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Friday, August 23, 2013

Amazon gives a push to biking downtown | Seattle Times


Amazon plans to build a two-block cycle track around its future office towers on Seventh Avenue. This rendering shows the extension Amazon proposed at 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street.
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Amazon plans to build a two-block cycle track around its future office towers on Seventh Avenue. This rendering shows the extension Amazon proposed at 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street.
Almost single-handedly, Amazon.com has driven the recent downtown Seattle office market boom. Now, at its massive, three-tower Denny Triangle development, the online retailer is raising the stakes for what companies can do to encourage bicycle commuting.
Amazon will build “cycle tracks” on Seventh Avenue along the two-block stretch of its office complex, demonstrating what a downtown network of dedicated bicycle lanes could look like.
The company also will provide stalls for about 400 bikes in each of its towers — three times the number of bike spaces required under city code and many more than other office projects provide.
A cycle track is a bike lane with a physical barrier to separate bicyclists from cars and pedestrians. City planners envision 101 miles of cycle track throughout Seattle, including along Second, Fourth and Seventh avenues downtown, but the proposed network requires City Council approval and funding.
“Cyclists are part of the fabric of Seattle, and so we’re thrilled to be creating a new cycle track that will make the ride to and from downtown safer and easier for all cyclists in the community,” said John Schoettler, Amazon director of global real estate and facilities.
The scale of Amazon’s redevelopment will give planners an unusual opportunity to design the highest-quality cycle track, with 7-foot-wide riding paths and a line of trees to separate the cyclists from other traffic, said Dongho Chang, city traffic engineer for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

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