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Please establish an emergency bike lane across the Fremont Bridge

Dear Elected leaders and city staff:

Please direct SDOT to establish an emergency bike lane across the Fremont Bridge.

As much as we need Stay Healthy Streets, we also need a safe, healthy crossing of the Ship Canal at the Fremont Bridge.  As one of the most heavily utilized cycling facilities in the City of Seattle, the Fremont Bridge recorded over 1.2 million bike trips in 2019 and usage in 2020 prior to the “Stay at Home” order was on track to surpass previous records—all in spite of the bridge having very narrow sidewalks that are shared by both cyclists and pedestrians:

  • The Fremont Bridge supports commuters and recreational cyclists from the Fremont, Ballard, Wallingford, Phinney Ridge, Greenwood, Crown Hill, and Queen Anne neighborhoods, as well as pedestrians traveling along the Burke-Gilman, Ship Canal, and Westlake Trails
  • The quarantine period has seen a dramatic surge in the popularity of cycling in these neighborhoods and across the City, increasing daytime bike traffic on the bridge
  • As more people return to work, we can expect the numbers of people cycling to increase dramatically during commute hours, especially for those who choose to use cycling as an alternative to public transportation
  • However, due to the legacy of the bridge’s original design, the narrow sidewalks—which are barely over 6’ wide at key points—are forced to act as a two-way multi-use paths, creating unsafe conditions at the best of times
  • With the addition of the need to maintain a “safe social distance,” the constrained sidewalk space has become even more hazardous for cyclists and pedestrians

The unsafe conditions along the sidewalks of the Fremont Bridge force cyclists to make the impossible choice between risking their health by riding too close to other people on the sidewalk and risking injury by riding with motor vehicles in traffic. Cyclists should not have to make that choice.

Fortunately, we can address this public health and safety issue by having SDOT create a protected bike lane across the Fremont Bridge.


Example: “Even without the concern of COVID, I always tense up before biking across the Fremont Bridge because it is just too darn narrow.”
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