SDOT will upgrade part of the 8th Ave bike lane downtown

Map of the project area, showing a line from pike to westlake.SDOT will upgrade the 8th Ave bike lane between Pike Street to Westlake Avenue to replace the paint and plastic posts with concrete barriers.

Work will start in early January and continue for up to 3 months.

The project was funded thanks to a community-led effort to secure a variety of street improvements from the Washington State Convention Center expansion project. Because the center’s expansion required a lot of pubic space, including alleys and defunct bus tunnel infrastructure, the project was required to compensate the public for those losses. The Community Package Coalition, which included Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, helped put together an $83 million collection of investments that included the 8th Ave bike lanes as well as Pike/Pine bike lanes, a Lid I-5 study and $29 million in affordable housing.

Photo of the 8th Ave bike lane with green paint were it crosses a driveway. I tis protected with paint and some plastic posts.

The 8th Ave bike lane when it was new in 2019. A lot of those plastic posts have since been destroyed.

The upgraded design still includes the strange diagonal crossing through the intersection with Virginia Street. The design is safe so long as everyone obeys the rules, but it can feel a bit unsettling to use just because it’s so unusual.

Photo of a green bike lane crossing diagonally through an intersection.

8th and Virginia.

The project does not extend to the bike lane section between Westlake Avenue and Bell Street, where people regularly stop or park cars illegally. I have asked SDOT if that section is planned for future upgrades and will update this story when I hear back.

More details from the SDOT project page:

Starting after the new year, we will begin upgrading the existing protected bike lane on 8th Ave between Pike St and Lenora St. We will be upgrading the existing bike lane to a more durable concrete structure.

This work will begin early January and continue for up to 2 to 3 months. The work will begin near Pike St and progress north to Lenora St. We’ve sent out a construction notice

to neighbors along the 8th Ave corridor. During construction, please expect the following on 8th Ave:

  • Increased construction presence including crews, trucks, and large equipment Noise, dust, and vibrations from large equipment and trucks
  • Temporary pedestrian and bike detours
  • Temporary parking restrictions
  • Increased traffic control including temporary lane closures and lane shifts
  • Construction will typically happen during the daytime with some nighttime work

Once completed, the benefits of this upgrade include:

  • Increased safety and reliability by separating all modes of travel
  • Raised bike lane at some driveways to reduce conflict
  • Raised bike lane at some pedestrian loading areas to increase accessibility
  • Lasting, durable barrier for increased safety

 

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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1 Response to SDOT will upgrade part of the 8th Ave bike lane downtown

  1. Al Dimond says:

    I think the Virginia diagonal is worse than “a little unsettling”. You really can’t count on everyone to follow the rules — if I did I’d have suffered a lot more crashes than I have (not only in Seattle but throughout my biking life).

    The diagonal doesn’t only rely on everyone following the rules, it also makes it really easy for rule-benders (on foot, on bikes, on scooters, and in cars!) to miss you approaching the diagonal, and it makes it really hard for you to see and anticipate them. That’s the thing I can usually count on, the thing that’s saved me from more crashes than I can count, that when people aren’t looking out for me I’m looking out for them, and it’s really difficult to do here because they could be coming from so many different places. It’s especially bad when you’re approaching on a stale green, which happens a lot for me (must be some quirk of the cycles of a couple different intersections) — this is an intersection where literally every time I approach I hope I see a red light rather than a green one.

    So like … why are we stuck on the left approaching this intersection in the first place? Between Pike and Pine it’s the left that has a garage entrance. Between Pine and Olive both sides have driveways but it’s the left where it’s entering a covered garage with worse sight lines, and the left where there’s a taxi stand. But we’re stuck on the left to keep us out of the way of cars turning right toward the freeway. That’s where we sit in the downtown Seattle food pyramid and concrete curbs set that hierarchy in stone (err … set the stones in binder?). Even if they’re better than flex posts it feels bad.

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