No more cutting through St. Demetrios parking lot: Street Fund candidate would pave dirt trail

nsf_east(1)-mapIf you have ever tried to get to Interlaken Drive from the Bill Dawson Trail under 520 near the Montlake Bridge, then you have probably gotten completely lost trying to find a way through the neighborhood streets. Turns out, your best option is to cut through the St. Demetrios Church parking lot.

Well, if the gate is open, anyway.

Obviously, cutting through a parking lot that is only sometimes open is not an acceptable transportation solution for any party involved (including the church). So a Montlake Greenways proposal under consideration for a large Neighborhood Street Fund grant would pave an existing dirt path and remove a guard rail so people walking and biking could bypass the church.

There is a hiccup in the plan, though. SDOT has determined that a fully bikeable and ADA accessible trail would be too steep (approximately 10 feet of rise over 100 feet), and have instead suggested a section of stairs with a runnel for bikes. That’s certainly less exciting and could take some wind out of the project’s sails unless a ramp solution can be figured out (the grade of the trail would probably still be less than climbing the nearby parking lot’s hills).

If a non-stair solution can be figured out, this would be a great project for the neighborhood (it’s a Safe Routes to School project, as well) and as a transportation project (if you can handle the steep block of 19th between Lynn and Interlaken, then it’s a great short cut to Capitol Hill and the Central District).

More details on the project:

nsf_east_19th

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9 Responses to No more cutting through St. Demetrios parking lot: Street Fund candidate would pave dirt trail

  1. Al Dimond says:

    I don’t get the concern with grade here. If a path is too steep for ADA, how is a staircase better? If it’s not too steep for ADA, why worry about how steep it is for cyclists? If the whole point is to get up to Interlaken via 19th you’ve got a hell of a climb coming up anyway! If you can’t make it up a 10 ft./100 ft. climb, isn’t it easier to walk your bike up the hill than climb stairs?

    Sometimes over a short distance, when cycling, you just have to deal with a steep climb. Take the NE 100th St. bridge over 405. On the east side of the bridge there’s a nice straight ramp down to the street that’s fenced off so you have to ride around a maze or dismount and hit the stairs — I’m actually not sure which is worse. Let’s not design by rote numerical analysis and end up with something silly like that.

  2. JN says:

    I think the bigger issue here is that stairs on a ‘bike’ path are a huge danger. Ride at night, come down from the top, horrible wreck. The appear-from-nowhere stairs are a recognized issue that caused a death on Eastlake Ave, why would we create a similar situation?

  3. reason says:

    if it is too steep for ADA, then a staircase, perhaps with an accessible ramp would have to be installed.
    fact is, not all handicapped people are in wheelchairs. Those that are not usually struggle more with steep ramps than regular stairs.

    the neighborhood street fund is for people walking and biking, not just bikes.
    if you think the stairs are a problem for bikers, install some better lighting or slow down.

  4. Kirk from Ballard says:

    The easement looks to be as wide as a street. Couldn’t they just put in stairs and a ramp side by side?

  5. Andres says:

    The goal would be a 8.3% grade instead of 10%, yes? If that’s the case, then extending the path by 20ft (without adding additional grade) would satisfy ADA requirements. Is that possible by either having the trail curve (assuming a fairly wide ROW), or realigning that crosswalk/curb bulb to meet with the path, and having the sidewalk portion be part of that slope? The pictures provided don’t make the specifics of the existing area very clear.

  6. Tall Bryan says:

    I prefer the dirt path.

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