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Viaduct Closure: How will it change your bike ride to work?

The Alaskan Way Viaduct closed on January 11th at 10 p.m., leaving many wondering on what the best ways are to avoid the traffic from the aptly named “Seattle Squeeze.” While riding a bike in January into downtown may not be the best solution for you, many people are finding bikes perfect for “last mile” commuting. Last Mile commuting refers to how one connects from their choice of transit to their final destination (like biking from the ferry to your office). Before you break out your bike make sure you check your route for any changes from the Viaduct closure. We have gathered some helpful info you will need to hit the road!

Viaduct Bike Lanes

SDOT traffic reports there are no changes to the existing bike lanes around the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and they will not be changing during the closure.  SDOT recommends the following for traveling around the Viaduct source:

From West Seattle,

  1. Take the West Seattle Bridge trail, then head north on the E Marginal Way S bike lane.
  2. Continue to the Portside Trail, a multi-use trail, until you hit S King St. Head east on King St, then take the temporary multi-use path on the east side of Alaskan Way, or you can continue north on the signed bike route on Alaskan Way S.

From North Seattle

  1. Riders coming in from the Elliot Bay Trail from the north, you’ll continue to the Portside Trail. This multi-use trail opened in 2011, providing a direct route along Alaskan Way S between S Atlantic St and S King St without crossing the railroad tracks.

SDOT reports they are “actively managing,” construction projects to increase the accessibility for riders and lessen traffic interruptions. This includes reviewing work permits for the projects in the right of way areas until after the closure. This will free up more inspectors to monitor projects on the streets and ensure sidewalks and streets stay clear.

New Riders

For people who are biking to work, make sure you are all up to date on the rules for the road in Seattle. Also check out the Bike Program page and Seattle Bike Map for available routes. They have routes ranked from beginner rider to expert rider. You can also access aerial and street views.

For rules of the road when using a bicycle check out this helpful guide here. Also invest in a helmet, lights and reflective clothing or backpack to be extra safe!

Bikes and Mass Transit

For those of you who are looking at using your bikes for “last mile” travel, bike spaces are available on busses (up to two bikes per bus), Sounder Commuter Trains (up to four bikes per car), and light rail (2 bikes per car). There are also bikes spaces available on the Water Taxi. Those of you looking to bring your bikes on the new Bremerton Fast Ferry may discover that their racks don’t fit for all bike setups, so make sure you check first. Keep in mind that any commute options will be experiencing higher-than-normal volumes, so arrive early to ensure space for your bike.

Need a Bike?

For commuters who do not have a bike, there is the option to rent one with programs like Lime. These are dock-less bikes, meaning you do not have to return them to a specific location and can leave them anywhere that is not blocking sidewalks, service ramps, or shop entrances.  Simply download the mobile app to set up payment and locate a bike. Find out more about the Lime bike program here.

We hope that you have a safe commute regardless of how you choose to get there. If on your way you realize you are perhaps in need of a new opportunity a little closer to home, check out our jobs section here. Happy Trails Seattle!

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