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Nickerson bike lanes in, construction still in process

I took the new bike lanes on Nickerson for a test ride yesterday afternoon. The road is still torn up for a couple blocks leading up to the Fremont/Westlake/Dexter/Nickerson intersection, so it’s a little early to tell how the project will affect traffic. However, the road definitely seems calmer and traffic was still moving. I will try to get out to observe rush hour once the construction has finished to see how things go then.

Basically, for those who haven’t been following, Nickerson was four lanes of general traffic. Then SDOT proposed that it be reconfigured into one lane in each direction and a center turn lane. A westbound bike lane was added for most of the stretch, with sharrows going eastbound. The bike lane switches to the eastbound side for the uphill segment between 12th and the top of the hill.

I definitely felt more relaxed while riding, probably because the cars were not as aggressive. The road is not really the kind of route I would choose for a family stroll or anything, but the lanes took the edge off trying to get through the corridor. In fact, this is the first time I have ridden down Nickerson and had the chance to really look around. There are more businesses on this strip than I had realized before (probably because I was working to keep up a quick pace).

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The turn lane also makes it easier to exit and enter the roadway, and the ship canal trail now feels more accessible than before. Anyone ride Nickerson regularly? How do you feel about the changes?

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2 responses to “Nickerson bike lanes in, construction still in process”

  1. John C

    I have ridden Nickerson regularly for weekend rides, and I think things are definitely getting better with the new bike lane. However, I think the big triumph will come when the canal trail is completed beneath the Ballard bridge approach connecting into Magnolia. Bike lanes on busy streets are great for existing and experienced riders. But, bike trails and bike boulevards will bring new riders into the fold. Has anyone noticed “bike boulevard” is missing as a classification/mode on the 2010 Seattle bike map? Has SDOT given up on bike boulevards?

  2. Charles

    I haven’t riden Nickerson yet but had to drive to and from work on Capitol Hill yesterday. On the way to get my wife from Loyal Hieghts (Denny to Westlake to Nickerson to Ballard Bridge to 15th to 77th NW) the street with the least backups at the height of rush hour?

    Nickerson! So little traffic there that I didn’t have to stop once between Fremont Bridge and Ballard Bridge. And I was never once worried about the bike riders on my right. It was a joy. I can’t wait to ride it.

    So much for all the “sky is falling” naysayers who were sure this change would back that street up till kingdom come!

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