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Sound Transit - Where's the Bike?

A picture of the Sound Transit MLK alignment, with Station and partial re-development:

Martin Luther King is an acceptable shortcut from Seattle South, during the PM rush. Sound Transit construction has slowed it a bit, but also added to the interest. On my way back from a recent Seattle trip I noticed traffic slowing considerably due a bike on the route.

It's a slightly ironic outcome of squeezing rail transit into a city arterial that bikes really don't work anymore.

There are alternative bike routes here, Beacon Hill and Lake Washington Blvd are perhaps the most scenic, and there are likely many residential street routes as well.

Enviros will probably hate this, but this particular street design is probably very, very good for cars, especially if Tim Eyman's congestion initiative passes. Personally I think it is a great thing, here is a mass transit project that has also turned MLK into as near a freeway as possible.

FWIW I understand there are issues around Sound Transit 'heavy handedness' regarding station area planning in this area. I'm not up to date on these, but I certainly do recall concerns of smaller business/property owners getting eminent domained only for new construction to occur on their property, post enhancement, and not to their benefit.

This is relevant to Tacoma as well. I am sympathetic to calls for expanding our Link system in Tacoma as a Streetcar network, but in reality this is what a fully functioning regional system looks like.

We also do have a segment that is very appropriate for bikes, between Pacific and M street through the forested north end of the Nalley Valley. The omission of this comp planned element in Sound Transit proposals strike this observer as major. It is also possible that the bike lane could continue south from 'M' street. Those issues are more complex, as the Ballard routing of the Burke Gilman illustrates. This segment though is not as necessary as the Ballard one, and there are alternatives to both sides.

I do think this is a good design, it serves the local urban neighborhood while also providing suburban and airport access. This is a principle I fought for quite a bit, successfully, on the North segment in serving Capitol Hill. Former City Councilmember Martha Choe can take credit for this one.

As to the property ownership stuff, really, the property should've been put in some sort of trust to the benefit of the original property owners, perhaps with some requirement as to hiring design help, etc.


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