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The Urbanist Bike Tour: The Lower Duwamish

  • Chelan Cafe 3527 Chelan Avenue Southwest Seattle, WA, 98106 United States (map)

Note - This is a ticketed event and you must register at this Eventbright link to attend.

Join the Urbanist for a two-wheeled tour of the lower Duwamish – Seattle’s one and only river. The Duwamish has been central to the history of our city, but is often overlooked. The river has served as the spiritual home of the Duwamish people, a rich agricultural breadbasket for settlers, Boeing’s “arsenal of democracy” during WWII, and is now the site of an agonizingly slow superfund cleanup project while it continues to be home to resilient communities along its banks. Throughout, the river’s transformations have been central to the story of this city and the people who live here.

For those most familiar with Seattle’s orderly streetcar neighborhoods of bungalows and coffee shops, the built environment of central south Seattle can seem like a wonderful, horrible, bizarre mashup of every urban element – highways, ports, residential neighborhoods, green open space, industrial wastelands, historic sites, bland stripmalls, and restoration sites – all mixed up together. The area faces its share of problems, pollution, unsafe streets, structural racism and gentrification among them, but it has more than its share of beauty as well. The lower Duwamish is a unique urban environment in our region that is worth getting to know better.

This bike tour is designed as an introduction to this complex area and a few of its significant sites and groups of people that make it special. The tour will start under the massive West Seattle Bridge at the Chelan Cafe and work its way south along the west side of the river, visiting the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center and the neighborhood of South Park, then head south into the strange mix of office parks, factories, historic neighborhoods, and ecological restoration sites to the south before returning along the east bank to the lively arts hub of Georgetown.

The tour will be led by Ian Crozier, a Seattle-based urban planner and enthusiast, with help from members of Duwamish Valley Safe Streets. The ride starts at 10am and is expected to wrap up in Georgetown by 2pm. You must provide your own bike and should be prepared to take care of any issues you have mechanical or otherwise. The route is approximately 13 miles of mostly flat riding and consists of a mix of bike trail, on-road bike lanes, and shoulder riding. While this is a no-drop ride, participants should be comfortable riding in a group and with mixed traffic. Everyone is invited to join Ian and friends at the Chelan Cafe for breakfast before the ride. We hope you can join!