SDOT puts off building 25 miles of bike lanes

VIDEO: Battle over bikes at Seattle City Hall

When a new bike lane is built in Seattle, it's because of a document called the Bicycle Master Plan.

On Tuesday, cycling advocates symbolically shredded a copy before the City Council as they objected to a decision to put off building 25 miles of new protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways that were planned for the next six years.

In public comment, one man told the council the implementation plan "might as well be written on toilet paper for all that they actually guarantee."

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The Seattle Department of Transportation says its new implementation plan pushes back some bike projects until funding can be found.

SDOT is resetting a $930 million transportation levy that has not delivered all of what voters were promised, including bike lanes.

"They are still in our Bicycle Master Plan, we're just deferring them for now and we're bringing other projects up in the queue," said Jim Curtin of SDOT.

The more modest buildout comes a week after SDOT canceled plans for a protected bike lane on 35th Avenue Northeast in Wedgwood, which bicycle advocates supported but some neighbors and businesses opposed.

"We thank the mayor for the decision she made," said Gabe Galanda of the group Save 35th Avenue. "The bike lobby was not interested in any compromise."

Cycling advocates, and several City Councilmembers, say both moves to dial back bike lanes threaten basic city goals such as eliminating traffic deaths.

"Our commitment to Vision Zero should not be zero vision," saidCouncil member Teresa Mosqueda.

Transportation committee chair Mike O'Brien said that while the council authorizes funding, whether projects actually get built is up to the mayor.

"There are other games we can play in the budget, but I think it's really premature to talk about that until we really understand where the mayor's vision differs with us," O'Brien said.

SDOT officials said they are seeking public input this month on the draft implementation plan.