A Win for the Duwamish Trail, Progress on the Seattle Bike Network

Rachel Schaeffer

Rachel Schaeffer

  • Seattle will close a gap in the Duwamish Trail this year thanks to our advocacy. 
  • Now we are urging the city to speed up construction of the Georgetown to Downtown route, improve the Waterfront Bike Connection, and more.
  • Read Cascade’s 2023 priorities for completing the Seattle Bike Network.

In a win for people who bike between South Park and West Seattle, the city of Seattle has announced that it will keep temporary bike lanes in place along West Marginal Way until it builds a two-way protected bike lane that will permanently close a dangerous gap in the Duwamish Trail. 

Retaining the temporary bike lane and completing the Duwamish Trail, which the city says it will do this year, is also a win for people who drive, because it makes West Marginal Way safer by reducing speeding and adding only two seconds to motor vehicle trips, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

While Cascade is encouraged by this action, we also urge SDOT to move faster to complete priority projects in the Seattle Bike Network. Money has been allocated and many design plans have been completed, but progress is slow–especially in South Seattle. Meanwhile, people biking and walking our streets continue to be injured or killed by motor vehicles due to an epidemic of traffic violence.

Read Cascade’s top priorities for advancing the Seattle Bike Network in 2023.

1. Connect Georgetown to Downtown via SODO

Why it’s a priority: Nine people have died while biking, walking, and driving through SODO in the last three years. The roads are wide, traffic moves too fast, and sidewalks are rare or in poor condition. The lack of safe bike facilities endangers and disenfranchises people who live, work, and play in South Seattle communities.

What’s happening: Designs for a bike lane along 6th Avenue South are underway. Together with community members in the Duwamish Valley, we’re advocating for a route that is safe for all users, including at night, which connects to existing routes into downtown and South Seattle neighborhoods. 

We also believe that one single north-south route in SODO is not enough to create a safe neighborhood for biking. The temporary bike lanes on 1st Avenue South that were installed when the lower Spokane Street Bridge closed showed that there are opportunities for a broader network of bike routes in SODO. People should be able to safely bike to jobs, businesses, and services throughout SODO–not just on one side of the neighborhood. 

Take Action: Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts. You’ll get word about opportunities to support safe bike connections through SODO.



1,700 cones (shown above) installed by SDOT created temporary bike lanes along 1st Avenue South in January, improving bike travel through SODO for a short time. A map of the proposed bike lane (shown below) connecting Downtown to Georgetown along 6th Avenue South.


2. Close the Duwamish Trail Gap, Complete the West Marginal Way Bike Connection 

Why it’s a priority: For years, biking between South Park and West Seattle has meant riding on a dangerous quarter-mile gap between the Duwamish Trail and the West Seattle Bridge Trail. 


What’s happening: The city recently announced it will keep the temporary bike lane on West Marginal Way (shown above) in place until the on-street protected bike lane (pictured below) is built this year. Cascade advocated for this solution, and we are happy the city listened. The mileage is small, but this bike lane fills a crucial and dangerous gap in the Seattle Bike Network. 

3. A Safe and Simple Waterfront Bike Connection

Why it’s a priority: In 2022, the city unveiled the design (shown above) for a Waterfront Bike Connection that requires crossing the road twice in five blocks. It’s a bad plan that is dangerous and impractical. Seattle has spent vast sums of money rebuilding its waterfront, and people biking deserve a safe waterfront route through this scenic corridor that doesn’t require crossing four lanes of traffic twice. 

What we’re doing: Last year, more than 700 people spoke up in response to the initial design to complete the Waterfront Bike Connection. Together, we asked the city to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better way to bike along the waterfront that does not require people on bikes to cross busy Alaskan Way twice--similar to an existing segment of the trail shown below that is wide and direct.



Simultaneously, we’re working with the Port of Seattle to identify a compromise route that is both intuitive for people on bikes and supports Port operations. We can balance the needs of summer cruise ships with the safety of people who bike along the waterfront year-round. 

4. Complete the Burke-Gilman Missing Link

Why it’s a priority: The gap in the Burke-Gilman Trail through the Ballard neighborhood must be closed. Once this “Missing Link” is finished, people will be able to pedal from Golden Gardens to Bothell–more than 20 miles–on separated bike paths. Unfortunately, deep-pocketed special interest groups continue to use the courts to delay plans to construct the path along Shilshole Avenue Northwest. 

What’s happening: Cascade is again party to the city’s lawsuit to build the Missing Link along Shilshole Avenue Northwest. Not only is this the most safe, simple, and direct route, it’s the route people who bike currently use. 

Shilshole is bad for everyone now, including people who drive. It’s a failed street, and we urge that more be done as the court case continues. Meantime, intermediate improvements are coming in 2023 for people who must bike over the railroad tracks along Shilshole Avenue under the Ballard Bridge. The city plans to make it easier and safer to cross the railroad tracks by routing bikes to the south of the Ballard Bridge columns (shown below).   

5. A Seattle Transportation Plan with a Connected Citywide Bike Network

Why it’s a priority: Right now, the city is updating the Seattle Transportation Plan that will include street improvements for the next 20 years, including the Bike Network. This is the blueprint that will determine the safety and accessibility of biking for decades. 

What’s happening: The city is accepting comments to the Seattle Transportation Plan, which will be finalized this year. Together with partner organizations and community members, we’re providing input to the city’s draft bike maps to ensure our voices are heard and that the future Bike Network is safe, connected, and accessible for everyone. See our priorities below.


Take Action: Speak up for bike improvements in your neighborhood, and wherever you ride in Seattle, on the draft bike map. You can also sign up to receive updates on the Seattle Transportation Plan. Together, we must all urge the city to speed up construction of the Seattle Bike Network and create a more bikeable city. 

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