CycloTouring – Seattle WA to Vancouver BC


©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2013

©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2013

The distance from Vancouver BC to Seattle WA is about 230 km from downtown to downtown along major roads, expressway and interstate highway.  Is it a dream that some day there may be a separated route for cyclists to make this journey?

Cycling from Toronto to Montreal can be done along the Waterfront Trail.  These cities are about 550 kilometres apart.  The trip can be cycled in 3 days to 5 days depending on one’s personal stamina.  The trail has various forms of separation along the way including bike lanes and paved shoulders along with some minor roads with very light car traffic.  The Province of Québec’s portion is on one of the La Route Verte’s routes.

A trail has been developed from London, England top Paris, France with the same type of infrastructure and a ferry crossing of the English Channel.

So, is it a dream to hope for a separated trail between Vancouver and Seattle or is it an emerging reality?  While it may be more distance between the two cities by cycling than driving, already 40% of the direct distance has bike trails and additional distance can be covered on roads with bike-lanes and paved shoulders.

If one decides on the Anacortes, WA to Sidney, BC option, then the Anacortes Bike Route and the Lochside trail provides additional separated bike trail distances.

There is still 2.3 km of rail-trail to be completed on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish County.  In Vancouver, cycling enthusiasts are calling for the development of the Arbutus rail-trail that would connect downtown to the bike path on the Canada Line Bridge to Richmond.  Within Richmond, there is opportunity to extend the Shell Trail.  In Surrey, a bike path through a bird sanctuary could be added to a cycling route reducing the distance on roads.  There is work being done with First Nations and the local city on developing a trail from Blaine to Tsawwassen to Ladner and the George Massey Tunnel.  All of these initiatives would move closer to the dream.

What other developments or cycling advocate visions are there to make a separated bike route between these two cities a reality, providing a cycling option for people of all ages, abilities, and cycling risk-taking?

The dream lives on while some trips between these two cities are being completed by cycling or by combined mobility trips using Amtrak Cascadia trains with its bike racks in the luggage cars and with reservable bike space.  No longer is boxing a bike required on these trains.  Just wheel your bicycle up to the luggage car and let the car attendant put it into a bike rack.

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H-JEH Becker, Velo.Urbanism, 2013

©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2013, unless otherwise noted.  If you wish to expand the size of any image, then click on the image.