West Seattle got its first bike box this week, designed to help people safely make a left turn from Andover to Delridge Way just south of the West Seattle Bridge. With cars backed-up next to the bike lane, it is sometimes difficult to tell which vehicles plan to turn left (most of them) and which are going straight or turning right (which would create a dangerous conflict for people biking). The bike box is an attempt to relieve the conflict and make the intersection work better for everyone.
The box was first met with confusion and mixed reactions in the comments at West Seattle Blog. However, the conversation led to reader Jeff to create the video above, which the blog posted in a follow-up story (also, big ups to Tracy and the other WSB moderators for doing a good job keeping the discussion lively and productive, rather than letting it descend into the typical bike-car shouting match).
Jeff’s video demonstrates how the box removes the potential intersection conflicts without having a significant impact on motor vehicle flow. Bike boxes seem pretty strange at first, but people quickly get used to them. While their safety record is not amazing in all situations, they are effective as a tool for addressing some issues.
Less than $10,000
Another great piece of information in WSB’s follow-up is that the price of installing bike boxes has dropped dramatically, SDOT estimates. When the city installed the first boxes, they were estimated to cost $15,000 per box. Bike box supporters and opponents alike balked at this price tag. The excuse was that the green “paint” is actually a crushed rock and epoxy mix that is very expensive and takes special labor to install ($10K for the paint, $5K for the labor).
However, SDOT told WSB that they are using a new method and expect the bike box to cost less than $10,000, a significant drop in price.
Map of the new box:
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