Linden cycle track follow-up, a quick chat with SDOT

Proposed design for Linden at N 137th.

To follow up on a couple questions left over from Thursday’s post about the proposed Linden cycle track near Bitter Lake, I spoke with Project Manager Connie Zimmerman, who provided a little more clarity on the project.

First off, Josh at Publicola wondered why one section of the project included a six-foot median in the middle of the street. After all, couldn’t that space have been better utilized by widening the cycle track or sidewalk? Well, Zimmerman said there are several reasons for the painted median. The roadway varies in width throughout the 17-block stretch, so the median helps lanes align better. This stretch also has angled back-in parking, and design requirements say there should be more space to accommodate that. There will also be new crosswalks in this stretch.

“We wanted to provide a refuge for pedestrians to stop in the middle of the street for this particular crossing,” she said.

But wait, aren’t there only something like 2,000 cars on this street? Who needs a median refuge when there is so little traffic? Well, Zimmerman said the street has been reclassified as a “planned arterial” for years. Therefore, the street is being designed as an arterial. Michael A pointed out in the comments of our previous piece that “since that two-year-old “2,000 vehicles per day” figure, two large high-density buildings have gone in (130th&Linden, 143rd&Linden), so I would not be surprised if the current traffic numbers are higher.”

I asked Zimmerman if this plan was in any way intended as something of a learning experience before the city takes on the Broadway cycle track project, and she denied that connection. Designs are specific to each area’s needs, she said.

It is also worth pointing out that, while this is being called a “cycle track,” the two-way bike path will only be separated from general traffic by a row of parked cars about two-thirds of the route. The rest of the time, there will be a painted buffer (see image above for each style).

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