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:
The Broadway protected bike lanes were added as part of the First Hill Streetcar project as a necessary safety component to move riders away from the dangerous tracks. As for exiting the bikeway, that’s mostly up to the riders after the city backed off planned street and safety improvements to extend the bikeway north on Broadway.
Meanwhile, the city is also moving forward on a limited set of enhancements to speed up streetcar service on Broadway but is holding off on more significant changes until after the Madison RapidRide G line completes construction.
The city is, however, ready to improve some important safety issues along the route, SBB reports. The First Hill Streetcar and Bicycle Safety Enhancements Project will add protected bike lanes to 14th Ave S between Jackson and Washington and to E Yesler Way between 14th and 12th Ave S. “The improved bike lanes will have an extra level of separation between people riding in the bike lane and the streetcar tracks,” SBB writes. “It will also make it less likely that someone driving will be able to pull over and block the bike lane, sending people biking into the tracks as they try to pass.”
The effort follows reports of crashes and injuries along the tracks in the area including the 2016 death of Desiree McCloud who died after crashing as she rode with friends near the First Hill Streetcar tracks at 13th and Yesler. A wrongful death lawsuit contends the city neglected to include several street safety measures in the area of the crash including the decision not to install a separated bikeway on Yesler.
The Yesler area streetcar route enhancements are planned for the beginning of 2020 and are estimated to take three weeks, SDOT says.
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