Work on Linden Ave cycle track starting soon

Construction on the Linden Ave N complete streets project is finally ready to get under way. The project will redesign the street from N 128th to the Seattle border at N 145th, completing a missing link in the Interurban North Trail.

The street will have safer crosswalks, add sidewalks and create a parking-separated two-way cycle track.

Utility relocation is under way, and the project could be complete by December 2012 if all goes well.

Interurban North Trail users will encounter some rough construction issues for the next year, including potential detours to Aurora or Greenwood Ave, both of which are pretty unfriendly to people biking. Stay tuned for updates as we learn more about what construction will look like (though I’m assured it will “be bad”).

Here’s an example of what the redesigned road will look like (for more see the city’s project webpage):

With Shoreline’s investments in the trail in 2011 and Edmonds’s extension that is almost ready to open, much of Seattle’s leg of the Interurban is starting to look pretty sad. Dexter Ave between the Fremont Bridge and downtown was significantly improved in 2011, and the Linden Ave project should improve a key missing leg.

With so much of the key regional bike route becoming family-friendly, it puts even more pressure to create a family-friendly connection between the Greenwood neighborhood and the Fremont Bridge. The current bike routes utilize sub-par bike lanes on Phinney Ave, N 50th and Fremont Ave. In downtown Fremont, the Fremont Ave bike lanes disappear entirely in a rather confusing series of intersections just north of the Fremont Bridge. There is no Fremont Neighborhood Greenways group yet (that I’m aware of), so if you live in the neighborhood, maybe you should start one…

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9 Responses to Work on Linden Ave cycle track starting soon

  1. basketlover says:

    The school bus drivers will have to go further out of their way to menace me on the way home but I won’t count them out as they are quite tenacious when they feel they are in the right.

    Crossing treatment at 143rd? You know the one with the 50/50 chance the cars see the stop sign that is there.

  2. Chris Mobley says:

    While I applaud SDOT for putting in this new piece of bike infrastructure, there are a couple of problems that could arise.

    Due to budget cuts, SDOT has very little money to even maintain our current bike infrastructure, i.e. new paint, in most cases. As the two way bike track is mostly a painted buffer lane, I have a sinking feeling that this could pose dangers in the future. As evidenced by the 7th ave buffered bike lane Downtown, many drivers will use the lane, especially if the lane markings are not maintained.

    Because this is a two way cycle track, with one bike lane going in the opposite direction of car traffic, very serious car-bike collisions are possible if drivers break the law and use the cycle track.

    This could be easily solved from a technical point of view by making the buffer a raised concrete curb instead of paint that wears out within one year. From a financial point of view this might be prohibitive.

    This isn’t to nitpick, and I know we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but these are issues that will likely come up.

  3. RTK says:

    Agreed that more money should be spend on existing infrastructure. Worn away paint is a big issue, but my primary gripe is glass strewn bike lanes or trails that get swept once a year. In general use lanes cars grind broken glass to dust in a few days, this doesn’t happen in bike lanes / trails.

  4. Al Dimond says:

    Really, there are only two streets in Fremont that are remotely usable to connect the Interurban route: Fremont Ave. and Phinney Ave. From 50th to 43rd Phinney is a minor arterial (it carries the #5 bus, but has a little less traffic than Fremont Ave; it has a light at 46th, which is nice), and south of there it’s a side street I don’t know very well — specifically, I don’t know whether it’s wide enough to be a comfortable road for descending, I don’t know how traffic is, and I don’t know how steep it is. You could take it down to 34th and take 34th to the Fremont Bridge… except that on Sunday the Fremont Sunday Market is in the way… you’d go 35th to Evanston to Fremont.

    Fremont Ave., as it is, is one of the better arterial bike routes in Seattle, and is pretty popular with commuters.

    • Al Dimond says:

      I tried Phinney Ave. on my way home today, coming north (I came in from the east on the Burke, but I approached on 34th as if coming from the Fremont Bridge). Oddly, it’s illegal to go straight through northbound on Phinney across 36th, but that’s just a paint thing. There is a non-paint problem, however: between 39th and 42nd it is just brutally steep (it felt a lot steeper than any part of Fremont Ave., but that might be subjective). I definitely wouldn’t want to descend on those blocks — too steep, too narrow, etc. Fremont Ave, of course, climbs the same hill, but it does so more smoothly.

      Other notable routes: Linden is a nice street to walk or bike when you can use it. However, 46th and Fremont Way are each difficult to cross and don’t have obvious solutions. It also doesn’t continue south of 36th. Woodland Park Ave. is great from 46th down to 34th; it even kicks out to cross Bridge Way at a reasonable angle, and I think sight lines are good enough there that you could rig in a crossing. Crossing 46th and Green Lake Way are each pretty tough. On the other side, heading into Frelard, 3rd Ave. NW is pretty nice for a minor arterial; 6th Ave. NW probably is OK grade-wise but is sort of disjointed. Getting to either from the other side of Phinney Ridge (which is indeed a ridge!) involves some steep climbs.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        You know, maybe they could create a safe crossing at Linden and 46th. It’s dangerous today, so something needs to happen.

        Thanks for reporting back!

      • Al Dimond says:

        Sight lines along 46th are pretty limited at Linden, and traffic moves pretty fast; I don’t think anything less than a crossing with a light would be considered safe for many users, or if there’s much traffic at all.

        There’s already a light a block east of Linden, to help left turns off of 46th toward Aurora (currently no help for getting across 46th). There’s also a signal on Fremont Way around Linden, to help fire trucks from station 9 (on Linden between 38th and 39th) get out onto the road (currently no help for getting across Fremont Way). I think changes to get people across either one would be contentious.

        Fremont Way, Bridge Way, and Green Lake Way between 46th and 50th were all terrible mistakes that hurt the walking environment in this area every day.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Phinney is very steep south of 42nd or so (where the #5 bus turns to head to Fremont Ave). I doubt it would work as an alternative.

      Linden is a good alternative to Fremont Ave (and a great neighborhood greenway candidate, in my opinion), but it would need a complete redesign of the intersection with 38th St/Fremont Way N in order to work (that redesign needs to happen anyway, it’s far too dangerous for all parties). Linden ends right at the Troll, though, so then it would have to cross Fremont Ave and go down Evanston to 34th, then back to the bridge. That might be too many blocks back and forth and too many long traffic signals to really work as a bike route, but it would be worth looking into as an option.

      Really, Fremont Ave is a hard street to replace. The grade is steady and it goes straight to the bridge. It desperately needs a redesign right at the Center of the Universe sign (Fremont Ave/Fremont Pl/35th). This is an important intersection for all modes, but crosswalk walking distances are far too long and there is no help for people cycling. Given that Fremont is probably the bikiest neighborhood in the city, this is unacceptable.

      So here’s a proposal I just made up based on my year living in the neighborhood: Linden Ave neighborhood greenway between, say, N 45th St and the Troll (36th St). Perhaps 45th would be a good greenway option, too, since it leads to the awesome Fremont Peak Park and meet up with Phinney, the current Interurban route. Also give 36th the neighborhood greenway treatment (which is needed, given the huge number of sightseers standing in the roadway all day long anyway). Then create a protected, family-friendly cycle facility on Fremont Ave at least between 36th and the bridge that would also provide an opportunity to shorten the crossing distances for the huge numbers of people on foot.

  5. Breadbaker says:

    My own route (because of where I live) from the end of the Interurban goes back to Linden, then to Winona, Green Lake Way and then Stone Way. This avoids the steeper parts of Phinney Ridge and hooks up with the improvements on N. 34th that lead to Dexter over the Fremont Bridge (and for those heading east from it, the Wallingford Greenway). I realize it’s quite a ways east of straight, but the answer to Phinney is, yes, it’s pretty steep.

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