East Union Street now has protected bike lanes from 14th to 26th Avenues, providing a lower-stress way to climb the unavoidable ridge that peaks around 18th and 17th Avenues through the Central District.
Before the new lanes were installed, skinny paint-only bike lanes appeared and disappeared seemingly at random along the route. Now they are consistent, traveling between the sidewalk and parked cars. The bike lanes also calm traffic, which can get going pretty fast down the steep hill. People driving used to swerve into painted bike lanes to pass turning cars (and cars stopped to let people cross the street). The new design makes crossing the street significantly more comfortable.
The bike lanes are well-used heading up the hill. Downhill use is a bit more mixed, which makes sense. People who already bike in the area are used to bombing down Union’s steep hill. The new bike lane requires users to brake and go a little slower. I don’t see this as a problem, though. People have choices now. If you like bombing the hill, take the lane like before. But if you’d rather take your time, then use the bike lane. It’s great to have different options for different people.
Thanks to people who pushed back on the original design, the bike lanes continue through the intersection with 23rd Avenue. This provides a comfortable bike connection for people traveling from east of 23rd, but it also provides a connection to the many destinations at the intersection itself.
To celebrate the new bike lanes, Central Seattle Greenways is inviting everyone for a Sunday ride. Meet 10:30 a.m. at the little park at 15th and Spring. Details from Central Seattle Greenways:
Join us for an all-ages-and-abilities, slow, social bike ride led by Central Seattle Greenways to celebrate SDOT’s brand new installation of protected bike lanes on E Union St., as well as the new southern portion of the Central Ridge Greenway along 18th Ave S and the Stay Healthy Street on E Columbia St. We’ll also stop to discuss improvements to 12th Ave S that have been proposed by CSG and Beacon Hill Safe Streets. The ride will finish with a gathering at the new Boon Boona Coffee near Seattle University.———————————————WHERE: (Start) Meet at Spring Street Mini Park -> Union PBL eastbound to MLK -> Union PBL westbound to 14th -> 14th to Columbia -> Columbia (Stay Healthy Street) to 18th -> 18th (Central Ridge Greenway) to King -> 18th to Yesler -> Yesler to 12th -> Finish at Boon Boona Coffee / 12th Ave Square Park (End)The route is 4 miles and involves about 400 feet of climbing elevation. Full map here: https://goo.gl/maps/oeHy6V91kkKfJHS29.WHEN: Sunday, June 13 – meet at 10:30 AM at Spring Street Mini ParkHOW: On wheels (bicycle, tricycle, unicycle, scooter, etc.)WHO: All are welcome!