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SDOT: E Union will finally get its protected bike lanes this month

(Image: 2020 Cycle)

The Central District’s 2020 Cycle is surely geared up for the occasion. Construction is set to begin for the remarkably speedy installation of new protected bike lanes running by the shop serving E Union between Capitol Hill and MLK.

Here is the latest from the Seattle Department of Transportation on the project:

We’re scheduled to construct the E Union St Protected Bike Lane on the weekend of April 24 – 25*! Our crews will begin site preparation work as soon as April 19. We will be installing a protected bike lane on both sides of E Union St between 14th Ave and 26th Ave and an uphill protected bike lane with downhill sharrow (permanent marking on the road to indicate shared lane between vehicles and bicycles) between 26th Ave and MLK Jr Way.

SDOT has distributed a construction notification, embedded below, in the area around the route.

The city says all E Union parking between 14th Ave and MLK Jr Way from 6 AM on April 24 to 10 PM on April 25 will be closed to keep the area clear for the installation.

SDOT says the project was originally scheduled to be constructed in fall 2020 but was delayed to accommodate King County Metro’s work to realign overhead trolley wires along E Union per the agency’s “safety protocol.”

CHS reported last month on the updated plan to install the lanes before summer. Last year, SDOT 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.

In addition to making the route safer for bikers, SDOT hopes the reconfigured street with a 25 MPH speed limit will also be safer for pedestrians and drivers though problem spots like the 19th and Union intersection and busy crosswalks at 20th and 21st Ave remain.

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. Earlier this week, CHS reported on $60 million in federal funding granted to the project to transform Madison between downtown and the Central District as it passes through First Hill and Capitol Hill when the new RapidRide debuts in 2024.

The full construction notice for the E Union bike lanes project is below.

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29 days ago

Hopefully this helps create a safer Union for all and cars actually slow down and stop for pedestrians! (And encourages non-car mobility! The number of single-occupancy vehicles on Union during rush hour is depressing for an area decently served by Metro.)

29 days ago


29 days ago

At last! I defintely don’t head over to Union as often as I’d like because it’s kind of a crappy experience, especially by bike (at least the direct route is…yes I can take the neighborhood greenway but that doubles my travel distance).

I am disappointed that bus stops are being removed. It doesn’t make sense to remove stops these days in particular, especially in a busy part of town, but also because anyone with mobility issues who relies on these routes or transfers is now going to have a longer trip, and that distance adds up quickly. I’ve heard people respond with “but the bus service will be quicker!” but shifting trips to bus and reducing cars trips seems like a better way to do that than removing – excuse me “consolidating” bus stops. And guess who it isn’t quicker for? Anyone who has to travel farther to get to a bus stop now.

But, excited for the bike goods nonetheless.