Seattle’s newest protected bike lane connects a future light rail station on NE 65th Street to the University Bridge and beyond. But it wasn’t created specifically as a bike improvement project. Instead, Seattle’s Department of Transportation was preparing to repave the street, and they used that work as an opportunity to build out bike and bus reliability improvements at much lower cost.
Of course this makes sense. If the city is investing in a street that is also slated for other improvements, it is cheaper to do all that work at the same time. Aside from saving money, it also means fewer construction projects that interrupt traffic and business access.
But despite a nearly decade-old complete streets ordinance on the books, Seattle still does not always use its paving investments as an opportunity to improve safety and access for all road users. In fact, it took a strong effort by neighbors and safe streets supporters to get the bike lane into the Roosevelt plan. Then it took another strong push to make sure the bike lane extended all the way to the planned light rail station. The Mayor’s Office and SDOT ultimately made the right call.
But people should not need to organize campaigns to get the city to pair their paving investments with planned safety and transit improvements. It should simply be the way the department operates by default. Roosevelt should set the standard.
You have two chances next week to tell SDOT that pairing paving investments with safe streets improvements is not only cost effective, it is the right thing to do.
- Monday, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Roosevelt High School to discuss NE Seattle.
- Wednesday, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Southside Commons to discuss SE Seattle.
More details from Cascade Bicycle Club:
People heading south along Roosevelt Way NE will soon have the option to bike safely from 65th to across the University Bridge. But this nearly two-mile buffered and protected bicycle lane — which officially opens on Saturday, Nov. 5 — wouldn’t be a reality without the persistent and creative efforts of safe streets advocates from early in the project planning.
Back in 2014, the city had plans for a straightforward repave-and-restripe project, paired with minor safety improvements along Roosevelt Way NE. Community members and advocates saw an opportunity to do more, calling attention to the crash data and suggesting creative ways that all modes could share this key connection.
In addition to addressing safety concerns for people who bike, this project helped open a discussion about saving time and money by pairing routine paving projects with Bicycle Master Plan routes.
Neighbors, students and all who pass through Ravenna and the U-District are invited to celebrate the official opening of this multi-modal achievement at the official opening next month.
As a result of the collaborative Roosevelt corridor, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has what Community Engagement Liaison Dawn Schellenberg calls a “new approach for paving projects.” SDOT plans to overlay modal plans with planned paving streets, to see where opportunities exist to accelerate multiple projects at once.
Attend one of the upcoming open houses and give your input:
Monday, Oct. 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Roosevelt High School
1410 NE 66th St., Seattle
Repaving includes: Segments of 35th Avenue, NE, 15th Avenue NE, Cowen Place NE, and University Way NE
*Note: Double dip at this event to support bike updates included in the Banner Way NE Corridor Project!
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
3518 S Edmunds St., Seattle
Repaving includes: Segments of South Columbian Way, South Alaska Street, Swift Avenue South, South Myrtle Street, South Myrtle Place, South Othello Street, and Wilson Avenue South
Roosevelt Way NE sets a precedent that a little creativity can save money and promote safe travel for all people. Let’s continue to elevate routine paving projects to beautiful bicycle connections.