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Central Area Neighborhood Greenway work will start this month

2015Phase1ImplementationMailerFINAL-mapWork will begin on the the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway next week, the first piece of a biking and walking route that will someday connect Judkins Park (and the I-90 Trail) to Interlaken Park (and the future 520 Trail) via Garfield and Miller Community Centers.

Constructed in three phases, the first segment is actually the middle phase, running from Jackson to John.

Once completed, it will be the first modern neighborhood greenway in either the Central District or Capitol Hill. It should be finished in “late winter 2015,” according to a project fact sheet.

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One of the most important elements of the route, however, will not be ready until the 23rd Ave repaving project is finished in 2016. The greenway route will someday cross 23rd at Columbia Street, which is a future neighborhood greenway candidate itself. But until that crossing is completed as part of the high-budget repaving project, the neighborhood greenway will be routed across 23rd at Cherry, according to project planners.

“The plan currently is to detour greenway traffic onto E Cherry St across 23rd,” said SDOT Communications Advisor Maribel Cruz in an email. “The thought process behind this was that there is already an existing signalized intersection there that will provide the safest crossing possible. The interim solution will likely be in place for 15-18 months while the larger 23rd project catches up.”

The Cherry Street bike lanes currently end at 24th Ave and pick up again at 21st Ave. The crossing at 23rd today does not have any bike lanes and is far from meeting the all ages and abilities standard neighborhood greenways strive for. But it really wouldn’t be too hard to extend the bike lanes through the intersection or at least update the design to NACTO standards:

Today, the Cherry Street bike lanes disappear before the intersection. This could be a chance to connect them.
Today, the Cherry Street bike lanes disappear before the intersection. This could be a chance to connect them.

Here are more details on the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway:

Installation of Phase 1 of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway begins the week of January 19. Phase 1 runs between E. John Street and S. Jackson Street along 21st Avenue E, 22nd Avenue E, and 25th Avenue S. Installation elements include:

  • Bicycle pavement markings
  • Stop signs on all streets crossing the greenway
  • Flashing beacons for pedestrians and bicyclists at arterial crossings: 25th Avenue S and E Yesler Way; 25th Avenue S and E Cherry Street
  • Enhanced pedestrian traffic signal at 22nd Avenue E and E Union
  • Approximately one speed hump per block on the route

This work will necessitate some temporary on-street parking restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist detours, and some light construction noise. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained except when temporary restrictions are necessary. Normal work hours will be 9 AM to 4 PM. Installation is expected to be complete in late Winter 2015.

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16 responses to “Central Area Neighborhood Greenway work will start this month”

  1. Andres Salomon

    Does “late Winter 2015” mean Q4 2015, or mid-March 2015?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Mid-March. At least that’s how I understood it. Q4 would be “early winter.”

      1. Andres Salomon

        Yes, but Q4 would be “late (Winter) 2015,” hence my confusion. :)

        Glad to see it won’t take a year to finish!

  2. Gary

    Nice as this is, for a quiet ride, I prefer Judkins to 21st, and then jog over to 18th as the hill rises.

  3. David Amiton

    Are there any details about what sorts of treatments will be used between Pine and Madison? It seems like the elephant in the room is the amount of automobile traffic generated by the Safeway parking lot and its entrance on 22nd. I mean, I get that there’s an existing signal at Madison, but if you can’t get to the signal safely then that presents a problem. Additionally, the 3-way intersection north of Madison can be pretty hairy given the narrow street width and abundant on-street parking. Are there any improvements planned for that intersection?

    Lastly, it doesn’t appear that there is any type of diversion treatment along the route. Has SDOT collected any traffic counts along the greenway — especially the northern portion — that would give us a better sense of whether diversion is warranted? I’m worried that the northern portion could become even more of a cut-through than it already is for cars looking to bypass traffic on 23rd.

    1. Andres Salomon

      We really need to get SDOT on board with treating diversions as standard treatments along greenways.

      1. dave

        I totally agree. If it just becomes a cut-through route then it’s a failure. Do it the right way like they do in Portland.

        One more question: I know this isn’t until the next phase, but how will it work on 21st Ave north of John, which is currently one-way southbound? Maybe they’ll just change the signage for northbound traffic to say “Do Not Enter Except Bicycles,” but there’s a bulb-out there that necks it down, so if there’s a vehicle going southbound, it probably won’t really be safe to enter there unless they take out the bulb.

    2. Gordon Padelford

      SDOT has said they are open to installing partial or full diverters where there is community support.

      Intersection diverters can be complicated and require a lot of engineering, but I’d love to see planter boxes in the middle of a long block essentially creating a cul-de-sac with walking and biking through access.

      1. Andres Salomon

        “Where there is community support” is a huge hurdle/caveat, though. We don’t expect community support for speed humps, they’re just part of the greenways package.

  4. Virchow

    Awesome! I am excited to see what this looks like. I completely agree that this is a good opportunity to finish the bike lane on Cherry.

  5. […] New Greenway: Construct of the Central Area Greenway will get underway this month. […]

  6. RDPence

    I’m curious how the exact routes are actually determined. Are there any origin/destination studies showing where cyclists actually want to ride? Is Interlaken Park really enough of a destination to warrant this investment? I’m certain that 98% of riders wanting to go from the Central Area to Montlake and the UW will do what they always do — ride on 23rd/24th avenues. Maybe less safe but certainly more convenient than a tortured route snaking through neighborhood side streets.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      For some history on how this route got chosen, check out this post: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/03/03/city-picks-hybrid-route-for-central-area-neighborhood-greenway/

      Unlike many of the city’s other neighborhood greenway routes, this one was selected due to it’s proximity to a street planners wanted to repave without adding bike lanes. So in order to try to sell the 23rd Ave repaving project as a “complete street,” planners early on found money for a “parallel” neighborhood greenway. Central Seattle Greenways had previously held a bunch of community meetings and came up with some ideas for routes in the neighborhood, and this route was not among them. Given the constraint that the route needed to follow near 23rd/24th, this was determined to be the best possible. People tried really hard to find the best route. Just ask the Silly Hilly participants: http://www.cascade.org/blog/2014/06/silly-hilly%E2%80%99s-recommendations-central-area-greenway

      I’ve been critical of this idea that a neighborhood greenway should be seen as an “alternative” to putting a bike lane on a nearby street. They are very different projects that should complement, not replace, each other: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2012/11/13/bike-master-plan-neighborhood-greenways-are-much-more-than-alternatives-to-bike-lanes/

      I still think the city needs to at least add protected bike lanes to 24th Ave connecting Capitol Hill/Central District to the Montlake Bridge and the future 520 Trail. The “parallel greenway” idea is already questionable enough with this greenway route between Judkins Park and Madison St. But Between Madison and Montlake, it’s absurd.

  7. […] Seattle Bike Blog says the first phase of work is slated to be wrapped up later this winter. SBB also provides insights on some of the most important bike and pedestrian work still to come to make the greenway a reality. […]

  8. […] area near the Safeway at the end of the BRT project is an interesting opportunity to connect the soon-to-be-constructed Central Area Neighborhood Greenway with a proposed Denny Way neighborhood greenway that would connect directly to the […]

  9. […] As we reported previously, the city is about to start work on the first phase of the Central Area Greenway, running from Jackson to John along 25th and 22nd Avenues. Well, we thought we should expand on our suggestion for a bike connection on E Cherry Street to fill a safety gap in the interim greenway detour. […]

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