” project along here?

          Never mind the freeloaders! EVERYBODY ELSE BENEFITS from some kind of coherent design overhaul. Heck, there might even be more parking, once it was all done; there are plenty of stretches with unreasonably wide fairways between the parking stalls. That whole thing is a mess.

          Anyway, back to work! I gotta earn the money to set aside for when reality catches up with fantasy and I can finally stop freeloading.

          • Avatar of Tim Flanagan
            Tim Flanagan May 22, 2014 at 9:51 am #

            [Sung to the tune of Free Fallin' by Tom Petty]

            It’s a good route
            Along Lake Union
            No steep hills,
            And very few stop signs
            It’s a good route
            We cyclists like to travel
            It’s a good route
            for gettin’ there on time

            I’m reducing
            Wear on the pavement
            I’m reducing
            Traffic on the street
            I’m reducing
            Competition for parking
            I’m reducing
            Carbon in the sky

            And I’m FREE
            I’m freeloading
            Yeah, I’m free
            I’m freeloading

        • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:11 am #

          Until you pay a shoe toll, stop walking from your car to the front door then, freeloader. How are sidewalks paid for? Why is it that old and disabled people should be able to have special curb ramps without paying their way?

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

            Pedestrians have no right to do anything other than cross a street, and at the corner. Their feet are not an authorized vehicle. So registering pedestrians as vehicles and taxing their feet is not comparable, except in the selfish and deluded minds of freeloading bicyclists.

  18. Armando Cruz May 20, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    My last comment was in response to Scott Boye. Who I quote “The bike lane provides safety for commuters that are non-polluting and require a small footprint.”

    The footprint is actually quite large, else there would not be an issue. The solution is to somehow increase the land, by possibly using the under used sidewalk on the west side of the road. That could be segregated and would have minimal impact on parking and use of the thoroughfare. However, it would be expensive to increase the easement on to private property and cutting into the hillside, in certain areas.

    I remember when the meters were added it was to cut down on the number of people leaving their car in the area, it’s probably time to cut down on the maximum number of hours that can be purchased.

  19. Tim Yeadon May 20, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    Let’s leave the parking alone. Take a lane away from Westlake Avenue. Have the center lane shift directions during the day. Make the center lane southbound during the morning rush and northbound during the afternoon rush.

    • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      No cycle track, no reduction on Westlake. Unlike motor vehicles, bicyclists don’t pay any street use fees, and therefore deserve no accommodations. When they pay their way, we can talk. Not before.

      • Anon May 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        @Taxed City streets are paid for by property taxes, which all residents, cyclists included pay. So let’s talk!

        • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

          I’m so glad you’ve joined the movement to repeal licensing requirements and road use fees for motor vehicles!

          • Anon May 21, 2014 at 10:32 am #

            What road use fees? Those were repealed back with I-695. The current licensing fees exist pretty much to pay for license processing.

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:47 am #

            I think paid parking is the closest thing to a “road use fee” that most people pay in Seattle, except for the 520 bridge. I pay car tabs but that has nothing to do with how much I use my car or where I use it. It would cost other people time if I chose to drive more on congested streets. That’s why it’s important to encourage people if they are able to get around other ways.

      • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:13 am #

        I wasn’t aware there was a toll to use Westlake. Not sure what street use fees you are paying, unless you have a construction zone or a food truck parked in the parking space.

  20. sdv May 20, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    Yep. Restrict the parking for the residents and businesses along Westlake before you start complaining about the lack of parking. It’s not the bicyclists that are stealing your parking… it’s commuters who don’t want to pay to park near their work.

  21. Scott Boye May 20, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    The “uniqueness of this corridor” it that the businesses and residents of Westlake have been getting a free pass at the taxpayers expense.

    The parking areas are publicly owned property used as all-day parking for houseboat residents, business clients and business employees. Private use on public property. For free. Now the city wants to increase safety for bicyclists and the community whines about loosing a percentage of their ‘free’ parking.

    Westlake Avenue is a dangerous place to ride a bike. The speed limit is thoroughfare speed, there is no shoulder and the road surface is uneven in many places. Getting hit by a car going 40mph is probably a death sentence to the biker. Seems a poor trade so the businesses can use public property for private gain. Bike lanes provide safety to a growing percentage of Seattle commuters, all of whom pay taxes – directly through property taxes on their homes, sales tax on items purchased in Seattle or indirectly through rent paid on their apartments. Meanwhile Westlake businesses pay no taxes on the publicly owned parking.

    If the businesses want parking consider offering to buy those parking lots from the city. Once the ownership becomes private, they can control the use. Until then those parking lots are for the use and benefit of all citizens – bikers, Amazon employees and the businesses.

    There are some ways to share the publicly owned land. Businesses appear to be concerned about Amazon employees hogging parking spots. I’d suggest that parking restrictions be enacted on the entire Westlake corridor. Perhaps a 2-hour limit. That should be enough for a customer to park, conduct business in a retail establishment and depart before breaking the time limit. It would also preclude an Amazon employee from leaving a car for all day. For houseboat residents issue zone parking permits as are used in other high-density neighborhoods throughout Seattle. I’m familiar with the permits in Wallingford and am aware of other neighborhoods that use them to control parking yet allow residents long term parking.

    Mostly, play fair in the sandbox. The bike lane provides safety for commuters that are non-polluting and require a small footprint. The Westlake parking lots are owned by the public and should be available to all the public. Not a small group that refuses to share.

    • Rusty May 20, 2014 at 8:15 am #

      So are you saying bicyclists are more entitled to the use of “public land” than the business owners, employees, and customers? Everyone pays taxes. By definition, everyone is entitled to equal access to public land. There are countless examples everywhere you look of vehicles parking on public land so that taxpayers can access businesses. Should we remove all street parking throughout Seattle? Why do bicyclists believe they have more rights than drivers? We are all people going about our daily lives as each of us choose.

      Bicycles are using the public roads and bikeways for free. Perhaps it is time to tax bicycles for road use and charge bicycles for parking. Surely, you would support bicyclists contributing to the funding of these development efforts.

      I suggest you tread lightly when you wave the banner regarding your tax contribution. I suspect your tax contribution pales in comparison to that of the average area business owner’s.

      “Play fair in the sandbox” is equally applicable to the small percentage of taxpayers that choose to commute by bicycle.

      • Michael May 20, 2014 at 9:43 am #

        Don’t assume that bicyclists are using anything “for free.” I am so tired of that song.

        I own several vehicles all of which I pay fees on as well as gas tax. Additionally I pay property taxes. Years ago car tabs were much higher and we all paid more then. Now we lowered them and have less money for roads which is part of the problem – no one who owned a car wanted to pay the higher fees, small wonder.

        Most I know who bicycle two and from work own at least one car and frequently property also. We all end up paying taxes directly or indirectly – no one is riding for free – except perhaps for a societal dropout on a stolen bicycle. It is true that area has enjoyed free parking for some time.

        I would hate to see a loss of parking impact business negatively in that area and I think it will. It seems to me a lot of that parking now is pay parking yes? All of that parking used to be free all the time – many people benefited from that arrangement. Times change especially as things grow denser and more people occupy the city. We will all have to make concessions.

        The prior arrangement with hardly any bike lanes through the city was unsustainable, unsafe and probably aggravated tensions between cyclists and motorists.Hopefully we can make cycling safer through that area in a manner that satisfies most people.

        • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 11:04 am #

          Bicycles are the only vehicles legally allowed to use streets and roads without having to pay a use fee. Bicyclists routinely misrepresent the issue, talking about the fees they pay for other vehicles they might own. But that’s not relevant, because each street-legal vehicle (other than bicycles) pays a separate fee. Only bicycles are exempted.

          Another common misrepresentation concerns the alleged impossibility of collecting a bicycle fee. Bicycle organizations make it sound as if this can’t be done, which isn’t true. We have a Washington State Dept. of Licensing that collects fees for mopeds, motorcycles, cars, trucks, boats, and trailers. Bicycles could easily be added to the list.

          The bottom line is that bicyclists make an endless series of demands for themselves and their vehicles, while adamantly refusing to pay their way. It’s selfish, unfair, and extremely irritating to the rest of us who pay our way.

          • SGG May 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

            “Taxed to the Max” should really be “Ignorant to the Max”. Seattle streets aren’t funded through the gas tax. Seattle streets are funded mostly through the property tax. Seattle residents either pay property tax directly as owners, or indirectly as renters.

            The fees collected by WA State Dept of Licensing don’t pay for local city streets for the most part. This includes Seattle. Cities would love to be able to tap into the state’s transportation revenue.

          • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

            SGG, the fact is that bicycles are the only vehicles that use the streets for free. You are living off of the taxes of other people. You’re a freeloader, and this is a big reason why your group has met a growing level of hostility in this city.

          • SGG May 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

            I pay car tabs on two late model vehicles. That money goes to the state and Sound Transit, and some used to go to King County Metro. None of it goes to the City of Seattle. I pay property taxes in the city, and I pay sales taxes, some of which is retained by the city. Those are the sources of revenue for Seattle streets. Not the gas tax. The only freeloaders in the city are those who drive in from out of town living elsewhere, and shop out of town as well.

            Not super complicated.

          • Taxed to the Max May 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

            SGG, I pay car tabs on more than one vehicle too. But you ride your bicycle for free. You are a freeloader. This is why a growing number of people in this city resent the hell out of you and your entitled attitude.

          • sdv May 21, 2014 at 9:52 am #

            Don’t forget pedestrians – the bastards!

          • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:19 am #

            You illustrate such a great point. I can’t wait to license my child as soon as she’s old enough to walk down the street on her shoes, which should be licensed as well. I’ll be proud to put her on a tricycle as well, and attach a giant license plate to it that’s bigger than her head. I just hope no driver plows into her and drives that license plate straight through her skull like a piece of shrapnel on our unsafe streets.

          • Taxed to the Max May 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

            So now the bicyclists not only hate motor vehicles and want to sponge off of them, but they also hate pedestrians. Wow, but aren’t this city’s bicyclists just special?!

    • Armando Cruz May 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

      Actually Businesses pay the very same taxes you pay, such as rents and property taxes, plus B&O taxes as well. This disussion has nothing to do with pollution and everything to do with proper use of a very limited space.

      • Michael May 20, 2014 at 10:01 am #

        Are you reading the thread Armando? I’m not complaining about paying taxes nor denying that people have a right to use the land. I don’t see anyone speaking about pollution.

      • Michael May 20, 2014 at 10:09 am #

        My apologies Armando – I missed the brief reference to polluting and smaller footprint. I guess proper use is subjective. We’ll all have to share the space – sorry I blew up. =)

    • Bill May 20, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Glad you are more entitled to the public space than I am. I only live there.

      • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

        You live on the street?

  22. Mike Brough May 20, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    No Parking == I don’t do business there – quite simple actually

    Last time I helped a friend move their boat, I had about a half mile hike with all my gear from my car to their boat – sorry but they can move the boat themselves next time and I will also skip getting something to drink at the quick mart

    • sdv May 21, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Not able to bike there == I don’t do business there.

      But apparently your dollar is worth more than mine.

    • Tax pedestrians May 21, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Then make short term parking only, and paid parking. I’m sure it was worth a couple bucks for your friend if you had been able to help out.

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