Ballard’s first neighborhood greenway is coming together in pieces. Speed humps will be installed soon to keep car speeds low. The flashing beacons for 24th Ave NW, a key part of the project, will not be ready until July.
Here’s an update from SDOT:
Weather permitting construction starts mid-week to install 18 speed humps along the corridor. This work will have significant short-term on-street parking impacts. On-street parking must be restricted in the work zone during construction. Speed hump construction requires parking restrictions for a minimum of two days and may include additional time for prep. Construction notices will be delivered to impacted properties prior to work starting, as well as ‘no park’ signs placed.
We understand that on-street parking is in high demand and appreciate your patience while we make this safety improvement. Once complete, speed humps will not interfere with on-street parking, because it is okay to park over them.
Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons
The flashing beacons are on order and scheduled for installation at 24th Avenue NW this July.
Signs and Pavement Markings
Within the next couple of weeks you’ll start to notice crosswalk and crossbike stripping at 20th and 32th Avenue NW; painting, reflectors and signs around the partial diverter at 15th Avenue NW; and new 20 mph signs. The final piece of the project is to install wayfinding signs, stop signs, greenway signs and bicycle pavement markings. This work is currently scheduled to for late July.
Hopefully you have noticed the new ADA curb ramps, wider sidewalk at Seaview Avenue NW and new partial diverter at 15th Avenue NW in front of St Alphonsus School. Precision Cutting is also been busy making temporary sidewalk repairs. Project details can be found at www.seattle.gov/transportation/ballardgreenway.htm.
Video of a similar “rectangular rapid flash beacon” crossing:
The intersection around 0:50 in the video is luidcrous. 5 lanes plus bike lanes to cross and pedestrians get… a flashing yellow light? Maybe more appropriate at 24th (3 lanes plus bike lanes).
Is 24th getting a median treatment also?
No kidding! And it’s at the bottom of a hill! No way are cars coming down the hill going to stop for a pedestrian… slow down maybe.
Even in car-centric suburbs, compliance with RRFBs is amazingly good. The video does a poor job of showing just how conspicuous those flashing beacons are, they’re no ordinary blinking light.
The Interurban Trail has a relatively new RRFB at 15th SW in Auburn, just south of the Supermall — 4 lanes plus bike lanes, lousy visibility because of nearby intersections and a slightly-elevated railroad crossing, typical traffic speeds of 45+ mph, but motorist compliance with the signal is surprisingly good for a car-dominated South King County suburban mall environment.
At least at the one in Auburn there’s a median.
Maybe this is because I grew up in a place where drivers would never yield to pedestrians in a mid-block crosswalk, but I would never put myself in a position to trust drivers to obey the signal on a road of that size. With the median at least there’s a safe (-ish) spot in the middle of the road. The one in the video seems absurd. Crossing a road like that there should be a proper traffic signal. Drivers stop at those at higher rates than the 80% cited in the video!
I’m a little confused about what’s happening at 24th. Originally there was supposed to be a median island with a bike-sneak that would prevent (automobile) left turns at that intersection. But that plan was scrapped because of ridiculous objections from the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and the owners of the apartment/condo building on that corner. Basically they decided to scrap a well-considered intersection treatment because literally a handful of cars every day might have to drive one block out of their way to get to the entrance to their private parking garage. Presumably this flashing beacon thing was called a “compromise” and everyone wins!
But the other day I was biking past that intersection and I noticed spray-painted outlines for what looks like a median island in the center turning lane on 24th Ave at 58th St. I don’t know why these would be spray painted unless they were actually marking the site for a contractor. So maybe there was another reversal? I know that a number of cyclists, including myself, wrote strongly worded objections to the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. I never got a response, but perhaps they decided to drop their objections.
To be clear, this is all speculation based on some spray paint marks on the asphalt. Could be a false alarm.
But I have little doubt that if this flashing beacon is in fact the solution that gets installed, it will be replaced within a year with a proper intersection treatment after the first unfortunate “accident.”
I haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on at 24th either. It looks like SDOT may be installing some concrete (based on the paint), similar to the Wallingford Greenway at Stone Way*. I’m curious to see what happens.
What about the crossing at 8th ave NW? Is there going to be an easy way for a cyclist to trigger the light?
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