TL;DR: YOUR YACHT IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD

First thing’s first:

Everyone at MBR bikes. *Gasp!*  Shocker.

We all ride, be it for work, pleasure, transit, or health. We also depend on the local bicycle economy to keep our business up and running. Therefore we, as cyclists and cycling enthusiasts, will be undeniably biased in any matter concerning bicycle advocacy, safety measures, and pro-bike development projects. (And so are you, probably, if you’re reading this.) So there’s your disclaimer.

Now—on with the public shaming.

To begin: are you opposed to the Westlake Cycle Track? Yes? Great.

Your lobbying efforts are endangering lives.

So. Yeah. Cool.

Now let’s rewind for a minute.

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Seattle’s Bike Master Plan has been in development since 2012. It has been approved by the general public, local stakeholders, even the politicians. It’s taken thousands of hours of development and a healthily massive amount of community input in the design process to reach this point in the project's timeline. Again and again, the Plan has been stonewalled by private interest groups, local NIMBYs, and jackhole lawyers. Again and again, these obstacles have been overcome in favor of safety (for everyone, not just cyclists), progress (for everyone, not just cyclists), and the greater good (for—you get the idea.)

You're a cyclist. You already know why we're pissed off. Blah blah blah, "advantages of a bike-friendly transit system". Yada yada yada, "why biking is good for humanity".  Whatever. We know you know. We know you're mad. But being mad is, sadly, just another part of being a cyclist these days.

We're here to show you where to direct all that rage.

"Well then, where do I aim my vitriolic, low-pH barbs now, TheBikeMensch?"

So glad you asked.

Answer: Yachters. Yachters and the property owners harboring them.

(See what I did there?)

Yachters:

What you think you look like.

 

Yachters:

What we think you look like.

 

As I'm sure many of you know, Seattle's Master Bike Plan includes a proposed segment of partitioned roadway along the Westlake corridor specifically for cyclists. The Cycle Track would be ten feet wide and enclosed from street traffic, all while maintaining the existing pedestrian walkway and most of the adjacent parking lot.

And um, oh yeah, the protected cycle track would be moved from where it's been for many years: right in the center of the previously mentioned parking lot.

Hey. Everybody. Just because we painted a little white bike-person and some arrows directly through a parking lot doesn't mean it's anywhere near "safe" or "a good idea" or "a positive reflection of sound human thought". And it's not just unsafe for cyclists. Motorists, pedestrians, and navy-white-capped yachters alike all suffer from the current setup, which leads me to today's story.

We've reached another roadblock in the development of safe cycling infrastructure. It appears, dear reader, that yachters are worried about the environmental impact of the Cycle Track.

A lawsuit has reportedly been filed by a Westlake marina property owner, contending that the Seattle Department of Transportation didn't conduct an indepth environmental analysis, as mandated by Washington state law, before greenlighting the Cycle Track.

Okay, sure. Due process, and all that? Good on you. 

Two things:

1) The city already examined the Cycle Track and deemed it a "minor project", which would not require the environmental analysis.

2) You yachters are all lying bastards. Here's why.

Part of the property owner's complaint is how the Cycle Track will reduce available parking spaces by about 20%, limit the maximum amount of parking time for some existing spaces, and require some new parking fees. No, here's the yachters' real problem with the Cycle Track:

Bike safety is bad for yachts and yacht business. 

This isn't the first time that mariner-interests have made a show of delaying or derailing the Westlake Cycle Track. Last time, it was at the expense of the entire Bike Plan. (Just for perspective, the Westlake additions account for less than a single percent of the cycle roadways in the proposed Plan.)

And it's all for the yachts.

I'll say it again. It's all for the yachts. Nay, superyachts, even.

Because a regularyacht isn't big enough.

Yachting, beloved pastime of the one-est of the One Percent, is again attempting to assert itself as more important than human safety. There is no more subterfuge, no more backdoor dealings, no more opaque intent and hidden agendas. This one comes straight from the mouths of society's upper crust. If it wasn't before (which it kind of was), it's officially on the books as a class war.

(Digression: "The One Percent", by-the-by, while an effective and buzzwordy way to describe the allocation of wealth in America, doesn't really work in this case. "The One Percent", for our purposes today, assumes that one in every 100 people owns a yacht, so a more accurate term would be something like the "The One Thousandth Percent". But that just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

So one last time, to distill the argument down to its barest bones, yachters want to park their cars a little bit closer to their yachts at the expense of yachter's and non-yachter's lives.

Am I missing anything?

 

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It's gonna be okay, kiddies. I promise. Give it time.

Can't change hearts and minds overnight.

 

On that note, I leave you today with an invaluable piece of Shop Wisdom, a word on yachting from MBR's own Daniel L.:

"Yachting is to yacht racing what commuting is to car racing—you can't say you're good at it."

 

—TheBikeMensch


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