Ravenna is among the bumpiest arterial streets in the city, and it is a vital link in the bicycle network. But for the past several years, the deteriorated road conditions have made cycling a pain, and many of the bike lane markings have disappeared, creating confusion for people driving and biking alike.
The new road design plans are fairly similar to the way things are today, but many key issues will be addressed. Instead of having an extra-large bike lane — which some drivers mistake for a second general traffic lane — the bike lane will be protected by a three-foot painted buffer similar to Dexter Ave. The bike lanes will still be on the left side (next to the park median), but they will look a whole lot more like bike lanes.
(Note: SDOT plans shown in this post are subject to change. Also, engineering schematics often make things look more complicated and overwhelming than the final product will be.)
Among the trickiest parts of the design is how to handle left-turning cars. Today, the bike lane gets squeezed into a tiny waiting space, and transitions are uncomfortable. The new design will have a clear transition with the bike lane painted green where cars are meant to merge (similar to N 34th at Fremont Ave). The bike lane at these intersections will also be a little wider than they are today (though five feet is still a little skinney for some people to feel comfortable).
Also in the plans, that crazy five-way intersection at Green Lake Drive will have a huge new curb bulb, which will make it far more comfortable for people on foot.
So, that’s the good news. Now, the bad news. Ravenna Blvd will be under construction from early spring until early fall. Detouring could be a headache during certain phases, and there will be several weekend closures throughout the process. Since there is no route parallel to Ravenna Blvd, be ready for some round-about alternatives.
Though, as someone pointed out at the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meeting Wednesday, if you are biking on Ravenna today, biking on it during construction really can’t be much worse.
Length of Ravenna Blvd to be repaved:
View Ravenna Construction in a larger map