SDOT is creating a bike route between downtown and Broadway via First Hill, hoping to fill a gap in the bicycle network and improve safety for people climbing the neighborhood’s steep grades. Meanwhile, Tuesday night’s Spoke & Food fundraiser includes a Capitol Hill destination among its 13 participating Seattle restaurants.
Plans for the new route between Broadway and downtown will extend the Cherry St bike lane from 4th Ave to 7th, providing a way to safely pass under I-5. The route will then guide people north onto 7th, then east onto Marion, which was recently repaved. Both streets have relatively calm traffic, and there is a signalized crossing at Marion and Boren.
At Broadway, the route will direct people north on Boylston to existing facilities on Union. It is also fairly easy to get to 12th Ave and the Central District by taking E Columbia — which dead-ends into Swedish Medical Center — through Seattle U campus.
A new bike lane was installed on Cherry Street last year from 1st Avenue to just east of 4th Avenue and SDOT had planned on extending the route to Broadway in 2011. As staff began the design process for these proposed facilities, some potentially challenging conditions for cyclists on Cherry were recognized. First, Cherry is steep! Seattle is known for its steep hills, but Cherry may be too challenging for the average biker. Second, crossing busy Boren Avenue at Cherry would be no walk in the park for cyclists either. While the existing median island at this intersection provides space for pedestrian and bicycle crossings, there are no signals or stop signs on Boren Avenue.
SDOT staff began searching for an alternate route that provides similar connections with a less severe grade. The perfect candidate was found just two blocks northwest of Cherry on Marion Street. Marion handles far fewer vehicles than Cherry making this an attractive alternate route and the grade of the street, while still on an incline, is much less steep than Cherry. In addition, the intersection of Marion and Boren is signalized so bicyclists will have a much easier time crossing this busy street.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Spoke & Food event at Bellevue Ave E’s The Lookout will be one of many across the city offering bicyclists an opportunity to raise money for Seattle Tilth while enjoying food and drink:
The event asks people to bicycle to (and from) one of the “host” restaurants on the night of the event. This community event was launched last year as a way to influence the culture of Seattle, to show how easy and fun bicycling to and from dinner is and to raise money for a well-deserving Seattle area non-profit. A new non-profit beneficiary is selected each year. This year’s event will benefit the Children’s Garden Education program at Seattle Tilth where as last year’s event benefited the Lettuce Link program at Solid Ground.The funds raised for the non-profit are donated directly to the non-profit by each of the “host” restaurants who have agreed to give 20% of all the diner bills collected between 5:00pm and 10:00pm on Tuesday, June 28th. In return of their gracious support, the Spoke & Food event will have only one host restaurant in each of the neighborhoods that are involved.