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Roosevelt redesign between 75th and 85th on hold until 2011 – UPDATED

Originally published yesterday at 4:15, updated with a comment by Velo Bus Driver, who drives the 77 through this spot.

The somewhat controversial proposed removal of parking on one side of a ten-block stretch of Roosevelt between 75th and 85th has been put on hold until 2011. The project will move forward for the stretch between 85th and 115th.

David Miller, of the Maple Leaf Community Council voiced concerns about the proposed changes negatively affecting transit.

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“I’m a fan of putting bike lanes in where they make sense,” said Miller, “but if we are going to put in bike lanes for the dozens or so bikers to use the road that disrupts service for the thousands that use Metro, that’s a problem.”

The concerns are mostly about the morning commute. Plans only include one southbound lane for this stretch, which is narrower than the rest of the Roosevelt sections with proposed changes. Currently, there is a morning parking restriction on the west side of the street, so buses can bypass vehicles that are backed-up, trying to get to the Interstate, said Miller.

Many have voiced concerns about the permanent removal of parking on this ten-block stretch. As I pointed out earlier, however, no one seems to be using it. Doug Campbell, a commenter at Maple Leaf Life took an even more exhaustive count of the number of cars parked in the ten-block stretch:

July 20 6:00pm: 4 cars parked
July 21 2:00pm: 5 cars parked
July 21 10:30pm: 6 cars, all above 80th
July 22 7:30am: 5 cars, all above 80th
July 22 11:30am: 3 cars south of 80th, 0 above 80th
July 22 2:00pm: 1 car above 80th, 2 below 80th
July 22 4:52pm: 1 car above 80th, 1 below 80th
July 22 6:22pm: 3 cars above 80th, 3 below 80th
July 23 12:45am: 4 cars above 80th, 2 below 80th
July 23 2:00pm 5 cars above 80th, 1 below 80th
July 23 9:45pm 5 cars above 80th, 7 below 80th
July 24 8:55am 7 cars above 80th, 5 cars below 80th
July 24 10:20am 6 cars above 80th, 0 cars below 80th
July 24 4:40pm 4 cars above 80th, 3 cars below 80th
July 24 8:40pm 8 cars above 80th, 5 cars below 80th
July 25 6:30am 8 cars above 80th, 5 cars below 80th
July 25 10:15am 4 cars above 80th, 5 cars below 80th
July 25 6:30pm 3 cars above 80th, 3 cars below 80th
July 26 6:30am 4 cars above 80th, 0 cars below 80th
July 26 4:25 pm 1 car above 80th, 2 cars below 80th

While Miller’s estimate of “dozens” of bikers is almost certainly way too low, a bike program that could negatively affect transit needs further study. If, indeed, the proposed plan would slow down buses during the morning commute, it should be revised. Hopefully SDOT can come up with a way to increase bike safety that does not hinder Metro.

UPDATE: Velo Bus Driver said the following in the article comments: I’m driving the 77 down Roosevelt every morning at about 7:50am and have never noticed any serious traffic. I actually split the lanes from about 75th or so because I need both lanes to make the right turn onto 65th – I’ve never noticed any large number of cars being delayed there. That’s one daily driver’s experience for you – take it for what it’s worth.

From Rick Sheridan at SDOT:

Prompted by community feedback, SDOT has decided to postpone  the implementation of the plan between NE 75th Street and NE 85th Street until 2011 in order to perform additional analysis.

This postponement will allow us to conduct additional traffic and parking analysis over the fall and winter months.  We anticipate the 15th Avenue Bridge reopening by that time and traffic on Roosevelt  following more normal patterns.  SDOT will return to the community in early 2011 with an updated proposal for that portion of the street.

We took this action in response to the more than 100 comments submitted about this project.  The comments were diverse in that we heard support for additional bicycle facilities, more marked crosswalks and traffic calming.  We also heard concerns about the impact of losing on-street parking and the possible impact on transit operations with only one southbound lane between NE 75th and NE 85th.

SDOT is planning to move forward with new bicycle facilities on Roosevelt Way NE between NE 85th Street and NE 115th Street.  We will also install a new marked crosswalk at NE 90th Street as part of this work.  We expect to complete the work this year.

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11 responses to “Roosevelt redesign between 75th and 85th on hold until 2011 – UPDATED”

  1. I’m driving the 77 down Roosevelt every morning at about 7:50am and have never noticed any serious traffic. I actually split the lanes from about 75th or so because I need both lanes to make the right turn onto 65th – I’ve never noticed any large number of cars being delayed there. That’s one daily driver’s experience for you – take it for what it’s worth.

  2. Nice post on topic.

    Local residents are very concerned about parking, which the Maple Leaf Community Council’s Exec Board reflected in our letter to SDOT. But our primary concern is the impact on traffic and transit along Roosevelt. At the intersections of 75th and 80th, there is room to make right turns on red lights, allowing drivers to turn towards the freeway, get around drivers making left turns, and get around buses that stop to un/load riders. SDOT’s current plan is to remove parking on the west side of the street and shift the traffic lanes over, thereby taking away those three options.

    Parking could be removed from the east side of the street, but this would remove more parking than the west side and prevent a continuous bike lane, due to curb blubs the project into the street. There are trade-off in every scenario, and the community just needs a little more time and study (and 15th Ave reopened) to make a decision.

    Joshua Newman
    MLCC Exec Board

  3. David Miller

    Tom —

    Thanks for calling about this. I just want to clarify the “dozens” of bicycles comment.

    Any time SDOT does something like this, they conduct a flow survey because all traffic changes they do are based on usage numbers. When the numbers justify a change, they move forward. The clyclist flow survey SDOT conducted was done in January of this year on the morning commute. That showed 26 cyclists. That two “dozen” was seen as enough usage to justify 40 blocks of lane restriping.

    Everyone at MLCC recognizes two things about this 26 number:

    1. January morning counts are going to underestimate the total usage.
    2. Build it and more will come.

    Even if hundreds come, however, cyclist numbers are still dwarfed by the transit users in the area. We’re appreciative of SDOT postponing the NE75th -NE 85th stretch for more data. We believe there may be a better solution here.

    I find VeloBusDriver’s comments interesting because it isn’t what we’ve heard from riders and differs from what we’ve observed. We take driver comments seriously because, well, they are the ones on the ground. Once the 15th Ave bridge is reopened, traffic volumes on Roosevelt will return to normal and we can better gauge the true impacts of this.

    MLCC is committed to increased commuter options, better bus service, and better pedestrian infrastructure in our neighborhood. We want this stretch done right because doing it wrong makes it that much more difficult to do the next project. Thanks for the accurate write-up and the call.

    MLCC Board Member

  4. Steve Cyr

    It is always good to hear from those who drive this stretch, especially a Metro bus driver. VeloBusDriver’s comment fails to mention that currently there are 2 southbound lanes at the moment he is driving down Roosevelt Way going South. Right hand turn lanes currently exist at both 80th and 75th for southbounders as well. SDOT proposed that one lane be eliminated and effectively removes the right hand turn on red options.

    Second, the driver notes that he “splits the lane below 75th on the way to 65th” meaning that the lane is currently not wide enough to safely navigate the stretch and make his right hand turn. SDOT’s plan calls for shrinking the lane by a foot, meaning he will need to travel in the bike lane now between 75th and 65th.

    In light of his difficulty turning right from a single lane, consider bus drivers traveling East on 80th and making a right turn southbound onto Roosevelt, SDOT’s plan calls for moving the center of the road over 5 feet to the West making for a nearly impossible turn given the fact that Metro drivers currently must cross the current center line each time now causing cars to either back up or stay back away from the intersection. SDOT wants to give them 5 feet less width to turn into. That will take an extraordinary driver and bus to magically be able to accomplish that feat.

    Joshua notes that many have alley access and therefore wouldn’t be restricted to home access. As a homeowner who has alley access here, let me point out that all homes in this stretch that have alley access must enter through their basements in the back as the grade drops down. In other words all groceries, garden supplies, remodeling supplies, even cement for landscape will no longer be able to be unloaded at the front, level portion of the home. Without parking in front several elderly residents of this section will be forced to climb their basement stairs for any trips. Visitors will also need to come in through the basement as well. And to top it off the alley is shared by 2 streets of residents and is wide enough for 1 lane of travel. Much of the time it is blocked by contractors doing repairs for homeowners and by Garbage and Recycling pickups. And then to add frosting to the cake, the exits and entrance to the alley are currently inaccessible when traffic is high in peak travel times. So adding more congestion by fewer lanes and more lines of cars will hinder access even further for those with alley/basement access to their homes.

    Unless one lives in the directly affected homes it is easy to justify removal of parking and commuter/bus lanes. But as one who sees the traffic 365 days a year and comes and goes 24/7 the justification fades significantly. Some will undoubtedly be forced to move elsewhere, selling their homes at a devalued rate due to lack of parking and access.

  5. kurisu

    Steve Cyr, thanks for putting this in perspective for me. Clearly, elderly people, who apparently have a regular need to haul bags of cement to their gardens (to grow cement trees, of course, and sell them to supplement their social security income), are not able-bodied enough to walk up a flight of stairs, or to walk across the “level part” of the street. For this reason a ten-block stretch of underutilized road should remain largely empty, year-round, 24 hours per day.

    1. David Miller

      @kurisu – We’re trying to solve a technical transit issue of some importance here. Your snarky comments are not helpful.

      1. northender

        No, David, you are being an obstructionist as usual. This is a great project and is much needed. I don’t think there should be any parking in that section of Roosevelt Way regardless of bike lanes. There is ample parking on side streets and people are unreasonable if they buy houses expecting to use the public right of way for their own private parking use.

        I look forward to the city having some backbone to Maple Leaf obstructionism for once. Especially since you, David, kind of lost both your own election and your attempts to prevent McGinn from winning,

  6. Doug Campbell

    Somewhat off topic.

    There is nothing I find more irritating than anonymous name calling and snarky comments on these blogs, which are becoming really useful public forums. I am tempted, but I resist the temptation to post anonymously. I do not want to have a conversation with your sock puppet, and I assume you don’t want to have a conversation with mine! Besides, it is way too easy to create an anonymous sock puppet to present a lame or arrogant version of your arguing opponent’s position.

    Back to the bike lane, I’m not sure that anyone has yet stated flat out that parking is a private benefit and, as such, should not be allowed to compete with community’s need for a bike lane in this portion of Roosevelt. The city’s job is to provide public benefits not private ones. This doesn’t free us from considering private impacts as we meet the community need, but if there is a need the bike lane must win out over parking.

    I disagree with Steve Cyr on the parking removal and his view that the bike lane/parking removal would devalue his property, but I appreciate his thoughtful, well stated, and non-anonymous post.

    Doug Campbell

  7. Tom Fucoloro

    I feel the need to point out that the parking on the east side of the street has never been full in any of the slightly-unscientific-yet-fairly-convincing surveys taken of this ten block strip. At all times surveyed, every car parked on the west side of the street would have been able to park across the street… So these people will still have parking in front of their homes. AND, the proposed reconfiguration would also make it easier and safer for them to cross the street as a pedestrian.

    So really, I don’t understand why there is any argument about the parking. This is a complete non-issue. Park on the other side of the street. That is not asking much at all.

  8. Steve Cyr

    I am a hiker and everyone else is wrong about everything they do….My use of the environment is the only one that is acceptable.

  9. […] You may remember back in 2010 when concerns from some Maple Leaf neighbors delayed the completion of the Roosevelt bike lane between 75th and 85th. It was my first month of writing Seattle Bike Blog and I made a rookie mistake: I supported going back for more study. […]

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