SDOT has installed a contraflow bike lane and “cross-bike” on 6th Ave S between Dearborn and Seattle Blvd S (AKA Airport Way S). Until this project, cyclists trying to access Airport Way S or 6th Ave S from just about anywhere north of I-90 were directed down 6th Ave S in the International District, a signed bike route, only to run into a dead end at Dearborn with no clear way to access or cross Airport Way a mere block away. Some people hopped on the sidewalk, while others took the 5-lane 4th Ave S. Now there is clear, easy and seemingly safe option that closes this gap.
This is an exciting project because there is a lot of promise in Seattle’s bizarre road system for contraflow bike lanes. It is also the city’s first endeavor (I’m pretty sure) into a “cross-bike” treatment of sorts. In this case, they used several sharrow markings all in a row, and I think it is very effective. It clearly shows bicyclists that the contraflow lane is for their use, alerts drivers headed south the lane is not for them and alerts northbound drivers making left turns that bicyclists may be traveling straight through the intersection. The DO NOT ENTER signs have also been amended with “Except Bicycles.”
Do you have other ideas where contraflow lanes could solve annoying/unsafe spots in the city’s street network? What do you think of the term “cross-bike”?