Biking to and from Magnuson Park could get much safer

Last week, my coworker Tessa and I met with a representative from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) about a fabulous new project lined up for later this summer: a cycle track from the Burke-Gilman Trail to Magnuson Park.

Here’s the short version: SDOT is planning on building a two-way cycle track on the south side of NE 65th Street from the intersection of the Burke and 65th to the entrance to Magnuson. They are even planning on reusing some materials from another project to save money on the construction. Overall, the project seems to be a slam dunk, though we made some minor recommendations for improvement.

But like any project, it is not without some amount of opposition. A handful of vocal “not in my backyard” property owners in a nearby condo complex are concerned because the half-block-long cycle track will cross one of their functional driveways. But what they don’t yet understand is that building the cycle track will actually make the street and sidewalk safer for everybody, including them.

For one thing, the project would draw people who ride on the sidewalk into the cycle track, making the sidewalk free and clear for pedestrians. Also, the crossing of 65th by people walking and biking on the trail will become shorter and easier to see (noteworthy because of a recent incident in which a runner was hit right there). And you know that hairy maneuver of trying to turn left onto the trail while biking uphill on 65th with heavy oncoming traffic and cars piling up behind you? The cycle track will make that turn obsolete.

Sure, maybe I am a little biased because that stretch of 65th is part of my commute from Ravenna to the Cascade office, but that is also a route used by many other employees of businesses in the park, residents of the surrounding housing units, and our families, friends, and neighbors who visit Magnuson’s beaches and trails. For many of us in Northeast Seattle, Magnuson is our backyard. So let’s say “yes” to a great project – yes in our backyard.

If you are supportive of the project, click here to send a quick letter to our City of Seattle representatives (Mayor, City Council, leads at SDOT) and let’s look forward to completion of this short but critical gap in what is otherwise a lovely ride to the park.