(On E. Marginal Way, the city has proposed reducing the number of lanes from six to four, plus a turning lane. On Airport, it would add bus bulbs and reconfigure parking to improve pedestrian safety.)
In a blog post last Friday, the city's Manufacturing and Industrial Council calls the two streets "among the best-known, most important truck routes in the State of Washington." That's despite the fact, documented by city traffic counts, that just 10 percent of all traffic on Airport Way, and just 11 percent on E. Marginal Way, is freight traffic. (Traffic as a whole, meanwhile, has declined precipitously on both streets since I-5 was built in 1961).
Facts be damned, the MIC post continues:
It seems inconceivable that the city would subject these roads to road diets - the process by which the city takes away traffic lanes and devotes them to bicycle use.
Yet, last August, that's exactly what the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) proposed to do. At its unveiling, the plan called for converting lanes of each road for bicycles with curb bulbs added in the retail section along Airport Way in Georgetown.The center turn lane would be removed from East Marginal Way because, well, SDOT staff didn't think it was really necessary and it could create more room for bikes. ...
Why even consider road diets for such major truck thoroughfares? Why waste public funds pursuing bike paths where there is such little demand for them? Why the lack of city efforts to improve freight mobility? Why the mono-modal focus on bikes? Why the failure to account for business operations adjacent to road ways? Why create such a choke point on Airport Way? Why the refusal to recognize adopted public policies to preserve industrial lands and operations?
SDOT's answer was, and is, many traffic lanes in the city simply aren't needed by motorists and when that's the case, the lanes should be turned over to bikes, even in industrial areas, even where cyclists might not be present.
SDOT's top priority isn't mobility - it's safety, especially more safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Um... and that's a bad thing?