Bike racks in Seattle used as camping deterrents removed after outcry

SEATTLE — The bike racks under Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct that faced heavy scrutiny for being anti-homeless were removed.

A statement from the Seattle Department of Transportation to The Stranger says the city removed the racks and "reallocated them to ensure the greatest use to bicyclists in Seattle."

City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang posted a photo of the bike racks before they were removed.

The bike racks were considered by some to be "hostile architecture." Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda wrote a letter to SDOT Director Scott Kubly in December to express her concern.

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“I am most troubled by the statement published on Dec 19, 2017 in The Stranger from the SDOT Spokesperson confirmed that the bike racks were part of a ‘strategy for lessening the hazards of unsheltered living by creating space for a different active public use,'” the letter read.

The bike racks were installed last year, shortly after tents were removed from the sidewalk under the viaduct. Eight racks and six mounting rails were installed for approximately $6,700.

The city tells The Stranger the racks were installed throughout downtown in close proximity to bike lanes.

More than 11,000 people were identified as homeless in King County and Seattle during the latest count. On Jan. 27, 5,485 people were counted as unsheltered, which includes living in vehicles. Another 6,100 or so were in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or a safe haven. Approximately 70 percent of unsheltered homeless were in Seattle at the time of the January count.