Construction on the first segment of the Beacon Hill bike lane (now called the Beacon Ave S & 15th Ave S Safety Project) is still scheduled to begin a year from now, and the project team has advanced design to the major 30% design milestone. This is the point where major designs elements are established, though there is still room for smaller adjustments before it is final.
The design is moving forward with one-way bike lanes on each side of 15th Avenue S and Beacon Avenue S from the Jose Rizal Bridge to S Spokane Street. The bike lanes will also be protected using a concrete curb. The bike lanes will be as skinny as 4.5 feet plus space for the barrier in the most constrained sections of 15th Ave S, which is an issue we explored in depth in a previous post. Each general traffic lane will be 10 feet wide in these constrained sections, so this isn’t a matter of designers short-changing the bike lane. It’s just a constraint.
This constrained street width is also why there is no space for on-street parking on 15th Ave S, a significant point of contention. In response, SDOT has been scouring the area to find ways to increase parking availability on nearby streets. They are even going as far as deleting part of a skinny paint-only bike lane on 14th Ave S between S Grand St and S Plum St to add parking there. The added parking will reduce the roadway width, which slows traffic speeds, and SDOT will also add some speed humps to further reduce speeds and make the mixed traffic lanes safer for those biking there or heading to the nearby elementary school.
While 99% of the time Seattle Bike Blog would be extremely against removing an existing bike lane, this lane is not particularly useful. It only exists in this two-block, park-adjacent section beginning at Grand and ending at Plum, and doesn’t make any major network connections. I suspect this bike lane was added primarily for traffic calming purposes rather than bike network purposes. It even has a bus stop in the middle of it. So in the context of this project, which is adding protected bike lanes a block away, it could be a worthy compromise. I don’t love it, though.
You can look through the full engineering design plot in this PDF, but it can be a bit difficult to parse. But SDOT staff presented some simplified graphics during their recent public outreach meetings for the project:
You can watch the full SDOT presentation here: