The Puget Sound Regional Council recently released its list of recommended regional Transportation Improvement Program projects for 2013. The list includes road repairs, transit improvements and, yes, some complete streets projects.
Here’s a quick look at some of the bike-related projects to make the list. You can send the PSRC comments on any of the projects. You can also check out more of the projects on this map of 2013-2016 TIP projects.
Westlake Cycle Track
The biggest bike project that jumps out from the list is funding for a cycle track on Westlake Ave between the Fremont Bridge and South Lake Union Park. Former Mayor Greg Nickels has often mentioned the rebuild of Westlake Ave under his watch as a huge missed opportunity to better design the road for transit and bicycling. Instead, it is a car-centric, highway-style road next to a long parking lot. The sidewalk is marked as part of the “Cheshiahud Loop Trail,” but it’s just a sidewalk and is not built for shared use.
There is no clear and safe route for cycling on this flat and direct connection between the Fremont Bridge and South Lake Union/downtown. Even with the completion of the Dexter buffered bike lanes, many people choose to bike through the Westlake parking lot to avoid the significant climb on Dexter. Cascade Bicycle Club has been after a Westlake cycle track for years, and they even included a mock-up of what it could look like in their recent report card on Seattle’s bikeability:
When I first saw “Westlake Cycle Track” on the list, I immediately hoped it was a cycle track to address the still-very-dangerous SLU Streetcar tracks between SLU Park and downtown that continue to catch people on bikes off-guard and send them plummeting to the ground. While the proposed cycle track is also a great project, the SLU cycle track could fill one of the biggest and most dangerous gaps in the city’s bike network: Biking from SLU Park to downtown. Assuming it would be cost-prohibitive to dig up and move the SLU Streetcar tracks to the center lanes, it would also be a cost-effective way to solve the safety issue and provide a new connection. It could look something like this (note: I’m not a traffic engineer, so this shoddy photoshop job is just for imagination purposes):
Anyway, enough of my daydream. Here are more details on the recommended project, from the PSRC:
Location: Westlake Avenue North Description: Design and construct a 6,700 foot (1.3 mile) two-way bicycle-only path along Westlake Avenue North. The cycle track will form part of the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop trail. It will provide cyclists with a physical separation from both motorized and pedestrian traffic sidewalk between the Ship Canal Trail and Fremont Bridge at its north terminus and downtown Seattle on the South terminus. Total Project Cost: $2,342,000
Changes to Renton section of the Lake Washington Loop
If you have ever ridden the Lake Washington Loop, a popular route both for commuting and for recreation, then you are perhaps familiar with the Logan Ave N segment, particularly the Cedar Rider bridge, where people on bikes mix with people walking on a skinny sidewalk.
One proposed project would extent the nice two-way trail across the bridge to meet with the Lake Washington Loop route. It would also implement complete streets work along the road all the way to the huge (seriously) shopping center, and would “replace” the existing bike lanes near the center. Not sure what the replacement bike facility would be, but that stretch could certainly be improved.
Title: Logan Ave N Roadway Improvements (N Airport Way to N 8th St) Sponsor: Renton Project ID: REN-29 Location: Logan Ave N Description: This project provides improvements between N Airport Way and N 8th St (4,200 feet), including urban roadway amenities to implement “Complete Streets”. Improvements also include transit signal priority system and the extension of the Lake Washington Trail on the west side of the Cedar River bridge. Other improvements include: reconstruction of the roadway pavement between the Cedar River Bridge and N 6th St. From the Cedar River Bridge to N 4th St the project will also add sidewalks, landscaped buffer, illumination. Between N 6th St and N 8th St the roadway will be widened to provide a Business Access and Transit (BAT) NB lane, replacement of the existing bike lane, sidewalks and landscaped buffer. Total Project Cost: $8,150,000
Mountlake Terrace Trail and Main Street Project
Two cool-sounding projects are up for consideration in Mountlake Terrace. One would be a trail connection between the Interurban Trail and the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center near I-5. Details:
Title: Lakeview Trail, Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to Interurban Trail Sponsor: Mountlake Terrace Project ID: MOU-19 Location: Lakeview Drive, Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to Interurban Trail Description: The project will construct a combination of bike lanes, sidewalks, and a new non-motorized trail from the Interurban Trail at 228th Street SW to the west end of the 236th Street SW bridge over Interstate 5, which is adjacent to Community Transit`s Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and Sound Transit`s Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station. The improvements will extend a distance of approximately one mile, of which about 0.8 mile will be a paved non-motorized trail, and the remainder will be bike lanes with adjacent sidewalks. Installation of bike lanes will be coordinated with the City`s Pavement Rehabilitation and Overlay Program. Total Project Cost: $3,106,280
The other is a Mountlake Terrace Main Street complete streets project that would rechannelize and add bike facilities to the neighborhood’s center. Details:
Location: 56th Ave W and 236th St SW Description: This project includes improvements to 56th Ave W (236th to 230th) and 236th St SW (Transit Center to 56th). It will reconstruct existing roadways to allow two travel lanes, bike lanes, and curbside parking. Other work includes: replace curb and gutter, construct sidewalks with tree wells, LED pedestrian and street lighting, upgrade storm drainage, upgrade curb ramps to current ADA guidelines, and modify/upgrade traffic signals including installation of optical fiber and connection to the City of Lynnwood`s Traffic Control Center. Total Project Cost: $8,436,488
I certainly left out some key projects in this list (see the Full list in this PDF), such as some interesting transit access projects (bike connections on Third Ave downtown?). If you have any thoughts or see any other projects that catch your eye, let us know in the comments.
Also, if you want to learn more about how the PSRC operates, their bicycle/pedestrian advisory committee meets at 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in the PSRC’s downtown conference room (1011 Western Avenue, 5th Floor). Here’s the agenda: