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Jose Rizal bridge bike lane is in place, another harrowing slip lane closed

The painted bike lane is now in place on the Dr. Jose P Rizal Bridge on 12th Ave S, a big construction milestone in the 12th Ave Vision Zero project, which is creating a bike connection between Little Saigon and the Mountains to Sound Trail at the north end of Beacon Hill. Still to come: plastic delineator posts in the buffer between the bike lane and the other travel lane.

Still to come: posts.

With the bike lane comes the vanquishment of one of Seattle’s most treacherous slip lanes, at Golf Drive on the west side of the street. As of this week, it is no more, with drivers directed to make a square right turn at the pedestrian island. This should make everyone not in a car more comfortable at this intersection.

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Bike rider in a lane with three large orange barriers protecting the bike lane that used to be a slip lane
Golf drive slip lane no more!

The biggest thing left to complete is work at north end of the PBL, at King Street. The curbs are being rebuilt at two of the corners right now to extend them out, at the spots where people biking would wait for the light to change across 12th, providing a protected spot at sidewalk level to wait for the light.

The protection for people riding bikes at the intersection of 12th and King.

The left turn lane from northbound 12th onto King Street toward downtown is being eliminated, with the turn lane and a protected turn phase being moved one block north to Weller St- that one’s already in place. That gets rid of a dangerous turn movement at the connection between protected bike lane on 12th and “neighborhood greenway” on King St.

Plans for S King Street and 12th Ave S.

As of now, there are no plans to extend the bike lane any further north than King Street, despite the high number of people biking who use that route.

Expect to see work being done in the coming weeks to add the plastic posts, and finish the work in Little Saigon, but the lane is open, and it’s currently getting a lot of use as people biking who previously had to contend with impatient drivers on the bridge now have their own space.

Later this year we’ll get more details on the next phase of this protected connection, the Beacon Hill bike route planned for construction in 2023.

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15 responses to “Jose Rizal bridge bike lane is in place, another harrowing slip lane closed”

  1. Patrick

    This is also a great example of bicycle safety promoting overall safety. I can’t count the number of times heading south across the bridge in a car that someone blows by at 40-50 mph on the right to swing by slower cars and then cut over at Golf where it goes to one lane.

  2. Yea ! Years ago I rode that bridge every day. I used the sidewalk uphill, which always had broken glass and other debris. Downhill I road in the right lane. This is so much better !

  3. kiriska

    I ride this area frequently and am eager for the construction to be over and all the road debris to clear up. It’s a shame there’s no plans to fix the gravel pit of a road surface at 12th and Boren though.

    1. Debris in bike lanes is one of my *major* peeves with SDOT. There never seems to be money for maintenance. You can use find-it-fix-it and still nothing happens. I made posts and phone calls to SDOT and it took them TWO YEARS to clean the sidewalk on the aurora bridge, which was covered in silt and rotting leaves. That was some time ago and it’s getting bad again. And so on…

      1. asdf2

        I’m Bellevue, the debris-in-bike-lane problem is so bad, I often prefer to just ride in the car lane, which is cleanly swept. Especially in the winter.

      2. Andy Sapuntzakis

        Those plastic stanchions mean that the bike lane will never see a street sweeper, and any debris from the car lane will be bounced around until it settles there. Meanwhile, cars will run the stanchions over until their color and texture matches the pavement, or they lay broken … in the bike lane.

      3. Conrad

        True. The 4th Ave bike lane by the court house is continuously covered in glass, used needles, vomit and feces so I avoid it altogether but of course drivers yell at me for riding in the general lane.

      4. David

        Peri Hartman, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s an outright disgrace that I need to bring a broom (albeit small one) with me to sweep away some of the nonsense that is commonly – not rarely – found on so many bike lanes. Don’t even get me started on the 2nd & 4th Avenue lanes around the courthouse.

  4. STeve M

    Can you define “slip lane”? Kinda have an idea from the context, but it would have been better to have the term defined early in the text.

    1. asdf2

      It’s a pocket lane allowing drivers to take a turn at faster speeds and without waiting for drivers in front of them stopped at a light to go straight.

      It saves drivers a few seconds, but at the expense of making it far more dangerous for bikes and pedestrians, due to drivers crossing the bike lane and sidewalk at higher speeds. While slip lanes are acceptable at highway interchanges, they really don’t belong in the middle of the city.

      1. The higher speed factor makes them more dangerous, but they do have other advantages. Peds crossing a slip lane only have to look in one direction for possible traffic and conversely for the driver. And the crossing is relatively short.

  5. asdf2

    Rode this once in a mass Cascade ride. It was just two car lanes per direction, with no bike lanes. With thousands of bikes all riding it together and cops directing traffic, it felt safe enough, but I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to safely ride that bridge again.

    Glad to see I finally have the answer.

  6. Skylar

    This looks awesome, and I had no idea it was in the works! Until construction on the Judkins Link station broke the easy connection from the I-90 bridge to the Jose Rizal bridge, I would use the bridge to get back to North Seattle. Sometimes I would just stay on 12th, but sometimes I would want to try to get to the 2nd Ave PBL, and trying to get from the right lane over to the left turn lane at King could be harrowing. Not only are there bike lanes now, but a left turn box for bikes! If only there were a way to get all the way to 2nd Ave without having to brave the streetcar tracks in traffic…

    1. NickS

      One way from the bridge to 2nd Ave that makes the most of bike lanes — make a left on Weller after crossing the bridge, and an immediate left on 10th down to Dearborn. Turn right into the bike lane. Take the bike lane on S. Dearborn to 5th, where you’ll make a right, and follow to S. Main, make a left, then a right onto the 2nd Ave bike lane.

      1. Skylar

        Thanks! I’ll have to try that next time I’m coming off Beacon Hill. I never considered Weller before (too busy concentrating on not dying) but it seems like it would be viable especially if there’s a left turn box.

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