For much of northeast Seattle, Roosevelt Way is the primary bike route connection to the University of Washington, the University Bridge and beyond. Unfortunately, it is also a hotspot for collisions and injuries for people biking. Nearly 20 people have been injured in collisions while biking on Roosevelt in just the past four years.
As Andres Salomon noted in a guest post here in September, the city has plans and funding to repave Roosevelt Way and parts of 11th Ave NE. But early plans included few if any bike facility updates despite the street’s collision history and recommendations in the city’s Bike Master Plan for protected bike lanes.
Well, the city listened and is planning to try out a temporary one-way protected bike lane on Roosevelt between NE 45th Street and the University Bridge before paving begins. Crews are scheduled to install this bike lane in December and January.
The current bike lane is a skinny, paint-only lane squeezed between fast cars and buses headed downhill and parked cars. Much of the bike lane is well within the door zone, meaning someone opening the door of a parked car could easily open it in the path of a person biking down the hill.
The city’s proposed temporary bike lane upgrade would move the bike lane to the curb and use the existing bike lane as a buffer space lined with reflective posts. Here’s what that would look like, according to SDOT:
This is a huge step forward for the repaving plans, and University Greenways recently wrote a letter to city and SDOT leaders urging them to stretch the protected bike lane plans into the rest of the paving project area. They even created a petition you can sign if you agree with them:
Now we’d like you to continue your bold thinking. Under the current repaving plan, Roosevelt Way NE from NE 45th St to NE 65th St and 11th Ave NE will remain a dangerous and uncomfortable street for people of all ages and abilities where collisions are all too common. We ask that you create all ages and abilities, family-friendly biking and walking facilities on Roosevelt Way NE and 11th Ave NE as part of the already funded repaving project. This would best be accomplished by extending the planned protected bike lane from NE 45th St to NE 65th St, improving the experience for people walking along and across the road, and studying whether a rechannelization would make the street safer and more orderly for everyone.
You can also learn more and submit your feedback in person at an open house 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. November 17 at University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way NE, Room: 108. The presentation will begin at 6:15.
Here’s the project flyer from SDOT: