Does SDOT show preferential treatment to cyclists at expense of disabled people?

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

A woman claims the Seattle Department of Transportation shows preferential treatment to bicyclists at the expense of the disabled and elderly.

Elizabeth Bertoldi is disabled. The director of finance and administration for the University of Washington Institute of Transitional Health Sciences uses a walker to get to and from her South Lake Union home and office, relying on ride-share drivers’ easy access to the three-minute load zone in front of her condo on 9th Avenue North.

That load zone was one of the reasons Bertoldi bought her home seven years ago, but now she’s considering selling it because all parking and load zones in front of Bertoldi’s home are disappearing.

In their place will be an expanded and protected bicycle lane.

“I had thought that I would live here a long time, even when I retired,” Bertoldi told KIRO 7 on Wednesday.


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The Seattle Department of Transportation has begun construction on the 9th Avenue North Safety Improvements project, which will include a protected bicycle lane right in front of Bertoldi's building between Republican and Harrison streets.


Bertoldi said she knew nothing about the project until it was finalized.

“We did not get any notice here until after it was decided,” she said.  “We got notice that it was going to happen.”

The project is well-detailed on the Seattle Department of Transportation's website here.

However, Bertoldi claims, no advance notice was given to homeowners until it was too late to fight a project she calls discriminatory.

She now has this message for S-DOT project planners: “Please consider people who are handicapped, who are elderly, who make the city their home” before planning projects that impact them.”

“Think about those people too. We count too.”

SDOT sent KIRO 7 News this statement:

“SDOT has been working the South Lake Union community since April 2016 to ensure pick up, drop off and deliveries can continue as part of the 9th Ave N Safety Project. The project upgrades the existing bike lane on 9th Ave N to separate people biking and driving and provide a comfortable connection between the new Westlake Ave protected bike lane and Downtown. To ensure this building continues to have an easy pick up, drop-off and delivery location we are relocating a load zone around the corner, about 100 feet from the front door.”


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