FamilyRide: Kidical Mass swings by the under-construction Missing Link, Ballard Greenway bike counter

Sunday’s Kidical Mass ride took us to Ballard for our first look at the new two-way bikeway for part of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link. The paint isn’t down yet and I hope they’ll put more dividers in to make things clearer, but most of the signs are up. We only took it in the westerly direction, but I don’t think it’s marked yet from the other direction because we only saw bikes coming towards us on the car half (which is fine and in fact it’s still marked with sharrows…though those will probably be sandblasted off at some point).

Click my photo below for a larger version. Bikes approach from the Burke-Gilman Trail, next to a sidewalk, off frame to the left. I hope diagonal paint will make it easy to access the bikeway entrance.

Click to enlarge

Here’s the new all-way stop as The Missing Link crosses 14th. I don’t come through here at commute time so I’ve never seen it busy.

New stop sign on the Missing Link bikeway

More cones. I don’t know if there are plans to paint the whole bike half green, but I hope so.

New Missing Link bikeway

The end of the bikeway is where I’d prefer to see stop signs. Shilshole is not easy to turn left onto. As for entering the bikeway from the other direction, slowing down to make the right turn in front of fast-moving cars probably won’t be very pleasant, either. I’m curious to see the finished product, but I don’t think any traffic calming is planned for this intersection.

End of the Missing Link bikeway

But onto better things: Kidical Mass! We met up at Ballard Library and biked a block to the NW 58th Street Greenway and got a look at the new bike counter. This one doesn’t display a number like the Fremont Bridge bike counter, but numbers should be available online from SDOT next month. The two black tubes running across the street record bikes passing by.

Ballard Greenway bike counter

Click to enlarge

Read about the rest of the January Kidical Mass ride on FamilyRide.

About Madeleine Carlson

Madi is Seattle Bike Blog’s Staff Family Cycling Expert. She lives in Wallingford and bikes all over town with her two kids in tow. You can read more of her adventures and thoughts on family life on two wheels at FamilyRide.us
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10 Responses to FamilyRide: Kidical Mass swings by the under-construction Missing Link, Ballard Greenway bike counter

  1. Bill says:

    I checked out the new trail just this morning. A truck turned left out of one of the cross streets and drove west in the bike lanes to the next street. The puddle at Shilshole is even bigger than in the photo. There are holes in the pavement to avoid as you cross Shilshole. And waiting for a break in traffic to make a left took a long time. I really can’t understand how such an obvious requirement as an all-way stop was omitted. Lots of problems to address….

    • Bill says:

      PS. The suicide RD crossing not only remains, it is now extra dangerous since bikes going both directions are channeled into the same small area.

  2. Jayne says:

    Pig, meet lipstick.

  3. Kevin in Ballard says:

    Lots of refinement needed (tone down the gloss maybe?). And the automobile-driving scofflaws need to follow the laws of this great nation/city, but a pig is a pig, and this pig looks better than it did 4 weeks ago. Kudos to SDOT for continuing the process of trying to fix up this mess…but let’s not let them off the hook now and insist that they finish the job, and soon. This must include doing something more creative now with the railroad track crossing, since it is now not subject to heavy motor vehicle traffic. Ideas?

  4. Damon says:

    I commute on this route. I’m reserving final judgment until the paint is all down, but for now it’s much more dangerous than before. I’ve observed cars going WB in the bike lanes multiple times, and once I saw a WB car go right past the Do Not Enter signs at 11th; they drove onto the tracks.

    I’ve also seen several bikes continuing to use the EB car traffic lane, placing bikes on both sides of cars there with no room to pass. Hopefully, this will get better with the paint, but I’m sure there will always be some confused cyclists there.

    When the paint is all down, we’ll still have these new problems introduced by the change:
    * Dangerous hop across traffic to enter the bike lane EB
    * Diagonal intersection crossing both WB and EB at 11th (formerly only WB)
    * Unnecessary east-west stop sign at 14th

    And, of course, all the other preexisting Missing Link dangers.

    • Damon says:

      Actually, I’ve been guilty of using the EB car traffic lane, myself, in one specific way: at the very end of the missing link, if there are no cars in it, I’ll hop over there so that I’m crossing the intersection at 11th straight instead of diagonally. That seems like the safest thing to do, which is disturbing.

      • Al Dimond says:

        No guilt or disturbance involved, not for me at least. Our right to use the road on bikes is contingent on our responsible use of it regarding safety (keeping a lookout, exercising due care), not on how easy it is for people in faster vehicles to pass us. If the roadway is clear coming east I move over, too, as it just seems natural. At the 4-way stop I think it mostly works either way.

      • Josh says:

        There is no EB “car traffic lane.” It’s a city street, not a freeway. That’s a travel lane open to all legal vehicles, including bicycles, same as it was before the changes.

      • Damon says:

        That’s true, the EB lane is legally open to bikes. And I think people will use it to some extent (for one thing, it’s safer on icy mornings like we had recently, since the cars melt the frost first). That creates, though, the potential problem I mentioned above, in which an EB car is sandwiched between a bike on its left and a bike in its lane.

        I’m all for encouraging patience in drivers, but I’m more about practicality and safety. A situation like that is begging for a road rage incident.

    • Saskia says:

      I fully agree – I find this to be much more dangerous than it was before. About 60% of the time that I am on it there is a westbound car using it.

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