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Attention Dexter bikers: Construction starts March 7

Work to repave Dexter Ave N is scheduled to start March 7 and will not be completed until late summer (h/t Fremont Universe). Bicyclists will at times be required to ride with general traffic during lane closures throughout the length of construction. Combined with construction from the Mercer project, both Westlake and Dexter will pose issues for cyclists getting from much of northwest Seattle to downtown this spring and summer.

When the project is completed, Dexter will have buffered bike lanes in each direction and bus islands to prevent the bus and bike leapfrogging that occurs often under the current road configuration.

SDOT schematic showing how bus islands will work

Dexter is one of the busiest thoroughfares for bicycle commuters in Seattle. However, the current bike lanes are skinny and often close to opening car doors. The plans for larger bike lanes were made possible by removing much of the current center turn lane, which SDOT determined was underutilized. For more on the proposed design (including an ill-fated concept to create parking-separated lanes), see our previous post.

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If you use Dexter regularly, what do you plan to do during construction? Deal with construction? Take Westlake/the Westlake parking lot? Throw your bike on the Metro’s 26 or 28? Let us know in the comments.

From SDOT:

What Bicyclists Should Expect During Dexter Avenue N Repaving

  • Bicyclists and vehicles (sic) will share traffic (sic) lanes
  • Pavement grinding will result in grooved pavement
  • Regular working hours, 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday – Friday
  • Lane closures on Dexter Avenue N
  • New pavement will be placed within 25 days after pavement grinding
  • Metal plates will be used to temporarily cover trenches
  • All travelers should use caution and keep a safe distance from construction equipment

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11 responses to “Attention Dexter bikers: Construction starts March 7”

  1. It would have been nice if they could have timed this so as not to impair every Fremont-downtown connection at once.

  2. joshuadf

    Speaking of Dexter, CBC has a survey up for those who bike to, from, or through South Lake Union:

    Dexter south of Roy is obviously one candidate for improvement (probably going after SR-99 mitigation funds).

  3. Kevin

    I take the Westlake parking lot 80% of the time and Westlake proper the other 20% when I’m in more of a hurry.

    I still don’t understand why so many local cyclists don’t mind climbing that extra giant hill.

  4. eric.br

    e x a c t l y kevin!

    i often feel like i am alone in feeling angry that the major city-sanctioned bike route from north of the ship canal downtown is over a fucking hill, when there is an at-grade route right next to it. if there was ever a need for a street to get a “road diet”, it is westlake.

    (i even came up with a moniker for it: BLOWN: Bike Lane On Westlake Now! i think i’ll make up some t-shirts and top-tube stickers… )

    1. biliruben

      Put me down for 10…

      It’s pretty much a no-brainer that if you provide a safe, flat route downtown, you are going to increase the number of commuters. I would think dramatically.

      It might provide the critical mass needed to increase safety and reach the tipping point for the less ardent biker to start riding.

  5. Ballardbiker

    This construction might be the push I need to start riding on Westlake. I’ve always thought it should be the preferred route, but the high-speed and high-volume traffic on Westlake during my commute times has kept me on Dexter.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I have found drivers on Westlake to be particularly confrontational. These days, I prefer just taking my time and riding at a relaxed pace through the contiguous parking lot next to Westlake. However, you definitely have to be cautious about cars backing out/driving on walkways as well as people walking. Definitely not the best route for fast riders.

      1. Kevin

        Due to the flatness of Westlake, I’d argue that taking the parking lot at a “relaxed pace” is still faster and you’ll ultimately save time vs. climbing Dexter.

  6. Jeff

    I’m a recent transplant to Seattle from Portland and find getting downtown from North Seattle to be very slow and frustrating especially with the construction going on at the south end of Lake Union. The prescribed routes as depicted by the signage are a joke. I have ridden the Westlake parking lot route, and Eastlake and neither one is very good. The parking lot is slow, a bit of a maze, and cars always do unpredictable things in parking lots. Eastlake is faster but also a bit hairy and the surface leaves much to be desired. If the city has any real interest in increasing bike commuting it seems like making it easy to get from the north end of town to the downtown core would be a high priority. The design showcased here for Dexter looks good, but it sure would make a lot of sense to have fast, smooth, accessible bike routes along Eastlake and Westlake with sensible connections to the downtown grid network. As it stands now I cannot picture a family that lives in north Seattle deciding to ride downtown on a nice sunny Saturday to take in museums or shopping. Until the infrastructure allows for and encourages that scenario, this particular link in the network is broken in my opinion. Sorry to rant with my first comment on this blog but I see so many great opportunities for biking along this general route and right now the infrastructure isn’t even in the ballpark for where it could/should be.

  7. I heard that when Dexter was first chosen to be the official bike route, Westlake was considered, but the plan fell victim to freight interests – the same ones who made so much noise about the Nickerson road diet last year.

    I personally ride on Westlake most of the time, and exercise my legal right to occupy the entire right lane. I’ve found drivers to be fairly courteous. Funny thing is, when a car is waiting to turn left, and a cyclist is in the right lane, traffic mobility is SLOWER than in a 3-lane re-channelization. How that preserves freight mobility is beyond me.

  8. […] http://seattlebikeblog.com/2011/02/25/attention-dexter-bikers-construction-starts-march-7/ Seattle is making progress, it just isn’t always in regards to transit buses or light rail.  This blog happens to primarily be about those things.  However maybe I’ll start including more about bikes and pedestrian movement. Thanks for reading, and you guys stop thinking I’m trying to put Portland on any bigger of a pedestal than it is already on.  o_O […]

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