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Wallingford bike boulevard will include ‘runnel’

The bicycle boulevard planned for Wallingford will include modifications to the Aurora pedestrian overpass at 41st Street and an enhanced crossing at Stone Way, according to Sam Woods at SDOT.

Woods said plans will likely include installing a runnel on the existing pedestrian overpass at Aurora and 41st. A runnel is basically a track on a staircase that allows you to roll your bicycle up with you as you walk. This will make using the overpass much easier, since currently you have to carry a bike up the stairs.

Photo of a stairway runnel by Richard Drdul, via Flickr

Woods also said there would be some kind of crossing improvement for Stone Way. The details of the plan will be worked out this year.

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I also feel the need to point out that the Q13 video above is pretty good. This is notable mostly because so many bike-related reports coming from print and TV lately have been through something of an anti-bike lens. It’s good to see a video like this that really takes time to figure out what the project will be like and where it’s coming from. Bike boulevards will (cross your fingers) be great ways to enhance bike use and safety without getting drivers too fired up. After all, they take bike traffic off major through streets, which is what many drivers want to happen. I’m not saying we should only pursue projects that are non-controversial (and we’ll see if this one proves to be that), but it is nice to eat lunch without getting in a food fight sometimes.

Also, if you have the chance, try riding on both 43rd and 44th through Wallingford. Any thoughts you have comparing the two as boulevard options would be useful. My initial worry about a 43rd alignment is that it might be too far down the hill from 45th to be a convenient alternative for a lot of people. But maybe that is not really the goal of this project, which could be more about movement within north Wallingford, not through it. Can it do both?

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10 responses to “Wallingford bike boulevard will include ‘runnel’”

  1. Kevin

    A runnel? WTF.

    Have you ever seen an interstate highway that at some point requires all the passengers to stop, turn off the car, exit the vehicle, walk a block, and get back in the car and go?

    Boulevard fail.

    1. biliruben

      You are already off your bike to buy your porn next-door, so what’s the hassle?

      More seriously, this bridge and stairs are so covered in glass and garbage that if anything, it will force them to sweep the place when they install the runnels.

      Baby steps, so to speak.

  2. Kevin

    And as a follow up, just because some cyclists are athletic enough to trapise off their bike and shove it up a set of stairs doesn’t mean we all are. Facilities need to work for everyone from ages 8-80 right?

    1. On the one hand, this is a frustrating ‘solution’ (and it’s worth noting that the overpass has a much longer set of stairs than the example photo in the post). It’s a hassle by bike, a complete fail for wheelchair accessibility, and if that overpass were being built today there’s no way it would look like that (for ADA compliance if nothing else).

      On the other hand, this would be a really difficult place to do anything better with. I can’t actually think of a better alternative that doesn’t involve rebuilding half of the bridge, which I’m guessing there’s no budget for in the near future. At least this will be some improvement.

  3. Mark Kerrigan

    Speaking of “runnels”, or whatever the correct term is, they need to be installed in more locations around the city. Particularly I see a need for these in the Downtown Seattle Bus Tunnel, where it is clearly stated in signage bicycles cannot go up the escalators and must be walked or taken the elevator. Well, the elevators are piss poor slow, not maintained, and I’d rather not take the escalators with my bike and tempt fate with the new security guards who are much more empowered to write you up for such a seemingly mundane offense. Most of the time the stairs are the only option. It’s a pain to carry your bike up the stairs, even if you are fit, it’s a inconvenience. This is a good move by the city.

  4. Tom Fucoloro

    Yeah, I’m gonna defend the runnel. Sure, I would rather have the underpasses at 38th and 46th and Aurora completely redone for better bike crossings, but these would both be large projects outside the scope of this project. Even getting up the super steep hill to get to the 41st st bridge is a feat, let alone getting a bike up the stairs. Clearly this is not an 8-80 kind of facility, but it would be a very welcome improvement. Really, the problem is having freeways on either side of this bike boulevard. If we could just get rid of one of them, this project would be so much easier … ;-)

    1. …and actually, in the long run I’d love to see 99 turned into more of a normal urban street with frequent traffic lights and more cross streets. It would be far better for the areas currently blighted by it, too. We’re just not going to get that in the time frame of this project, so the runnels are at least some improvement meanwhile.

  5. […] Bike boulevard coming to Wallingford; Mountlake Terrace bike lane. […]

  6. B.F. Day Pedestrian

    I’m a parent of two children who attend B.F. Day Elementary in Fremont and since we live in Wallingford, I wholeheartedly approve of the runnel! We use that overpass each and every day that we walk to school and I’m thrilled to hear that we’ll soon be able to bike to school instead. Trust me, any other alternative involving a bicycle between Wallingford and the school in Fremont is much more dangerous.

  7. […] was under the impression that it had been cut from the city’s plans for 2011. The runnel was originally part of the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway plans, but the scope of the greenway has since been cut back to end at Stone Way instead of continuing […]

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