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Journey to 1 Million Fremont Bike Trips: If we get there, what should the reward be?

fremont_update_May_13Last week’s Fremont Bridge bike count: 28,414. Another record-breaking week, but we need to do better if we want to top one million trips in 2013.

What should our reward be for getting to one million? A big bike party in Fremont? A safer Fremont Avenue? A fixed Ballard Bridge? All of the above?

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24 responses to “Journey to 1 Million Fremont Bike Trips: If we get there, what should the reward be?”

  1. Steve Campbell

    The journey is its own reward.

  2. Ken

    A safer Fremont Ave, indeed. The intersection of Fremont and 40th is consistently abused by SB drivers who swerve into the bike line in order to get past the vehicles turning left. Although I’ve yet to witness an accident, there have been quite a few close calls.

  3. Matthew

    Does the Fremont bike counter register bikes that cross the bridge on the street? I don’t take the sidewalks on the bridge — they’re just too narrow for me to safely pass pedestrians or other cyclists. I definitely see other cyclists taking a lane over the bridge too. Do we get counted? I’m guessing not, but I’ve never stopped to check.

    1. You won’t get counted in the lane. The counter loops are in the pavement on each sidewalk.

      Congestion on the bridge would generally be better if cyclists only went south on the west side and north on the east. I don’t think it would be an unreasonable restriction…

      The surface (metal grating) in the lane is pretty slippery when it rains, but… Chicago paints bike lanes on metal grating. Sometimes in heavy traffic I go out into the lane, too.

      1. Leif Espelund

        Seriously, every day I see cyclists going the wrong direction on the bridge. It is annoying and creates chaos.

      2. BobH

        If you’re coming Northbound from Dexter with the goal of ending up Westbound on the BGT, what is the “correct” way to do it? SDOT didn’t design the intersections at all, so it’s just a free-for-all. The fastest and easiest way can be to hop onto the West side of the arterial before crossing Nickerson.

        The problem isn’t cyclist going the wrong direction (btw, is this a rule??), it’s SDOT not implementing a coherent network of bicycle facilities.

      3. Kirk from Ballard

        Bob, bikes can go either direction on any sidewalk. If I’m heading northbound on the bridge, I always stay on the east lane, then merge onto the bike lane eastbound, and loop under the bridge westbound on the BGT.

      4. It isn’t a rule… but I think it should be a rule specifically on the Fremont Bridge. The Montlake Bridge is sort of similar, but the sidewalk is a little wider and bike/pedestrian volumes are lower; also there are actually some common trips on Montlake where it’s much harder to use the right sidewalk (going south toward the Lake Washington Loop, going south from the Montlake Flyer Stop, going north from the Montlake Playground area). On the Aurora and Ballard bridges the sidewalks are pretty bad but they’re similarly hard to cross in key places and generally don’t have much bike or pedestrian traffic. The Fremont Bridge is sort of unique.

        Another way to get from northbound Fremont Ave. toward the westbound BGT is to use the bike box to make a two-stage turn onto 34th, then follow that down to the trail.

      5. I’m not sure SDOT expects people to go between the BGT on the West and the Fremont Bridge at all, certainly compared to the longer-distance traffic to the east. Is there a bike box on northbound Fremont Ave?

  4. If we get to 1 million trips the rewards should be (choosing small things that are specifically relevant to this route and connected ones):

    – A bike lane to the right of a bus island on Fremont Ave between 34th and 35th (this isn’t really all that big, and the bike-bus conflict coming north from the bridge probably significantly reduces the pool of people willing to bike through there all by itself).
    – Banning left turns from northbound Fremont Ave to 34th at all times of day (this turn is scary stuff, or rather, drivers trying to scoot through gaps in traffic without checking for bikes and pedestrians is scary stuff).
    – Immediate closure of 7th Ave between Aurora and Dexter.
    – A crackdown on parking in the bike lane all along the Interurban route (revenue from this funds all of the above).

    If that all was at stake I’d ride around in circles until we got to a million.

  5. Stefan

    I wonder what the count is over the I-90… I ride that to and from work everyday (with the few exceptions I need my car for a job meeting). I see a ton of bikers just for my short 40 minute ride from Bellevue to Downtown Seattle.

    1. Glen

      Not sure about counts on I-90 but I imagine the annual bike count must be counting there once a year.

      Getting bike counters on both the I-90 and new 520 bridges would be great to see.

    2. Gary

      No where near the 28K per week.

      Here’s the Bellevue city count from 2010

  6. biliruben

    Counting begets counting. If we hit a million…

    “Counters for all my choke-points!”

    West Seattle lower bridge.
    University Bridge
    Montlake Bridge
    Ballard Bridge
    I-90 Bridge
    Pine Street? What’s best off the hill?
    How about SODO? Is there a common choke point that nearly all bikes come through?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Don’t forget the ferry terminal!

      No consensus on route off Hill yet. They all suck in their own ways. Put a cycle track on Pike, and we could put a counter on that :-)

      There’s no common Sodo point, but the Alaskan Way Trail would be a good spot. Or the 1st Avenue cycle track (though we’d have to build it first…)

      1. I think the definitive SODO chokepoint is the railyard. Unfortunately none of the crossings are particularly good. The sidewalk on the new Airport Way S Bridge is, in a vacuum, better than any of the ship canal crossings except maybe the U Bridge, but it doesn’t really get you anywhere — Airport Way itself isn’t too nice in either direction and getting to the 1st Ave S Bridge to cross the Duwamish is one of the most confusing and terrifying things you can do on a bike in Seattle.

  7. Charles

    How about if the city fixes a random poorly designed intersection that hasn’t killed someone yet (but looks like it will) every time we cross the one million mark?

    I really hate the idea of waiting for someone to die before taking serious action on fixing clear problems for pedestrians/motorists/bicyclists in areas that we are all trying our best to share.

    1. Leif Espelund

      Seriously, it is so frustrating that change only (maybe) comes when someone dies.

  8. Matthew

    Three possible rewards that won’t cost much and would make my life better:

    – Some decent bike parking in downtown Fremont. How about, say, three bike corrals? We need to figure out some way to spin this as not “losing parking spots” but actually gaining parking spots. If they’re actually planning to install those big awkward bike share kiosks all over the city, we’re going to have to fight this fight anyway. Why not start by providing easy and plentiful bike parking in walkable urban cores?

    – Re-evaluate the traffic light where the Burke-Gilman crosses Stone Way. There’s a lot to complain about at that intersection, obviously, but there are a few really simple steps that could improve cycling there: first, 12 seconds is not enough time to safely clear all of the bikes that pile up on both sides of the intersection at rush hour. Extend the bike signal (*) to a more reasonable time, say 25 seconds, at least during rush hour. Second, no right turn on red.

    – Improve the lighting on the section of the trail between Stone and Gas Works Park. This is where the trail runs past the black fence of perpetual graffiti, and then passes the old box trucks that have been rotting away in a deep pool of water for years. The lighting there is non-existent except for the bright light coming from just behind that black fence that manages to always shine directly into my eyes.

    * Actually, I’ve never really been clear on whether bikes are required to follow the pedestrian signal if they are biking along the Burke-Gilman, or whether they’re supposed to follow the traffic light. If you’re biking in the bike lane eastbound on N 34th St, intending to merge onto the trail at the far side of the intersection, presumably you follow the traffic light, but if you’re already on the trail, what do you do?

    1. biliruben

      I don’t have a problem with right on red here. I’m not crossing on the red. I have a problem with right on green, though generally cars and courteous and aware. This intersection actually deserves a separate bike green, that gives bikes a head start.

      Right on red clears cars when bikes aren’t in the intersection, and decreases driver frustration here; both good things. If there were significant N-S crossings, which there doesn’t seem to be, I would agree with you that doing away with right on red would improve things. Maybe you are thinking from westbound to northbound?

      1. Matthew

        The right-on-red that I have a problem with is people turning east onto 34th from, uh, whatever Stone is called on the south side of the intersection. Making that right-on-red requires pulling your car into the crosswalk and (at least temporarily) blocking it. Maybe you could imagine allowing a right-on-red there only when the southbound traffic has a green (i.e., when the Burke-Gilman ped/bike signal is in the do-not-cross phase), but how would you explain that using standard traffic signs? Better just to prohibit it.

        I agree that the intersection deserves a separate bike green. I go back and forth on this part, but generally I think having some clear painted marks indicating “lanes” on the path would be helpful, especially on the east side of the intersection. That’s where you have trail users heading east merging with cyclists switching from the bike lane on 34th onto the trail, kind of surrounding the westbound trail traffic and making for some uncomfortable merges. A bike/ped-only signal would help with this problem too.

      2. Biliruben

        Ah. I never noticed my much of that, but if its a problem, we should nix it.

      3. I’m not sure who would do that. Wouldn’t most of that traffic have just been heading the opposite direction on Northlake Way? How easy would it be for them to use Northlake Pl instead?

      4. Matthew


        Yes, you’re right that most traffic in that scenario is turning left (west) or going straight (north), so the right-on-red traffic is not a substantial part of the overall traffic at that intersection. Most of the right turns, in my daily experience at that intersection, come from drivers who are exiting the parking area / cut-through that runs along the water, south of the trail. I’m not sure what this street is called, but it connects Stone to the Google/Adobe office park area. Drivers heading east from that parking area make a left (which I’m not entirely sure is a legal turn, but it’s routinely done) and then turn right on 34th to head east. Another solution to the problem would just be to ban left turns out of that cut-through.

        It’s not a big problem, true, but it happens often enough that I’ve made a note of it. I’m generally just against right-turn-on-red anywhere in the city, because it gives drivers the sense that they’re allowed to block the crosswalk while they wait to turn right.

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