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Catching up on a lost 2020, E Union protected bike lanes should be in place by summer

(Image: CHS)

Seattle needs to push in 2021 to catch up on its plans to create new, safer routes for bicyclists including its plans for new protected bike lanes on E Union connecting Capitol Hill and the Central District.

A representative for the Seattle Department of Transportation tells CHS that there is no official schedule yet for the project but construction will start before summer.

“We anticipate construction may happen as soon as late March or at late as May,” the department rep said. “We will be sure to inform neighbors at least two weeks ahead of time to coordinate any construction-related impacts.”

The project is expected to take only two to three weekends to complete — weather dependent.

King County Metro work to move electrified trolley lines must be completed before the bike lane installation can begin.

Seattle has some serious catching up to do on its bike lane plans. A city report from late last year showed that only 2.3 out of a planned 15.2 miles of bike lanes and neighborhood greenways have been installed. Another 6 miles of lanes and greenways were scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 but were also delayed, the Seattle Bike Blog reports.

CHS reported here of another major street project coming to the area on Melrose Ave with plans for a summer start of construction to overhaul the street with a raised crosswalk, speed humps, curb ramps, curb bulbs, and protected bike lanes.

Pike/Pine’s streetscape will also see major changes including changes to one-way traffic but those significant changes are a ways off. The Pike/Pine streetscape project is currently in a State Environmental Policy Act-mandated comment period until Feb. 25. Construction is slated to begin Fall 2022 and wrap up in late 2023.

In 2019, temporary protected bike lanes were added to Pike, to help riders and drivers stay safe in the meantime.

There is also a new greenway between Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School that looks to calm traffic and increase visibility for students walking and biking to school.

And the Central District’s Stay Healthy Streets designations are set to become a permanent part of the neighborhood after implementation during the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions.

The plans for the E Union bike lanes have taken a long time to implement. They also took a long time to work out.

The Seattle Department of Transportation responded to community feedback with a new plan for E Union that created unbroken protected bike lanes from 14th Ave to 23rd Ave. SDOT’s original proposals drew criticism for trying to maintain area parking and existing traffic lanes by routing a portion of the planned bike lanes onto the sidewalk.

Update plans will remove some street parking, shift a school bus loading zone, and consolidate Metro bus stops to add the “parking protected bike lanes” to both sides of E Union between 14th Ave and 26th Ave, and then transition to an uphill protected bike lane and a downhill sharrow lane from 26th to Martin Luther King Jr Way.

The E Union bike lane project is being paid for by the Move Seattle levy to create an alternate for bicyclists away from the coming Madison Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

CHS reported in September that the future RapidRide G start of service has been pushed back to 2024 to meet the federal recommendations and the new timeline comes with increased costs.


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btwn
btwn
2 months ago

nice! glad this is finally happening. I’ll use it all the time.

Patty
Patty
2 months ago

I am not a biker. However, I will say that the bike lanes do add a nicer walking experience by creating a buffer on the sidewalk with traffic. So I am happy to see this too.

dave
dave
2 months ago

yay!

Central Districtite
Central Districtite
2 months ago

Great news!

James T
James T
2 months ago

Bike lanes are white lanes.

Gentrification at its finest. Read the Melody Hoffman book on this.

dave
dave
2 months ago
Reply to  James T

Low income and minority folks don’t ride bikes? Huh, I didn’t realize that.

KinesthesiaAmnesia
KinesthesiaAmnesia
2 months ago
Reply to  dave

The point of that study is: Minorities ride bicycles at much higher rates than whites but they get much less bike racks, bike lanes and bike shops in their neighborhoods. When I dated a bicycle activist in Portland decades ago the kids in NoPo called bike lanes “gentrification stripes” and other nicknames I can’t repeat in gentle company. I just looked it up to see if bike lanes = gentrification is still a thing. The first result was a WaPo article about the issue taking place in South Africa, the following results referenced racism & the installation of bike lanes in Portland. Not trying to back any particular commenters, just letting thoughtful readers know that bike lanes = gentrification is a very real phenomenon we ought to be considerate of, hopefully by adding more bike lanes to neighborhoods that need it.

dave
dave
2 months ago

OK, sure, it’s a sign of gentrification, I get that. Does that mean bike lanes should not be installed? I guess I just don’t understand the point of the comment.

Caphiller
Caphiller
2 months ago
Reply to  James T

Yeah! It’s gentrification to make it easier to use transportation that’s clean, healthy and cheap! Low income people have no problem spending money on gas and car maintenance, or walking long distances from a bus stop!