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Westlake Avenue bikeway officially opens today

The $3.6 million project dealt with concerns, fights, and delays but now it’s here.

It’s been a long, strange trip but cyclists will finally be able to make their own long, strange trips along the dedicated Westlake bikeway starting today.

Seattle and the Cascade Bicycle Club are hosting a celebration at the south end of the bikeway in Lake Union Park from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. First, speakers will talk about the introduction of the new bike paths and then an open ride will be at 5:30.

The $3.6 million project saw lots of delays and fights from those concerns about lost parking spaces and local business losses. Ultimately, 90 percent of the parking spaces in the surrounding lot were preserved and new rules were created to make sure those spaces were optimized for Westlake business usage.

The dedicated bike path also makes life easier for pedestrians who walk the pathway.

“You would have people walking, biking, and driving all throughout that whole parking lot area. What this does is really delineates where everybody is going to be so the street will be a lot more organized and safer for everybody.”

The trail now becomes the first separate bike route that connects the Burke-Gilman Trail to Downtown Seattle, which will invariably make it one of the most popular stretches in the city.