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Tom Shillue

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Bike extremist livid cars allowed at Seattle waterfront

KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz says a bike activist is unfairly taking issue with part of the proposed design for the new Seattle waterfront. (AP)

A notoriously hyper-critical bike activist is livid that the City of Seattle has the audacity to give drivers access to the new waterfront.

KING 5 recently featured Tom Fucoloro, purveyor of Seattle Bike Blog. He’s taking issue with an eight-lane stretch of Alaskan Way that exists in the new waterfront design. It only takes up one-third of the entire waterfront project, but Fucoloro suggests this proves that the City of Seattle doesn’t put people first.

Related: New Alaskan Way Boulevard will be up to 8 lanes wide

“It was the scariest thing I saw on Halloween,” said Fucoloro of the designs. “It should be people first. They basically decided they want to prioritize the movement of cars over the experience of having a good waterfront that people want.”

Fucoloro says it’s “[time] to protest” and is suggesting we may need to fund a second tunnel in place of the lanes. There’s no doubt he and his activist friends will soon resort to bullying tactics against anyone getting in his way (watch my Twitter feed for proof about 30 minutes after this blog goes live).

There’s a lot wrong with his reaction. First, the waterfront is, in fact, putting people first. People drive in cars. I know Fucoloro doesn’t approve of this, but allowing access to the region (and waterfront) is a great way to put people first.

There seems to be a dangerous and selfish movement to keep Seattle as exclusive as possible. At the same time, over at The Urbanist, Doug Trumm wants to get rid of I-5 from Central Seattle entirely. Why don’t these Seattleites want the single mom in Renton or the family in Everett coming to the waterfront with their kids? It’s bizarre isolationism.

“I’m worried it will be one of those things where we build it and people come out to see it and say, ‘what!'” Fucoloro told KING 5.

Most people don’t have the unhealthy aversion to cars that Fucoloro does. People aren’t triggered the way he suspects they may be. We understand that driving is an acceptable and necessary way to get around the region. The vast majority of people — nearly everyone — finds it unappealing to bike in the rain to their destination.

In a tweet, Fucoloro wrote: “Maybe we need a second highway tunnel to bury this proposed surface highway. THEN we can have a waterfront for the people.”

If he wants fewer lanes and more space for pedestrians, kill the bike and bus lanes. There. Major problem solved.

Fucoloro is arrogant enough to think he is a representative voice of the people. He isn’t. He represents a small but vocal voice within a community that embraces a niche hobby. For example, less than 4 percent of people who work in the city commute to via bikes, yet Fucoloro seems to think his biking habits are reflective of the city’s desire to embrace bikes. They’re not.

KIRO 7 reports that a Cascade Bicycle Club representative wrote the advocacy organization “is happy for the protected bike lane throughout the waterfront and it will be an important downtown connection. That said, we are concerned that eight lanes of traffic make it difficult to call it a waterfront for all.”

This makes no sense at all. They want a waterfront for all that purposefully ignores people who can only reasonably get there via car.

A waterfront “for the people” means it will embrace all forms of transportation, from cars and bikes to buses and pedestrian traffic. Cutting out drivers (and buses) doesn’t embrace anyone but Fucoloro and his cyclist friends.

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