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The Push For Downtown Seattle Bike Lanes Heats Up

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Elaine Thompson
/
AP Photo

Seattle has long had a big vision for bicyclists. Planners want to build out a network of protected lanes downtown that would buffer cyclists from traffic. And now there’s a push to accelerate the project.

Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien says the money is in the budget to build the separate bikes lanes, but the city is moving too slowly. That’s why he’s asking the Seattle Department of Transportation to come up with a list of what might be do-able now.

“Hey, city, if you want to do a really thorough re-design of a street, that sounds really great but what I’d really love is something tomorrow, and so if you can go out there with some glue and some pylons and some paint, get something up and running, and when you have the time to design the better thing, that’s cool too, but give me something safe today," O'Brien said.

O’Brien says one reason to push for bike lanes sooner is that buses will be phased out of the downtown bus tunnel when construction starts to expand the convention center. That means buses and cyclists will be competing – along with cars and pedestrians – more than ever for a safe place on the streets.