Heavy Dexter construction starts April 11

UPDATED: We have updated this post with SDOT's newest Dexter construction detour map.

Attention Dexter bikers, SDOT says the bad stuff is starting next week. Crews will begin asphalt removal, and the road will go down to two general traffic lanes without bike lanes. You may want to leave a little earlier than usual so you can deal with heavier traffic or figure out a different route.

We have written about the problematic combination of Dexter and Mercer project construction for bike commuters this year. If I were traveling from the Fremont Bridge to downtown, here’s the route I would take (using the Westlake parking lot, but keeping a sharp eye out for cars backing out of parking spaces):


View Larger Map

Note that the stoplight at Westlake and Highland Dr near McCormick and Schmicks changes really quickly if you hit the pedestrian signal button. When headed north, I would suggest riding on the sidewalk for a block in order to utilize this signal instead of trying to make a difficult left from 8th onto Westlake. If you have a different route, please share it below.

From SDOT:

On Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12, SDOT’s contractor will grind and remove the existing asphalt pavement on Dexter Avenue North between Fremont Avenue N and McGraw Street.During this work, one travel lane in each direction will remain open on Dexter. There will be parking and loading restrictions near the work zone as well as periodic cross-street and driveway interruptions.  Uniformed police officers will be on site to keep vehicles moving.

Once asphalt removal (grinding) is complete, the contractor will make any needed repairs to Dexter Avenue’s base pavement.  Paving is scheduled to take place in late April.  Shortly after paving, crews will install bus islands, a buffered bike lane and apply new traffic markings and street channelization.

Bicyclists who use Dexter Avenue North should consider utilizing the sidewalks on Dexter or alternate routes during construction.  When on Dexter, use caution, reduce speeds and expect the following:

  • Grooved pavement and loose asphalt
  • Bicyclists merging with other traffic and sharing the lane with vehicles
  • Raised utility casting and man holes in the street
  • Increased construction truck traffic
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9 Responses to Heavy Dexter construction starts April 11

  1. bikefish says:

    It’s disappointing to see that SDOT did not revise its map to indicate Westlake as an alternate route for bikes, after a long discussion last month at the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meeting. Board members found that the conditions on Dexter during construction, as described by SDOT, are too hazardous for most cyclists – including some of the very experienced riders on the Board. SDOT replied that bicyclists should be able to “judge for themselves” if the conditions are too hazardous. Bike board members replied that this is an unreasonable expectation, especially for the many new cyclists who are expected to turn out in May for Bicycle Month, right in the middle of construction.
    Once construction is over – in September if the project keeps on schedule – Dexter will have separated bike lanes and special bus islands that keep buses and bikes from interfering with each other. Great! But in the meantime, avoid Dexter.

  2. Josh w/ Dexter Ave Project says:

    My name is Josh and I am working with the contractor on the Dexter Avenue North Project.

    THANK YOU for helping to spread the word about upcoming construction on Dexter Avenue North.

    And yes…..if you are biking on Dexter Ave N between know and the end of construction (October) please remember to use extra caution, reduce speeds when near the work zones and consider utilizing alternate routes.

    I wanted to quickly respond and clarify several statements made by bikefish.

    First off, after the Seattle Bike Advisory Board meeting in March, SDOT did revise its map to indicate possible alternate bike routes. Possible routes included Westlake Avenue and the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. Another option that we incorporated into the map, which was discussed at the SBAB meeting, was to remind bicyclist they can utilize sidewalks to get around the construction. In anticipation of this, SDOT cleaned several segments of the sidewalk that had lots of dirt and overgrown vegetation.

    The updated bike map is on the Dexter Ave Project website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/Dexter_Bikes_Flyer_Final.pdf

    In addition to revising the map, at each end of the project we have large signs that warn cyclist of construction ahead and specifically identify Westlake Avenue and Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop as alternate routes.

    Secondly, SDOT and the contractor are very aware of Bicycle to Work Month and Bicycle to Work Day (5/20). SDOT has placed a number of requirements on the contractor, like phasing the work, to minimize the impact to cyclist. We are presently working on Phase I (McGraw to Fremont Ave North) and if weather permits, we should have it paved by late April.

    Additionally, we are already planning for Bike to Work Day, which is when we expect to see the largest number of cyclist. Between now and May 20th we will make sure to coordinate our construction activity in a manner that can safely accommodate all cyclist who choose to utilize Dexter Avenue North.

    Once again, thanks for helping to spread the word about Dexter Avenue North Construction. When the construction is complete, riding on Dexter will be much safer and the riding surface greatly improved.

    If you have any questions or have concerns while out on Dexter Avenue North please do not hesitate to call me (206) 321-4205. Thank you.

  3. bikefish says:

    Thanks, Josh – that map is exactly what SBAB was hoping for. I was surprised to see the old map on the blog post, and hope that Tom writes an update with the new map where it will be much more visible than here in the comments. Clearly you were paying attention and taking notes!

  4. Tom Fucoloro says:

    I updated the post with the new map. Thanks for the update, Josh!

  5. J says:

    Something interesting is the warning signs and their placements along Dexter. Big signs cautioning bicyclists to slow down and to use extreme caution and little signs almost hidden away that say something like “bicyclists share lane with automobiles.” I would think drivers should be warned to slow down and use extreme caution and to be aware that the lanes are shared as well.

    The sign that makes me laugh every evening when biking from Fremont to downtown is the “bicyclists slow down” sign about 3/4 going up the hill. Not sure how much slower I can ride up that hill…

    • bikefish says:

      good point J. It’s the cars that need to slow down, in order to keep the folks on bikes (and everyone else) safe. On Dexter and everywhere, for that matter.

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  8. I also think that drivers should be warned to slow down and use extreme caution and to be aware that the lanes are shared as well. I really appreciate your wonderful knowledge and the time you put into educating the rest of us and thank you for this special read. Thanks!

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