Just days after I saw a presentation about the NE 65th St cycle track, a woman was struck by a car while crossing the street on foot. She was running on the Burke-Gilman Trail, crossing a relatively low-traffic segment of NE 65th St in the trail’s crosswalk.
NE 65th St between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Magnuson Park is like so many streets in Seattle: Unnecessarily dangerous. With huge 12-foot travel lanes, people on foot and on bike have an unnecessarily-long crossing distance. Wide travel lanes also encourage speeding, a problem made worse because space reserved for on-street parking is almost never utilized, making the travel lane feel 21 feet wide. Despite the plethora of space, many people on bikes use the sidewalk instead of the street out of fear of speeding cars.
The city’s plan is to move all parking to the north side of the road and install a two-way cycle track on the south side of the street for the long block between the trail and Sand Point Way. The project will also include crossing improvements for people on foot and bike at the intersection with Sand Point Way.
There will be an open house to discuss the cycle track and several other issues in the area from 6:30 – 8 p.m. September 17 at The Garden Room, The Brig, 6344 N.E. 74th Street Magnuson Park. The presentation begins at 6:45.
The cycle track will also feed into an under-construction mixed use path east of Sand Point Way leading into the park. The cycle track will be separated from traffic by a repurposed traffic barrier.
This project is short, low-hanging fruit, but it’s a good case study for a couple reasons. One: It will be a two-way cycle track on a decently steep hill. While there is good reason to believe the design will work well on Seattle’s hills, it is something that, from what I can tell, has not been extensively tested (and this is a great opportunity to prove their safety and utility for hills). Two: Look at the image above. Assuming there will be at least some parked cars on the north side of the street, the cycle track could reduce the effective crossing distance for trail users by two thirds, a significant safety and comfort improvement. It could be a good illustration of the benefits cycle tracks can have on Seattle’s walking environment (a key reason to install them downtown).
More details from the SDOT mailer:
SDOT is proposing a family-friendly connection between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Magnuson Park on NE 65th Street to serve people of all ages and abilities who ride bicycles. To make this connection today, people on bicycles must either ride in the street, which is not comfortable for all types of riders, or on the sidewalk, which affects pedestrians.
The project would consist of a two-way cycle track on the south side of the street, separated from traffic by a sturdy barrier. There will be one opening along the route to maintain access to an existing driveway.
At the intersection of NE 65th Street and Sand Point Way NE, the cycle track would be complimented by new pedestrian improvements, including new ramps, shortened crossing of NE 65th Street, and a larger and more comfortable waiting area.
With the upcoming completion of the mixed-use asphalt path on NE 65th Street between 62nd Avenue NE and Sportscenter Drive, this project would allow off-street pedestrian and bicycle access all the way from the Burke-Gilman Trail to the waterfront, continuing up the Waterfront Promenade.
Other Open House information will include updates on:
- Lakeshore Drive Parking
- Central Wetland and Shoreline Improvements
- Seattle Public Utilities’ Combined Sewer