A video letter from a Peddler Brewing owner about the dangerous Ballard Bridge

This video letter from Peddler Brewing co-owner Haley Woods to city leaders about the terrible state of walking and biking on the Ballard Bridge is funny, strange and yet very serious. The tiny sidewalks further encroached by concrete pillars, the shin-high tripping ledge and the terrible bridge-end connections are completely unacceptable, especially for such a fast-growing urban hub like Ballard.

Well, don’t take my word for it. Watch the video:

As we reported previously, the city quietly released a report last year outlining some rough cost estimates for various sidewalk-widening options. None of the options stand out as a slam dunk as studied. The cheaper options are not all that cheap and would provide only small improvements. The more complete options were estimated to cost a gigantic sum ($20-48 million depending on various factors and options). But the report is at least a starting point to finding solutions.

tableprice-alts

Example of what a larger sidewalk (Alternative 2) would be like.

Example of what a larger sidewalk (Alternative 2) would be like.

There are definitely a handful of lower cost options the city can pursue immediately, such as fixing the tripping ledge and improving safety at the sidewalk entrances (especially the south end). We also suggested that the city study more options, ranging in cost from a more affordable on-road bikeway concept to a much more costly (and awesome) separate walking and biking bridge next to the existing structure.

It’s also possible a transit/bike/walk bridge could be an option for a crossing of the ship canal once Sound Transit finally gets around to building that high capacity connection from downtown to Ballard. But that crossing may not even be near the Ballard Bridge and may be a tunnel instead. And even if it does include biking and walking space, we cannot wait that long to make the Ballard Bridge safe.

There has been little movement from the city since the report was released. Haley and the Cascade Bicycle Club backed Connect Ballard team want to change that. Here’s what she says you can do to help:

Now it’s your turn to get involved! Share you Ballard Bridge story and why you think the sidewalk should be improved. Contact:Mayor Ed Murray
Via seattle.gov website

Mayor’s Chief of Staff
Chris Gregorich
Chris.Gregorich@seattle.gov

SDOT Director
Scott Kubly
scott.kubly@seattle.gov

SDOT Traffic Engineer
Dongho Chang
dongho.chang@seattle.gov

Seattle City Council
Sally Bagshaw
sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim Burgess
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Sally Clark
sally.clark@seattle.gov
Jean Godden
jean.godden@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Nick Licata
nick.licata@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien
mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Tom Rasmussen
tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov
Kshama Sawant
kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

Join Cascade Bicycle Club’s Connect Ballard Group: http://www.cascade.org/get-involved-connect-seattle/connect-ballard

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64 Responses to A video letter from a Peddler Brewing owner about the dangerous Ballard Bridge

  1. Hmm says:

    Would it be possible/feasible to “shift” the traffic over 39″, taking away either the eastern or western sidewalk to create a larger sidewalk on one side of the bridge? What are the crossings like on the north/south end of the bridge to swap sides?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Hmm, that’s a new idea! Interesting.

      I have a feeling this is not really feasible or desirable, but I can’t say for sure. The crossings at each end of the bridge are very poor, out of the way and in no way ADA accessible. People currently use both sidewalks, so I don’t know if closing one sidewalk would be a popular solution. But since no one clear great option has come out yet, it’s worth considering anything.

    • Brock says:

      Probably not. In the middle of the bridge, the sidewalks go around the outside of the bascule structure while the 4-lane roadway is in the middle of the bascule structure.

    • Rob says:

      One way to slow traffic and provide wider bike/pedestrian lanes would be to narrow each of the traffic lanes by 9″-12″. This would give both sidewalks 18″ to 24″ additional inches making a substantial impact for safety. It would not cost that much to repaint the lines and recurb the divider with a safer barrier. The added advantage of slowing traffic to something close to the 30 MPH limit is icing on the cake.

  2. biliruben says:

    Very nice job! Sometimes you have to hit them over the head with club, and even then they will probably ignore it.

    My roommate took a tumble over that curb into traffic as well. It was so terrifying she stopped riding.

    What is the value of a life?

  3. Superb video pointing our problems which must be put right. What next, Seattle ?

  4. Cheif says:

    It would be pretty easy to just close the whole thing to the automobile traffic that is creating such a dangerous situation in the first place. Let them take the I-5 crossing, it was built just for them anyway.

    • Molly says:

      I love this idea! It should be promoted widely so that people start to believe it might happen and work harder to accommodate people on bikes and on foot to avoid this option.

    • Nathanael says:

      Or autos could use the Aurora Avenue bridge, which is closer than the I-5 bridge. (Or the adjacent Fremont bridge.) For cars, this is a 7 minute detour. For pedestrians, an hour.

      It does not seem strictly necessary to have autos on the Ballard bridge. But you can keep autos on it — there are currently FOUR LANES. Two lanes for autos would work wonders.

      My recommendation: Cut the Ballard Bridge to one lane each way and turn the other lanes into sidewalks & bike lanes.

  5. Skylar says:

    Great video! It’s good she emphasizes the length of the detour in time – 3 miles doesn’t sound like a lot in a car, but it can make the difference between a quick walk and an eternity for a pedestrian.

  6. Kirk says:

    Haley Woods is my new hero! This video sums up a lot of what’s wrong with the Ballard Bridge. Add in the massive potholes on both of the sidewalks on the south end, the heaved sidewalk right before the Merge of Death at Emerson, and the Intersection of Death at NW Ballard Way. I was sorry to miss the Connect Ballard meeting last night at the Peddler, and hope to make the next one.

    I don’t find the passing on the bridge that much of a bother. Of course I’m not in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller. It’s the railing pilasters that are the real hazard. I’ve seen two other riders hit them and both fell into traffic, just like Haley. Thankfully neither of them was hurt. Terry McMacken was not so lucky.

    It is completely unacceptable that SDOT has no plans at all to improve anything about this crossing, and that they have done absolutely nothing to improve it, ever. Oh, they did one thing, they removed the construction signs that they had bolted into the middle of the sidewalk during the Emmerson overpass construction. If SDOT is being Super Safe and Safety Is There Number One Priority, they are failing miserably.

  7. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much for this video, Haley! It’s a great way to get the point across. The other thing I think about is large mirrors from passing trucks- one wrong move and they smack you in the head.

  8. Andy says:

    I’m somewhat confused by the cost estimates for Alternative 3.

    I’m assuming you pulled the table from the September 2014 cost estimate summary (which is the most recent published value). Strangely, the final appendices (August 2014, http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/BallardWideningFINAL-appendices.pdf, pg 88) cite a construction cost of $982K in 2014$.
    It’s very unclear what changed to arrive at the construction and design costs referenced in the main report, which is unfortunate, since Alternative 3 is the only one that has a hope of being funded (in a world without competing priorities maybe the widening alternatives would be worth pursuing, but I can’t imagine justifying those expenses over much greater improvements throughout the rest of the City).

  9. Bob Hall says:

    Maybe the City could do something really radical, like enforce the law. Until the bridge is improved, pedestrians and bicycles are at risk of tripping over the guard. Cars going 30mph will be much more able to stop or avoid a collision.

    I know many of us have cars, so just go try this as an experiment some time: Get in your car and go 30mph over the bridge. Beware! You will get aggressively passed, honked at, yelled at, you name it. Like I always say, the biggest way for a cyclist to make a car driver angry is to get off the bike, hop in a car, and start following all the rules.

    • Kirk says:

      This is so true! If I’m driving, which is rare, I always make a point of staying in the left lane on 15th and travel at 30 MPH.

    • Andrew Squirrel says:

      I’ve been consciously doing this on many of Seattle’s roadways including many portions of 99 that have flashing signs declaring 40mph. I was amazed how pissed drivers were as I left my car in 40mph Cruise Control. I feel like speed limit signs have become a huge joke to the driving community. It’s hilarious that i’m a scofflaw when slowly cycle through a stop sign (with nobody waiting at the intersection) yet going exactly the speed limit in my car makes me an impediment & nuisance.

    • bill says:

      I also putz along on arterials with my cruise control set to the speed limit. It’s nerve wracking, and also amusing when I catch up to the eager speeders at the next stop sign or traffic light. I’ve verified my speedo with a gps BTW.

      The speed limit on 15th through Interbay used to be 40, and on the Aurora Bridge 35, but sometime recently it was changed to 30 for the whole length of 15th and Elliot. No matter; everyone still goes 50. Unless I’m in front.

      I suppose if you ever get into a verbal altercation with another driver you can claim to be a recent transplant from Portland.

    • Peri Hartman says:

      I’ve done that too, but only in the right lane. For those who suggest doing it in the left lane, I think you’re pushing your beliefs too much onto others. Regardless of the letter of the law, the current interpretation allows a buffer of 5-10 mph over the posted limit. As well, your speedo could be off by 2-3 mph. Forcing other people to agree with your ideals is just going to result in anger.

      That said, going at or below the limit in the right lane, I think, is acceptable. Those who want to go faster can choose the other lane. Cyclists are then safer since the right lane is adjacent to the bridge sidewalk. Or, in general, cyclists aren’t normally riding in the left lane.

      Of course, from a cyclist point of view, a road with cars going < 25mph everywhere would be ideal. Probably not going to happen, though.

      • Kirk says:

        Driving the speed limit is not “pushing (personal) beliefs” onto others. It is following the law, which are the beliefs of our society. I think of it as setting an example. And I think it works, because I often see cars speeding along, until they realize that they are passing cars that are going the speed limit. Please don’t buy in to the idea that it is acceptable to go over the speed limit, especially by 10 MPH. It is not.

      • bill says:

        What motivates the speeding drivers who suddenly slow down is fear that the slower driver has spotted a cop ahead. This happens a lot when I drive up Admiral from the bridge. That stretch gets speed enforcement often enough that the regulars are wary (but not law abiding).

      • Aaron says:

        The Speed Limit is the maximum allowed. No one is forced to drive AT the Speed Limit, that should be as fast as anyone goes. Driving slower than the MAXIMUM ALLOWED Limit is perfectly acceptable.

      • Brian says:

        Honest question: on a city street, does the law require that drivers stay in the right lane unless passing, as is the law for divided highways? I don’t think so, but haven’t actually researched that. I think that the “fast cars in the left lane” is simply a carry-over of highway driving mentality to our city streets. I think we can all agree that’s not a good thing.
        There may be some “common courtesy” pressure to shift Kirk over to the right lane instead of the left in order to make way for people driving faster than him. But I don’t think the law requires it. And that pressure of “common courtesy” disappears if he’s driving at or just under the speed limit in the left lane and being asked (typically, by a tailgater) by a speeding driver to get out of the way.

      • Kingsley says:

        Regarding self- enforcement, or “blocking” style driving… Righteous behavior inflicted on others never works. I feel this will always lead to a worse outcome (see politics and religion for many other examples!).

        The majority of drivers will then pass on the right, often in an unsafe manner and at a higher rate of speed than they would likely travel alone. The aggressive behavior is unlikely to stop there, as they are now traveling at a higher rate of speed and unlikely to slow much if at all. Now the mind is in a ‘racing’ state – that same driver is now more prone to weaving through lanes, etc. You’ve also violated the other drivers perception of common courtesy – they also feel righteous in their behavior!

        The only way to fix it is with proper road design *and* enforcement. One alone won’t work. Neither is present in an example like 15th Ave W. Just dropping the limit and enforcement (still have yet to see any enforcement on 15th) won’t work.

      • Kirk says:

        Driving at the speed limit can only be considered “blocking” behavior if you accept speeding. I do not, and no one should, most of all the SPD that should be enforcing the speed limits.
        Proper road design would be wonderful and enforcement spectacular, but at this point that would be expecting much too much from our city.

      • Josh says:

        On the legality of driving in the left lane when other traffic is going faster, state-wide, the RCW says:

        (2) Upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.

        Seattle’s Municipal code says:

        Upon all roadways, any vehicle, proceeding slower than the legal maximum speed or at a speed slower than necessary for safe operation at the time and place under the conditions then existing, shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.

      • bill says:

        “…a speed slower than necessary for safe operation …”

        I’d no idea we are legally required to drive as fast as possible for safety. Evidently Washington drivers believe safe operation requires exceeding speed limits.

    • Nathanael says:

      Auto drivers tend to speed when THE ROAD IS TOO WIDE.

      So, this bridge has too wide a roadway. Cut it down to one lane each way. That leaves *lots* of room for pedestrians and bicycles — and the auto traffic will slow down to the speed limit.

  10. Alyssa says:

    Excellent video! I avoid the bridge by either taking the long routes around (with extra snacks for the kids) or use different transport to get downtown. It needs fixing.

  11. Southeasterner says:

    I believe they are waiting for one of us to die before action will be taken. My guess is it will happen on one of the exits, specifically going Southbound onto 15th (which they did a great job showing in the video). Rarely do I see vehicles yield for bikes, and in fact I had a guy gun it when he saw that he was almost giving me enough time to “merge” onto the street. I refrained from entering the roadway and he still felt the need to give me the finger.

    • Kirk says:

      Terry McMacken has already died while riding a bicycle on the Ballard Bridge.

      The Ballard Bridge was identified by SDOT’s own poll in 2012 as the worse spot in Seattle to bicycle and the crossing that the resident’s of Seattle most wanted improved. SDOT has done nothing to improve the Ballard Bridge since that poll was taken. SDOT’s Bicycle Master Plan implementation schedule has nothing planned for the Ballard Bridge. Nothing.

  12. Gary says:

    It might be even more expensive, but what about hanging a sidewalk under the existing one? Yes it would have issues with kids jumping off it if it wasn’t enclosed, but it looks like there is room except for the “lift bridge” center part.

    For that I have another suggestion, make a bridge attached sidewalk.
    like this: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/10/londons-new-folding-bridge-opens-and.html

    And you have a quiet ride over the water away from traffic.

    • Gary says:

      Here’s another cool folding bridge:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aIl0bzyQD0

      And look here, there would appear to be room under the bridge for another path.
      http://blog.buildllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Ballard-Bridge_main.jpg

      I may have to “drive”…er ride over and take a closer look.

    • bill says:

      Dang! I need to go canal boating in England.

      As for hanging something underneath the Aurora Bridge, it would force more bridge openings because fewer boats could pass underneath. Navigable waterways are regulated by Federal law, which gives marine traffic priority (except for special exceptions such as rush hour at the Montlake and Fremont bridges).

      I used to own a small sailboat that had two feet of clearance above the masthead under the center of the Aurora bridge. From the cockpit it was impossible to tell whether that clearance actually existed. I couldn’t not watch because I had to steer under the center. Talk about trusting authority! (Gov’t charts, published clearances, and Corps of Engineers’ regulation of the water level.) Off topic, but fun to remember now that those days are well past!

    • Peri Hartman says:

      Yep, that could work. Could be done without encumbering the passage height in the middle. For the middle section, the “underways” could jag out so that they clear the overhang above, and then gently ramp up as they go towards the center (and back down once crossing the center).

    • Nathanael says:

      Much simpler to cut the bridge down to two lanes (one each way), convert the outside lanes into big sidewalks, and put up Jersey barriers between them and the cars.

      Cost: the cost of installing the Jersey barriers. And some paint.

      • Gary says:

        Cutting the four lanes to two with bike cycle lanes in the outside works except for the merge problem. Bicycles going straight past an off ramp are in serious jeopardy crossing over the path in front of the cars.

        With the underpass for the bridge, I’d also re-route the path to ride over or under that off ramp.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Also, I think there’s potential for a reversible center lane, which I dubbed Alternative 5 here: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/09/29/study-widening-ballard-bridge-sidewalks-possible-but-it-wont-be-cheap-is-there-an-easier-way/

        Basically, the center lane would change direction with the peak travel direction.

        With the reversible lane, that gives us about eight feet or so to work with (I don’t know the exact figure, but that’s my best guess). I had imagined on-street bike lanes, but I like your wider sidewalks idea. So if we take that extra width and put it into wider sidewalks, you could get 8-foot sidewalks on each side. That could look like this: http://www.streetmix.net/seabikeblog/51/ballard-bridge-reversible-lane-sidewalks

        Otherwise, we could keep the existing sidewalk (maybe get rid of the tripping ledge to make more space for wheelchairs and strollers) and add fairly skinny on-street bike lanes in each direction: http://www.streetmix.net/seabikeblog/80/ballard-bridge-reversible-lane-one-way-bike-lane

        Or, as an alternative, build a two-way bike lane on one side of the bridge: http://www.streetmix.net/seabikeblog/81/ballard-bridge-reversible-lane-two-way-bike-lane

        I don’t know what this would cost, but I’m gonna guess it’s pennies on the dollar compared to the options studied in the recent report. A reversible lane is probably not the city’s favorite idea. But as other options keep pumping out super high price tags, I bet it will look better and better. At the very least, we should study it.

      • Peri Hartman says:

        This really could pan out to be the best option. I think the next steps would be (1) a traffic feasibility report and (2) a cost estimate.

        I wonder if SDOT already has good numbers for the reverse peak traffic. How hard would it be to get a preliminary estimate of the effect of reducing reverse peak to one lane?

        For #2, the cost needs to include reversible lane indicators, which could be quite expensive. Or a manual system where cones are moved twice a day. Also, probably some cost for treatment to the grated metal drawspan decking. The painting of lanes would be cheap, I presume.

      • bill says:

        How about a dedicated bi-directional bus lane on the bridge, two general traffic lanes, and the deleted lane used to widen one or both sidewalks. The bus lane would need signals at each end to control the busses, and also to stop traffic for the busses to cross in and out of the lane.

      • Kirk says:

        I predict that the reverisible lane with some configuration of bike lanes and wider sidewalks will eventually become the solution for the Ballard Bridge, until the approaches get rebuilt. The current approaches were built in 1940 and are nearing the end of their lifespan. The bascule, built in 1917, is on the National Register of Historic Places and may be difficult to rebuild, so would most likely need to stay as is.
        Once the political pressure is great enough that an actual resolution to the problems of the Ballard Bridge needs to be produced, then I think we will see first the reversible lanes, then a rebuild.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        A long-term solution might involve a ship canal crossing for Ballard-Downtown light rail. Especially if an elevated option through Interbay is chosen (not my favorite rail alignment, personally, but speed per dollar ratio is high), I could see a transit/bike/walk bridge near the Ballard Bridge being an option.

        But I’m not interested in waiting that long to get a solution, and there’s always the chance they choose to build a subway instead. There are things we can do now to make the bridge work better for everyone.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Background for those who missed the Ballard light rail options: http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/12/06/sound-transit-refines-ballard-options/

        At least two options would include a new bridge crossing near the Ballard Bridge. So that’s always far out on the radar.

  13. Matthew Snyder says:

    Does anyone have a link to an image of the proposed barrier / railing they can share? The proposal is for a “single slope, 32-inch barrier and 22-inch Type S-BP bridge railing, for a total height of 54 inches.” My guess is that it’s a new concrete base that’s 32″ high, designed to handle vehicle impact loads, with some kind of railing attached to it, but I can’t find a photo of this design.

    It sounds like it might prevent cyclists from being thrown into traffic, but I could imagine that it might also result in more crashes due to banging handlebars against a high barrier with little room for maneuvering. That might be a worthwhile tradeoff, but it would be good to know what specifically we’re talking about.

  14. Ken says:

    First, I applaud Haley and her partner for taking the time to address the topic aggressively yet fairly. I rode the Ballard Bridge nearly everyday for 1 1/2 years, and while never comfortable, I learned to accept it. It is not safe, the lanes are also rutted adding to the problem. But, to be realistic, Seattle has made huge strides in addressing cyclists needs in the last two years, to the point that some are saying the city proper wants to end car traffic competely; however, once you leave downtown Seattle, the commuter cyclist has been abandoned by SDOT and the Mayor’s office. The missing link should have been solved by now, the burke gilman trail is unsafe in so many spots I don’t even ride it anymore. Yet, Ballard and Fremont are growing in residences, unfortunately not with business Amazon and the Gates foundation to whom the city caters. How about Metro offering free passage across the Ballard Bridge? The D line has stops on either side. Not an elegant solution, but is cheap, and safer for those that don’t have time for the alternatives. Just a thought.

  15. Matt says:

    I don’t even live in Ballard but I cannot get over the danger of this bridge. I truly believe that our cycle commuting population would double if they just fixed it. I strongly believe in safety in numbers and this is far and away the largest bottleneck in the city. I don’t mind dealing with the missing link or any other missing piece to our network, but I simply cannot face going over that bridge. It’s terrifying and I am a young very athletic person. Yes, the city has made tremendous strides in improving cycling since I moved here 4 years ago but this bridge is beyond unacceptable. What is going to take to fix it? Increase my taxes, do whatever it takes, just fix it.

  16. Matt says:

    I should also mention that a good temporary solution would be improving things at the Locks. I am sorry but I am not going to spend 20 minutes walking my bike through there everyday. At the very least, allow people to bike through the park and walk across the bridge.

    How hard would it be to improve the accessibility and the expand the hours there? Lastly, improve the connection from there to the Elliott Bay Trail. Although, it’s a short stretch the overpass on Emerson over the train tracks is awful. There is a huge sidewalk, which has yet to ever be used by a pedestrian. How hard would it be to make the sidewalk more narrow and add a bike lane there or to allow bikes to cut right through the train yard to get to dravus? I’m rambling now but it just seems like there are so many easy cost effective solutions if the city is not willing to spend the money on the bridge. How many more people need to die for something to get done?

  17. Kirk says:

    Yes, there are many low cost solutions to many of the problems with the Ballard Bridge.
    SDOT could build a bike lane up to the bridge from the Ship Canal Trail, up Nickerson. There is plenty of room.
    SDOT could bypass the Merge of Death with a connection from the sidewalk to the underpass at Emerson.
    SDOT could close the two parallel, hazardous and redundant roadways that parallel the bridge on the north end, and make them bicycle access to the Burke Gilman Trail.
    SDOT could put in a stop line and “Curb Lane Stop For Bicycles” at the Merge of Death. They could also add warning beacons.
    SDOT could make the third lanes on the south end of the bridge, both northbound and southbound, BAT lanes.
    SDOT could fix the potholes on the bridge and the heaved sidewalk at the Merge of Death.
    SDOT could cut off the projecting portions of the railing pilasters.
    But SDOT does nothing…

  18. Pingback: News Roundup: Ballard Bridge

  19. Kiro TV’s Joanna Small did a good story on the Bridge video last night.

      • jay says:

        Why would you link to that?
        Sure, it’s my own fault, I know the “first rule of the comments”; “DON’T READ THE COMMENTS”, but still…

        One doesn’t even have to watch the video, as Ms. Small quotes a bit in writing:
        ““We call it ‘The Weave of Death’ because cars do not yield to bicyclists who are going straight.”

        And what does the very first commenter say?
        “… traffic laws you guys don’t think you should follow, but ironically want the same rights as cars? obey the laws and wait like the rest of us,…”

        BTW, Mr. KIRO commenter, the speed limits have the force of law too. (for giggles one might look up RCW 46.61.465, note the phrase “in excess of” no specific number, just “in excess of”.)

        also BTW, I believe that if you have a bicycle you can carry, there is a stairway that lets one avoid the “Weave of death” (but I just ride my cargo bike over to Fremont). I don’t think walking over the bridge is all that bad, sure, it’s not good,, but not intolerable (if you can’t control your kid or dog, just drive, nearly everyone else does). While a walking detour to the Fremont bridge is long, it is not all that bad on a bike.

  20. Azimuth says:

    This bridge is the #1 reason I don’t commute by bicycle to my work in Ballard from West Seattle. If it becomes bicycle-able, then that is one more car off Seattle’s clogged streets most days…

    • Cheif says:

      Pretty poor reason, considering that from west seattle coming up 2nd/4th to belltown, then over dexter and across the fremont bridge to the burke is a far better route to ballard than the long out of the way waterfront-interbay-magnolia slog.

      • bill says:

        Western->Blanchard->7th->Dexter->Fremont bridge is a lot calmer than dealing with the heart of downtown on 2nd or 4th. Or you can go Dexter->Roy->9th->Westlake “trail” to avoid climbing Dexter.

        The distance to Ballard is pretty much the same via Interbay or Dexter or Westlake. I didn’t know this myself until now. Hope this gets you riding more, Azimuth.

    • Kingsley says:

      This is a great ride, you should try it! For me the issue is more dealing with the trucks on Marginal, and the lacking infrastructure throughout much of W. Seattle (but maybe that’s my lack of knowledge/experience in that part of the city). As others have pointed out, heading over the Fremont bridge is nearly identical in time and distance thanks to all the weaving around the waterfront route takes.

  21. LeonK says:

    Here’s a very cheap solution, put up a sign that reads:

    Bike riding prohibited on bridge and sidewalk
    Dismount from your bike
    walk your bike across and re-mount on the far side
    It is safer for everyone

    That would cost, what, 10K or 20K to paint some signs and put them up. Very cost effective, very easy to do, and makes for a safer transportation environment for everyone.

    Of course, if safety is not what what you’re after…

    • Peri Hartman says:

      I like humor!

    • Karl says:

      Cute, considering the “sidewalk” on the bridge is so narrow it’s impossible to walk your bike, because there simply isn’t room.

    • jay says:

      Of course that would have to be enforced, since there is no way the cops are going to walk that beat, we’ll basically have to reserve the right lane for the police (and as long as they are there the might pull over a few (thousand) speeders too).
      But really, the police probably have better things to do, if we are going to close the right lane, how about letting people riding bikes use it instead?

      After all, it looks like road diets (http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/18/infographic-seattles-low-cost-safe-streets-projects-work-really-well/ ) “work really well” at preventing speeding, Of course if the bridge is one lane each way, there is no reason for 15th to be 3 lanes, so we could have a protected bike lane there (even if only “protected” by the restricted (24/7) bus lane.)

      “Of course, if safety is not what you’re after…”

  22. Andrew says:

    Cutting the bridge down to one lane each way will solve both the speeding problem and the safety for cyclists/pedestrian problem.

    There really is no other safe solution apart from building a new bridge.

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