Roosevelt bike lane gets November opening party (but is mostly open already)

img_5118The city’s newest protected bike lane on Roosevelt Way NE is almost complete, and it has already revolutionized bikeability in NE Seattle.

Much of the bike lane is already open, and the city has set a November 5 grand opening party 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the U District Food Bank (more details below).

The lane is 1.7 miles long connecting NE 65th Street (and the under-construction Roosevelt light rail station) to the University Bridge. The lane is seven feet wide for much of its length, and it runs behind enhanced bus stops that should also speed up current and future transit service along the street.

It’s not perfect, of course. The most obvious problem is that it only helps people heading south. 11th and 12th Avenues NE, the northbound couplet to Roosevelt, remains problematic. And some major intersections do not provide the level of separation as the rest of the bike lane, requiring people biking and people making turns to merge.

But compared to the previous paint-only door zone bike lane that suddenly disappeared at essentially every trouble spot, this new lane is leaps and bounds better.

And hey, is this the city’s first real intersection of two protected bike lanes?

The Roosevelt bike lane intersects with the Ravenna Blvd bike lanes.

The Roosevelt bike lane intersects with the Ravenna Blvd bike lanes.

These investments are being made in a part of the city that already has some of the highest rates of bike commuting. Five to ten percent of workers living nearby bike as their primary mode of getting to their jobs, and many more ride bikes for other purposes.

More details on the party:


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24 Responses to Roosevelt bike lane gets November opening party (but is mostly open already)

  1. Gary Yngve says:

    You say that it is problematic but do not list the real problems – the nonstop right hooks into parking lots and garages (and what about the right turn into 40th st) and you list 11th and 12th as problems. While 11th is not great (dzbl, bus overtaking), 12th ave greenway is awesome.
    Unrelated question: does sdot offer guidance or signage on how a cyclist in Ravenna protected bike lane (westward) is to make a right turn onto 12th Abe going north? I’ve seen some sketchy stuff there.

    • Michael Hooning says:

      I believe that the article is referring to the portion of 12th that is the one-way northbound counterpart to southbound Roosevelt, not to the greenway that is south of Ravenna Blvd.

  2. kommish says:

    Similarly, Ravenna going east turning right onto to Roosevelt south is tough, going from the left-side bike lane to the right-side turn. I typically signal and merge right about a block ahead and that’s been okay, but it’s tough to track whether there is a driver trying to overtake behind me. I have contemplated going up to the light then joining the southbound traffic there, but that doesn’t work if the light for drivers is green.

    • Gary Yngve says:

      Eastbound on Ravenna I leave the bike lane around the curve and make a right turn onto Roosevelt from the right hand lane. There are not any pylons at the curve. I find that the all-way stop at the I-5 off ramp is close enough that it spreads out traffic enough for me to move right at that point

    • daihard says:

      I do it just like Gary explained, too. I typically ride there around 7:30 AM and haven’t had to wait for the traffic to clear before merging into the general purpose lane.

    • kommish says:

      We all probably ride with each other in the morning. I’m in a grey helmet with two reflective stripes on the back; say hi if you see me. :)

      I probably didn’t say it clearly enough the first time, but what you describe is also exactly what I do – it just doesn’t feel great because I have a hard time getting a good clean look behind me to see if there are faster cars coming up. So, it’s okay, but for an otherwise-beautiful piece of bike infrastructure that detail feels … incomplete. Story of Seattle’s life, I guess. :)

  3. m0thra says:

    You want to risk your life, turn south onto Roosevelt from westbound 75th (to enter the new bike lane). 75th and Roosevelt is awful, but I think was the subject of a recent SDOT meeting.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      That meeting is tonight and monday. Come join us and show your support for safety improvements!

    • Skylar says:

      I agree. That intersection has all the hallmarks of 1970s urban freeway-style design. The first time I went through there, I had no idea if I was supposed to turn left before or after the weird, huge traffic triangle. And you’re not even safe once you make the turn – I’ve been honked/yelled at for being in the left lane and unable to move right.

      I think part of the problem is the intersection is ridiculously huge. I don’t know what can be done to make it better but I look forward to any improvements.

  4. Gary Yngve says:

    Reducing speed limit to 25 on 75th and Roosevelt would help. If traffic is really thick, I’d consider crossing ped-style at the traffic light or doing some shenanigans, possibly on the sidewalk, around Safeway. I’ve never had a problem with destination lane positioning (getting in the left lane early and holding my left arm out the whole time) and then going from left lane to right lane on Roosevelt in a gap, but I’m not riding there during rush hour.
    With the light rail going in and making routes safer for the high school, it would be good to give that whole area a review.

  5. Kevin says:

    The new protection posts across the University Bridge make the bike lanes really skinny. It is hard to pass someone without hitting pedals on the posts. If it is a cargo bike day I just have to hog the whole thing til I make it to the other side.

    • Kevin says:

      The part from 65th down to 50th is glorious to ride on. Can’t wait til the construction between 50th and 45th lets up and the lanes get back to normal.

    • daihard says:

      I was in that situation just yesterday. I too wish the bike lane remained wider, but it’s not a big deal to me. I will slow down as 12th Ave gets steeper after the bridge, anyway…

  6. TB says:

    I second Kevin’s comments about the protection posts on the U Bridge making it nearly impossible to pass, especially on the northbound (uphill) direction of the bridge. I’m no speed racer, but now frequently find myself in a line up of cyclists that can’t get around 1 relatively slow rider.

  7. GoB's says:

    first intersection of two PBLs – I believe the first would be Mercer and Dexter. However, Dexter is currently impacted by the construction work… so maybe Roosevelt & Ravenna is the true winner. Roosevelt also intersects Campus Parkway PBL, but the northern portion of the paving project was completed first so that still leaves Ravenna as the champ.

    • Al Dimond says:

      There are also one-block PBLs on Yesler and Pike intersecting 2nd Ave. There’s also Yesler/Broadway.

      Roosevelt/Ravenna might be the first four-way intersection between PBLs in Seattle. Pike and Yesler PBLs end at 2nd, Mercer PBL ends at Dexter, Campus Parkway ends at Roosevelt, Broadway ends at Yesler.

      • Al Dimond says:

        Oh, right, this one is a four-way intersection in that it has all four spokes, but Roosevelt is one-way, so only three directions of PBL enter/leave the intersection. We still don’t have a four-way intersection between streets with PBLs in both directions. As far as I can tell, reading the current BMP Implementation Plan, we’ll get the first of those in 2018 when a Roy/Broad/Valley PBL crosses a 9th Ave N PBL (extending south from the Westlake Cycletrack).

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