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Alaskan Way S construction detour in place until April 8

Cyclists who use Alaskan Way to head south from downtown will be routed around a block of construction from now until April 8, according to WSDOT. In addition to the one-block detour, WSDOT is trying to route cyclists onto side paths and sidewalks throughout the construction zone, which is part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct removal project.

Project detours in addition to the one-block detour pictured above

Seattle Likes Bikes has some issues with WSDOT’s bicycle detours. Signs say that cyclists “must use” the signed path. However, WSDOT told SLB that bicyclists can choose to ride the vehicle detour route. There is no clear reason why cyclists would not be allowed to ride with traffic, says SLB:

1)  If heading southbound, a cyclist can “choose” to either stay on the roadway or use the signed path, why is there a large sign posted stating that “Bicycles must used Signed Path.”  This is a contradiction.  If cyclists can choose, then the “must use” sign should be removed.

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2)  If the above is the case, why is it not the case for cyclists heading northbound?  Both directions cross the Terminal 46 entrance.  And in fact, staying on the street in both directions allows for a more predicable route for cyclists (and for drivers who can see the cyclists better on the street).

3)  If cyclists are not being allowed to use the street, why not?  There must be a reason since the street is open to vehicle traffic at this time.  The issue that cyclists will have to use the bike detour in the near future isn’t really a reason why we cannot use the street route now.

I have questions out to WSDOT. I will update when/if I learn something.

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9 responses to “Alaskan Way S construction detour in place until April 8”

  1. Can we please stop using language that makes “vehicles” a set excluding “bicycles”?

  2. jeanette

    what a mess – i rode northbound through the area this morning at 7:30 am. traffic was very heavy, and it was somewhat unclear exactly where to go for the bike detour. there were traffic cops regulating traffic, but they were only directing cars, not bikes, and ignoring the street lights. scary! any more info you are able to post would be helpful!

  3. Yet another reason to switch to taking 1st Ave. It has sharrows, good pavement, and wide lanes: the only downside was having to cross the train tracks. Now you have to do that twice on Alaskan way!

  4. Thanks for your comments, Eldon and Jake. Our crews are out on Alaskan Way S. this morning checking to make sure the signs are positioned in places that best point out the detour route. They also will ask the traffic police to pay closer attention to cyclists. Please let me know if the route continues to be unclear.

  5. I can be reached at [email protected] or 206-805-2817.

  6. JAT

    I think the signage is not good enough – I totally missed the S-bound sidewalk detour signs (“cyclists must…”) two weeks ago, and after reading this vowed to just use 1st Ave S.

    I cycled by there (S-bound on 1st Ave S) this afternoon at 4:45 and saw two N-bound cyclists essentially stuck on the on-ramp to the 99 N-bound viaduct. One had a disgusted look on his face and when I turned back to look he was preparing to hoist his bike over the Jersey barrier to the relative safety of sidewalk-less/shoulder-less wrong-way traffic; the other was pulling over to the left between lanes of ramp traffic to prepare to make a U-turn.

    For what it’s worth, I thought both had the mien of competent vehicular cyclists.

    For all the gushing enthusiasm politicians have for cycling as a mainstream mode of transportation, I don’t get the feeling that transportation professionals (engineers, builders, etc) have the faintest idea how to deal with cyclists – mixed use paths are held out as crowning achievements – bah!

    How about we require professionals (and laborers) building cycling infrastructure – particularly temporary infrastructure such a these detours to survey the site, or get to the work site by bike?
    (sent to BenderB by email, as well)

  7. SGK

    I really think WSDOT has been doing a fairly good job regarding cyclist during this project. Signage has been a little inconsistent, but general their detour routes have been fine. Until this week taking their route between the coast guard building a barrier blocks (N and S bound) has been the quickest and safest route.

    This is a huge, complex project forcing daily changes to bike, car, truck and rail traffic. If you can’t handle that use 1st Ave.

  8. AiliL

    I updated my SLB post today with information received from WSDOT.
    Some answers to the questions posed are located in the comments section.

  9. How about we shut down the top level of the viaduct to auto/bus/trucks and make the second level 2-way. This will reduce stress to the structure until it is replaced, as well as getting folks that use it regularly to look for alternative routes now, for when it is missing and no replacement thoroughfare is available (yet).

    In the meantime, it leaves lots of room on the top deck for pedestrians and cyclists. This would be a good short term solution, no?

    On a serious note, I rode SB through the construction and struggled to follow the Bicycle Detour signs – but managed to. I returned NB on 1st ave south, which has pretty decent pavement and sharrows and works pretty well.

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