That was fun. Unfortunately, the striping is almost entirely rubbed off in many places. And compliance by car and bus drivers has never been very good.
Well, SDOT and King County Metro are splitting the cost of a new bus island just south of Denny Way to reduce the number of bike/bus conflicts. They will also clarify the merging movements for people biking and driving southbound and want to make a right turn on Bell.
Currently, buses and people biking have to cross paths three times between Denny and Bell (see below). A new bus island here will remove two of those conflicts and speed up transit.
Here are the plans for the bus island:
But all those plans are just the temporary fixes for the area. The real exciting stuff could come if Amazon.com expands into three towers in the Denny Triangle. City Traffic Engineer showed off preliminary plans for a proposed parking-separated cycle track concept the online retail giant would pay for if they choose to go through the move.
When you build three new towers downtown, the deal comes with a whole lot of traffic and environmental mitigation requirements from the city. And that means mitigation for bicycling, as well. Luckily, Amazon has a big bike commute population in its workforce, and the company is eager to make their new investment bike-friendly.
The preliminary plans call for protected bike lanes on both sides of 7th Ave stretching from Denny Way (where it meets Dexter) all the way to Pine St (though I highly suggest extending it one more block to Pike, unless the city has exciting plans for Pine I’m not familiar with…). The city also acknowledged the need for a bike facility on Bell St from 7th Ave into Belltown.
If this goes through, it could be the first modern bike facility to connect Dexter Ave with downtown. Now, add a protected bike facility on Pike or Pine from the Market to Capitol Hill and a protected facility on a north-south downtown street (or two), and our downtown will be the envy of the whole country. We just have to follow Vancouver’s lead.
UPDATE: I meant to add this map of the potential future cycle track area: