Bike racks gone: Seattle to remove homeless tent deterrent

SEATTLE — The bike racks underneath Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct are coming down mere months after they were installed for thousands of dollars.

These racks in particular came under scrutiny when Seattle residents began wondering about their placement — under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It’s not an ideal spot to park a bike. And the structures were erected shortly after a homeless camp was swept from the area.

It was eventually discovered that the racks were being used for two purposes: parking a bike, but also to prevent tents from lining the stretch of road underneath the viaduct. Seattle using bike racks to deter camping did not please some in the city, including former mayor Mike McGinn. Others called them "bike-washed anti-homeless spikes."

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Now it seems that the city is reversing its plan and will remove the racks from under the viaduct.

According to the Seattle Department of Transportation:

Mayor Durkan has made it clear that bike racks should be deployed to support and encourage biking. Last month, SDOT notified members of the City Council stating that the Durkan administration's policy was to not use bike racks as impediments. SDOT plans to remove the bike racks after a location is identified to ensure the greatest use to bicyclists in Seattle.

The stretch under the viaduct holds eight racks and six mounting rails. It cost the city about $6,700 to install them, including the price of the structures and labor.