Biking Way up in Seattle During Highway Closure - StreetsBlog USA

Biking has almost doubled along major corridors in Seattle as the city enters the fourth day of “Viadoom” — the highly publicized closure of State Route 99.

Viadoom — or the “period of maximum constraint,” as city officials have called it was billed as a potentially paralyzing traffic nightmare. Monday began the three week period when the Alaskan Way Viaduct (SR 99) is closed, but the city’s replacement — a $3 billion underground highway — has not opened.

For months, local leaders have been warning residents — especially drivers — that the need to change their routines.

So far, people seem to be responding. The city’s lead traffic engineer, Dongho Chang, reports many people are also availing themselves of other means — including bikes.

A member of Seattle City Council took some heat after being dismissive of the idea that anyone would bike in January, calling it “a pretty heavy lift.”

But clearly, many people are finding bikes useful.

“People who do regularly get around Seattle by bike are seeing noticeable increases,” said Susan Gleason, of the advocacy organization Seattle Greenways. “They’re seeing a lot more bikes on the paths.”

By some accounts, it’s even been kind of nice. Many cyclists, bus riders and walkers have been using the hashtag #mycommutewasawesome to share stories of pleasant rides to work via bike or bus or train.

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