EDITOR’S NOTE: Andres is a family-biking father dedicated to safe streets. He’s the leader of NE Seattle Greenways and sometimes contributes to Seattle Bike Blog. I encountered this closure the other day on a ride with several people, including Madi Carlson and her two kids, who were riding a tandem with a trail-a-bike on the back. This closure was a serious obstacle for them (she’s a well-documented bad ass, so obviously they powered through it). If neighborhood greenways are really supposed to be important people-focused transportation routes, closures like this give users the impression the city doesn’t actually take that goal seriously.
Recently, Sound Transit closed the 12th Ave NE Greenway for tunnel-related construction. This closure will last at least three months, and was done without providing a safe, welcoming, or even ADA-compliant detour.
Not only do we need to fix this, but we also need to ensure that any future neighborhood greenway closures provide a detour that accommodates All-Ages-and-Abilities (“AAA”) users.
The 12th Ave NE Greenway runs through the heart of the University District, two blocks west of The Ave. The northern part of it meets up with the buffered (and soon to be protected) bike lanes on NE Ravenna Blvd. This is a very desirable connection for families, as it provides a separated bike route connecting to Green Lake, Cowen Park, and Ravenna Park. Unfortunately, the street closure is just south of that connection, between NE 56th St and NE 58th St.
This closure includes the full street, as well as at least one sidewalk. On the north side of construction, there are confusing, and not very visible detour signs to direct cars and people walking in opposite directions. Following the wrong sign takes you to a parallel arterial street, which is exactly what someone using the greenway would be trying to avoid. Continue reading