New Seattle Center route

It’s been almost three months since I declared my hatred for using the Broad Street tunnel to cross under Aurora en route to the Seattle Center from South Lake Union. Today was a try-out-a-new-route day. I had a route in mind and waiting at the stop light at the tip of South Lake Union Park, Brian of Cascade Bicycle Club pulled up next to me. We first met at the Sustainable Ballard Festival and I’ve run into him several times downtown. He was on his way to man a Cascade booth at a hospital event, but he was already wearing his official Cascade shirt so I figured I was allowed to pause his commute and ask his advice on routes. I couldn’t get him to agree with me that “Broad Street totally sucks” (very civil guy), but he and I both thought Denny was probably the way to go. I was mostly happy that he, too, was riding a couple blocks down Westlake on the sidewalk. Of course he was probably doing so on account of the construction on Dexter and I am always down there because I doubt I can make it up the Dexter hill.

Our route needs a little fine tuning, but this is basically what we did (with sucky old route in red):

I don’t like the northwest corner of Westlake and Broad because the curb ramp is a bit up Broad rather than right at the corner (my heavy rig doesn’t go down curbs). Once the construction one block over on 9th is finished up, I could get to 9th sooner, but I really like riding along the entire length of the park so next time I might experiment with crossing on the other side of the street. Then we headed a couple blocks down the sidewalk of Westlake and turned right at the pig. It’s always nice to have a landmark and not just a street name, and the Serious Pie chalkboard pig is one of my favorites. Also, I turned right on John rather than cutting through Denny Park, but it looks like a nice wide path so we’ll try that next trip. We chose 5th Avenue as our means to cut back north because it follows the monorail track (trains!).

The Children’s Museum was great today–the new Lego exhibit isn’t much to look at, but the kids and their friends stayed in there for hours. Afterwards we swung by the International Fountain, which we’ve had to avoid for almost a year (“Too loud, too fountainy!”) and it was nice to see it’s no longer too loud and fountainy, but I was stuck with two wet kids. However, it’s nicer to put wet kids on a bike than in a car so we happily rode home–down Denny, along the trainyard, and through the locks. We stopped in at Me ‘N Moms, the kiddie consignment store by the locks so the second half of our ride home could be dry. I wanted to stop in at Dutch Bike Co after reading this Seattle Weekly article about the cafe and I didn’t want to drip all over the floor.

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2 thoughts on “New Seattle Center route

  1. Funny! I ride my bike with my kids through this neighborhood all the time and don’t have a good way around Broad Street either. Sometimes I just go for it, and other times I’ll shoot up Mercer but that typically involves negotiating with pedestrians and the restart with kids can be terrible. I know your pain!

    Here’s a route that I like a bunch: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4711843

    That Denny section is pretty slow so I don’t feel too challenged by cars. I tend to sit in the car lane while some others take the sidewalk.

    We live in lower Queen Anne and would love to have a playdate. My kids are 2 and 4 and both ride various bicycle contraptions

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