A cyclist who was injured in a Seattle bicycling accident near the Washington Park Arboretum claims he knows what caused the 2004 crash: his bike tire got stuck in a drainage grate with slots parallel to the roadway.
According to an estimate by Seattle Public Utilities officials, there are between 70,000 and 80,000 grates throughout the city. Some have vertical slots. Others, including all replacements, have designs that make it unlikely bike tires can get stuck.
But because SPU employees don’t know the locations of the grates with wide parallel slots, and they don’t have a precise timetable to repair them, some cyclists are demanding action.
“We’re trying to figure out the most economical way of combining a street drain inventory with our existing work plans for this summer,” said SPU spokesman Andy Ryan last week. “We want people to be safe.”
But, said Ryan, a replacement plan needs to keep ratepayers in mind.
A new grate costs about $500, and “that doesn’t include labor costs or additional costs if drain work is needed,” he said.