BIKES ON PIKE: ‘Huge for commuters or those not as comfortable on a bike’

(Images: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

Even with a very rainy Sunday closing out the weekend, The Seattle Department of Transportation was able to put the finishing touches on the new bike lanes on Pike from downtown to Capitol Hill this weekend.

The new lanes, between Broadway and downtown, were mostly painted last weekend, and SDOT had been working to dot the I’s and cross the T’s last week, with the work “98%” done on Friday, said SDOT spokesperson Dan Anderson. Today, the bike lanes also have new stop bars, a new bike rack at Belmont and Pike, more reflectors and new parking signs designating loading zones.

The updated signage might be necessary. The new bike lane got off to a sputtering start last week, with Twitter users posting photos of cars and trucks parked in the bike lanes, including an SDOT vehicle and a delivery truck in front of sandwich shop Honey Hole. Continue reading

Seattle Bike Blog: With Pike bike lanes going in, city also making it easier to get to Broadway bikeway

CHS reported Wednesday that the Seattle Department of Transportation is ready to lay down paint to begin a major transition of Pike from the edge of downtown to Broadway to add new bike lanes. Seattle Bike Blog has news on even more bike-friendly changes coming to the streets of Capitol Hill’s core and some important safety changes near the First Hill Streetcar route.

By the end of the year, bicyclists, scooter riders, skaters, and more will find a new, special turn lane at Denny designed to make  the start of the Broadway bikeway easier to get to, SBB reports:

As noted in the fact sheet (PDF), “Southbound cyclists often miss the entrance to the Broadway protected bike lane.” The idea here is that people biking south in the general purpose lanes on Broadway will have two options for getting into the two-way bikeway on the left side of the street starting at Denny Way: Wait in the existing two-stage turn box on the right side of the intersection until the signal changes or merge into a bike-sized left turn lane. People already make this maneuver today using the painted buffer area, but this will make it more official.

The city says the new enhancements at Broadway and Denny will have four components: Continue reading

Pike readied for new paint, less parking for new bike lanes

You’ll have a long time to wait before Seattle creates a Pike/Pine “superblock” but crews have already begun marking out the near-term bicycle future for Pike between downtown and Capitol Hill.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says it is checking on the start painting and parking restrictions along the route but the work crew laying down the preliminary markings Wednesday said the markings along the street will be painted Saturday, weather permitting. Continue reading

City Council: Seattle renters get more time to pay owed rent

Seattle Public School kids aren’t the only ones back in session this week. The Seattle City Council returned from its summer break Tuesday with votes approving legislation to help out bikers and renters.

In one set of votes at Tuesday afternoon’s full council session, members approved a suite of updates to provide renters with more protections including a vote updating the City of Seattle’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance to “harmonize the City’s regulations with amendments to the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. Under the changes approved Tuesday, Seattle renters will see the time given tenants to respond to a notice to pay or vacate increased from three to 14 days and tenants need to be notified of all rent increases at least 60 days in advance. Continue reading

‘Superilles’ for Seattle? Council member Mosqueda has her eye on 6-block pedestrian-and cyclist-first ‘superblock’ for Capitol Hill

Seattle knows a thing or two about dramatically changing neighborhoods. But Sant Antoni, a paper-plane shaped neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, has seen a different kind of radical transformation.

After an extensive renovation, the art nouveau market anchoring the neighborhood returned to its original 19th-century splendor last year. In the area around it, parking was moved underground, newly planted trees and shrubs dot the streets and public plazas, children romp in new play areas, and bicyclists and pedestrians now have ample space to move around freely. In short, public space has increased by thousands of square meters — all because car traffic was deprioritized.

The urban design concept, in this case designed in tandem with local residents, businesses and others, is called a “superblock” or “superille” — and if you ask citywide City Council member Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle should get one.

Mosqueda has her eye on a 6-block area on Capitol Hill, between Pine and Union between 12th and Broadway.

“This could be a really great place to test what this model may need to be successful,” Mosqueda said. “This is an opportunity to look at what other cities like Barcelona have done to change street design elements to reduce traffic and improve pedestrian access to public spaces.”  Continue reading

23rd Ave Vision Zero work ready to move into fifth year of construction — including 23rd and John overhaul

We’re still almost a year away from the start of construction on the northern segment of 23rd Ave. When it’s done, expect some big changes to the intersection at John Street, and lots of other little upgrades scattered about.

If it feels like some kind of construction has been happening on 23rd Ave for a long time, that’s because it has. Major roadwork began on 23rd back in 2015, with the section between Madison and Jackson streets. That phase wrapped up in 2017, and then work started on the stretch between Jackson and Rainier. While the work is largely done there, there are still some bits left such as intersections and sidewalk ramps.

The stretch from John to Roanoke is next in line for a series of upgrades. In 2018, the city put that stretch of 23rd (which is actually 24th for most of its length) on a road diet, leaving two southbound lanes, but changing one of the northbound lanes into a turn lane.

But the project is far from over. In the next couple of weeks, the city plans to install High Friction Surface Treatments at Lousia, Lynn and Helen streets. The treatments, a layer of a rough, granular coating, should provide some extra grip to help cars navigate the road without skidding. The hope is that crews will be able to install the treatments over a weekend, probably the weekend after Labor Day, if the weather cooperates. Continue reading

Downtown ribbon cutting includes good vibes for new bike projects including Pike protected lanes

Now on 8th Ave (Image: SDOT)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe weren’t out for a ride but they did come out to celebrate Wednesday’s opening of a new 8th Ave protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The redesigned 8th Ave includes a “one-way northbound protected bike lane between Pike St and Bell St, one travel lane, paid parking and load zones, and new bike signals at busy intersection,” SDOT reports. “This project completes a two-way couplet for people biking with the existing one-way southbound 7th Ave protected bike lane.” Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

Continue reading

District 3 candidates for Seattle City Council talk safe streets

Transportation equity and city government transparency were the top concerns at Monday’s District 3 candidates forum at Central Cinema hosted by Central Seattle Greenways after a walk through the community featuring a number of specific issues, including bike lanes and automobile speed.

All of the candidates were in attendance at the evening forum and five of the six made it for the hour-long Central District walk beforehand as Seattle Public Schools Board member Zachary DeWolf was busy attending a graduation event. Incumbent council member Kshama Sawant got there a few minutes late walking because of what she called pedestrian deprioritization as the lights were not going in her favor.

Crosswalks came up as the attendees stood on 23rd and Union with talk that they are not always convenient and may not last long enough, which is why one organizer called for a signal policy directly from the city.

“It’s deeply important that we are making sure that our crossing signals prioritize pedestrians and people who bike, but also that they are long enough both for seniors, families, and [young people] to get across,” DeWolf said during the forum later. Continue reading

Hundreds rally at Seattle’s Ride For Safe Streets ‏– D3 candidate safe streets walk and forum tonight

Hundreds rolled and walked from Seattle neighborhoods to City Hall Sunday to protest inaction on street safety issues under the Jenny Durkan administration and to call for a new “Green Transportation Package” for the city.

Organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the MASS: Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition, the Ride for Safe Streets event came after the latest implementation schedule for the Seattle’s bike plan revealed watered down plans for new bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure across the city.  Continue reading