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Regional Council recommends funds for 7th Ave bike lanes, Bellevue trail design + more

Supplemental_Funding_Action_Procedures_and_2014_Supplemental_Funding_ActionThe Puget Sound Regional Council, which distributes federal transportation funding in the area, has recommended additional funding to build the 7th Ave protected bike lanes downtown, design a replacement Hed Ec bike/walk bridge on UW campus and to fully design two phases of the Mountains-to-Sound Trail (AKA I-90 Trail) in Bellevue.

The funds will help the council meet project delivery goals for 2014, and will help projects close remaining funding gaps. As we reported in December, the projects did not make it on the funding list initially, but were on the contingency list.

UW’s aging Hec Ed Bridge over Montlake Ave will receive $1.47 million. Replacing the bridge and redoing the uncomfortable trail crossing is a key and pricey piece of the UW’s Burke-Gilman Trail remake plans. So getting this funding could help the UW move forward with their ambitious trail plans, especially if the university wins the TIGER grant they are trying to get. Here are more details from the UW plan:

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7th Ave protected bike lane concept from a 2012 presentation to the City Council
7th Ave protected bike lane concept from a 2012 presentation to the City Council

The added 7th Ave protected bike lane money primes that project for completion in the next year or two. With city plans for a pilot protected bike lane on 2nd Ave this year, the need for a safe and comfortable bike connection to Dexter Ave will be more important than ever.

The city should definitely consider accelerating the 7th Ave project so it can be completed in 2015 and should begin design work on Pike Street protected bike lanes to connect the 2nd Ave, 7th Ave and Broadway protected bike lanes.

From a City of Bellevue trail study.

The City of Bellevue will receive $470,000 to complete full design for the first two segments of their Mountains-to-Sound Trail plan. Once completed, this extension would extend the trail from its current terminus at Factoria Blvd to the existing bike/walk bridge at 150th Ave SE.

The city made a soothingly-soundtracked video about closing the so-called Eastgate Gap a couple years ago:

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13 responses to “Regional Council recommends funds for 7th Ave bike lanes, Bellevue trail design + more”

  1. Andres Salomon

    Is that $200k the full budget for the 7th Ave project, or are there more funds coming from elsewhere? $200k for a cycletrack segment seems awfully cheap, but then again it’s only a 1/4mi segment between Dexter and Stewart.

    1. Andres Salomon

      Nevermind, I missed the “Preliminary Engineering” part.

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        Total project cost for design and build is estimated at $1.1 million just to get from Westlake Ave to Union. So this is just the design part of that.

    2. asdf2

      I hope 7th Ave. will become 2-way for bikes when the construction is all over. Not being able to go north on 7th today is somewhat annoying.

  2. Gary

    This video is terrible… “moms out with baby carriages?” Are they clueless? This part of the trail will run right next to the freeway, it’s not going to be pleasant to walk along.

    It’s going to be noisy and since there is a 500 drop in elevation from 150th to the Factoria interchange bicyclists coming down the hill on the trail can easily reach 25mph. Screaming by at 25mph+ is not going to be nice for anyone walking on it, or riding up it. Plus if the the section right at the Factoria interchange is any indication, it will be a blackberry corridoor. While it will make crossing onto the the existing trail from coming down the hill safer, riding up will either put you on the wrong side of the street for T-Mobil or Group Health, or the UW Medicine center. (all the businesses are on the S. side) and unless there are “safe” crossings, you may find the riding the street is actually safer.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      But the soundtrack is soooo soothing!

    2. Jonathan

      Better than nothing, which is about what Bellevue’s got. The one time I tried to bike to Issaquah I ended up lost and using a lot of sidewalks that didn’t feel much safer than the road.

      1. Gary

        Biking to Issaquah is actually one of the “best” routes in Bellevue. It’s biking to the city center which is really terrible, as well as going from the city center East toward Crossroads or Overlake. There are NO good routes for that except to ride in traffic.

  3. Ben P

    Your supposed go from 7th to 2nd on Pike? I’ve always gone on Stewart because it looked more direct on the map.

    “has significant gaps and barriers to it’s use” understatement of the day. Biking through that area is so annoying, I’m actually glad when I finally get on the freeway itself. Twisty poorly marked paths that randomly dump you on massive streets with a bunchs of bunched intersections, all with long lights. If not that it’s gratuitous zig zagging and hills climbing. The weirdest part is where you’re suddenly dropped onto what is not only not paved, but has a million little boulders poking out of the packed dirt. Compared to that, as long as I have ear protection the I-90 shoulder is downright pleasant.

    1. I don’t know that there’s a “supposed to” at all… all the east-west options are interchangeably mediocre. I usually take Bell if I’m on the way south and Blanchard coming north, to avoid crossing Westlake (with its streetcar tracks and long light cycles) and to cross Stewart/Olive at more advantageous places (generally I think you do better with traffic signals the farther west you are when you hit the crease between the Belltown grid and the downtown grid, though heading north you pay the price in steep climbs).

      Bell, because it continues directly from 9th, is uniquely well positioned for switching between the roads to the north end (7th and 9th) and the avenues that go through downtown (it’s really steep toward the water… but that’s true of every street until Washington, and 7th/9th don’t go to Washington). Had we not just rebuilt it Bell would be a great place to put a contraflow bike lane (literally the entire length of the street, in contravention of Seattle’s longstanding ban on consistent bike facilities along the entire length of streets). Actually, we should put it in regardless of the new silliness on Bell (which was built in accordance with Seattle’s longstanding tradition of not understanding the difference between a park and a street) — anything that’s in the way of the contraflow lane can be blown up and sunk in Mercer Slough (see below).

  4. The sad thing about the I-90 route is that the bumpy trail through the Mercer Slough is much more in need of replacement than the on-street route east of Factoria. To add insult to injury (or at least soreness), the Slough path makes you cross under I-90 twice for no discernible reason! One of these days we’ve got to replace it with a more direct, better surfaced path south of the freeway from Enatai to LWB. Let the connection to South Bellevue P&R stay, but otherwise, from the up-and-down bridge to LWB, let the existing hunk o’ junk sink into the swamp!

  5. O

    Ugh, I’ve been on mountain bike trails smoother than that section. What were/are they thinking?!

  6. […] 7th Ave bikeway: The Puget Sound Regional Council is recommending federal funding for a 7th Avenue bikeway. […]

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