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NE 65th Street will get autumn quick fixes, bigger remake in 2018-19

Andres Solomon, now a candidate for mayor, organizes neighbors to protest traffic dangers on NE 65th. The crane in the background marks the site of Roosevelt Station.
Andres Salomon, now a candidate for mayor, organizes neighbors to protest traffic dangers on NE 65th. The crane in the background marks the site of Roosevelt Station.

After years of community urging and protest, Seattle is about to kick off a road safety project on NE 65th Street to address the street’s serious ongoing safety problems.

People walking, biking and inside cars all continue to get seriously injured and killed on the street, which forms a barrier that splits the neighborhood in two.

Councilmember Rob Johnson joined a June 2016 neighborhood march and protest calling for a safe streets overhaul of the street. He was then able to add the project to the 2017 budget.

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After more horrible collisions along the street that left people seriously injured, Johnson and community members behind the #Fix65th effort convinced Mayor Ed Murray to make the project a priority. Though SDOT fell short of Johnson’s call for a design plan to be in place by February 14, the department did have a public meeting and design schedule complete by that date.

The first big meeting about the project will be 6 p.m. February 28 at Roosevelt High School.

The department hopes to have some early safety fixes ready to be installed by Fall 2017, followed by a final design of the street and a more significant changes in 2018-19.

Inga Manskopf, a community member active in the #Fix65th effort, recently wrote a post for the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association blog outlining some cheap and quick fixes the city could make in the near-term.

ne65thMapThe city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for protected bike lanes on the street west of 20th Ave, where the bike route would switch to a neighborhood greenway on NE 68th. This was the result of a difficult and sometimes tense community process during the crafting of that plan. The street also passes in front of the under-construction Roosevelt Station, which is scheduled to start light rail service in 2021.

Like so many safer streets projects, this street could be transformed from a dangerous, community-dividing street into a positive asset with more people walking and biking to local businesses or to catch transit. And there is very little trade-off needed to achieve these goals. Most people driving already use the street as one lane in each direction, with the notable exception of people making aggressive passes or swerving around cars waiting to turn or to allow someone to cross the street (a recipe for serious danger).

Traffic volumes on NE 65th Street are significantly lower than the nearby NE 75th Street, which is operating much better for everyone (including people driving) since safety changes were made there. The changes for 65th should be much more bold, with protected bike lanes linking the neighborhood to popular bike routes around Green Lake, on Ravenna Blvd and down Roosevelt. But as always, it will take active and engaged community members to make sure the city takes bold action.

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6 responses to “NE 65th Street will get autumn quick fixes, bigger remake in 2018-19”

  1. William

    It is great that something is finally being done but given the amount of time NE 65th St has been under discussion, it rather disconcerting that this has to be a two step process which presumably adds cost and means that some other dangerous road will not get fixed. The quick fixes should have been implemented years ago and SDOT should now be ready to move forward with a long term solution.

  2. So what’s in the Rav-Bry association’s plan?

    1. Removing parking restrictions. “In our business districts”, they say, but really a lot of the corridor is residential and the existing restrictions mostly affect residential parking.

    2. Curb bulbs, literally cementing (or maybe “asphalting”?) the use of curb space for parking (i.e. not biking).

    3. Associating bus stops with safety problems to be mitigated, rather than efficient mobility (esp. to/from Roosevelt Station).

    Now that’s some savvy politics right there.

    1. Come up with a slogan for an inherently controversial and political issue that sounds uncontroversial and unpolitical. “Fix” 65th, never mind what it is that needs fixing or how we’re going to fix it!

    2. Rally people behind it, relying on people that are ultimately going to disagree with your “solutions” to build up your meme. How many of the people tweeting with that hashtag were bike or transit advocates that were just thrown under the bus?

    3. Define the “fix” so it serves what you always wanted in the first place: more street ROW turned over to car storage.

    I was always skeptical of the “Fix 65th” meme when it wasn’t specific about the problems or solutions, and… well…

  3. Ben P

    68th after 20th is very steep. I use it heading east after 25th sometimes, but I’d never use it going down hill. I don’t think 68th is a safe place for a green way. I think it would make way more sense to continue the bike lanes on 65th all the way to 35th

    1. Andres Salomon

      In 2015 I did an uphill protected climbing lane on 65th between 19th and 20th as a PARK(ing) Day event. I still think that needs to be part of any bike infrastructure on 65th, because the climb from 19th to 20th on 68th is incredibly steep.

      Also, I was saddened to hear that the woman who was hit on Feb 4th while crossing NE 65th at 20th was killed. :(

      1. Andres Salomon

        Oops, I meant between 20th and 21st.

      2. Conrad

        That intersection is awful. The hill and curve in 65th make sight lines terrible but people always drive about 40 mph. When will we learn.

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