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2nd Ave getting upgrades + Extension to Denny possible this year

Vancouver bike lanes use planter boxes (and usually curbs) to separate bike lanes downtown.
Vancouver B.C. bike lanes use planter boxes (and usually curbs) to separate bike lanes downtown.

After nearly a year and a half as a pilot project, the 2nd Ave bike lane is getting some significant — and hopefully more comfortable and attractive — upgrades.

Among the improvements are new planter boxes to help separate the bike lane from travel and parking lanes in addition to the existing reflective plastic posts.

We’ve already reported about signal improvements underway to clear up confusion about which signals apply to which lanes. Not all of those will be done by May, but work is ongoing SDOT staff said during Wednesday’s meeting of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

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SDOT staff are also working on a “conceptual” design for a 2nd Ave extension from its current terminus at Pike to Denny Way. There are no real surprises in the concept design since it is very similar to the existing section south of Pike.

Work is still early, and staff plan lots of outreach including mailers, stakeholder briefings and door-to-door flyer efforts.

The early plans call for new signals at Clay, Cedar and Vine Streets. This is a big deal for nearby businesses and residents because crossing 2nd Ave at these streets today can be scary on foot, bike or in a car:

From Google Maps.
From Google Maps.

Though other elements of the Center City Bike Network are on hold as the city develops a Center City Mobility Plan (yes, another plan), this 2nd Ave extension is not subject to that hold. The project also already has grant funding. So the city should give this project the green light to be constructed as soon as possible.

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23 responses to “2nd Ave getting upgrades + Extension to Denny possible this year”

  1. Peri Hartman

    That will be awesome. The current terminus at Pike, northbound, is awful. When you come out of from under the construction scaffolding you are essentially thrown into the intersection without realizing that your lane has ended.

    I hope the terminus at Denny will be more obvious and safer.

    Nice to hear new projects are getting started !

  2. Wow, a protected bike lane that’s actually protected! This is great!

    Yay planter boxes!

  3. Dave F

    SDOT staff should plan less outreach and just start building the thing. There’s no need to wait another year before construction. We’re already way behind schedule on the bicycle master plan, mostly due to all this “planning.”

    1. Southeasterner

      Note that China built an entire high speed rail system in less than half the time it has taken us to get to where we are today on the Burke Gilman Missing Link…which is nowhere.

      There is something to be said about the pitfalls of an overly representative democracy where the government is essentially paralyzed by requirements for endless studies and public outreach. Not that we need to go to the length of China, but maybe we could find a middle ground?

      1. Mike

        Seattle chooses to paralyze itself with studies and outreach. If we trusted our agencies and leaders to work on our behalf and get a little dirty from time-to-time, we’d get a lot more done.

        For 2nd Ave bikeway, it was nice when Mayor Murray said “ok we’re building this %(*#&^!@ thing” and it appeared a couple months later. Lo and behold, nobody was really that upset. Most seemed happy a leader decided to do something rather than study it, again.

      2. Josh

        Before you get too upset about process, remember why we have it. The Seattle process prevented massive freeway devastation that planners had proposed for our own good.

        The ramps to nowhere are finally going away as part of the 520 bridge project — if not for the Seattle process, we’d have the R. H. Thompson Expressway instead of some of the city’s best neighborhoods for walking and biking.


      3. poncho

        Except this is a “trial” and not even a permanent solution and yet it had to go through the endless slow Seattle Process. As a trial it should go up one weekend (we are talking largely paint afterall), tweak it while also vetting it. Luckily Janette Sadik Khan is coming to town to hopefully remind Seattle how its really done.

  4. Tim F

    I really liked this green crosswalk triangle marking I saw in Vancouver that lets everyone know the protected lane is ending: https://goo.gl/maps/wEFsny7o1RQ2. Wish we’d use it more here.

    1. Clark in Vancouver

      Well, the triangle is actually the result of a kind of compromise. A non-ideal combination of a crosswalk and crossbike. A bit odd but it’s what was deemed necessary so that the Hornby Street protected bike lane went all the way to the Seawall (instead of just ending.)

  5. Bb

    Why not make it a pilot, and certify the older pilot?

    Then do all the studies and feedback.

    It’s a flipping no brainier. I use this everyday, and I am dumped out into 4th street because of it. Build it.

  6. Andy

    It’s a shame this new section is still being designed for <150 bikes per hour. With the amount of effort and cost going in to it I'd hoped for more vision from SDOT.

    1. Josh

      At he pace of process and planning, will it be over capacity the day it opens?

  7. […] cheers for new upgrades for bikes on 2nd Ave. I still think people pretending to be confused about what the bike symbol on the stop light means […]

  8. Mike

    Extension south to Jackson as well please! It would complete the connection from the ID, SODO, and points south. And 2nd Ave extension has the room. Just a few blocks!

    1. Charles

      The connection from 2nd ave ext to Jackson is only weird because of the trolley tracks imo. Presently as you cross Yesler on 2nd ext it makes sense to move over and take the full left lane as de facto bike lane since the Missions tend to spill over into the door-zone bike lane there, and most traffic is going straight on 4th so very few motor vehicles are in the left most lane. It makes total sense to extend the bikeway there but that left to Jackson over the tracks, then right on 5th or 6th across a major bus line to connect to the sodo trail, are points that need addressing.

      1. Dana

        That is the issue with the left side of the road. The tracks on Jackson screw everything up. I am genuinely interested what a traffic engineer would do to make this a good bike route.

        There should be a connection to continue on 2nd to Dearborn and an option to go to Jackson.

        Honestly, I think Jackson should be eliminated as a bike route as there are buses that continually stop on the right lane and then tracks in the left lane. Totally effin ridiculous to navigate.

      2. Peri Hartman

        Yes, Jackson street no longer makes sense as a bike route. A better alternative would be King street. It makes an uninterrupted connection from 5th ave and on past Rainier. However, it would need better control on the intersections so that it is safe to go over 10mph downhill.

  9. Mike

    So, with the Seattle Process (“lots of outreach”) ramping up, should we expect another 3-5 years of scary biking between Pike and Dexter/Westlake infrastructure while nothing-less-than 100% of “stakeholders” are made happy?

    It’s getting a little hard to get excited about another pile of preliminary plans.

  10. The next few years will be an interesting time for Seattle Center. For decades the Center was a place you couldn’t drive through surrounded by streets you didn’t want to walk or bike on. The new Mercer underpass has made a real difference; though I don’t see tons of bikes on it I do see tons of pedestrians, and Seattle Center now lies in the middle of one reasonable walking or biking route between the waterfront and the north end. Connecting to a major north-south bike route could make Seattle Center into a bit of a bike crossroads. There’s still a lot of construction just west of the Center, but there are improvements due there, too; Seattle Center could become a daily part of more people’s lives without much changing inside of it at all.

    1. Peri Hartman

      Aurora to QA Ave is pretty good. There’s a buffered bike lane on Roy and the traffic is generally pretty light.

      To the east of Aurora is the problem. The designated route is also on Roy (and Valley) but that section does not have buffered lanes and the traffic is heavier and and faster. It’s only marginally better than riding in a traffic lane and certainly not condusive to someone who is timid about traffic.

      As to connecting to a N-S route, this area already connects to Dexter. The next step is for it to connect to 15th NW or Myrtle Edwards. Currently that connection is still a no-mans-land.

      1. I agree generally about the “Roy Route”. Last I checked the BMP Implementation Plan the part east of Aurora was slated for PBL treatment in 2017. Weird that they didn’t just build it along with Mercer East if that was always the plan, but at least I’ll have more construction near my home to look forward to…

        What I’m really getting at with Seattle Center is that I think it has a lot of latent potential to really work as a public square, creating something rarely seen in west-coast cities outside of university quads (a working public square as opposed to a windswept dead one). And that not much has to change internally for this to happen, but a lot has to change outside of it. A public square doesn’t just need to be easy to get to on bike or on foot, it has to regularly be on the way from one place to another, too; then virtuous cycles of increased foot traffic and more things to do can start up. I think 2nd Ave, as a bike route that naturally continues into the Center, will move it in that direction. A lot of people have asked what’s wrong with Seattle Center over the years, and I think there’s a decent chance in another decade the answer will be that nothing was ever wrong with it (or at least nothing too serious — there are lots of little things); it was always just waiting for the surrounding city to catch up.

  11. […] Downtown bike network: Second Avenue where Seattle’s main bikeway is located Downtown is getting upgrades and could see the bikeway extended to Denny Way this year. […]

  12. […] We already told you about plans to extend the 2nd Ave bike lane north to Denny Way “possible this year.” Well, the timeline for the project now says the city will put it to bid this summer, workers will begin construction in the fall and the bike lane will open in spring 2017. […]

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