The Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway is now officially open. Neighborhood advocates for the project threw a street party to celebrate, which featured a dog parade, a group ride and walk along the route and gelato from a cargo bike (as you can see in the video above by Seattle Greenways).
The one-mile stretch of N 44th and N 43rd Streets now has improved wayfinding, small bike boxes at minor arterial crossings and a new crossing island at busy Stone Way. It is a glimpse of what neighborhood greenways can offer and a chance to test out some uniquely Seattle safe streets design elements (for example, does placing sharrows pointing in the correct direction around a traffic circle decrease wrong-way turning? We’ll see).
For the block party, organizers also invented some new traffic control devices (currently under consideration by AASHTO, I hear), such as the crossdog:
The project was funded by a Neighborhood Projects Fund grant, and the whole project came in around $110,000. By the end of the year, there should be 11 miles of neighborhood greenways in the city, including projects in Beacon Hill, Ballard, NE Seattle and West Seattle.
I love the crossing dogs!… maybe a better alignment with the dog owners of the city will help us get more of these roadway conversions.
I think you’re onto something! Perhaps the “better air quality” arguments in favor of neighborhood greenways would go further if we pointed out the air is also better for your dogs! If you say no to neighborhood greenways, then that means you like when dogs get lung disease, you monster…
I went out of my way to ride the route yesterday. The wayfinding signs are great, as are the re-purposed sharrows and other paint on the street surface. The Stone way crossing seems like a good compromise, though I would have preferred the initial plan.
One thing I thought of that would make this even better: have two-way stops for all non-arterial streets which cross the route. I know this is probably against some SDOT standard protocol, but protocols need to be updated occasionally: I think that addition would do a lot to solidify the idea that 44th is different than other streets nearby.
I think if traffic circle compliance is still bad (this will be studied), the city should look into some more dramatic signage at non-arterial crossings. I understand their reasons for not placing stop signs, but if it doesn’t feel safe (even if, in reality, it is), then it won’t be effective as a family-friendly biking and walking route.
Thanks for riding our new and first segment of Wallingford Greenway!
Yes, please, to stop signs and occasional speed bumps along this route. This is precisely what the community ask for — and we heard it was a good idea as well from some visiting greenway experts from Portland.
Stop signs and speed bumps are an excellent tool to wake up and slow down distracted drivers as they learn to interact with this new kind of city street. In order for a greenway to prioritize people who walk, and people who bike along it, particularly people in the “8 to 80” year old range, we feel more traffic control is just what is needed to ensure everyone on the roadway knows who has the right-of-way.
The new Ballard greenway will have stop signs (but no speed bumps, I think). Wallingford, because it has traffic circles is considered to have sufficient traffic control devices already in place.
SDOT says, “Our experience has shown that stop signs installed at unwarranted locations have a low compliance rate, with many motorists failing to make a complete stop or ignoring the signs altogether. After evaluating these intersections in accordance with the federal guidelines, these intersections would not warrant yield or stop sign installations. In addition, the traffic circles provide a similar function to stop or yield signs, in that they require all vehicles to slow down and yield the right of way to vehicles that are in the intersection. Seattle does not install stop signs at traffic circles, as this could confuse drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists about who has the right-of-way.”
I think the problem with traffic circle compliance is they’re genuinely confusing. In a full-size roundabout, you always circulate counter-clockwise; but in a traffic circle you’re allowed to make left turns directly, because they’re too small for some vehicles to circumnavigate. They’re neither fish nor fowl and that confuses drivers.
I’m pretty sure direct left turns are illegal at neighborhood circles, even if compliance is low. I’ve almost been hit in Wallingford as a pedestrian by people blazing the wrong way through those intersections in cars. Thanks for your hard work Cathy and let’s hope we get some retrofitted speed bumps in the future.
Portland requires drivers to go around neighborhood circles just like modern roundabouts, counter clockwise and sign them with regulatory signs. It’s state law. We know some larger vehicles and the occassional motorist do the wrong thing at them, but no harm, no foul.
Can someone send me a picture of the Stone Way sharrow crossing. I was there Saturday, but was driving by and didn’t have time to stop and get a photo.
btw, Portland has stop signs at all their neighborhood traffic circles. Even a couple all-way stops.
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