City reports massive increase in biking as Viadoom begins

Jan 15, 2019, 2:30 PM | Updated: 2:45 pm
Biking Fremont Bridge Viadoom...
(Dongho Chang, City of Seattle)
(Dongho Chang, City of Seattle)

The first two days of Viadoom in Seattle have proven to be surprisingly manageable as enough commuters have altered their travel habits to keep traffic minimal. If the data is to be believed, a huge increase in cyclists could very well be one of the reasons.

RELATED: SDOT reports 20 percent decrease in cyclists, blames weather

City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang reported across-the-board increases throughout Seattle in cyclists.

The data indicates sizable changes on three major thoroughfares.

  • Elliot Bay Trail: 191 percent increase from 2017, 44 percent from 2018
  • Fremont Bridge: 176 percent increase from 2017, 79 percent from 2018
  • Spokane Street Bridge: 327 percent increase from 2017, 164 percent from 2018

You can see the exact numbers here:

This uptick is consistent with reports from LimeBike, who told MyNorthwest Tuesday that they “have seen an increase in use in Seattle over the last several days.”

“We’re happy to help keep West Seattleites moving, and to further encourage people to try new ways of getting around during the SR99 closure and beyond,” a representative of Lime said.

Lime is doing its part to convince commuters to bike to work during Viadoom by offering a discount code for $1 off of rides — use “PMCLIME” to participate.

This comes at something of a crossroads for cycling in Seattle. A recent report from the Seattle Department of Transportation saw a 20 percent decrease in cyclists in 2017 as a share of overall commuters in the city. SDOT reported 3.5 percent of overall commuters traveled by bike in 2016. That number dipped to 2.8 percent in 2017.

The City of Seattle has made an effort to add bike lanes in various neighborhoods to encourage more people to ditch their cars.

RELATED: Seattle named the ‘Best Bike City in America,’ but is it really?

“The city is going to promote those modes that use space efficiently, and therefore can move the most people,” Washington State Transportation Director Mark Hallenbeck told MyNorthwest back in December. “Bikes and pedestrians have the ability to move an awful lot of people in very little space, and therefore those modes are being promoted.”

As it turns out, what commuters really needed to motivate them to starting biking to work was the longest freeway closure in the state’s history.

We’ll see if habits change when rain returns on Wednesday.

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City reports massive increase in biking as Viadoom begins