Changes coming to Fairview and Fairview

Among the Neighborhood Street Fund projects announced by the city last week are changes to the intersection of Fairview Ave N and Fairview Ave E, just north of the new Lake Union Park. Currently, cars on Fairview Ave N make turns onto Fairview Ave E too quickly, making it dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.

Fairview Ave E is an interesting street because it already operates as something of a multi-use street. Pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles already share the narrow street reasonably well. In some ways, it is similar to a woonerf, in that traffic naturally yields to slower moving traffic without much conflict. At least in my experience, cars seem to understand that Fairview E is a slower street with many users and do not expect to get a fast right of way there.

The changes to this intersection will fix a poorly-designed intersection that serves as the entrance to the street. The new sidewalks and crossings will make it clear to motor vehicles that this is a pedestrian and bike shared roadway. Their speeds should be slow and cautious.

I would love to see the city explore setting different traffic rules for Fairview to ensure that it is only used by motor vehicles for end-of-trip lengths, meaning the last block or so of their journeys.

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