The 39th Ave NE greenway could soon reach NE 90th Street

Wedgwood-Greenway-MapBy most measures, the 39th Ave NE project was the city’s first truly successful experiment with neighborhood greenways. Funded by Seattle Children’s and developed through the hard work of NE Seattle Greenways, the project was the first to include stop signs for cross streets and included a fantastic new connection to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The route is not perfect, but it’s pretty close. It has also helped to highlight the need for speed humps to slow cars and better arterial crossings at future neighborhood greenways.

The route is well used by people of all ages and abilities, and the city is already planning a short extension of the route north to NE 90th Street near Our Lady of the Lake School. From there, the route will turn and head west, including an improved crossing of the busy and poorly-designed 35th Ave NE.

If all goes according to schedule, construction could begin this fall.

You can learn more about the plans and give your feedback at an open house tonight (Thursday), 6:30–8 p.m. at Thornton Creek School Cafeteria. The presentation starts at 7.

More details from SDOT:

In 2013, SDOT and Seattle Children’s Hospital completed a neighborhood greenway along 39th Avenue NE between the Burke-Gilman Trail and NE 80th Street. If you have not used it, we encourage you to check it out.

This year we’re looking at extending a north-south route in the area of 38th and 39th avenues NE from NE 80th to 89th, or 90th streets and over to 32nd Avenue NE. We want to hear from the people who live, work, shop and play along these streets. We’ll be holding two public meetings. The first meeting shares traffic data and helps SDOT staff understand where people want to walk and bike and barriers to doing so. At the second meeting we share the results of technical analysis and public comment and the most promising route with recommended safety improvements.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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10 Responses to The 39th Ave NE greenway could soon reach NE 90th Street

  1. biliruben says:

    Up here in the sticks (i.e. Lake City), I’ve been trying to scout and map connections to places, I, and very likely others, would want to go. Connections to Wedgwood and MapleLeaf/Northgate are foremost on my mind.

    Northgate, for obvious reasons – it’s a retail hub and I hear it will eventually get a train.

    Wedgwood, because I kinda like it, and so does my boy. Me for the Fiddler and Alehouse, my boy more for Top Pot. ;)

    Getting to both those places is much more difficult than it has to be, mainly because of Thornton Creek Watershed and the hills it creates, as well as the gulf that is 95th street. I have some ideas about actually using the creek as a positive to get to Northgate, but Wedgwood is more problematic.

    Given the stated barriers, I can understand the turn towards Wedgwood elementary, but I am also hoping to figure out a way to connect our proposed a 37th/38th Ave Greenway up in these parts with the established 39th Ave NE Greenway.

    Here’s a map with a couple possibilities for crossing 95th. I would love to hear any brainstorming from folks who are familiar with the area.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s an updated URL –


  2. Andres Salomon says:

    Thanks for the coverage, Tom!

    And yeah, we definitely need to get together with Cam and others to connect Lake City Greenways w/ NE Greenways.

    I also remain concerned that if we don’t get our act together regarding those connections, we will miss out on a substantial investment in NE 95th ( ). Because NE 95th is the boundary between Lake City and the various neighborhoods covered by NE Greenways (Wedgwood, etc), and because of geographic difficulties, it has not received much attention on the various maps we’ve created. We need to fix that before the planning for NE 95th is finished!

  3. stardent says:

    “Well used” – I live nearby and I see it’s rarely used. Maybe in the summer.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      I live *on* the greenway (at NE 62nd & 39th). You’re clearly not looking, if you think it’s rarely used. As a matter of fact, the official bike counter on the greenway counted over 5000 bicycles in the month of January 2014. That’s squarely in the middle of winter.

      This is why it’s valuable to have these bike counters, so that when people make comments like, “I live near X and I never see people biking!”, we can reply with factual data. Anecdotal evidence like the fact that I can count more bicycles than cars on my block during a weekday rush hour means nothing to people, but we now have actual counts.

      • stardent says:

        So that’s about 80 bicycles on average per day. I think we differ on what well used is. I can see more bicycles on a short stretch of BGT in half an hour than this.

      • Andres Salomon says:

        First of all, the Burke is a car-free trail that’s been around for 30ish years. It goes to UW, Fremont, Ballard, and up and over the lake. It is flat. It is long and mostly continuous.

        The 39th Ave Greenway was completed exactly a year ago, goes up a hill, and connects the trail to a school and some places that a few people live. It is a short segment, and doesn’t directly connect to anywhere (yet).

        So yes, it’s not as well-used as the trail. That doesn’t equate to being “rarely used”. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

        Second, that’s 167 bicycles average per day, not 80. 5203/31. Or are you counting round trips?

        And finally, we have trail data too. There’s a counter on the Burke at NE 70th. Given that the counter on the greenway is at NE 62nd*, I think that’s a somewhat fair comparison. If you look at the NE 70th Burke bike counter for the month of January 2014, there were 17891 bicycles counted. So the 39th Ave counter saw 29% of the traffic of the Burke. That doesn’t sound rarely used to me. It actually sounds quite significant.

        * North of my house, which means my frequent trips down to the Burke are never counted.

  4. stardent says:

    Now I am beginning to wonder about these counters because I occasionally ride up from BGT on 39th and I rarely, if ever, encounter another cyclist whereas on BGT it is rare that there is not at least another cyclist riding along. This would be during normal commute hours.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      There are lots of interesting details. For example, January’s numbers were actually better than February’s (probably because the weather was worse in Feb?). Both counters are down in Feb (28 days instead of 31), but the avg count on the Burke is *way* down. What’s interesting is that the percentage of people on the greenway vs Burke gets even higher (almost 40%!)

      Here are the numbers:
      Jan 2014 39th: 5203 over 31 days (167.8 per day)
      Jan 2014 Burke: 17891 over 31 days (577.1 per day)

      Feb 2014 39th: 4578 over 28 days (163.5 per day)
      Feb 2014 Burke: 12381 over 28 days (442.2 per day)

      Usage times between the segments vary quite a bit, too. Looking at Feb 1st weekend, the Burke counter was averaging 150 cyclists per hour between 10am and 3pm. The rest of the following week, not a single hour reaches more than 92 cyclists. So that segment is hugely popular on the weekends.

      Looking at the greenway counter for the Feb 1st weekend, you can see roughly 10-20 bikes per hour between 10am and 3pm. During the following week, it really picks up during rush hours times; 33 bikes/hr avg between 7am and 9am, and more spaced out in the afternoon, with 25 bikes/hr avg between 3pm and 8pm. The greenway is more popular with the commuters. However, even those numbers (33 bikes/hr) mean you’ll only see a bicycle every 2 minutes at peak times. Which about matches what I see outside my living room window on a daily basis.

      • stardent says:

        Thanks Andres! I am now really curious about how these counters operate? What happens when riders are abreast or a whole bunch of riders pass them in a very short time? What is their resolution? What about tandems? What about stroller, wheelchairs, etc., etc..

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