Now THIS is how you make a good biking and walking detour

When I rolled up on this biking and walking detour Sunday, I was actually shocked. Due to Earth Gay‘s landscaping work on the trail along Westlake Ave south of the Fremont Bridge, a detour for the hordes of people walking and biking on such a beautiful day utilized the curb lane of the road, separating it from the rest of traffic using cones.

Why did this shock me? Because I am not used to such excellent mitigation work in Seattle. It was awesome. Traffic flowed just fine in the other three lanes, people jogging, strolling, pushing kids, riding bikes and doing just about any fun outdoors activity (yes, driving on a beautiful day is still no fun) had a comfortable and safe space to get around the work on the trail.

Usually, the city just closes the sidewalk and tells people to use the other side (leading people to walk in the street or bike lane to get around the construction), but there is no sidewalk on the other side of the road in this case. So instead the city and Out for Sustainability demonstrated the proper way to handle a bicycle facility detour, much like how it is done in Copenhagen where cyclists’ safety is preserved and prioritized during road work.

If we want people to embrace cycling as a safe and easy way to get around town, people need to be able to trust that their route will be safe from beginning to end. Too often in Seattle, people biking are left out of the construction equation. Bike lanes disappear and people are forced to ride in the general traffic lanes over all kinds of chewed up road surfaces. This is not an inviting experience for people new to biking. While people driving are asked to sacrifice their time as they crawl through a construction zone, people biking are often asked to sacrifice their safety.

As the number of people cycling in Seattle continues to grow, so does the need to make sure our standard construction mitigation steps protect people cycling.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
This entry was posted in news and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Now THIS is how you make a good biking and walking detour

  1. Cathy says:

    Thanks Tom. Excellent comments on keeping people who walk and bike in mind during all street repairs and improvements.

    Now if we can just open those extra walk/bike lanes permanently on Westlake …

  2. Pingback: Now THIS is how you make a good biking and … – Seattle Bike Blog | Bicycle News

  3. Jeff Dubrule says:

    Second! I encountered this on Sunday, as well, while pushing kegs from SODO to Green lake (
    This should be mandatory for all construction projects (including private ones): if cars can drive it, pedestrians (including wheelchairs) and bikes should be able to get through safely, as well. If this can’t happen, close the street to cars, or close it altogether.

    • Gary says:

      You know you could have hauled those growlers on a trailer with a cargo bike. … Yes coming down a hill you would want to go really really slow… but seriously it would be easier on the flats than walking.

      • Jeff Dubrule says:

        First off, this weren’t no growler, it was two 160-pound full-sized kegs.
        Also, a (smaller) keg from Gig Harbor was transported using a bike-trailer. With sufficient gearage, you could probably move the 160lb keg, assuming the bike-trailer remained structurally solid.
        I guess a tandem bike can clearly support two adults, so it could support 1 adult + 1 keg, but you’d probably want to mount it lower.

  4. Stephen M says:

    A far cry better than the current nightmare that is the West Seattle to downtown bike commute via Alaskan Way.

  5. Todd says:

    The detour on Alaska Way is pathetic. But I can live with it.

  6. Sean says:

    There are pictures on the flickr page of my bikesatwork trailer hauling full size kegs. It works pretty well with my kona; I can’t emphasize enough how important disc (vs. v-pull) brakes are for tackling hills with these kinds of loads, as well as of course proper trailering techniques (you can lift the tongue off the ground if the keg is too far back; too far forward of the axles and you can cause too much tread wear/ flat your rear tire/break spokes).

  7. Clint says:

    Great post. This is a real pet peeve of mine in Seattle. Cyclists and walkers are almost never prioritized or even adequately accomodated during construction. The various detour routes through the South Lake Union/ Mercer construction are a great example. The Fremont Bridge area construction wasn’t much better a couple of years ago.

    The usual approach is the routes keep changing, and they often involve trying to interpret inadequate signage to sneak through too narrow, cobbled together “off road” combinations of sidewalk and ripped up street. Oh, and then in SL Union, there are the streetcar tracks to somehow get across too! Anyway, thanks for pointing out the right way to do it.

Comments are closed.