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City details plan to build Roosevelt bike lanes and avoid parking crunch

Roosevelt Parking Folded Mailer_v1-map-4

Planned design for Roosevelt, from SDOT
Planned design for Roosevelt, from SDOT

The city has outlined a plan, developed with community help, to ease concerns about a parking crunch once the Roosevelt protected bike lanes are built in late 2015 and early 2016.

This is a win-win-win plan that preserves enough parking to meet maximum parking use in the area while also making space for a wide protected bike lane and possibly increasing safety on residential side streets in the process.

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Simply put, the city went out and explored all opportunities to add more parking on nearby side streets to mitigate removal of spaces on Roosevelt itself. They found a bunch of blocks where parking is only allowed on one side of the street, so they measured the streets and checked with nearby emergency services (there’s a fire station at NE 50th St) to confirm that adding parking would work.

In total, they found space for 98 new parking spaces, or 81 percent of total spaces displaced by the bike lane. That’s ten percent more than needed to meet the existing parking use, which averages 71 percent on the corridor. In fact, the peak usage staff measured was 82 percent during midday on a weekday, just about perfectly met by the parking plan.

Plus, the new parking is likely better than the existing parking, since parallel parking on a super fast and busy street like Roosevelt can be a stressful experience. So now there will be more space on low-traffic, slow residential streets.

And as a side effect, the new parking will likely make traffic on those residential side streets slower. Seattle’s many narrow residential streets with parking on both sides consistently show speeds at or below 20 mph, a huge benefit to safety for everyone. Not only are collisions far less likely at that speed, but injuries are far less severe in cases where rare collisions do happen.

The plan also includes adding 20 bike racks along the corridor. After all, the best way to mitigate a parking crunch is to provide a quality way for a bunch of those existing parkers to get there by bike instead. There are definitely a ton of people in this bikey area who will bike on Roosevelt once it has an actually inviting space to bike in. I wonder if 20 bike racks will even be enough to meet the new demand.

The city will also l0ok into ways to encourage large apartment buildings to help residents get ORCA cards. Part of the need to remove parking on Roosevelt is to prepare the street design for new rapid transit service, which the city is currently studying. The “shared bus/drive lane” in the graphic at the top of this post could easily become a transit-only lane if the city creates a bus rapid transit or streetcar line.

The city will also adjust some parking rules along the way to make sure deliveries and short-term uses are accommodated. More details from a project flyer (PDF):

The Roosevelt Way NE Paving and Safety Improvement Project includes the installation of in-lane transit stops, pedestrian improvements and a protected bike lane. The bike lane will be located on the west side of the street. As a result, there will be a reduction in on-street parking spaces. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is committed to developing a parking management plan to continue addressing businesses and residents parking needs. We collected parking data and worked with community stakeholders to develop a draft plan. Here are the details.

  • Create a balance of 30-minute to four-hour parking on the east side of Roosevelt
  • Explore opportunities to add parking on adjacent streets
  • Guide residents through the Restricted Parking Zone process as requested
  • Install about 20 bike racks along the corridor
  • Consider locations for adding wayfinding and parking signs
  • Monitor paid parking areas in Roosevelt and the U-District on an annual basis to ensure SDOT is meeting target occupancy goals
  • Work with large multifamily building property owners to offer transportation incentives like ORCA transit cards

(Thanks for the tip, Andres!)

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18 responses to “City details plan to build Roosevelt bike lanes and avoid parking crunch”

  1. ronp

    Great job City! This should be standard operating procedure going forward. Would help to address business concerns in places like Eastlake Ave E.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Not sure this will always be an option. Many places have parking on all blocks already. But it works here and makes sense.

      1. ronp

        I occasionally drop my daughter off for music lessons on a single family residential street with parking on one side and always wonder why it is configured that way (26th Ave NE, north of NE 55th Ave NE). It just allows cars to drive too fast. Maybe the thinking was it helped people back out of their driveways?

        There must be a map of these streets somewhere?

      2. Andres Salomon

        This? http://web6.seattle.gov/SDOT/SeattleParkingMap/seattleparkingmap.htm

        I’ve spoken with SDOT folks in the past who have told me that too much car traffic + narrowed lanes leads to “poor driver behavior”, which I understood to mean aggressive driving and road rage. I’m guessing the logic to restrict parking followed along those lines; in a dense area, people are going to drive on residential streets regardless of what you do, so you must make it pleasant for them to do so.

        Luckily, it seems SDOT has moved past that kind of thinking.

  2. GlenBikes

    What’s the timeline for this? The SDOT mailer doesn’t specify but the survey is available until July 13th. The repaving will be done this summer/fall I assume?

    1. Andres Salomon

      The repaving was pushed back to very late 2015, and with fewer curb bulbs unfortunately. This blog post includes the letter that SDOT sent out:


      I really hope that the city completes their high capacity transit corridor study for Roosevelt quickly, and takes *that* opportunity to make it more inviting for folks walking. Reduction down to 1 lane of car traffic is the #1 thing the city could do to improve Roosevelt Way for all users.

  3. Harrison Davignon

    Finally the war on cars is ending and the balance of transportation options is beginning!!

  4. J Hole

    Great! A win win for every body! Except now I cannot park my vehicle on the east side of Roosevelt while I walk to work thanks to a 4 hour limit! Great! Win win!

  5. Peri Hartman

    This appears to be a better design than any existing bike lane that I have seen. With 7′ of bike lane and 4′ of buffer, I believe it wider than the lanes on Dexter. This should allow for safe travel at higher speeds than other places.

    1. … except for the driveways. The number and layout of driveways and intersections, and the amount of traffic using them, is what really limits safe travel speed. This is very apparent if you regularly ride the new lane on Roosevelt south of 45th (lately I’ve had reason to use it on weekends fairly often), or the new lane on Dexter south of Mercer.

      1. Peri Hartman

        True enough. It’s really scary if there’s a vehicle in a driveway or cross street. You have no idea if they’re going to wait or pull out in front of you.

  6. ronp

    We need protected bike lanes on NE 65th Street and a road diet, especially around RHS and the new Link rail station opening in five years. I see a lot of bikes around there now.

  7. sb

    fwiw, at tonight’s Candidates Forum for District 4 the following was asked during the lightning round (candidates held up signs together to quickly answer each question):

    “Do you support the protected bike lane on Roosevelt?”

    Jean Godden – “Yes”
    Rob Johnson – “Yes”
    Michael Maddux – “Don’t know yet” (or something to that effect)
    Abel Pacheco – “No”
    Tony Provine – “No”

    1. Quick clarification –

      The question was:

      “Do you support removing parking on Roosevelt for a protected bike lane?”

      The question that immediately preceded was the same, just substitute bus lane for bike lane. This came up during the last forum in Maple Leaf. I honestly have not had the opportunity to really dive into all of the available information on the corridor and how it fits in with the BMP.

  8. kurt

    The problem with parking on Roosevelt is the fact that the car repair shops and the rental agencies take up the parking. Why the city lets a Enterprise and Budget rentals get away with parking their cars on the streets is beyond me. They should follow their own rules.

  9. woody

    I remember about a year ago, when SDOT said they had extra funds (yay!) and they wanted to extend the bike lane to NE 65th and have curb bulbs and make the entire stretch from NE 42nd to NE 65th enjoyable by bikers and pedestrians.

    Alas, they now have less funds, but still want to implement the PBL all the way to NE 65th by not building the curb bulbs and other pedestrian improvements. Why don’t we just take the bike lane/pedestrian improvements up Roosevelt as far as the current financial system allows?

    All this talk about road diet, but throwing in a PBL without any curb bulbs actually will make crossing the street for pedestrians more difficult since they have to navigate a larger swath of pavement that has moving transportation on it. And car speeds will likely increase now that you just have a line of bollards along the right side of the road instead of parking. It’ll appear more wide open for drivers.

    I feel like it is a bit of a “bait and switch” by SDOT to say we are doing all these pedestrian improvements tied in to the PBL which probably converted a few pro-parking people to support the PBL (like myself), and then after public comment is over, remove the pedestrian improvements. Lame!

    SDOT should do what was promised, or if they can’t, go through the public outreach and comment period again.

    1. Andres Salomon

      “All this talk about road diet, but throwing in a PBL without any curb bulbs actually will make crossing the street for pedestrians more difficult since they have to navigate a larger swath of pavement that has moving transportation on it.”

      Sorry, but I’m going to have to call you on that. Go to the existing temporary PBL on Roosevelt. Go watch people crossing the street. Having personally experienced it many times, I can assure you that crossing at the PBL is *much* easier. First, you cross the bike lane. It’s pretty trivial to look to see if a bike’s coming. Then you’re standing, safely, in the buffer. Oncoming cars can clearly see you (instead of being hidden behind parked cars). It’s clear what your intention is (you’re trying to cross), as opposed to if you’re standing at the edge of the sidewalk (are you trying to cross, or are you just hanging out?).

      Seriously, there’s no comparison. Crossing from the PBL side is so much easier compared to the parking side.

      I can’t speak to the budget, but I would suspect that the cost of the PBL (paint + plastic posts) is dwarfed by the cost of curb bulbs (jackhammering, pouring concrete, drainage, reworking any underground lines, etc).

  10. […] is relatively easy. The city already plans a protected bike lane as part of next year’s repaving project, and the design of that lane […]

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