City: Proposed Roosevelt Bike Lane Won't Cause Parking Problems

By BikeNerd September 7, 2012

Bike geeks rejoice: We're reintroducing our long-lost, much-missed column, BikeNerd.

Meet our new BikeNerd, Seattle Met intern Danielle  Zorn. (And check out original Cola BikeNerd Josh Cohen's blog, the Bicycle Story, here.) 

The Seattle Department of Transportation has proposed restriping Roosevelt Way NE between NE 75th St. and NE 85h St., creating a new bike lane to connect Northgate with the University Bridge. Currently, there is a one-half mile piece missing from the four-mile bike route between the two neighborhoods. According to SDOT, there have been 46 collisions with cars along that stretch in the last three and a half years.

On its web site, SDOT says the changes will “provide new transportation options to reach destinations such as Maple Leaf Park, neighborhood schools, business districts and the future light rail stations.” The city plans to double the size of the park by capping a reservoir; the Roosevelt bike lane proposal would remove 61 parking spaces on the west side of the street and 13 on the east side.

The proposal has not gone unnoticed by nearby bike-lane opponents, who say creating a lane for cyclists will force them to park on side streets in the neighborhood. KING-5 quoted longtime Maple Leaf resident Don Williams as saying, “Taking the parking away from a greatly expanded park is lunacy. I think they should give us a compromise, not just by fiat take away all our parking.”

Max Hepp-Buchanan, Cascade Bicycle Club’s advocacy campaigns manager, says the proposed bike lane will "provide an important connection between neighborhoods, and [will run] along a destination park. We should be prioritizing the safety of everyone who travels along and across the street, including people on bikes, on foot, or driving, and this bike lane will improve safety for everyone by reducing conflicts and collisions.”

Hepp-Buchanan says neighbors' concerns about lost parking are overblown. “[SDOT] has extensively studied the use of available parking between 75th and 85th and found that even on the business days, not all the parking was used.”

This is the second time the city has proposed the Roosevelt bike lane project. After SDOT held its first open house, it responded to neighbors' concerns by committing to study the project further.

“We promised to research and revise the proposal,” says SDOT's Roosevelt project manager Brian Dougherty. “We studied the 10 blocks and the parking demand.” SDOT’s conclusion: Even though the project involves removing 74 parking spots, there will still be plenty of parking left for neighborhood residents.

SDOT is taking public comments via email or phone until September 12 and settling on a final proposal by late October.

See SDOT’s detailed proposal here.
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