This just in from Wallyhood‘s Margaret Steck:
A runnel is basically a groove on the side of a stairway that allows you to push your bike up and down instead carrying it. Here’s an example of one built as part of the Lake Forest Park Burke-Gilman Trail detour:
The N 41st St runnel is exciting because I was under the impression that it had been cut from the city’s plans for 2011. The runnel was originally part of the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway plans, but the scope of the greenway has since been cut back to end at Stone Way instead of continuing all the way to Aurora.
The runnel will be very useful for people trying to get between Fremont and Wallingford, since the two nearest Aurora crossings — Bridge Way and N 46th St — are not very welcoming to people biking. The first block to the east of Aurora is rather steep, but many people will likely prefer that to busy traffic, at least until the other crossings are improved.