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With city nixing plan for car charging station on Broadway, extended bikeway still no closer to reality

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

City officials are backing off the plan to add a new electric vehicle charging station to Broadway outside Capitol Hill Station that would have kinked up any future plans for extending the Broadway bikeway. Here — we’ll let Seattle Bike Blog and its infographic goodness tell you the news:

In an email to people who submitted feedback on the plan, the agency cited public concerns about the bike lane (and increased costs related to relocation) as primary reasons for the change. As Seattle Bike Blog and many others noted, the presence of a car charger would likely serve as an additional barrier to a sorely-needed bike lane extension on Broadway. Moving the charger if/when a bike lane is completed would also cost City Light unnecessary expenses.

In its update, Seattle City Light said it heard three priorities from feedback on the proposal:

  • There is a preference for the City of Seattle to focus on transit, pedestrian, and biking options for this intersection.
  • Installing the EV chargers in a location where the community desires a protected bike lane extension would create a hurdle for the community’s continued appeal for the protected bike lane extension.
  • Installing the EV chargers in a location where future uses possibly include a protected bike lane or a loading/unloading zone could result in unnecessary expenses for City Light.

In selecting the location, City Light points out that extending Broadway’s protected bike lane was not included in the Seattle Department of Transportation’s six-year project list.

Seattle City Light could choose a new location for a Capitol Hill charging station. “If we find a feasible site in the Capitol Hill area, we will engage the community and stakeholders again,” City Light says.

After $3 million worth of planning, SDOT and the mayor’s office iced plans for a two-stop extension of the First Hill Streetcar north on Broadway to Roy — and the street and safety improvements that would have come along with it including a longer Broadway bikeway.

Killing off the charging station doesn’t mean any new progress for extending the bikeway. The previous extension plan would have included the removal of another handful of left turns on Broadway, removal or reduction of parking to extend the protected bikeway north to around Roy, intersections marked using skipped green paint, and new bike traffic signals. Plans also included new designs for the transit stops along Broadway with access at-grade from a raised crosswalk. The bikeway was planned to come up to sidewalk level at the crosswalk, encouraging people biking to slow down and giving clear priority to people on foot.

Including the streetcar elements, the iced plan had a $28 million price tag with talk of a possible local improvement district to help pay for it. That talk went nowhere, a major grant was handed back, and the streetcar plans were shelved even as the unexecuted improvements remain part of Seattle’s bike planning.

More promising is progress for bikes in Pike/Pine. A plan to create protected bike infrastructure connecting between downtown and Capitol Hill is reportedly on track to be in place by December. CHS wrote about the community process to shape the new protected bike lanes here last year.

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1 year ago

The city should actually move the 49/9x/60 bus stop from the north side of that intersection to the south side so that people making an intermodal transfer from bus to light rail, or light rail to bus don’t have to try to run across the intersection to make it. Metro showed some real common sense in moving the 8 bus stop across Broadway for the same reason.

1 year ago

Nobody hardly uses the Broadway PBL as it is so they think tearing up the street and wasting millions to extend it will make it suddenly start getting used by more than a few bikes an hour? I seriously doubt that. It would be another rip off of the tax payers that benefits very few, while slowing down others and hurting businesses.