Thursday, May 17, 2007

SeaTac Airport access may be eliminated

Bicycle Alliance member Alden "Buff" Chace alerted me to this situation. Here's his note:

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SeaTac bicycle and pedestrian access to be eliminated: The Port of Seattle plans to eliminate the pedestrian & bicycle path at South 182nd St and International Boulevard. "Port staffers noted that replacing it would be cost prohibitive", in a report to the SeaTac City Council. SeaTac's Deputy Mayor Ralph Shape obtained an extension of the comment period on this until May 25th. Comments should be sent to:

sepa.p@portseattle.org

or mailed to:

David McCraney
Environmental Services
Port of Seattle
P.O. Box 1209
Seattle, WA 98111-1209

You could arrive by air and then ride out the access road on a bike but riding into the airport without this path is a considerably tougher proposition on the road which winds around through heavy merging traffic. This path is also heavily used by both customers and flight crews who stay at the nearby hotels and walk to the airport.

Alden "Buff" Chace

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Here's an example of where some letter writing and emails can maybe do some good. According to the Mayor, he'd like to see Seattle be "the best city for bicycling in the United States." Well, one good step would be to maintain bike friendly access to the city's airport. Traffic congestion is a major problem down by the airport and bicycles can be part of the solution to the problem. Many bike tourists fly in and out of SeaTac and the ability to ride into and out of the airport is an important bit of the transportation matrix.

I often get asked "what do you guys do at the Bike Alliance?" Well, often what we do is get the word out to a lot of bikey folks. We're an alliance of a few thousand cyclists in Washington state. We often do dull stuff like write letters and go to meetings. And sometimes we get things done.

I don't know if we'll succeed on this one, but I do know that we have to try. If you can help out by sending an email or writing a letter, please do so.

Thanks,

Kent Peterson
Bicycle Alliance of Washington
206-224-9252

5 comments:

beth h said...

An example of how people-power works: Portland, OR Mayor Tom Potter recently annouced that the new $37 million city budget for Portland would not include the $100 thousand originally designated to update our 12-year-old Bicycle Master Plan -- which sorely needs updating to keep pace with Portland's growth, and to put Portland in the running for Platinum-level status as a surpemely bicycle-friendly city.

The word got out, thanks in large part to websites like www.BikePortland.org; and thousands of people sent angry emails and letters to city hall demanding that money be returned to the bicycle planning part of the budget. In addition, the number of riders who came on the April PDOT Bicycle Planning Ride (an educational ride around town, pointing out bike routes and places where bike improvements are scheduled) swelled from its usual 50 riders to over 200. We clogged the city streets with our bicycles on, appropriately enough, May Day.

The Mayor got the message. The week after the ride, the Mayor's office announced that an "unexpected" surplus of $ 2 million had been "found" (where, in a dank basement in outer southeast? Please.) and that funding for the Bicycle Master plan had been fully restored.

(Of course, it didn't hurt that some key ballot measures near and dear to Potter's heart were up for consideration in the May election -- particularly a measure that would change our city government from a business styled "strong council" model to a "strong mayor/weak council" model. That measure was defeated this week.)

Lesson: If you live in Seattle and care about this SeaTac bikeway thing, well, you know what to do.

Jonathan Maus / BikePortland.org said...

kent,

I read the minutes from the SeaTac city council meeting and it looks like they plan to provide alternate bike access. here's the excerpt:

"The South Access Road will cause the loss of pedestrian/bicycle access at South 182nd Street when the road is being
constructed to connect the airport to SR-509. In exchange, the POS will incorporate pedestrian/bicycle access
facilities into the South Access corridor."


can you shed any light on this? I just think if we're going to encourage folks to speak up, we should know exactly what is being planned.

get in touch if/when we need to spread the word about this:
jonathan(at)bikeportland(dot)org

nollij said...

Too late... I already sent the email. Here's the text:

To: sepa.p@portseattle.org
Date: May 19, 2007 12:20 AM
Subject: Pedestrian & Bicycle Path Closure

Greetings and Salutations,

I am writing to protest the proposed closure and elimination of the pedestrian & bicycle path at South 182nd St and International Boulevard. As a potential bike tourist to the SeaTac area, I find the potential lack of bicycle friendly entry/exit routes from the airport to be a major turn-off and a reason to second-guess visiting the area with bicycle travel in mind. My understanding is that that motor-vehicle traffic congestion and parking is problematic in this area as well, and the closure of the ped/bicycle path would only serve to increase this traffic. If the SeaTac area wishes to preserve it's status as a bicycle friendly city and continue to attract bicycle tourism, I suggest the city rethink it's plans to close the aforementioned path. This bicycle tourist will be watching and hoping that you choose the "green" path.

Yours in fear & loathing,

Ian E. Hopper
Novato, CA

Inre: Maus's comment. Are they really putting in another path, or is that lip service as appeasment?

Kent Peterson said...

There's frustratingly little public info out there on this. Here's a link to the Cascade Forum, where we are discussing more of this:

http://tinyurl.com/2lj4mo

At the last SeaTac council meeting that we have minutes for, there is the "we're doing this and this" to compensate comments but it is certainly not clear that this is actually being done or is adequate. See David Hiller's very pointed comment. The Port is spending money on an ad campaign about how "green" they are, but they can't preserve this access because there is "no money"?

I would think at the very least if they do have a good alternative plan, they'd be responding to people's concerns saying "no, no, you've got it all wrong, this is what we're doing!" So far, I haven't heard anything from the Port that sets my mind at ease.

The comment period is still open, pro-bike comments can't hurt if in fact the Port does have a good plan. If they don't, comments may help them decide to find the funding to preserve access.

Bill Gibson said...

Here's the message I sent:
Subject: Bicycle Access to SeaTac Airport
It has come to my attention that changes at SeaTac pedestrian & bicycle path at South 182nd St and International Boulevard will degrade the quality bicycle access to and from the airport. This would impact my preference for a destination when planning future travel; why destroy the excellent reputation your region has for good planning? Puget Sound is one of the best destinations in the country for cycling. I enjoyed living in Seattle, and would regret that short-sighted decisions erode that quality.