Streetcar 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.