Seattle halts downtown bike lane project, preparing for ‘mega gridlock’

Apr 6, 2018, 2:23 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm
bike lanes, seattle, bike commuting...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

As Seattle prepares for “mega gridlock” downtown, Mayor Jenny Durkan is removing one hampering factor — a bike lane.

RELATED: An action movie, or the next three years of Seattle construction/traffic?

At least, Durkan requested delaying construction of a bike lane on Fourth Avenue as the city faces a “period of maximum constraint” that will significantly snarl downtown traffic, according to The Seattle Times. Instead, they are focusing efforts on getting an extension of the Second Avenue bike lane already up and running. The 8-foot-wide lane proposed for Fourth Avenue will have to wait until at least 2021.

It is the second time in a week that Durkan has put the brakes on downtown projects related to transit. Last week, the mayor stopped all work on the City Center Connector project to expand the streetcar through downtown. Recent estimates indicate the streetcar project is considerably over budget.

Period of maximum constraint

The next three years in Seattle includes an immense amount of construction: new buildings; the convention center expansion project; the KeyArena remodel; the tear-down of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. And that’s all on top of the construction that has become common in Seattle. The city has set records for having the most construction cranes.

The plan for the Fourth Avenue bike lane became official in September 2017 when Scott Kubly was still director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. SDOT’s interim director, however, told the Times that the bike lane would only add to delays during a traffic blockages. He cited the infamous fish truck incident that snarled Seattle traffic in 2015 as an example, according to the Times.

More bike lanes coming

Despite the delay, more bike lanes are coming to downtown Seattle, according to plans by the city, King County Metro, and Sound Transit.

Planned bike lanes include:

  • A bike lane on Seventh Avenue is expected in 2018
  • A connector built between Second Avenue and Dearborn Street in 2019
  • The city will build out the bike lanes on Pike and Pine Streets in 2021

According to city plans, the Fourth Avenue protected bike lane between Vine and Main Streets will come in 2021. SDOT will fund all the bike lane projects.


As the Times points out, there is pushback from the city’s bike-friendly community. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is among the crowd. When the Fourth Avenue bike lane was discussed in February 2017, he likened the city’s bike / pedestrian accidents and fatalities to gun violence. O’Brien argued that the city needed safer bike paths to counter the collisions between bicycles and cars.

Upon hearing about the delay, O’Brien said: “We were told to wait until the One Center City planning happens to get near-term, high-value actions like the Fourth Avenue protected bike lane. And we waited. And we got nothing. We can’t wait any longer.”


Coffee Travel...
Chris Sullivan

Free coffee returns to a rest area near you this weekend

The free coffee is back. After a two-year pandemic break, you can finally get a free cup at your favorite rest area.
1 day ago
Trash is strewn along an Interstate 5 freeway on-ramp as viewed in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by G...
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: A glance at current Washington state laws to avoid littering on the road

Littering is still a huge problem on our roads, but are you still required to carry a trash bag in your car?
10 days ago
Expansion joints underneath I-5 (KIRO Newsradio)...
Chris Sullivan

I-5 expansion joint repair will hamper your summer driving

If the weather holds, southbound I-5 will be shut-down this weekend through Seattle for the first of a summer’s worth of weekend closures for expansion joint repairs.
15 days ago
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)...
Chris Sullivan

ORCA card gets a reboot with instant value transfer feature

The new site and app will allow more than five million users to add money to their accounts instantly alongside 6,000 new card readers and vending machines.
18 days ago
Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Sound Transit passes fare reform with diminished ridership accountability checks

Sound Transit no longer has mechanisms in place to check I-D's and track who isn't paying in the first place with their decision to remove law enforcement from the fare enforcement process.
21 days ago
Expansion joints I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Work to remove bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle set to bring months of weekend closures

Workers are about kick off work to remove those bumps on I-5 through Seattle, but it's going to come with a heavy price for drivers.
29 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle halts downtown bike lane project, preparing for ‘mega gridlock’