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Work starts soon on major Roosevelt Way repaving & redesign, will last most of 2016


Images from SDOT.

Major work to repave Roosevelt Way and rebuild it with transit, biking and walking improvements starts March 14, SDOT says.

The major repaving project is expected to take at least until September before the whole length from NE 65th Street to the south end of the University Bridge is completed.

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Work will happen in phases starting at the north end from NE 65th to Ravenna Blvd. Expect detours and delays. Most significantly, three weekends will require full closures of the U Bridge. We will attempt to keep on top of these closures so you can plan accordingly.

Zone E work, which covers the U Bridge, can happen at any time during the construction process, but the other zones should not have overlapping work. This may be a lesson learned from the 23rd Ave project underway currently in the Central District.

As we reported previously, the plan for the bike lane on Roosevelt appears to be a big improvement from the existing paint-only door zone bike lane. But several major intersections will not get the fully-separated treatment, requiring users to mix with turning cars.

Along with the under construction Westlake Bikeway, the Roosevelt project is one of the most significant projects for bike access and safety on tap for 2016.

More details on the construction work, from SDOT:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is set to begin repaving Roosevelt Way NE from NE 65th St to the south end of the University Bridge. Construction is scheduled to begin Monday, March 14, and is expected take six to eight months to complete. The contractor will remove the top several inches of asphalt, make any needed repairs to the underlying road base, and then repave with new asphalt. SDOT appreciates the public’s patience while this work is being completed.

Additional project elements include:

• Creation of a protected bike lane along the west side of Roosevelt to improve safety and predictability, which will require the permanent removal of parking on that side of the street
• Consolidation of bus stops at new bus islands to allow in-lane stops and improve transit speed and reliability
• Installing new curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards
• Installing pedestrian islands to reduce crossing distances and improve visibility
• Replacing buckled or cracked sidewalks

The project has been divided into five work zones.  The contractor is required to substantially finish the work on one zone before moving onto the next, with the exception of work on the University Bridge which may overlap with other zones.   The contractor, Jansen Inc., will start with the northern most zone and work south, with each zone expected to take about 8 weeks to complete.

• NE 65th St to NE Ravenna Blvd (Zone A)
• NE Ravenna Blvd to NE 53rd St (Zone B)
• NE 53rd St to NE 45th St (Zone C)
• NE 45th St to NE 40th Alley (Zone D)
• University Bridge:  NE 40th Alley to Fuhrman Ave E (Zone E)

Roosevelt Way NE will remain open to traffic throughout construction.  Two lanes of traffic will remain open during the morning (7 – 9 a.m.) and afternoon (3 – 6 p.m.) commutes.  At other times, the contractor may reduce traffic to a single travel lane.  Access will be maintained to all neighborhood shops and restaurants, and SDOT encourages the community to continue shopping and dining at businesses during construction.

Regular hours of construction will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Night and/or weekend construction is only expected for work on the University Bridge.
Work on the University Bridge will require its full closure to vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic for three weekends.  On those dates, traffic will be detoured to the Montlake Bridge.  The exact dates of these closures have yet to be determined, but will not occur on any weekends with major community events (i.e. Opening Day of boating season, University Street Fair, and University of Washington graduation) and will be coordinated with other major planned road closures.

Construction impacts include:

• On-street parking removal on Roosevelt Way NE during construction; parking on the west side of Roosevelt will be permanently removed to accommodate the new protected bike lane
• Lane restrictions, although at least one lane will always remain open, and two lanes will be open during the morning (7 – 9 a.m.) and afternoon (3 – 6 p.m.) commutes
• Temporary delays and longer travel time through the work zones
• Closed sections of sidewalks, with pedestrian detours
• Bicycle detours
• Construction noise, dust, and vibration
• Temporary bus stop relocations or closures
• Steel plates on the roadway
• Short-term access restrictions to driveways and side streets (SDOT will notify affected properties in advance)
• Rough pavement after grinding

More information can be found at the project website, located at www.seattle.gov/transportation/pave_roosevelt.htm.  To contact the project team call (206) 727-3575 or email [email protected].

Here’s an intersection-by-intersection look at the curb work planned:

2016_0203_Roosevelt_Way_Fact_Sheet-intersectionsAnd for those interested in wondering where all that parking is going, here’s the plan to open up spaces on side streets and modify parking rules to offset the reduction:


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20 responses to “Work starts soon on major Roosevelt Way repaving & redesign, will last most of 2016”

  1. Big shout out to the amazing volunteers with University Greenways who worked hard to make this complete street a reality! This wouldn’t have happened without ordinary people who got organized and asked for a better project – so thank you Drew, Forrest, Megan, Jacob, Max, Scott, Andres, Dave, Brock, Jim, and Robin among many others! http://seattlegreenways.org/?s=roosevelt.

    Get involved with University Greenways or a local group in your neighborhood working for safer streets at http://seattlegreenways.org/get-involved/join-us/

    Also, this project really demonstrates forward thinking leadership by Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly. If you have thirty seconds, please thank them so that they feel encourage to take on more complete street projects in the future:

    1. William

      I hate to be mean spirited but why should we be thanking the city for delivering something that is long overdue and was essentially forced on them by community activism and the appalling rates of collisions. There is no safe bike route to the join the northern end of this (it should extend north to 75th Ave NE) and those crossing the University Bridge are faced with Eastlake Ave which is equally in need of a bike friendly revamp to provide NE Seattle with a safe direct route downtown. So this is another snippet in what one hopes will eventually be a coherent bike network. I appreciate the persistence of the community activists in but I am sick of waiting for the city to implement a coherent network and sick of a silly distractions like Pronto.

  2. Kevin in Ballard

    Can someone explain to me how a “Shared Bus/Drive Lane” isn’t just a GP lane? Seems disingenuous.

    1. asdf2

      It is just a GP lane. And it’s exactly same as the GP lane today, which is also used by buses (even though the diagram doesn’t say such).

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        Yeah, basically. I guess the biggest difference is that the floating bus stops mean buses will stop in-lane instead of pulling to the curb. So they are somewhat transit-priority even if not transit-only.

        Note that the design is also compatible with the Roosevelt to downtown high capacity transit project, which is in the planning stages: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/12/17/its-time-for-a-transportation-revolution-east-of-lake-union/

      2. Breadbaker

        Savvy drivers, knowing they can’t get ahead of the bus when it pulls to the curb to stop (as it won’t anymore) will avoid the lane except to turn right. So it might work better in practice than the rules expressly provide.

      3. Josh

        It’s also wide enough to actually hold a bus, including mirror width, unlike the other GP lanes in the new layout.

  3. scott r

    Is there also a plan to perform this same work on 11th Ave NE?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Yes, but it’s years away as part of the Roosevelt to downtown high capacity transit project: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2015/12/17/its-time-for-a-transportation-revolution-east-of-lake-union/

  4. Gary Yngve

    I’d like to see SDOT address how to get from 12th Ave Greenway or South Campus to U-Bridge. Too many times I see folks dashing across the road in a traffic gap or even a bicycle hopping curbs, or worse, someone going downhill on the uphill bicycle lane. The only real way I know of is to cut over at 42nd St or take the BGT under and around (possibly shortcutting on some stairs if light bicycle).

      1. Yeah, that’s finished.

        If you’re starting from the Burke or south of it, or anywhere east of the Ave, Campus Parkway still has a lot of disadvantages compared to taking the Burke under and around. Campus Parkway has some really long traffic signals (because it’s super wide) and the new bike lanes only extend as far east as Brooklyn.

        It’s still a real pain just to go east-west across the neighborhood, because the cross streets don’t line up at Roosevelt. If you’re going east on 42nd you hit Roosevelt and your options are terrible (no plan yet conceived is any help); going up the sidewalk is about the least-worst option. I’m sometimes frustrated when I ride north over the bridge, trying to get places between Roosevelt and the freeway, south of 45th.. the mess of one-way restrictions on the side streets are probably designed to funnel cars onto 7th Ave NE, so I ignore them when biking. I wouldn’t ride the wrong way up a bike lane, but I sympathize in that part of town.

  5. William

    It will be interesting to see how this turns out – it cannot be worse than it is now. The completed segment south of 45th suffers from the fact that there are quite a few breaks to allow vehicles to enter and exit the road from off road parking, patient pickup zones etc. that one cannot ride it at the speed one would normally ride downhill. Except for the fact that one risks experience inappropriate behavior from annoyed drivers, it is almost better in the traffic lane.

    1. Gary Yngve

      Yes, I only ride Roosevelt south of 45th in the through lane (either left or right, depending on my mood or which seems faster). I would not feel comfortable going above 10mph in the PBL with its driveway/intersection conflicts. Repeatedly I have seen cars parked on the “protected” bicycle lane as well.

  6. Gary Yngve

    William, don’t worry about “inappropriate behavior from annoyed drivers” there. There is a second through lane they can pass easily. Remember, bicycles may use full lane. I’ve ridden that stretch hundreds of times and have never been harassed there. The narrow lanes are in your favor. Where I get harrassed is when the road is not wide enough for staying out of the door zone and for a car to pass at a safe distance in the same lane…

    1. William

      I have only ridden it a few dozen times since it is not on my normal commute but I have had drivers gesticulate after passing safely, indicating that they think I should be in the bike lane.

      If space is dedicated to bikes, it should be done in a way that most bikes will want to ride in it. My guess is that the new segment from 50th St NE to 45 St NE will have a similar problem. Who wants to ride at a reasonable speed in a protected bike lane is there is a car popping out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot every 15 s.

  7. Andres Salomon

    Says SDOT:
    “For the first zone (NE 65th to Ravenna) bicyclists will be detoured from Roosevelt Way to 9th Ave N between NE 65th and Ravenna Blvd. The detour will be signed.”

    1. Andres Salomon

      There will be no crossing support for bikes crossing NE 65th at 9th.

      Good luck! NE 65th sucks (and kills people biking).

      1. William

        This is par for the course. SDOTs standard assumption is that bicyclists will take the bus or drive while they work at their usual slow pace to implement a project.

  8. […] city’s newest protected bike lane on Roosevelt Way NE is almost complete, and it has already revolutionized bikeability in NE […]

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