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Hello, North Delridge Greenways!

Want to get involved in making it easier and safer to bike and walk in West Seattle? At least one neighborhood is getting organized, and they are looking for people interested in joining up.

North Delridge Greenways will hold it’s first ride and meet-up October 15. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw will be there, as well as other interested neighbors and folks from other neighborhood greenways groups around the city. The meet-up starts at 10 a.m. with a discussion, followed by an easy two-mile group ride to explore opportunities.

It seems the first order of business is how to find an alternative to Delridge Way, the main drag through the neighborhood and a major connector to many West Seattle bike trails.

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I have heard there’s interest in fixing the east sidewalk on Delridge just south of the W Seattle Bridge. This sidewalk is not wide, but it is a major connection for the neighborhood. Perhaps a solid neighborhood greenway combined with an improved trail connection of some kind could go together, making biking to, from and within North Delridge far more appealing and safe.

From the event page:

Grab your bicycle and come join us Saturday morning, October 15th for a slow bike ride (~2 miles) and discussion with councilmember Sally Bagshaw about the possibility of creating a neighborhood greenway in Delridge!

As many neighbors know, 26th Ave SW is a popular bypass for many motorists when Delridge Way has heavy traffic. Many of these drivers are in a hurry, and choose to travel through the neighborhood at unsafe speeds. 26th also happens to be the only direct north/south route through the Delridge neighborhood for pedestrians and cyclists who wish to avoid the noise and traffic of Delridge Way.

A greenway is a street that the city chooses, through small modifications, to make more accessible to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, while making it less accessible to automobile through-traffic. This concept has been applied very successfully in Portland, and the idea is spreading. Many neighborhoods in the city, from Wallingford to the University District to Beacon Hill to Ballard have begun exploring how this can be implemented in their neighborhood. Greenways can be implemented quickly and affordably, and with Prop 1 on the ballot this November, Seattle may soon have the funds to make it happen.

Please come by and share your questions, ideas, and vision with like-minded neighbors! Meet at the Delridge Community Center Saturday morning, Oct. 15 at 10:00am. We’ll have a brief discussion about the greenway concept, then take a bicycle tour of the neighborhood to discuss our vision.

Any other ideas for greenways in North Delridge?

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13 responses to “Hello, North Delridge Greenways!”

  1. Buffered bike lanes on Delridge! It is the straightest and flattest route to most area destinations.

    The Seattle Bicycling Map already shows a few low-traffic but hilly alternate streets near Delridge. I suppose they could be improved, but taming Delridge is the real need.

    1. Buffered bike lanes are a great big meh for safety and comfort. Accidents in bike lanes that would have been prevented by the extra distance from overtaking traffic are rare. The following sorts of accidents are more common:

      – Other overtaking incidents. In most of the incidents I’ve heard of involving overtaking vehicles, the driver screwed up badly enough to run his/her vehicle off the road entirely. These drivers are asleep, impaired, or severely distracted — if you happen to share the road with them, painted lines can’t possibly help you.
      – Doorings. Buffered bike lanes do absolutely nothing to prevent doorings.
      – Accidents with turning drivers (like the recent hit-and-run on Dexter). No matter how wide the buffer, drivers will have to turn across it. A wider buffer, putting us farther from the main stream of traffic that drivers are paying most of their attention to, makes us less visible to turning drivers, making us less less safe! The safest intersections are small and narrow, limiting the field of view that any user has to pay attention to in order to correctly navigate it. Buffered bike lanes effectively widen the relevant part of the road at intersections and put us on the far margin.

      Furthermore, they make the following things more difficult:

      – Interactions with buses and their passengers. See Dexter, where instead of buses pulling to the curb, they have their passengers cross the bike lane to board the bus.
      – Left turns. Because you’re less visible and farther from the main traffic lanes, it’s harder to merge over to make a left.

      Buffered bike lanes basically take the worst parts of riding in the road and riding in the sidewalk and mash them together.

      1. David

        Al – Buffered bike lanes can also be configured with the buffer on the door-side of the lane, in which case they would have a two-fold impact contrary to what you’ve described:

        1. Reducing the likelihood of dooring by creating a buffer between the driver-side car door and the bicycle rider.
        2. Effectively narrowing the roadway by bringing the bike lane closer to the roadway centerline.

        Additional benefits and applications of buffered bike lanes are nicely summarized on the NACTO site: http://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/bike-lanes/buffered-bike-lanes/

      2. JAT

        I agree, Al (love your parking lots by the way), and David – passengers are, as a population, far less conditioned to look before opening their doors.

        The number one need in this area is better transition from the low bridge to the roadways – at Delridge N-bound you have to negotiate horrible curb cuts, drivers on an entering side street creeping into your right of way and poor pavement to make the instantaneous transition from street speed to sidewalk speed. At Delridge S-bound you have those side street drivers craning their necks to look the opposite direction that that from which you’re arriving and you’re spit out onto the wrong side of the street.

        Greenways may be tremendously pleasant and cheap to implement, but they’re not a solution for Delridge’s primary problem.

      3. David

        JAT – I think my comment was perhaps unclear. I was referring to buffered bike lanes configured with the buffer between the bike lane and the driver-side car door. No need to worry about passenger conditioning in that configuration.

      4. JAT

        Oh – what does Emily Litella say?


  2. Looking at a map, why 26th and not 21st? 21st could conceivably be connected to the trail, bypassing Delridge entirely, and actually extends a bit further than 26th. It’d also improve connections to SCCC. The downside is there’s a segment of it the 125 would have to use.

    1. Jake

      Good thought – I certainly think 21st would deserve greenway treatment as well for the reasons you mention. However, I don’t think a 21st ave greenway would be a suitable replacement for a 26th ave greenway. The topography of the region is a significant barrier: getting to 21st from either Delridge Way or the WS bridge path requires going up a fairly steep hill, and East-West access is limited. 26th, on the other hand, offers a flat north/south route with many access points.

  3. AJL

    26th is a really good bike route. I use it sometimes to get home as an alternative to using Avalon/Fauntleroy because there’s less traffic and it’s pretty darn flat. The only down-side is to get up to the High Point area one has to get up the nightmare hill that is 31st (usually walking).

    I suppose my only concern about this is that while it creates a nice bike “detour” of sorts, if a cyclist is heading further south than Juneau (and may do to get to Westwood Village, White Center or going the back way to the Fauntleroy ferry dock) one once again has to merge onto Delridge – and possibly at some of the worst pavement on Delridge at that.

    What should be looked at is destinations – along with this upgrade on 26th, the beginning and end points should also be under discussion…how will cyclists join the areas north/south of the “Greenway” that have little to no infrastructure whatsoever? Will that lack mean a lack of riders on the Greenway? What will draw cyclists to the Greenway? CONNECTIONS cannot be ignored, and that’s what I, and many cyclists, see as a lack in the Seattle bikeway ‘network’ that exists currently.

    1. Jake

      Great point. I’ve put a lot of thought into the connections on the north end of 26th, but not so much on the south. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  4. Jake

    I agree whole-heartedly with the above comments about the connection from Delridge to the WS bike path. It’s completely ridiculous, and we’ll make a point of bringing Sally Bagshaw past it on Saturday.
    It needs to be addressed, and I’d be curious to hear people’s thoughts on this alternate idea: I’m imagining a new bike/ped through route from Andover on the Charlestown right-of-way, connecting to the short path on the west side of Delridge which goes down to Spokane street. From there, some re-engineering of the intersections could give cyclists a straight shot to the WS bridge trail, obviating the need to cross Delridge. The last part (under the bridge) is the most iffy, but I’d be curious about people’s thoughts if you’re familiar with the area.

  5. Nick

    I’ve always wondered why that little spur street needed to exist in the first place. It’s what, half a block north of the light at Andover and immediately at the base of the onramp to the high bridge? It would seem fairly easy to make that street into a deadend at Delridge, thus taking away the norhtbound traffic through that neighborhood. Seems pretty cost effective.

    Delridge needs traffic calming and supposedly it’s in the planning stage, but either SDOT doesn’t have the money or it’s further down on the list of things to do. The residents of that area have been pleading for some solution for years

    AJL makes a good point about whatever is put in needs to tie in well with points north and south as well as east and west; a hard thing to do in that valley. But that’s kind of the problem with the bike master plan and some of these other efforts–not that they aren’t well meaning. Islands of sanity are created, but the user is left to figure out how to connect them. This is a strong impediment to new cyclists, and experienced folks have issues with this as well.

    The area under the bridge is ripe for a pedestrian/bike flyover that connects to north Delridge (trail west side of Delridge Way), the Alki trail and ultimate the WS bridge trail. Unfortunately, I think the cost to benefit of such a solution probably doesn’t add up

  6. […] but to improve connections to it and from it.  This seems to be important, several commenters on Seattle Bike Blog also stress the issue of connections.  How will cyclists join the areas north/south of the […]

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