New mayor means more wiggle room in Seattle bike plan

Print
Email
|

by MEG COYLE/KING 5 NEWS

NWCN.com

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM

For nearly 40 years Bill Wiginton has worked as a recycler, re-arranger - "I'm also a junk collector" - and landlord.

"As long as we have tenants we have income to stay alive so that's what we do," said Wiginton, who owns a block-long stretch on the west side of Westlake Avenue.

But Wiginton fears his livelihood is on life support, with plans to create a cycle track along Westlake - the latest stretch of road targeted for dedicated, protected bike lanes. 

"My fear is it wouldn't be safer but yet they could take half our parking, hurt business and residents, and what do they have? They've got something that doesn't work," said Wiginton.
 
But he is also optimistic these days because there's a new man behind the wheel of the city's bicycle management plan, Mayor-Elect Ed Murray.

"I think it's a good plan. I think the price tag, of course, is also something we have to work with," said Murray.

Raising the question, can the city afford it? The Seattle Department of Transportation has identified as much as half a billion dollars to create and maintain current and future bicycle improvements.

Wiginton sees that as an opportunity to take the plan in a different direction.

"The new Mayor Murray says, and I believe him, that he'll talk to us."

Wiginton and others along Westlake felt SDOT left them out of the bike plan conversation.

Those who benefit from dedicated bike lanes are confident the new mayor is still on the cyclists' side. Tom Fucoloro is the editor of Seattle Bike Blog.

"I think if under McGinn bikes were a kind of lightning rod that became a signature of him? Ed Murray can do a lot to help bicycling by making it part of the whole."

Wiginton just hopes he can ride out any plan to expand bike lanes on Westlake. He and other businesses are counting on careful re-consideration before the city sets any wheels in motion.

The City Council could vote on the bicycle master plan as soon as next month. However, that vote could be delayed so Murray can study the plan along with his yet-to-be-appointed permanent SDOT director.


 

Print
Email
|