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Seattle’s Westlake bikeway is America’s best new bike lane

So says People For Bikes

Cascade Bicycle Club

The $3.6 million project that created a dedicated bike path from Fremont Bridge to Lake Union Park has worked out pretty well. It’s connected two critical parts of the city (Burke-Gilman Trail to Downtown Seattle) and made life easier for cyclists while cutting down on the impact to pedestrians and drivers.

It’s worked out so well that People For Bikes has named it America’s nest new bike lane.

The country's best new bike lane of 2016 is a stripe of asphalt evidence that Seattle is willing to explain, over and over again, why a parallel route two blocks away sometimes isn't good enough.

No one who's actually ridden a bike in Seattle's near north side would confuse Dexter Avenue, with its 300-foot climb, with the lakeside bend of Westlake Avenue just to the east.

Fortunately for Seattle, its leaders knew the lay of the land. So they soldiered through years of negotiations and lawsuit threats to finish Westlake, finding a design that preserved 90 percent of the spaces in a relevant public parking lot. The turning point: Mayor Ed Murray called all parties into a room and forced them to hear one another out.

What they got was a world-class bikeway: the first flat, intuitive link joining downtown Seattle to the north side and a vast regional trail network.

Now that whoever was chucking tacks on the bikeway seems to have stopped, it’s smooth sailing, or cycling, ahead for critical pathway.