Paving a Path Forward: Top Seattle Bike Wins of 2023–and our 2024 Action Plan

  • Paving over the Ballard railroad tracks and finishing the Duwamish Trail are among the 2023 wins that were small in mileage but big in impact.
  • The good news: 12 more miles of bike lanes are coming to Seattle in 2024.
  • Now we must push a bold Seattle Transportation Levy that paves the way for a more bikeable city in the decade to come.
Rachel Schaeffer

Rachel Schaeffer

Paving over the Ballard railroad tracks to make way for a bike lane

From West Seattle to Ballard to Beacon Hill, people who ride bikes in Seattle saw some small–but important–progress to the city’s bike network in 2023.

As we prepare for even bigger progress in 2024, let's celebrate the wins we achieved this year to fill gaps in the bike network, harden protective infrastructure, and pave over dangerous railroad tracks.

Here are our Top Five Wins for Seattle Bicycling in 2023:

A reason to smile while riding the Duwamish Trail
The new two-way protected bike lane on West Marginal Way gave people reason to smile.

Closing the Duwamish Trail Gap

Following years of advocacy from Cascade and our allies, the city finally closed a quarter-mile gap in the Duwamish Trail. People biking to and from the West Seattle Bridge Trail are now safely separated from traffic by concrete barriers on a two-way bike lane, shown above and below.

A new two-way PBL closed a gap in the Duwamish Trail

Paving Over the “Missing Link” Railroad Tracks 

Shilshole Avenue remains a failed street, and we will continue fighting to fill this gap in the Burke-Gilman Trail. Thanks to action by the city, however, a previously sketchy segment of the "Missing Link" is now safe to ride.

In October, the city paved over the unused railroad tracks beneath the Ballard Bridge that had caused countless crashes.

Paving over the tracks
The railroad tracks shown above are now gone, replaced by a smooth surface and bike lanes.
Fresh pavement, smooth cycling.

Pike/Pine Corridor Improvements

We worked with our allies during the Convention Center expansion that was completed in early 2023 to secure funding to improve the bike infrastructure between Downtown and Capitol Hill. Work is now underway building protected bike lanes from the Waterfront and over the I-5 bridges.

Hardening Bike Lane Barriers 

Concrete or hard barriers that separate people from traffic are the gold standard for safe bike infrastructure. The city added protective barriers in multiple locations this year, improving the safety of people bicycling on 8th Avenue in the downtown core, on Columbian Way in Beacon Hill, on 40th Street in the University District, and on Melrose Avenue in Capitol Hill. And more is coming. 

Adding protective barriers to Columbian Way
The city added these protective barriers along the Columbian Way bike lanes in 2023, creating a safer and more welcoming bicycling experience. Photo: Seattle Department of Transportation.

Major Progress on Planning and Design

Advocating for bike infrastructure is like planting trees. Our hard work today will create safer bicycling in the future.

Thanks to our efforts this year and earlier, the city will begin construction on 12 miles of new bike infrastructure in 2024. Six of those miles will be built in neighborhoods that don’t have any convenient or safe bike routes. This is bike advocacy in action, improving safety and access for the people who need it most. 

Here are some of the projects comprising the 12 miles of new infrastructure we expect to see in 2024:

South Seattle and the Duwamish Valley: 

  • Connecting Georgetown to Downtown through SODO.
  • MLK Jr. Way near Judkins Park. 
  • Georgetown to South Park. 
  • 15th Avenue South in Beacon Hill. 
  • East Marginal Way near the Port of Seattle.

Seattle Waterfront:

  • A bike lane on the west side of Alaskan Way will connect riders from the Elliott Bay Trail to the Waterfront Promenade. 

Eastlake Avenue:

  • Despite opposition from people worried about the loss of parking spaces, the city finally approved the design for protected bike lanes to connect the University District to Downtown. With construction expected to begin in 2024, the Eastlake protected bike lanes (part of the Rapid Ride J project) will be one of the longest new segments of bike infrastructure in Seattle.

The Future of the Seattle Bike Network 

Seattle has a goal to double the number of people who ride a bike for transportation by 2030. It’s a great target, but it won’t happen without big investments that make bicycling a safe and inviting option for people of all ages and abilities. 

A major funding source for these big investments will be the new Seattle Transportation Levy, which must be created by the City Council and then placed on the ballot for approval by voters. We are pushing for the next levy to be big and bold.

Another opportunity to create a better transportation future for Seattle is the new City Council. Many of these incoming City Council members promised to improve bicycling and active transportation during the campaign season, and we must hold them to their promises.  

Seattle Transportation Levy

Transportation levies fund 30% of all transportation projects. That means it is vitally important for the new Transportation Levy to be bold. We will push for a new levy that is bigger than the expiring Move Seattle Levy so that the city has the funds to pay for the infrastructure we need.

How? By working with the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Mayor’s Office, City Council members, and our advocacy allies throughout next year to push for a Transportation Levy that includes the money necessary to make it safer and easier for everyone to move through the city without the need for a car.   

Here are our priorities for the next levy, which must:

  • Invest in building bike routes to connect South Seattle neighborhoods.
  • Close gaps in the bike networks where people must ride in traffic or on sidewalks. 
  • Harden bike lanes, replacing paint and floppy posts with concrete.  
  • Build more connections to mass transit.
  • Maintain our trails and protected bike lanes to keep them clean and safe to ride. 
  • Fund an e-bike rebate program.
  • Install abundant bike parking that accommodates all types and sizes of bicycles and e-bikes.

What can you do? Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts to learn more about this important funding strategy and to get involved in helping it win approval once it’s on the ballot.

Share this post