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Bicycle advocates discuss Westlake next steps

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About two dozen bicycle advocates met Tuesday evening at Fremont Brewing Company to plan next steps for Westlake Avenue N. After Westlake Stakeholders dropped their lawsuit against the City of Seattle holding up the Bicycle Master Plan, the design phase of the protected bike lane along the busy corridor is back in process.

The meeting facilitated by Cascade Bicycle Club staff, Thomas Goldstein, Policy Director and Brock Howell, Policy & Government Affairs Manager, was an opportunity for advocates of a protected bike lane to reconvene after the policy ride of January 26. Yesterday evening’s meeting included introductions as well as the announcements of the suit withdrawal and the formation of The Westlake Advisory Committee. Though the composition of that committee was not yet known at the time of the meeting, Howell and Goldstein invited meeting participants to inquire if they were interested in participating.

Howell also told the group, “... the next presentation of the [Westlake] design is anticipated in a month or two.” In preparation for that, participants formed small groups to discuss and plan action strategies. One group which included Shawn Mulanix, began planning a ride to be held during late May, possibly on Bike to Work Day. Mulanix who with his wife and twelve year-old daughter ride Westlake often, shared that they preferred Westlake N over Dexter Avenue because there was less bicycle traffic making it less hectic. Though when he commutes downtown he rides through the parking lots [along Westlake], with his daughter, they ride at a much more leisurely pace so choose the sidewalk which is designated as a Seattle multi-use trail.

Much of the complaint heard by members of the Westlake Stakeholders Group was feeling left out. Individuals representing the Group the day of the policy ride, said they either had never been informed of the plan or didn’t believe they were being listened to. Efforts by the participants of Tuesday evening’s meeting is to prevent that from continuing. One group will focus on surveying Westlake residence and businesses. Another group that included Drew Dresman of Seattle Children's Hospital will organize a “letters to the editor” campaign. These bicycle advocates believe that good planning and “Safe biking for all” must include the entire community.

A shout out was given to attorney, Jeff Eustis who with the firm, Arambulu and Eustis, served as attorneys for the City in both this case as well as for the “missing link.”

Also, acknowledged for their participation was Haley Woods and Dave Keller of Peddlers Brewing Company, who have already established themselves as bicycle advocates in Seattle.

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