Designing safety: streetcar’s Broadway bike plan — Plus, update on route’s art elements

Capitol Hill cyclists worried about the streetcar planned to be operating on Broadway by 2013 will get their first look at plans for the system’s bicycle safety designs this weekend.

“We will be showing concepts for the streetscape and station areas, including the development of the potential ‘cycle track’ separated two-way bicycle facility on Broadway,” Ethan Melone of SDOT major projects told CHS. “We have also revised the north terminus to better coordinate with the Capitol Hill Champion’s vision for the future transit-oriented development of the Capitol Hill Station sites,” Melone said.

Earlier this week, we reported on the Champion group’s work to make sure the Capitol Hill community is represented as Sound Transit puts together the plan to develop the retail, housing and public space that will be part of the light rail station when it opens in 2016.

A group of cyclists has sued the City of Seattle over the streetcar constructed in South Lake Union. We looked at the possibility that similar concerns from cyclists could be raised about the new streetcar line that will run from Pioneer Square, through First Hill and up Broadway. CHS reported that SDOT has commissioned a preliminary analysis of the streetcar/cycling compatibility in the various design alternatives for our streetcar. SDOT has also said they will favor a center alignment whenever possible in order to keep the tracks away from the typical placement of cyclists on the street. In our previous report, Melone described the cycle track concept:

“We are considering a community-initiated proposal to incorporate a two-way bicycle facility as part of the design for the streetcar on Broadway. This new bike facility, known as a “cycle track,” would provide a dedicated space for northbound and southbound cyclists on Broadway, separated from general vehicle traffic and the streetcar tracks. We are in the process of analyzing how this facility would function and it appears promising.

This weekend’s information session will be held at Seattle First Baptist Church June 26 from 11 AM to 1 PM. The focus of the meeting will be on the Broadway corridor and the streetscape concept proposed by the Capitol Hill Complete Streetcar Campaign. We covered the campaign’s goals here.

There will also be a streetcar information booth at the Pride Festival on Saturday.

Streetcar artists Mags Harries and Lajos Heder will not be attending the meeting but the Massachusetts based artists recently completed a trip to Seattle that included a community meeting on June 16 as part of the planning phase for the public art that will be constructed with the streetcar. Heder says the artists were inspired by the uniqueness of the communities the car will connect.

The duo has designed public art pieces for other transportations projects in Phoenix, Boston and San Diego among others. They expect to have designs for the project by the end of the summer.

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3 thoughts on “Designing safety: streetcar’s Broadway bike plan — Plus, update on route’s art elements

  1. Am I the only person in all of Seattle who thinks that if a cyclist cannot determine for themselves that riding in the lane without the rails is safer, then perhaps he or she should not be cycling on a route with rails?

    Here’s a couple of our state laws for cyclists:
    When riding on a roadway, a cyclist has all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver (RCW 46.61.755). Cyclists who violate traffic laws may be ticketed (RCW 46.61.750). Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs (RCW 46.61.770).

    Yes, that means you can legally and safely ride in the left lane of our double lane road so you do not have to ride in the lane with the rails. Read the full text of the law http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/67DE7509-4E8A-4637-B8D0

  2. I still don’t understand how the street car will be operating in 2013, when the station construction is going to tear up the street it runs on in 2013.

  3. Almost all of the streetcar is going in no where near the Cap Hill Link Station. So, it can be construction before the Link is up and running. Until the LINK is done, the streetcar will terminate at Pine street and then the remainder will be finished with Light Rail. As a reminder the streetcar runs from the ID King Street Link Station up Jackson around Bailey Gatzert to Yesler to Broadway all the way up to the Hill.