Seattle’s Westlake community is a unique gem, home to a wide range of marine-based businesses, including float planes, cruise boats, electric boat rentals and even luxury superyacht facilities. There are also office buildings, ground-level retail and dining stores that run the gamut from Chinese food to delis to self-balancing one-wheeled electric vehicles. And of course, there’s the bucolic floating home community and that oh so popular movie Seattleites can’t seem to shed the image of.
Westlake is also a flat, straightforward corridor, making it a natural bicycle path for riders of all ages. However, as recently as last year, there was no location for cyclists to be – they either had to travel through a busy parking area and dodge cars pulling in and out of parking spaces, or intermingle with pedestrians, joggers, dog-walkers and customers. There needed be safer, more predictable options for all.
EnviroIssues stepped in to work with SDOT to launch a comprehensive public outreach process. This included planning three public open houses attended by 300-500 people reach, facilitating a design advisory committee comprised of representatives from businesses, floating home, freight, bicycling and pedestrian organizations, and supporting an intensive construction communications effort. Along the way, we built relationships with Westlake businesses and residents. We received thousands of communications and managed a very hot hotline number so all Westlake stakeholders were able to talk to a team member every day of the project’s lifespan.
From wire to wire, the project spanned three years and involved over 20 EnviroIssues’ staffers – but it was worth every minute. About 100 people attended the opening day event where music, refreshments, giveaways and speeches kicked off a bike parade of local dignitaries and residents. The Westlake protected bike lane is now open, a crown jewel in the city’s growing bicycle network.