Project planners are holding an open house Wednesday to discuss neighborhood greenway routes in the corridor. The meeting goes from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Nova High School Auditorium in Miller Park.
Until recently, the 23rd Ave Corridor Project was only slated to stretch from Madison to Rainier. With the addition of a new phase, extending the project almost to the 520 Bridge, the city now has a golden opportunity to close a vital missing link in the bike route network. Safe bike lanes on 24th Ave would finally connect the Montlake business district and bridge directly to the Central District and Capitol Hill.
While some have argued that a neighborhood greenway parallel to 23rd Ave in the CD would be an adequate or desirable alternative to bike lanes on 23rd Ave itself (I remain unconvinced), there is no continuous, connected and bikeable neighborhood street parallel to 24th. The route shown on the map above does not really exist and would require some intense climbs, especially compared to the relatively gradual uphill on 24th.
I have argued in the past that 23rd Avenue would be a great place for quality bike lanes as a way to truly integrate biking and walking into the Central District’s most important north-south drag. But bike lanes on 24th are undeniably vital, and would be a great way to improve safety on the fast and unfriendly street that currently divides the neighborhood.
Not only would protected bike lanes make the street comfortable for people of all ages and abilities on wheels, they would also help people cross the street on foot.
To get those creative juices flowing, I made these quick sketch-ups to show what 24th Ave could possibly look like with a true complete streets redesign:
I don’t mean to suggest that this is the only possible design that would work. My point is that SDOT’s engineers are certainly capable of designing a street that puts safety at the top of the priority list and keeps the buses moving on schedule.
However, project planner Maribel Cruz said bike lanes are not currently being considered, though they are “not off the table.”
With a budget of $46 million, there is no excuse not to invest in the safety and accessibility of all Seattle and central neighborhood residents. Let’s do this right.