After a long holiday vacation, which, due to the blizzard in the Northeast, stretched into an even longer holiday vacation, I finally made it back to the Hill to find that indeed I am required to return to work in the new year.
An upside to this situation is that I get to hop on my bike and get back into my commuting routine. I have to admit that when I was first considering bike commuting from Beacon Hill to Downtown and back I was hesitant. Though it is only a three mile ride to Belltown from my house, there are a number of daunting hills and even scarier rivers of traffic. But after testing out numerous routes, I found one that is not too hilly and avoids a good bit of the traffic.
If you look on a map the most logical route to get from North Beacon Hill to Downtown is along 15th Avenue South via the Jose Rizal bridge. The problem with this is that even after last years restriping on 15th (addition of a bike lane going southbound from Jose Rizal to Beacon, and sharrows northbound), the road is still a little scary to bike along. An alternate route is to take 18th Avenue South to the Mountains to Sound Trail to Jose Rizal; this avoids the traffic and, as 18th is a gradual climb, provides one of the easiest ways to get up the north side of Beacon Hill. Once over Jose Rizal, King Street (non-arterial) and 3rd Avenue (bus and bike only during commuter hours) provide the best routes for avoiding heavy traffic. Another great way to avoid heavy traffic is to go into work early and come home early, this makes biking much safer!
I have mapped this route with accompanying video here.
According to SDOT counts, bike commuting in Seattle has doubled over the past 15 years. And with the implementation of the bicycle master plan in full gear, this ridership rate will only increase in the coming years. Hop on your bike and try this route someday to see if bike commuting is for you.