The never-ending Fremont Bridge painting project is, well, getting close to ending. But some of the biggest closures are still to come.
Workers will close the bridge overnight from midnight to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will only be two chances to get across the bridge, so anyone biking late at night might want to plan on routing to other bridges.
Details from SDOT:
The Seattle Department of Transportation’s painting project on the Fremont Bridge is nearing completion. One of the last areas to be painted requires leaving one of the two spans of the bridge upright to expose surface areas which are otherwise inaccessible. This work will be done on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29, between midnight and 7 a.m. when traffic volumes are light. Pedestrians and bicycles (but not vehicles) will be allowed 5 minute long crossing periods at 1:20 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. – otherwise all traffic must use alternate routes during this early morning closure.
The painting project began in August 2014 and consists of preparing and re-coating the steel parts of the bridge to help keep them from rusting. SDOT paints the bridge every 12 to 15 years to prolong its useful life.
If possible, detouring to the University Bridge could be wise even if it adds a lot of distance to your trip. Or maybe this is a good time to give the sidewalks across the Aurora Bridge a try (they’re better than the Ballard Bridge, and the view is amazing).
The Aurora Bridge sidewalks connect from Bridge Way/N 38th St in Fremont to Raye St/6th Ave N on Queen Anne. So you get to skip a lot of hill climbing compared to the Fremont Bridge, which is pretty cool. Just be careful entering and leaving the side streets. I do not recommend biking in the roadway across the bridge. People drive very fast and probably won’t expect you to be there. And be ready for nasty bumps in the sidewalk.
Pedestrians and bicycles (but not vehicles)
Which is it, bicycles or no bicycles?
Sure, it’s a bit snarky, but someone needs to tell SDOT’s public relations folks that bicycles are vehicles.
The bridge will be open for pedestrians and bicycles, but not motorists, or motor vehicles.
While I’m a big fan of snark and hyperbole, I’m going to say you have to pick you battles. From the wording, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they only open the sidewalks (or even just one of them).
While people riding bicycles have a right to the road, there is a limit to how far one should push the “vehicle” label. While riding on sidewalks has some issues, and confident riders should probably avoid it, for less confident riders, and lacking decent bicycle infrastructure, it can be a useful option. And, hey, if they are vehicles what do you need special lanes for anyway? And where the *&$% is your license plate !
also, see: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/02/09/im-not-a-cyclist-supporting-safer-streets-is-obvious-once-you-ditch-vehicle-language/
Regardless of your opinion, bikes have all the rights of any other vehicle on the road.
It’s important to remind SDOT that bicycles are vehicles because bicycle facilities, whether on the road or separate, need to be suitable for vehicles.
Bicycles aren’t pedestrians. They can’t step sideways. They can’t stop or pivot on a dime. They have wheels that drop into ruts and rail slots.
Bicycles travel linearly, they need turning clearance, sight distances, stopping distances.
Compared to some ignoramus who thinks all vehicles should have license plates, people who don’t think bicycles are vehicles are a much more pressing threat to my safety on a bike.
Might as well get it done during the Dexter closures, I guess…
I think a bigger problem are the seemingly random closures of the Fremont bridge sidewalk at around 7am, approaching peak usage time. When it is raining and the metal bridge grates are wet. Doesn’t leave a single good option for bicycles or pedestrians.
The terrible detour sign placement has been the thorn in my side. I typically come up 34th, cross Fremont and go south along the east side of the bridge, to connect to Westlake.
The signs that state the east side of the bridge is closed were placed in such a way that they were difficult to see, until you had already crossed Fremont. It took me a couple times in January (or whenever they started closing one sidewalk) to learn where to look for the closure signs, while still on the west side of Fremont.
I mentioned it to some of the construction crew, but they gave me a look of “the fuck do I care?”. Once guy even blew his vapor cigarette in my face. I guess if I cared enough, I’d voice a complaint to SDOT.
I have found them surly also. I agree that they should wait for the peak usage to pass before closing the sidewalk in the morning, especially when it is wet. I have been seeing a lot of bike commuters riding across the bridge decking. I don’t think that is very safe.
I don’t think that making the decision to ride in the street is a matter of confidence, it is a matter of deciding whether or not it is safe to ride in the street. I think that largely it is still is not.
For me, since I ride Westlake, I’m forced to cross at the pedestrian crossing on the north side of the intersection of Dexter/Westlake/Fremont/Nicker. Due to the light cycle there taking a long time, I try to judge before I cross the bridge, whether I need to ride the deck or if I can dismount and cross the bridge normally, and make the pedestrian signal.
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