A 0.4 mile stretch of the Broadway bikeway is now open. CHS gave the route a spin Monday afternoon after the Seattle Department of Transportation declared the separated, two-way cycle track officially open:
The two-way Broadway cycle track is separated from motor vehicle traffic with a 2’ wide buffer, curbs or a vehicle parking lane. Safety features of the cycle track include intersection treatments such as bicycle signals, green pavement markings and traffic signs. Green pavement markings are also installed at driveways where vehicles and bicyclists will cross paths. Signage at driveways directs motorists to yield to bicyclists, while the signs and signals at intersections establish when each mode of transportation can safely proceed.
On CHS’s ride, we encountered a few opening-day glitches including a traffic issue involving two drivers that was being settled by SPD with both cars temporarily pulled over into the bike route and a customer at a Broadway glass and window shop who has now been informed (by CHS) that the curb in front of the business is for bikes, not parking.
The bikeway features side-by-side north-south lanes for bicyclists to utilize on the east edge of Broadway. There are bike-specific traffic lights to manage flow and markings, bulbs and bollards to further protect cyclists from the flow of cars, trucks — and eventually streetcars — on Broadway.
The introduction of bikeways also means new skill sets for riders — presenting the 2 Stage Left Turn for Bikes:
The short route that has initially opened is not the most connective path on Capitol Hill but will provide a protected bikeway free of opening car doors and with bike-friendly traffic lights through the core of the Broadway/Pike/Pine zone. SDOT says the rest of the bikeway’s southern extent down Broadway will open in spring with the accompanying First Hill streetcar project to follow later in 2014. CHS last wrote about the details of the bikeway project here.
The changes — including the eventual elimination of a significant portion of Broadway street parking along the First Hill streetcar route — are part of a broader set of priorities for the neighborhood’s streets at City Hall. Earlier, Seattle’s first parklet trading street parking for a public street park opened on E Olive Way.
UPDATE 10/22/2013 10:07 AM: We asked SDOT for more information about what is happening to help drivers sort out parking and the bikeway. Here’s an update in response to our questions:
1) SDOT is currently reviewing the signage along the cycle track to ensure that no confusion exists for motorists. We are still adding striping and other controls to help the cycle track and adjacent parking function appropriately. We will soon stripe parking stalls to highlight where parking is allowed and add extra delineator posts. We are also talking with adjacent businesses and properties to ensure they understand the rules for parking near the cycle track.
2) The paystations will not be removed as parking is allowed on the eastern side – outside of the cycle track – from E Union to E Pike and E Pine to E Howell. The striping we are putting down this week will help clarify where drivers can park.
3) We are not currently planning to use red curbing. However, we will evaluate the cycle track in the near future to ensure it is operating effectively.
UPDATE 10/24/2013 9:00 AM: As detailed above, SDOT has, indeed, installed additional bollards along the bikeway stretch south of E Pike — an area of confusion for many drivers. To help clarify if you find yourself considering a motor vehicle trip through the area, this stretch of the bikeway features a parking lane adjacent the cycle track — that’s why the parking signs and payment kiosks remain in the area. The far right northbound lane isn’t a turn lane for E Pike — that’s where you park. The green lanes? Those are for bikes.
Meanwhile, SDOT says to expect a few more tweaks:
While the Broadway Cycle Track is not the first such track to open in Seattle, it will be a new experience for many bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. The density of Broadway presents challenges not experienced with the other cycle tracks, and like any new traffic revision, there will be a learning curve as each mode of transportation learns how the cycle track works. SDOT engineers are monitoring its early operation and are making minor tweaks with signage and pavement markings to help people better understand its operation.