City assessing the condition of trails, looking for spots in need of upgrades

Map from SDOT outreach materials

Map from SDOT outreach materials

Seattle’s trail network does a lot of heavy lifting for human-powered transportation around town. The Burke-Gilman Trail, for example, carries as many people during rush hour as a lane of a major freeway.

But the condition of trail sections has declined over the decades. Some sections haven’t been paved since the 70s.

To make things worse, many sections were paved without a strong base layer to prevent tree roots from pushing through, which can be especially dangerous in the dark. Other sections keep losing inches off the sides, making the trail width skinnier and skinnier as they deteriorate due to time, weather and landslides.

All this is happening as usage grows and grows with no signs of slowing. Increased use use on skinnier and bumpier trails is a recipe for problems.

How bad is the problem? Well, we don’t really know. That’s why the city is developing a Trails Upgrade Plan.

You can help out by taking this online survey.

The Duwamish Trail needs a lot of work.

The Duwamish Trail needs a lot of work.

Yes, yes, I know. Another plan? Didn’t we just spend a couple years writing a Bike Master Plan? Well, the Trails Plan is specifically focused on assessing real-world conditions of existing trails and identifying design and condition upgrades that are needed most. The Master Plan is more about identifying where new or extended trails are needed over the next 20 years.

Staff are in the process of evaluating trail conditions now. Outreach has begun (with a couple odd hiccups) and will go through the fall to gather feedback on what is needed most. There will be a community workshop in the next month or so, so stay tuned.

A handful of improvements will even get design work, setting them up for implementation once there is funding (you’re gonna help pass Move Seattle, right?). The whole plan should be finished by the end of the year.

SeattleTrailsUpgrade_Fact Sheet-timelineMore details from SDOT on the scope of work:

SDOT is preparing a Trails Upgrade Plan for the city’s multi- use trail network to improve the trails and encourage their use. Work includes:

  • Assessing existing trail conditions
  • Updating maintenance plan
  • Evaluating trail expansion needs
  • Updating to design guidelines and policies
  • Designing concepts for three to five locations
  • Determining prioritization at trail crossings (e.g. who goes first?)

The Seattle Trails Upgrade Plan builds from the Seattle Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans and supports safety, social equity, economic productivity, sustainability and livable communities. Maintenance and improvement of the trails will increase the use of the network by making them safer and reducing barriers to use.

No more STOP-GO signs?

In addition to assessing trail conditions, the study will also look at street crossings. This includes “determining prioritization at trail crossings (e.g. who goes first?),” according to outreach materials (PDF). This is great news because, as we have written previously, many trail crossings are confusing to everyone because it isn’t clear who should go first.

The Burke-Gilman crossing at 30th Ave NE is a great example. The trail crossing is a crosswalk, so people driving must stop for anyone walking or biking. But there are also stop signs facing trail users, so people biking are also required to stop. So who goes first?

The signs facing the trail are effectively STOP-GO signs, the equivalent of a traffic cop waving you through and holding up their palm at the same time. Or a traffic signal with both red and green lights illuminated. If the intersection were a computer program, it would crash because there’s no logical order.

Almost every person driving naturally lets people biking go first. After all, it’s a crosswalk, and you have to stop for people in crosswalks. The safest and most natural behavior for people biking, therefore, is just to proceed with caution, so that’s what most people do. Almost nobody biking stops at these stop sign because that would just slow everyone down. As you can see in the video below, this system is perfectly safe, which is why we suggested the city remove those stop signs or point them at the road instead:

The problem is that sometimes overzealous police officers ticket people who run these stop signs. These are completely pointless tickets that do nothing to increase anyone’s safety. The signs also make people driving angry because, “Look, those scofflaw bicyclists never stop at stop signs!”

But the worst case is that someone driving might wrongly think that the trail-facing stop sign gives them the right-of-way. That’s how people get hurt.

An E Lake Sammamish Trail crossing

An E Lake Sammamish Trail crossing

Most trail crossings in Seattle don’t have stop signs. They just operate like normal crosswalks. And when signage and sightlines are clear and crossings are not too wide, this is safe and easy-to-use for everyone.

In our coverage of the newest section of the E Lake Sammamish Trail, we praised King County’s well-designed driveway and street crossings. People on the trail have the clear right of way, and good sightlines allows people driving to see and stop for people on the trail. If sightlines aren’t great, then the roadway gets stop signs, not the trail.

Basically, there are lots of better ways to make trail crossings safer. Hopefully the Trails Upgrade Plan is the way to finally identify and fix these confusing designs.

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38 Responses to City assessing the condition of trails, looking for spots in need of upgrades

  1. GlenBikes says:

    Kenmore PD were out weekend before last ticketing families on BGT for failing to stop at their nonsense stop signs. Apparently Chief Sether himself was out writing tickets.

    Can SDOT call them and have a talk? They don’t seem to listen to input from those scofflaw cyclists.

    • Dave-o says:

      At the risk of irritating other riders, I must admit that I kind of appreciated the Kenmore traffic enforcement. The only place where I saw police was at that four-way stop sign at the entrance to Log Boom, and that’s one of the few places where it seems like a truly dangerous place for riders to disregard the stop sign, what with the many cars and commercial vehicles, and semi-poor visibility. Plus, I got to enjoy a little schadenfreude, as a guy who’d passed me about 1/2 mile back without warning and so (unnecessarily) close to me that I think I might be pregnant got pulled over after blasting through the stop and causing a truck to panic-stop.

  2. merlin says:

    I hope they’ll also look at intersections along the “connector” routes. Current pet peeve: 26th E. where the Lake Washington Loop crosses Boyer. As it is, people driving on Boyer have no signs to let them know they are about to cross a major bike/pedestrian travel route. Visibility is terrible, and people driving very rarely stop. A few months ago – after input from the Silly Hilly – SDOT assured us this would be made into a 4-way stop. Apparently that’s not going to happen after all; so can’t we at least have one of those yellow warning signs?

  3. Peri Hartman says:

    I’m glad the city is considering trail maintenance. How about general bikeway maintenance? For example, the aurora bridge sidewalks haven’t been vacuumed for at least 2 years. There’s all kinds of decaying matter there that will be slippery at the next rain. There are cracks between slabs of pavement that are as dangerous as railroad tracks – take a look at broad street descending from 3rd ave to 1st ave. These aren’t officially trails but they are routes that cyclists commonly use.

    I did the survey. My comments about the highest maintenance priorities:
    1. improve the sightlines
    2. keep them vacuumed periodically
    3. keep vehicles clear and out of them.

    • Kirk says:

      And the Ballard Bridge sidewalks. Massive potholes and a sidewalk heaved enough to make a good jump ramp. Not to mention the NEW signs that incorrectly instruct only cars that are TURNING at the next turn to stop for people on bicycles entering the roadway. I guess the cars that aren’t turning down the road can just mow down people on bicycles.

  4. Josh says:

    If you look carefully at the location of the STOP signs on trail crossings, they sort of make sense, but only if you really nitpick the legalities.

    A STOP sign is effective at the sign, or at the STOP line that accompanies the sign. On Seattle’s standard plans, and the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, that painted STOP line is before the trail hits the sidewalk, not the street.

    In other words, the STOP sign requires riders to stop before entering the sidewalk. Even without a sign, however, cyclists are required to yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk, so if the trail has adequate sight distances at the trail/sidewalk intersection, a sign shouldn’t be necessary.

    After stopping at the STOP sign, the cyclist then proceeds onto the sidewalk, and prepares to enter the crosswalk. The cyclist is then beyond the STOP sign and STOP line, and is instead governed by the rules for crosswalks — no pedestrian or cyclist shall leave a curb or other place of safety in front of a vehicle that’s too close to safely stop.

    At that point, the trail user must yield to any vehicle that’s too close to make a safe stop, but once the trail user is occupying the crosswalk, any vehicle in the street (including bicycles in the street) must stop for the user in the crosswalk.

    So the trail STOP signs actually are logically and legally consistent IF you recognize that they control entry from the trail to the sidewalk, not the crosswalk, and IF drivers notice that trail users entering the crosswalk are already beyond the STOP sign’s control.

    AASHTO’s Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities then goes on to note that in practice, compliance rates are low and drivers are confused, so it’s better to put yield/crosswalk controls on the street rather than putting STOP signs on the trail.

    Unfortunately, AASHTO’s design isn’t quite right for Washington law, either, and it appears to have inspired parts of BGT crossings at UW — AASHTO shows drivers facing a YIELD sign for the crosswalk, but Washington law says “stop and remain stopped” for an occupied crosswalk.

    SDOT gets this right where they’ve used those small signs mid-crosswalk, “State Law, STOP for pedestrian”, but at Pend Oreille, the trail has improper “YIELD for pedestrian” signs — in Washington, they should be R1-6a, not R1-6.

    • Josh says:

      PS – yeah, TL; dr. I sent it to SDOT in pictures, too.

    • Meg says:

      How does this apply to areas that have no sidewalk? There are a couple of intersections on the Burke-Gilman in Frelard between NW 39th street and NW 41st street that have no sidewalk, yet have yield signs at the the trail. I commute through here and have been yelled at by a couple of drivers who think I should yield to them (as they ignore the crosswalk).

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        Yield signs are even more confusing facing a trail at a crossing because you are specifically NOT supposed to yield to cross traffic. The opposite is true. I’m sure the intent was to say: CAUTION. But it’s also not the right control device for the situation.

        That’s another situation where a computer program would crash. If we had self-driving cars and self-riding bicycles, they would just sit there until their batteries ran out :-)

      • Al Dimond says:

        I think the intersections in Frelard are mostly signed one way or the other — either the trail has a yield and not the street, or the other way around.

        The sight lines are pretty bad throughout, so if you regularly fly through there you’re bound to eventually have the sort of problem that hurts a lot no matter who’s ultimately deemed at-fault.

      • Al Dimond says:

        @Tom: Maybe you can interpret the law to mean that every time a trail crosses a road all traffic on the road has to yield to all traffic on the trail, but when the signage is exactly the opposite (about half the Frelard intersections and all those glorified driveways in Kenmore), the signage ought to be taken seriously, no? Are local traffic control devices really powerless to override general law when they face trails?

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        That’s the problem! These are at best confusing and at worst logically impossible intersection designs. But police can still ticket you for not following a sign, and legal blame can still use it as a strike against you. And, of course, if you get hit it really doesn’t matter who was right. You’re still hurt or worse.

        That’s why I want them to be fixed.

      • Josh says:

        Both state law and the SMC say people on bicycles less must obey official traffic control devices on trails and paths as well as on the street, so if the City decides to erect contradictory signs, you’re still supposed to obey them, but the city may be liable if you get injured because of a defective facility.

      • Josh says:

        Just to be more confusing, it’s possible a mid-block trail crossing is not a crosswalk if it does not have a marked crosswalk. It’s not entirely clear-cut.

        If there is a crosswalk marked, then there’s no question that it applies to both bicycles and pedestrians.

        But a trail is legally a highway, albeit a highway without a roadway (go read the Pudmaroff decision for all the angels dancing on pins….) and I’ve seen it claimed that without a marked crosswalk, a trail/street intersection is the intersection of two highways, not a crosswalk. (See, for example, the hearing examiner decisions on BGT in LFP where the city won all those improper stop signs on the trail.)

        It really does call for the city to establish a clear standard crossing that eliminates these ambiguities, then actually stick to its standards on the ground.

      • Al Dimond says:

        Aha! So it is possible to build an intersection where the law matches the obvious intuition that if there’s a stop sign facing the trail and not the road it’s a two-way stop, and trail users should yield to cross traffic and proceed when clear (I grew up near the Illinois Prairie Path, a rail trail through the western suburbs of Chicago, and practically every intersection along this trail works this way, whether there’s a crosswalk drawn or not). This leaves some unfortunate problems:

        – The way to indicate this is to not draw a crosswalk, but many road-trail intersections have terrible sight lines and are not designed to look like intersections from the cross-street, so often the marked crosswalk is the only thing that effectively indicates the intersection.
        – Apparently the one place it’s done “properly” is at those stupid glorified driveways in LFP where it’s unjustifiable by any standard for trail traffic to yield.

    • IANAL says:

      “So the trail STOP signs actually are logically and legally consistent IF you recognize that they control entry from the trail to the sidewalk, not the crosswalk, and IF drivers notice that trail users entering the crosswalk are already beyond the STOP sign’s control.”

      That’s one hell of a big IF,
      RCW 46.61.190 says “roadway” NOT “sidewalk”
      “…, and after having stopped shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways.”
      I figure “yield” means do not enter the roadway, and if you are not: “upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway ” cars don’t have to stop.
      And that “driver” is not a loophole, I don’t remember where, but somewhere operators of bicycles are included in “drivers” but, AFAIK pedestrians are not, so “driver of a vehicle” who must stop at a stop sign does not include pedestrians, so, practice your cyclocross mount/dismounts.
      Someone is bound to point out 46.61.050, but note the “applicable” in: “…and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto “, since 46.61.190 has vehicle in its title “Vehicle entering stop or yield intersection.” I figure it is not applicable to pedestrians (but again IANAL).

      You may have noticed that at Pend Oriel the University has cleverly painted a pair of zebra crossings in line with the bollards, leaving an unpainted section in line with the trail, implying that the trail is not a crosswalk.

      One might also check out NE Pacific ST & NW Pacific PL., where they have a stop sign on the sidewalk/trail and a traffic signal! A stop sign means stop, then, if it is clear, go, but an orange hand means stop and stay stopped no matter what. A walk signal mean go, and you’d better go NOW (with due caution) because you may have as little as 3 or 4 seconds, but again, the stop sign means STOP.

      In short: “Cars are good, people not in cars (especially bicyclists) are bad, M’kay?”

      Now at an all way stop, where everyone stops and takes their turn (except for cars turning right who may, of course, ignore all stop signs and red lights) this might not be quite so bad as long as there was some consistency. But a having stop signs only for (some of) the users of some crosswalks is just insane. If some users of a cross walk are going to stop at some intersections, but not at others, it confuses (or provides an excuse for, ) drivers who really don’t want to stop in the first place.

      Since all this stuff just causes confusion I suggest the law (de jure) be changed to match reality (de facto) and all users of cross walks (marked or unmarked) be required to yield to cars. Of course there would some rather noisy complaints about that, but as the majority of people do the majority of their travel in cars I bet it could pass.
      Now wait!, before you lynch me, understand that this is a necessary prerequisite to banning driving too (what do you think “vision zero” means?) If ALL cars were autonomous, i.e. no unpredictable humans, it would make the control much easier and eliminate the need for traffic signals/stop signs, the cars would just zipper through intersections, never stopping, and could achieve shorter door to door times with very modest maximum speeds on city streets, while the occupants play with their phones and enjoy a beer or two. But again, the unpredictable will need to be minimized. “Freedom is slavery!”

      It would be interesting to know the ratio of tickets Kenmore issues to bicyclist running a stop signs when crossing at a crosswalk vs. tickets issued to drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk?.

      • Josh says:

        RCW 46.61.190 assumes there won’t be vehicles approaching on the sidewalk, so it doesn’t include a requirement to yield to them.

        What it does require is that you stop at the stop line.

        Once you’ve done that, vehicles, including bicycles, are always, without exception, required to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks. Don’t need any separate sign for that.

        So if there’s a stop sign with a stop line and it’s before the sidewalk, you must stop before the sidewalk, period.

        Then, before you enter the sidewalk, you must yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk. You’d have to do that even if there wasn’t a stop sign.

        Once you’ve entered the sidewalk, the stop sign and stop line are behind you — you are no longer “approaching a stop sign” as required in RCW 46.61.190.

        You’re just a bike, on a sidewalk, wanting to use a crosswalk.

      • Josh says:

        As for the Pend Oreille crossing, I believe the intent of the crosswalk/crossbike/crosswalk marking is to encourage slower pedestrian traffic to stay to the outside of the trail, while faster bicycle traffic rides towards the center.

        If you really want to take a deep dive into bikes at crosswalks in Washington law, the State Supreme Court made it as clear as poorly-drafted statutes would allow in their Pudmaroff ruling:

        http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-supreme-court/1440684.html

  5. Gary Anderson says:

    Regarding the trail crossing at 30th Ave NE with the STOP signs and crosswalks — I think bicycles should stop or at least slow down before they proceed into the crosswalk. I bike and drive this intersection frequently and when driving it’s difficult to see both ways and proceed when a bike rider is blasting though at 15 MPH. Pedestrians just don’t move as fast as bikes so they’re more easily accommodated.

    So for wheeled vehicles on the trail I think STOP (or at least yield) then GO is more appropriate unless you make the trail have priority and put stop signs for the street traffic.

    • Josh says:

      Bicycles cross the sidewalk before entering the crosswalk.

      Bicycles on sidewalks are already required to ride at a prudent pace and yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk. (SMC 11.44.120)

      Bicycles entering crosswalks are already prohibited from entering the crosswalk if a driver is too close to stop. (11.40.060)

      So, without any signs at all, a cyclist on a trail approaching a crosswalk is already required to ride at a prudent speed, be prepared to yield to pedestrians, and wait for a safe opening to enter the crosswalk.

      Once the cyclist has entered the crosswalk, any approaching driver must stop and remain stopped for the cyclist to cross, the same as they would for a pedestrian. (11.40.040)

      11.44.120 – Riding on sidewalk or public path.
      Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic-control devices. Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

      11.40.060 – Prohibited crossing.
      No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.

      11.40.040 – Right-of-way in crosswalk.
      The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian using an unmarked or marked crosswalk or a disabled person using a curb ramp as provided in Section 11.40.090 to cross the roadway when the pedestrian or disabled person is upon or within (1) lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one (1) direction of travel and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway. This section shall not apply to pedestrians crossing a roadway at a point where an accessible pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided.

      • Gary Anderson says:

        The SMC is very explicit on the rules of behavior but how many cyclists or motorists have any idea that it exists or have read it? It’s fine for sorting out the legal details after the accident (death, injury, …) but the signage must somehow produce the desired behavior of all parties at the crossing.

      • Josh says:

        If you haven’t yet had a chance to look at them, the construction documents for the Westlake path appear to do a good job of all of that.

        Cyclists approaching an intersection face a series of transverse white bars across the trail, as a warning to slow down without any conflicting signage. Drivers see crosswalks and crosswalk warnings, but nothing that makes them expect bikes or pedestrians have to stop, so it should be clear that drivers must stop for the crosswalk while cyclists must slow to a prudent pace.

        The design isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than existing trail crossings in the city.

      • Gary Anderson says:

        Seems like every new trail or trail road crossing and signage is an improvement over what’s been done before. Progress, slow but sure.

      • Josh says:

        Not sure I’d go so far as to say every new design is an improvement, but Westlake has had a lot of public attention to the dangers of heavy bicycle traffic on a substandard-width path, and it’s a well-funded project with a lot of lead time, so the design team has had the time, resources, and incentive to get it right.

        On the other hand, look at the BGT/Pend Oreille intersection changes installed just this year with noncompliant signs, confusing right-of-way, hazardous bollards, etc.

  6. Al Dimond says:

    I almost forgot this before submitting the survey, because it’s easy to forget after months of long, (mostly) dry summer days, but one of the most widespread deficiencies of our urban trail system is lighting. In particular, it’s a problem on wet nights in busy corridors with lots of distracting light. I pointed out the new Thomas Street pedestrian bridge (into Myrtle Edwards Park) as a great example of what to do: lighting that illuminates the surface without casting distracting light elsewhere… and the distracting decorative lights at the south end of the Elliot Bay Trail as what not to do. Another good example (at least it looks good as I ride by) is the standard overhead lighting on the path from the Burke down to Sand Point Way/40th: as with all standard overhead lighting, the street surface is illuminated but the light source is out of your field of vision so it’s not distracting or blinding the way decorative lights are… a nearby bad example is more decorative lighting near UW dorms.

    One night-riding thing I forgot to mention in my feedback is that there should be a reflective marking in the middle of the Burke in the section where it splits across a median east of 40th Ave. There are probably some other hazards like that around — in the Elliot Bay Trail’s current unlit condition, periodic reflectors at the margins (as seen sometimes on the fog lines of roads) would help us see the shape of the trail ahead.

  7. Brock Howell says:

    WSDOT trail guidance requires trail intersections to be designed & signed in a way that is intuitive and logical. Stop signs on trails is not intuitive. So let’s stop with the stop signs, stop with the yield signs. Instead, let’s install more “raised” trail crossings, mark green & white crossbikes/crosswalks, and put stop lines for drivers at every crossing.

    • Matthew Snyder says:

      While in general I agree with the sentiment, my understanding is that “crossbikes” have no legal meaning in Seattle or in the state. They don’t clarify appropriate and required behavior so much as they muddy the waters even further. I’d rather not see any more of them striped and marked until it’s clear, from a legal perspective, what they mean.

      • Josh says:

        Seattle is one of the few places that even bothers defining a bicycle crossing. Bicycles in marked bicycle crossings have somewhat less protection than those in crosswalks — for pedestrians, drivers must uniquivocally stop and remain stopped; for bicycle crossings, drivers must only “yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be”

        11.14.310 – Marked bicycle crossing.
        “Marked bicycle crossing” means any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines, marking, or other traffic-control devices.

        11.53.195 – Marked bicycle crossing.
        When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a person riding a bicycle within a marked bicycle crossing when such bicyclist is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the bicyclist is approaching from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

      • Matthew Snyder says:

        Thanks for the clarification, and I’m sorry to have spread misinformation.

        So would mid-block trail crossings (for example, on the Burke-Gilman) be considered “marked bicycle crossings” if they have signs facing the crossing traffic with a picture of a bicycle? Or do those just qualify as regular crosswalks because pedestrians can use them as well?

      • Josh says:

        Note that the “bicycle crossing” definition applies only to markings for crossing a street, like a mid-block trail crossing.

        That’s not the same thing as a bike lane extension, where a bike lane that’s already within the street is continued through an intersection.

        Cycletracks are a gray area, they’re not defined or recognized in either RCW or SMC, and past SDOT signage and design has treated them as an off-street bike path parallel to the street, in which case a cycletrack extension probably would qualify as a “bicycle crossing” rather than a bike lane extension.

        Since the City Council and Legislature don’t seem interested in defining these things in code, we’ll find out for sure after enough riders are hit in them and the courts reach a consensus.

      • Josh says:

        If traffic on the street has a sign warning of a bicycle crossing, that’s an “other traffic control device” so I suspect that’s a marked bicycle crossing – drivers have to yield if you’re on their side of the street, but they don’t necessarily have to stop or slow down if they think you can get through while they’re still moving, and they don’t have to care once you’re past their side of the street.

        If there are formal crosswalk markings or pedestrian-crossing signs, then drivers have to stop and remain stopped, and they have to stay stopped until crosswalk users are a full lane beyond their side of the street.

        Since it’s a multi-use trail, I believe they should standardize on the fluorescent yellow-green bike/pedestrian crossing sign, MUTCD W11-15. I believe that’s what’s being planned for all the Westlake crossings.

        See MUTCD sign variations at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part9/fig9b_03_longdesc.htm

        There’s an assembly specifically for trail crossings, a bike/ped W11-15 plus a “trail crossing” plaque below it.

        Seems like a no-brainer to use the national standard so drivers don’t have to learn new sign configurations as they go from one jurisdiction to the next. Should you really have to care whether a particular BGT crossing is owned by SDOT, Seattle Parks, UW, or a neighboring city?

  8. Kirk says:

    SMC is clear.
    11.14.310 – Marked bicycle crossing. “Marked bicycle crossing” means any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines, marking, or other traffic-control devices.
    11.53.195 – Marked bicycle crossing. When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a person riding a bicycle within a marked bicycle crossing when such bicyclist is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the bicyclist is approaching from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

  9. Southeasterner says:

    I honestly think all Seattle trails should be turned over to King County for operations and maintenance.

    In addition to the general failure in maintaining infrastructure SDOT seems to enjoy making every trail inconsistent in terms of markings, signage, pedestrian interaction and intersections. Not to mention they don’t seem to understand how to start/end trails and almost always dump you in the most dangerous places possible. I’m amazed at how many times I end up on a trail that puts me into on-coming traffic with no indication of where to go (Elliot Bay, Burke-Gilman, Ship Canal, Alki, Interurban). It boggles the mind that more people haven’t been killed.

    • Josh says:

      I don’t think they need to go to King County, but they should all be taken away from Seattle Parks and given to Seattle DOT.

      That’s one of the reasons so many trails are poorly designed and poorly integrated into the transportation network — they’re not designed, built, or maintained by people who think about transportation, they’re park facilities.

      You can see that a lot in bollards, for example. Parks departments love subdued natural colors that don’t stand out, like weathered cedar or brown pressure-treated wood. State and national standards have required bollards to be brightly-painted and reflectorized for all-weather visibility since at least the 1980s, but Seattle Parks still installs dark wooden posts on trails in 2015.

      If the person designing the trail was also responsible for designing how trail traffic integrates into street traffic, and was responsible for meeting transportation safety standards, we’d have a more integrated, much safer network.

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