City convenes task force to improve bike safety along streetcar tracks

screen-shot-2016-01-27-at-4-24-07-pmStreetcar tracks, especially wet ones, are notorious hazard for cyclists. Westlake Ave is a perennial problem for biking along the South Lake Union Streetcar line and one young woman’s fatal crash along the First Hill Streetcar in May prompted calls for safer street designs.

A group of mobility advocates and members of the Bicycle Advisory Board are now being tasked with finding ways to improve bike safety around the next leg of Seattle’s streetcar system.

The Center City Connector will connect the First Hill and Westlake lines by 2019, and with this group’s help, could also include some much-needed bike infrastructure downtown. Officials say the streetcar design group for the Center City line will also look at how to make existing lines safer — including the First Hill Streetcar.

“The Bicycle/Streetcar Design Review Group originated from a need to have a more transparent conversation about the interactions of people riding bikes and streetcars,” said SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah.

Members of the group will hold their first meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the 60% design of the streetcar project. In his recently released budget, Mayor Ed Murray proposed adding $45 million to a $75 million federal grant to fund the connector line.

The line is planned to run along 1st Ave with stops at Cherry, Madison, and Pike, and one more at 3rd and Stewart before connecting with the South Lake Union line on Westlake Ave. With one transfer, riders will one day be able to travel from the southern shores of Lake Union, though the Denny Triangle, downtown, the ID, First Hill, Pike/Pine, and up to Broadway and Denny across from the Capitol Hill Station.

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8 thoughts on “City convenes task force to improve bike safety along streetcar tracks

  1. Blow a bunch of money and put yet another protected bike lane parallel to the streets the streetcar will run on (Oh wait! There already is one!), which many cyclists won’t use. Then pass an ordinance requiring use of a bike lane where one exists, and outlaw bikes on sidewalks. You want the roads and bike lanes, here ya go.

    • Don’t get me started on the 2nd Ave bike lane…
      I try to ride on it, and it is a pretty nice path, when you can use it. So often it is blocked by construction or delivery trucks parked in it, you get pooted out into traffic with no warning. Then there is the lack of connection to anything at the North end, you are left facing oncoming traffic from Belltown. Its like the SODO path along the light rail, great once you are on it, but no good way to get on or off it.

    • I ride my bike on the Broadway cycletrack every day on my way to and from work and I love it. And I’m definitely glad I don’t have to ride next to or between streetcar tracks.

    • Hundreds of people have been seriously injured (some with permanent life altering injuries) along the SLU line. I’m grateful the Broadway segment has a safe place for people to bike, even if it isn’t getting the kind of use everyone wants to see, YET.

    • Capitol Hillian, please provide documentation that “hundreds” of cyclists have been injured along the SLUT….that seems like a gross exaggeration.

      Broadway bike lane advocates have been saying for a long time now that it will eventually get a reasonable amount of use. That does not seem to be happening, and it has been there now for, what 3 years?

  2. Great – another streetcar that will be slower than walking, screw up traffic and endanger cyclists. Can’t wait to see the ridership numbers on this one.