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Stone Way bike detour not yet in place

Seattle Public Utilities’ planned work zone bike path on Stone Way did not work out as they intended, the agency announced this week. While sidewalks remain open through the construction area between N 34th and 35th Streets, equipment has blocked the space that was supposed to house the bike path.

The work is part of SPU’s massive Ship Canal Water Quality Project, which has disrupted bike routes in Fremont and Ballard over the years. But as we noted in our previous story, SPU’s bike detours have been done well. Riding on the sidewalk is not a great solution, especially for a project that will last as long as this one in an area with lots of walking and biking. And because Stone is closed to cars and trucks, the potential side street detour routes are likely to have a lot more traffic than usual.

More details from SPU:


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You may have noticed that there isn’t a bike lane on Stone Way N next to the closure yet. Unfortunately, our contractor will not be able to create a two-way bike lane on the east side of Stone Way N as we envisioned.

I’ve worked for the city for many years and sometimes what’s seems possible during project planning doesn’t match up with what’s actually feasible in practice. Our contractor’s shoring system (the temporary support that keep the earth in place so that construction crews can safely work below the surface) needs to take up more space in Stone Way N than we planned for. Our contractor is currently working on a revised detour plan with SDOT and we’ll let you know the longer-term plan for bicyclists to get around our work site as soon as the plan is approved.

SPU is still committed to prioritizing cycling safety on our projects. In the meantime, please use alternate side roads or dismount and use the sidewalks that remain open on both sides of Stone Way N. We apologize for this inconvenience, and as a cyclist myself, I’m grateful for the continuing dialogue around bicycle safety.


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3 responses to “Stone Way bike detour not yet in place”

  1. Just curious, does SPU have the authority to tell people to “dismount” their bikes when using a sidewalk? I suspect not, but I may be wrong.

    Now, I didn’t realize that they were planning to create a two-way bike path on the EAST side of Stone Way N. Why not two one-way bike path on both sides of the street? If you ride SB on Stone, how are you supposed to switch from the west side to the east side?

  2. Alistair Spence

    Traffic headed westbound on N 34th St is diverted southbound onto N. Northlake Place (on the South side of the transfer station) which is a street that quite a few cyclists (myself included) use to cut over to N 34th from the BG trail.

    This makes for lots of frustrated drivers speeding down a narrow side street, directly into oncoming cycle traffic. Quarters are quite tight there, due to parked cars taking up a good amount of the available road space and this has resulted in some pretty sketchy moments for me on my commute home recently.

    These diverted drivers are not expecting oncoming traffic. I think they assume that since the road is so narrow that it must be one way.

  3. Kirk Ballard

    Another great reason to turn Woodland Park Avenue N into a Greenway! This wide old streetcar line would be so awesome as a greenway, and it leads right up to Woodland Park with peaceful paths and footbridge crossings over Aurora. It would also link up to the new Aurora bike lanes at Green Lake. Would need to add a few on demand lights.

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