CHOKEPOINTS

A protected bike lane in Seattle that might make sense

Sep 15, 2016, 5:32 AM | Updated: 7:23 am

Most of Seattle’s protected bike lanes have come at the expense of traffic or parking lanes and are not popular with the drivers, but the newest lane on Westlake Avenue actually makes sense.

I’m not here to tell you whether I agree with protected bike lanes or not. I have been critical of many of them, such as the 2nd Avenue lane which is still confusing to many. But at first glance, this one might actually work and make things safer for everyone.

This new dedicated lane takes bikes off of Westlake Avenue and puts them in their own designated space next to the pedestrian walkway on the east side of the parking lot that serves the businesses along Lake Union. Vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians no longer have to battle for limited space. They each have their own.

“You would have people walking, biking, and driving all throughout that whole parking lot area,” Seattle Transportation Director Scott Kubly said. “What this does is really delineates where everybody is going to be so the street will be a lot more organized and safer for everybody.”

Businesses did lose parking spots to make room for the bike lane and expanded walkway, and there will be spots where vehicles will have to cross the protected bike lane to make deliveries, but Kubly said the city did a good job balancing all the competing needs.

“That is what we’re always trying to do — figure out is this how we can use our scarce and precious street space as efficiently as possible,” he said.

He reiterated that there is no “war on cars,” as many people believe.

Send Chris a traffic tip at @KIROTraffic on Twitter or email him.

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A protected bike lane in Seattle that might make sense