After our frustrated post about the lack of new bold plans on the city’s part to improve biking and walking safety, below is a look at some exciting projects already underway today.
Will 2013 be the year protected cycle tracks finally become a significant part of the Seattle streetscape? If so, what are we doing to keep the cycle track momentum moving?
Linden Ave Complete Streets project begins year of work
When Linden Ave work is complete, there will be a two-way cycle track filling a missing link in the Interurban North bike route between the end of Seattle’s Interurban Trail and the start of Shoreline’s trail.
Construction on the 17-block project has been going for a while, but it kicked into high gear early this month, with road closures and detours. If you are on a bike, be prepared for delays. However, you should be able to get through on the sidewalk in stead of biking on Aurora or Greenwood Ave, as suggested.
Once completed in mid-2013, the cycle track will be the premiere protected cycle track in Seattle.
Biking needs were not the main impetus for the project (neighbors, may of them elderly, struggled with the lack of adequate sidewalks), but the city is taking advantage of the project to fill a gap in the Interurban Trail, which will now stretch from Lake Ballinger in Mountlake Terrace to Greenwood almost entirely separated from motor vehicle traffic.
See our post from 2010 for more background on the project, which was one of Mayor McGinn’s first big transportation projects.
First Hill Streetcar construction will keep Broadway closed to bikes for a while
The First Hill Streetcar construction has closed Broadway people biking as crews install wheel-grabbing streetcar tracks. Unfortunately, the lack of a safe bike passageway during construction likely means more sidewalk riding on Broadway’s already-congested walking spaces.
When complete (scheduled for early 2014), there will be a two-way protected cycle track on Broadway from at least Denny Way to Yesler (an extension to Aloha is being seriously considered, and I would assume the cycle track would be extended, as well).
However, the streetcar tracks are already in the ground, and the cycle track is one of the final steps in the construction process (scheduled for late 2013). So we are now entering the dangerous year of construction for people on bikes. Here’s the construction schedule:
And what Broadway should look like when it is finished (we can only dream we will all be as cool as Old Man Citybiker pictured here):
Lake Washington Blvd improvements nearly complete
Work on Lake Washington Boulevard through the Arboretum is almost complete. The project includes new lighting, better crosswalks (including a cool raised crosswalk), speed “cushions” (speed bumps that don’t impede emergency vehicles) and sharrows.
Also completing the project means closing the street Saturday and Sunday this weekend. That could mean less traffic on the way to the final Bicycle Sunday of the year. Yay!
- Seattle City Light is replacing the existing street lights and poles with new poles and LED boulevard-style lights that will provide better and more efficient lighting. After this weekend, all of the new lights will have been installed, but wiring will still be in progress for 20 new streetlights. The old poles will remain in place where needed to provide lighting until each new light is connected and operational.
- The Seattle Department of Transportation, with funding from WSDOT, has installed a marked crosswalk with curb ramps, a raised crosswalk, and speed cushions. These devices calm traffic, help pedestrians cross the busy boulevard and facilitate pedestrian access to a number of trails through the Arboretum. The department has also completed extensive asphalt repairs and installed new pavement markings including “sharrows” to remind drivers to share the road with bicyclists. In October, the department will complete installation of curb ramps at the raised crosswalk.
W Thomas Street biking/walking overpass
Should be open any day now. See our update from earlier this week for more info.
Are there other projects you would like an update on? Let us know in the comments!
I rode Linden Ave yesterday and it is really looking nice. I do worry about right hooks though. They put the cycle track on the east side of the street which has more intersecting streets.
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After hearing McGinn take some calls on KUOW the other day, I have to wonder if he is deliberately not publicizing bike infra improvements while quietly getting his people to work on them. A caller/cyclist called in to complain that the city isn’t putting in enough bike infra, and McGinn lamented he feels dammed either way – gets lots of flack from cyclists for not doing enough bike infra and lots of flack from drivers for being the “bike” mayor and doing too much bike infra. We may not be seeing a bold vision like the recently-announced plans for Chicago and Boston, but I wonder if in Seattle that would cause a backlash anyway and result in nothing getting done. A quieter, incremental approach, while not satisfactory, may be more effective in the long run. Maybe that’s giving him too much credit, and maybe that’s too much of a defeatist attitude. I guess we’ll find out, but adding all these projects together things look much better than concentrating on the delays of other projects.
Regarding the Linden project, it’s still a bit of a jungle and keeps changing around, but you can navigate the construction okay, with caution. I don’t find Greenwood or Aurora sidewalks to be in any way conducive to a detour route so I’m just dealing with the gravel instead.
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