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A look at plans for the Broadway streetcar extension + The case for a 10th Ave cycle track

The most popular road design option for the Broadway extension of the First Hill Streetcar includes an extension of the planned two-way protected bike lane (cycle track) all the way to Aloha, according to SDOT. If constructed, there would be a world-class cycle track running the entire length of Broadway, from Yesler Terrace to Aloha.

The options for extending the under-construction streetcar line were presented at a December open house. Capitol Hill Seattle reports that there is also strong support for extending the streetcar line all the way to Prospect, connecting with Volunteer Park.

The terminus options are where the bike lane options get a little fuzzy. Every option considered would include standard bike lanes in each direction on 10th Ave north of Broadway. At E Roy Street, the two-way cycle track would start. Here’s a map:

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10th Ave has it’s own dangers as a bike route, and, as we have argued in the past, it is an excellent opportunity for a safe route through North Capitol Hill. With the 520 Trail connecting to Roanoke Park, 10th would be the most logical (and, considering the extensive paving needs to make nearby Federal Ave safe, likely the cheapest) option for people trying to get from this regional trail to Broadway.

It is only 1.2 miles from Roy to Roanoke, but traveling north on this stretch currently requires a dangerous, fast downhill in a shared lane (just this week, a woman was knocked unconscious while biking down the hill on a wet and blustery evening). Extending the Broadway cycle track all the way to Roanoke is likely the best option for creating a family-friendly biking route along this key corridor.

Of course, building the cycle track all the way to Roanoke is likely outside the scope of the streetcar extension project. However, it would be wise to design the streetcar and bike facilities to connect to such a facility in the future. After all, streetcar tracks can’t easily be moved once they’re installed. I’ve reached out to the streetcar team to see if there is some reason why a 10th Ave cycle track is not possible. I’ll update when I learn more.

In the meantime, you should take their survey about the extension plans.

More information:

Broadway Extension Cycle Track Info2 by tfooq

Meeting summary:

Broadway Extension Open House Summary-Edit by tfooq

About the author:

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8 responses to “A look at plans for the Broadway streetcar extension + The case for a 10th Ave cycle track”

  1. Adam Parast

    Resurfacing Federal woun’t be cheap but it wouldn’t be outragouse either. I think the cost comparision to 10th wouth really depend on how is spent on 10th. Because of the grade and the fact that any cycle track on 10th would likely be adjacent to a travel with no buffer because of the width of the road I think I would actually prefer a bike boulevard on Federal over a 10th Ave cycle track. Federal only has two minor arterial crossings and just one block off of 10th.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      What is appealing about 10th to me is that it solves two issues at once: It makes a needed connection in a way that is intuitive and it fixes a currently dangerous situation (downhill on 10th is what greenways folks would call a “black diamond run”). Paving Federal would do nothing to make 10th safer.

      It could also be an opportunity to speed up buses with new in-lane stops, which is a worthy project in its own. I haven’t gone out with a tape measure, but it looks like a two-way cycle track with two general lanes and parking could all fit. Something like (west to east): Curb, general lane, general lane, parking/bus island, buffer, cycle track, curb. That’s like 40′ or so. Anyone know how wide 10th is?

  2. Ray

    I would love for the extension to go as far north as possible, further bolstering the connection between the Asian Art Museum and Volunteer Park with the rest of Capitol Hill. I have argued that the biggest problem with cycling in Seattle is inter-connectivity between neighborhoods, and the best way to get from Capitol Hill to UW is undoubtedly 10th Ave, which is pretty much an extension of Broadway anyway. I have high hopes for the cycle track and streetcar on Broadway, as well as the effects of the LightRail on motorist traffic in the future for Seattle as a whole. Now we just need a solid east-to-west route through South Lake Union towards Seattle Center that doesn’t require strange detours around all the crazy construction and Aurora. (I love the random connection between Melrose/Roy and Eastlake Ave!) Too often am I forced to take Denny, which really means I’m forced to get on and off the sidewalk at random, putting myself and pedestrians in potentially sticky situations…

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Yes, we’ve only been talking about south of Roanoke. From Roanoke to the U District is a whole other issue. The south end of the U Bridge would make my list of the top 5 cycling problem spots in the city. So much potential. Unfortunately, it’s going to take some creative solutions and probably a complete redesign of the whole area between Harvard and the bridge, maybe more. An Eastlake Streetcar would be a chance to address the issue, but we can’t wait that long. We at least need an interim solution while we wait for such a project.

      1. …He didn’t directly mention the University Bridge… in fact, depending on configuration at Montlake, a connection with a Portage Bay Bridge trail could obviate the need to cross the University Bridge for some UW trips.

  3. Brrian

    I fail to see how a cycle track would increase safety on the steep sections of 10th Ave. I know I would be terrified to ride uphill against cyclists pushing 30mph down the hill.

    1. Gary

      I agree, steep downhill/uphill is not good terrain for cycle tracks. I’d rather ride in traffic going downhill. Coming uphill on the other hand having a protected lane to grind up the hill is good. Beats riding on the sidewalk or crawling up the door zone lane.

  4. […] the bikeway will stretch from Denny Way to Yesler Way. Plans are also in the works to extend it at least as far as Roy and potentially even all the way down 10th Ave to Roanoke Park […]

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