In a welcome addition to the often-maligned downhill bike lane on E Pine, SDOT has painted a green bike lane through the intersection at Bellevue Ave on Capitol Hill. From my post at CHS:
The city only installed the green paint in the westbound (downhill) lane, and a new sign facing traffic facing southbound on Bellevue reminds people to yield to people biking in the lane before making a right turn onto Pine.
The green paint is meant to remind people turning to look out for people in the bike lane. Someone making a turn in front of someone biking is one of the most common types of traffic incidents involving people riding bikes.
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One detail of note is that the city only painted the downhill portion green. When designing bike facilities in Seattle, we have the added challenge of figuring out how to modify our designs to meet the needs of a vehicle mode that goes 8 mph in one direction and 20+ mph in the other.
The green paint will not fix the awful door zone issue on Pine (always ride to the far left of the lane to give several feet of space for opening doors), but it does attempt to address the fact that people biking downhill are more vulnerable to turning cars. The green paint is a reminder to people turning across the lane to give an extra look for oncoming bicycle riders who they may not have seen at first glance.
A similar treatment seems fitting for many intersections on Pine, which is a vital bicycle route and should be treated as such (the intersection with Melrose stands out as confusing and dangerous).
But perhaps we should be thinking about more dramatic changes for the Pike/Pine corridor. What options do we might have for a more modern bicycle facility? Pine seems awfully crunched for space already, and with the needs of buses, it’s not clear how the city would be able to squeeze too much more space for bicycle facilities.
As city leaders signal their desires for protected bikeways downtown (perhaps on 2nd and 4th), there will also need to be a strong east-west facility. Perhaps we could look at Pike St for a two-way protected lane from Capitol Hill/Central District through downtown. Or maybe we could build a protected facility downhill on Pine and uphill on Pike (or vice versa).
Basically, Pike/Pine is such an important bicycle corridor that we need to be thinking about ways to construct modern bike facilities that increase safety and encourage more people to bike.
Imagine a day when heavily-used, protected bike lanes on Pike/Pine and 4th Ave intersect at Westlake Park. The shopping area and mall there would likely be right at the nexus of the evening bicycle rush hour (wink, wink, downtown business folks).
What changes (small or large) would you like to see in the Pike/Pine corridor?