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Admiral Way makeover plans draw (expected) criticisms from drivers, some concerns from bikers

Responses to the open house about the proposed changes to Admiral Way have ranged from the typical driver concerns about how it will slow them down (which is the whole point on this 30 mph road) to concerns that the bike lanes might be dangerous for bikers as they are currently designed.

Most biker response so far has been positive, and people who bike the route often complain about the speeding cars and generally unsafe conditions for bikes on the stretch. After all, a biker was seriously injured a few months ago in a very scary wreck at the bottom of Admiral.

But Seattle Likes Bikes voiced some concerns about the points where the buffered bike lanes end. Near the top of the hill, the bike lanes end right before the City View Viewpoint where cyclists could be vulnerable to a faster moving vehicle that is trying to make a right into the viewpoint.

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The bike lane turns slow-moving, uphill-going bikers out into a shared lane right before this popular turnout.

Seattle Likes Bikes is also afraid that the sharrows at the bottom of the hill, after the bike lane has dumped bikers into a right turn only lane, might mislead bikers into thinking they cannot stay on Admiral and continue under the bridge. They may also lead bikers who intended to go under the bridge into the wrong lane, forcing them to change lanes in traffic in order to continue on Admiral.

Would these sharrows mislead bikers into thinking they cannot continue on Admiral under the bridge?

I have not biked in this spot before, but I plan to get over there to check it out. Any thoughts on these concerns? To be clear, more bike lanes and complete streets are wonderful, but we have to get them right when we have the chance. The plans are not final, so if changes are needed, now is the time to request them.

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5 responses to “Admiral Way makeover plans draw (expected) criticisms from drivers, some concerns from bikers”

  1. JAT

    My concern is not with the turn off into the popular look-out so much as cyclists are being dumped into a shared (and much too narrow) lane at the top of the hill, on a curve with traffic that (currently) regularly speed 7 to 10 mph over the 30 mph limit. there was a fatal SUV crash there earlier this year, and the brick planters on the parking/planting strip a block further up the hill are routinely smashed to smithereens because motorists can’t control their vehicles on this section of roadway.

    Looking at SDOT’s plan illustrates a common shortcoming: the problem areas (top of the hill and bottom of the hill fall exactly outside the boundary of the area they’re trying to fix.

  2. WS bike commuter

    I don’t ride home up Admiral as much as I used to because I got tired of putting my soft, small body in the way of heedless speeders.

    My sense is that SDOT’s intent is to slow people along the long, wide straightaway (where they currently see bikers in advance, at least, and often switch to the left lane), so that they don’t hit that narrow curve at the top of the hill going 35+, which is where my presence in “their” lane most takes them by surprise.

  3. WS bike commuter

    A little PS – I rode home via Admiral yesterday during the evening rush to see how it went, and my wife passed me on HER way home right about at the narrow curve by the viewpoint. She was not happy, she said, at seeing me out in traffic. Neither was the guy who drove dangerously close and gestured to indicate that I should be riding closer to the shoulder.
    Next time I’ll switch to the sidewalk when I get near the viewpoint. There’s the places you can possibly ride, and the places you can safely ride.

  4. Sean

    Sounds like a great idea. I have long thought that traffic should be shifted west on Admiral to create more room on the uphill side of the street. There is unsigned parking on the west side of the road (its a very wide 16′ lane). The diagram of the existing road is wrong because it leaves out the left 5′ of the roadway. Merging downhill traffic into one lane should not be a problem since the majority of traffic is heading towards the west seattle bridge and people usually cut over at the last minute.

  5. […] city actually did propose protected and buffered bike lanes for the street way back in 2010, but those plans were scaled back amid concerns about parking loss and the loss of a downhill […]

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