New Seattle Policy Manager Outlines 2024 Bike Advocacy Priorities

  • New Seattle Policy Manager Tyler Vasquez is a seven-time STP finisher with a background in active transportation policy.
  • His job is to advance Cascade’s top Seattle priorities, which include completing protected bike routes in SODO and District One–and building support for a bold Seattle Transportation Plan and Levy.
  • We took a spin with Vasquez to see some of his past infrastructure projects, and learn how growing up in Southeast San Diego influences his work to improve bicycling for all.
Riding my electric cargo bike is my favorite thing

Paul Tolmé

Tyler Vasquez rolls down the protected bike lane he helped create

Tyler Vasquez grew up in southeast San Diego in a community severed by a freeway and lacking safe places to bike and walk.

“I remember getting a bike for Christmas and only being allowed to ride to the end of the block because it was unsafe,” says Cascade’s new Seattle policy manager. “Biking to my elementary school, ball field, or library wasn’t a thing. My community didn’t have bike lanes and we drove everywhere–even the quarter mile to school.” 

That lived experience of growing up in a community with poor air quality and no safe bike infrastructure guides his efforts today to improve bicycling for all in Seattle–regardless of race, age, income, or zip code. 

“I cycle now because I didn’t have the opportunities when I was younger.”

Tyler smiles because he loves his work

Vasquez joined Cascade in early 2024, stepping into the role vacated when Rachel Schaeffer became Cascade’s new statewide coalition officer. A seven-time Seattle to Portland finisher and endurance runner, Vasquez will rely on his mental toughness and previous experience in equitable transportation policy to advance Cascade’s policy priorities.

Tyler crosses the STP Finish Line in 2023

This is a big year for bike infrastructure–and bike advocacy–in Seattle. The Seattle Department of Transportation will complete and break ground on an estimated 14 new miles of protected bike lanes in SODO, Beacon Hill, and South Seattle. 

Furthermore, the City Council is now reviewing the draft Seattle Transportation Plan that will guide investments in biking, walking, and active transportation infrastructure for more than a decade. To pay for those investments, the City Council will draft a Seattle Transportation Levy that will appear on the November ballot for voter approval.

“This year is pivotal for biking in Seattle. It’s a once-in-a-decade chance to make Seattle more equitable, sustainable, and bike-friendly for all by closing gaps in the bike network,” Vasquez says.

Cascade’s Bike Network Priorities

Vasquez is currently watchdogging multiple projects, including:

  • Downtown to Georgetown via SODO: Work is expected to begin soon on a bike route that will connect to the SODO trail and fill infrastructure gaps between Georgetown and Downtown. Learn more about this work on the Seattle Bike Blog
  • The Seattle Waterfront Bike Route: Vasquez is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation and Port Authority to ensure the planned waterfront bike lanes on Alaskan Way are continuous. “It should be a seamless ride along the waterfront that connects people on bikes to the Elliott Bay Trail,” Vasquez says.
  • Georgetown to South Park: Construction is expected to begin in late 2024. “Georgetown, South Park, and all of South Seattle are lacking safe bike routes due to underinvestment in past decades.”
  • 15th Avenue South in Beacon Hill: Construction is expected to begin this summer on 1.5 miles of protected bike lanes between the José Rizal Bridge and Jefferson Park. Learn more here.
  • MLK Jr. Way through Judkins Park: Work began in the fall of 2023 and could be completed by this summer, improving safety for students at Garfield High School and people accessing the new Judkins Park light rail station. Learn more.


Tyler testifies
Testify! Tyler speaking before the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee.

A Bold Seattle Transportation Plan and Levy

Cascade and Vasquez are urging city leaders to create an ambitious Seattle Transportation Plan that completes the Seattle Bike Network and prioritizes active transportation. To pay for these improvements, we are urging the City Council to place a bold Seattle Transportation Levy on the November ballot for voters to approve. 

The next Levy (called Move Seattle) should:

  • Close gaps to maximize the value of existing bike routes.
  • Make significant investments in bike connections between and within neighborhoods in Southeast and Southwest Seattle to create an equitable bike network.
  • Improve access to essential destinations including schools, business districts, and new high-capacity transit stations that will be built in coming years. 
  • Build more protected bike lanes and multi-use trails across the city, and create a devoted pool of money to clean and maintain them.

Riding with Tyler

We took a spin with Vasquez to learn about how his past work in transportation policy influences his efforts to improve bicycling for all. 

During graduate school, Vasquez worked as the Bicycle Master Plan intern for the Seattle Department of Transportation. In that role he helped lead efforts to create the protected bike lanes that run beneath the University Bridge on Northeast 40th Street.

Tyler rides in the protected bike lanes his work helped create
Everyone who rides beneath the University Bridge today benefits from Tyler's previous work to create the protected bike lanes here.

Previously just painted stripes, these bike lanes are now separated from traffic by concrete curbs. This is precisely the type of concrete protection that Cascade is advocating for city-wide. 

After his internship, Vasquez worked as a project manager for the Seattle Transportation Plan as a communications consultant–holding 131 community meetings and collecting 78,000 public comments that helped shape the vision for the city’s 20-year transportation plan. 

His experience engaging with multiple stakeholders makes Vasquez uniquely qualified to build consensus and public support for Cascade’s Seattle Bike Network priorities, and for our Seattle Transportation Plan and Levy goals.

In his downtime, Vasquez devotes time to bicycling and endurance running events. This July, he plans to complete his eighth Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic alongside his Mexican-American father, who will be riding his fifth STP.

Riding STP with his father
Tyler riding STP with his Dad.

“I met one of my best friends on a Cascade Free Group Ride,” he says. “I’ve benefited from the community building work and rides that Cascade offers. Now I want to enable more people, regardless of their race, income, or zip code, to safely ride bikes”.

To follow Cascade’s policy work, subscribe to Braking News. To learn more about our policy work or to request a policy ride email: policy at cascade dot org.

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