As the streetscape around Broadway changes to accommodate heavier pedestrian, bicycle, and rail use, one significant issue that we need to address is how these modes of transport will intermingle with car traffic. SDOT is currently studying traffic patterns on Broadway to gain a grasp on feasibility of different route options along Broadway. If these studies do indicate that a plan like the one suggested by the CHCC works, it might be on our best interests to start thinking of ways to maximize safety in a road pattern that will be completely new to Seattle.
One great way to maximize bicycle safety on our new cycle track would be to install bike specific traffic signals at major intersections. These signals work exactly like the ones for cars, but are timed so bicycles are using the intersection independent of other traffic. The basic setup, as seen in Amsterdam, goes something like this:
- Bike and car signals are red – pedestrians okay to cross
- Pedestrian and car signals are red – bikes have the intersection
- Bike and pedestrian signals are red – cars have the intersection
The use of these devices could minimize on safety concerns, as well as the age old driver gripe of “these bikes are always in my way!”
As far as pedestrian matters go, proper signage is key for pedestrian safety on mixed rights of way. Signs placed in the drivers’ line of sight that clearly mark pedestrian right of way will be key. In this instance we do not have to look very far for inspiration. Seattle’s pedestrian/car/bicycle mixed use enclave, Pike Place Market, provides us with an excellent example of easy to understand and easy to see signage that could be used in similar projects around the city.
With minor improvements like this, the street has great potential be much more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians alike. As planning progresses on this project, safety will definitely be a priority to continue to bring up at community meetings. So, I say why not start discussing openly now? Who doesn’t enjoy feeling safe, right? I would encourage anyone with ideas on safety improvements to add their ideas in the comments, as well as discussions throughout the community in general.
For more ideas on the reshaping of Capitol Hill’s streetscape, visit Open Alleyways.