With work in the middle complete and crews still busy south of Jackson, construction is now ready to begin on the Montlake end of the 23rd Ave E corridor to give the road a diet, improve the area for transit, and make the streets in the area safer for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers.
“We’re designing 23rd Ave E/24th Ave E between E John St and Boyer Ave E by changing the 2 northbound lanes to 1 northbound lane and 1 center turn lane,” the Seattle Department of Transportation cheerily reminded residents in its recent construction bulletin mailed to area residences notifying that work was expected to begin this month.
In April, CHS reported on the start of work on the much more intensive construction and overhaul of the street in the Central District south of Jackson. The first phase of the project between John and Jackson streets took 21 months to complete.
Montlake is in for an easier ride. Transportation officials have backed off more aggressive plans for new bus lanes in the northern stretch of the overhaul and have also responded to the neighborhood’s business community by maintaining street parking along the road — though funding is not available to complete the full Montlake Community Business District Improvement Project vision championed by local merchants.
In an effort to reduce collisions and make streets safer, the redesigned road was to have one lane going northbound (downhill), a center turn lane, and two lanes going southbound (uphill). The lane closest to the curb was planned to be bus only to help keep transit travel time reliable, and in advance of potentially placing a rapid ride bus on the road in the future. The bus-only lane was to continue to 23rd and Madison.
But SDOT said the community driven process for a new design for 24th Ave E would instead maintain two southbound travel lanes, and add a center turn lane, while going from two northbound lanes to one.
It should be a relatively quickly completed project, SDOT says:
Work will proceed in 3 phases and take at least 10 days and includes: crews marking changes, removing existing road markings, with noisy work from 9 AM – 7 PM, and installing signs and new markings from 7 AM – 7 PM
Later this year, SDOT plans to install “skid-resistant surface treatments” in some areas of high collision rates and is “conducting additional analyses to determine where we might enhance bus stops, install a new traffic signal, modify parking, and add new curb ramps within the project area.”
Montlake and northern Capitol Hill residents will also enjoy the fruits of a transit program of a different ilk. The area is benefitting from work this summer on a new staircase and ramp to Interlaken Park:
The project features a bicycle runnel, guard rails, and a switchback. Access should be facilitated for all. The E Howe St crossing will be well integrated with the park and the 23rd/central greenway. The planned construction period is Summer-Fall 2018. The trail and sidewalk will be closed for the entire period.
“Noise and loss of parking in front of the project site are anticipated,” residents are warned.
The trail project is paid for by a Seattle Parks program in partnership with SDOT.
As for the changes to the pavement, officials say they are coordinating with WSDOT to make sure the 23rd Ave corridor changes mesh with plans for a new Montlake lid and interchange that are slated to be part of the next phases of the 520 replacement project. This phase of SDOT’s work will be funded by the 2015 Levy to Move Seattle at a cost of about $3.5 million.