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.” Continue reading

With bigger Pike/Pine street changes ahead, construction on Melrose Ave pedestrian and biking overhaul slated to begin this summer

The Melrose palm is staying

Changes are coming soon to Capitol Hill to improve walkability and the biking — and we’re not talking about melting snow and ice.

The community vision for a safer, more vibrant for Melrose Ave — the change coming soonest — has been a decade in the making. Recognizing safety concerns, community members started doing outreach to neighbors to gather ideas for what a better Melrose would look like, eventually developing the Melrose Promenade project at the base of Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, a plan for the total re-orientations of Pike and Pine into one-way streets is also underway with a longer wait for the start of that construction.

The changes to Melrose, currently expected to begin construction in June, include a redesigned intersection at E Olive Way with a new signalized crosswalk on the west end of Melrose as the Seattle Department of Transportation reconfigures the I-5 on-ramp, SDOT community outreach lead Sara Colling said.

There were 141 reported collisions on Melrose between Roy and University from 2013 to 2018, with almost all of the serious injuries being suffered by people walking or biking on the short stretch between Denny and Pike Pine.

New protected bike lanes between Denny and Pike Pine will attempt to improve safety on Melrose. They will be one-way lanes on each side of the street protected with plastic posts and pavement markings. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill’s Millionaire’s Row isn’t a Stay Healthy Block anymore

A Capitol Hill avenue that became a popular addition to the city’s experimentation with community-created walking and riding streets as part of its efforts to address social distancing needs during the COVID-19 crisis has been removed from the program and looks unlikely to return.

The situation on 14th Ave E is an example of the limits of Seattle City Hall’s urbanist-leaning efforts and, the resident who originally applied for the permit says, a prime example of kowtowing to complaints from homeowners and drivers.

“If SDOT continues to insist on these restrictions (and others) then it seems clear to me that they have no intention of allowing the program to continue in a dense urban neighborhood, no
matter how successful the program was,” applicant and area resident Christopher Hoffman tells CHS.

According to Hoffman, his original approval of the program’s implementation on 11 blocks of 14th Ave E, the city’s legendary Millionaire’s Row extending south out of Volunteer Park, came with the basic requirements allowing the use of signs and small barriers to “temporarily close a street to create more outdoor recreation space for people to enjoy while following social distancing guidelines” while allowing “local access, deliveries, waste pickup and emergency vehicles.” Continue reading

City beefs up Stay Health Streets signage

The city’s Stay Healthy Streets program to restrict motor vehicle traffic on select streets to create more open space during the pandemic is adding sturdier signs to help better protect people from drivers as they walk, bike, and roll.

The new signs aren’t exactly barriers but officials hope they will be less susceptible to breakage and loss as bad weather and bad drivers have taken a toll on the city’s collection of a-frame style signs deployed early in the pilot project. Continue reading

With Lowell to Meany route mostly in place on Capitol Hill, city to hold ‘drop-in’ on Safe Routes to School program

The City of Seattle will hold an online “drop-in” session Tuesday to provide updates on the Safe Routes to School program, an effort to increase “safe walking and biking to school” along select routes across the city.

A $2.2 million project to complete a Safe Routes corridor between Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School mostly wrapped up this summer even as the district’s campuses remain closed to COVID-19 restrictions. Continue reading

For more space to walk, run, and roll during COVID-19 restrictions, Seattle now issuing ‘Stay Healthy Block’ permits

Capitol Hill will not be getting a “Stay Healthy” street designed to give people more space to walk, run, roll, and spread out during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions but your neighbors might want to join you in creating a Stay Healthy Block.

The city has announced it is making the permitting process free for non-arterial, residential street closures to encourage more open space in the city during the pandemic:

If your organization wants to apply for a permit, keep these things in mind:

  • You can go to our Stay Healthy Blocks website to apply now.
  • You’ll be responsible for notifying neighbors, closing the street with barricades and printable signs we developed, and monitoring for safety.
  • You’ll also be responsible for ensuring compliance with public health guidelines.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is also giving the effort a boost by offering a limited number of free signs and volunteer support to organizations looking to create their own Stay Healthy Block.

The new initiative builds on the Stay Healthy Streets effort that has created routes closed to “through motor vehicle traffic to provide more space for distancing, exercise, and recreation. Officials also hope the routes can help connect people to services and businesses without the need for cars or public transit. The streets remain open to “local traffic” and deliveries and the rules are in effect 24×7.

In the Central District, the route includes 25th S starting near Judkins Park north to E Columbia, E Columbia between 12th and 29th, and a finger on 22nd Ave stretching north to E Howell.

In May, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure. The Stay Healthy Blocks, meanwhile, are only temporary.

Learn more at the Stay Healthy Blocks website.

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With no bike share in Seattle, sharing in the city takes another hit

Rarely does an industry have such a quick rise and sudden drop as the bikeshare business has had in Seattle. Last year it would have been odd if you didn’t see a mass of multicolored bicycles across the streets, from red Jump bikes to the yellow Ofos and green Lime bicycles.

Lime took its 2,000 bikes off Seattle streets in December and now the Jump bicycles will be temporarily absent, as well, with Lime taking over the red bike’s business operations this month. Lime acquired Jump on May 7 after Uber, which owned the latter, led a $170 million investment in Lime that “reaffirms Lime’s market strength and positions the company to build a long-lasting business that empowers people with sustainable, safe and affordable transportation options,” the company said in an announcement.

This comes as the bike rental business has fallen off a cliff during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were just 23,400 trips in April, compared to 158,600 trips in April 2019, according to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) data.

“We recognize that the COVID-19 has impacted all areas of life including new mobility companies, and we are evaluating our options with these impacts in mind,” SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson said in an email. Continue reading

Set to become permanent part of neighborhood, here’s how people are using the Central District’s Stay Healthy Streets

(Image: City of Seattle)

What does a lot of civic energy and a few signs do for creating safe neighborhood streets? As Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure, early numbers for the Central District’s stretch of “Stay Healthy Streets” show some promising results for walking, running, and biking.

Seattle Bike Blog reports that, just to be clear, the new Stay Health Streets are not “closed” — they’re repurposed:

Traffic volumes are down 91% on the Central District SHS compared to 2017 levels after the neighborhood greenway was installed. That 91% decrease far outpaces the the 57% decrease in overall car traffic since the outbreak began, a sign that the signs are working.

Durkan announced last week that “at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets” will become permanent. In addition, 3 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets were added in Rainier Valley and 1/3 mile of Beach Drive SW in Alki. Continue reading

‘CROWDED PARKS LEAD TO CLOSED PARKS’ — Seattle reopens busiest parks, to add 15 miles of ‘Stay Healthy’ streets for walking, running, and biking

Seattle’s busiest green spaces including Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park and Volunteer Park will be open to visitors this weekend following an Easter weekend shutdown due to overcrowding during the COVID-19 distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, the weekend will bring the debut in West Seattle and the Central District of a new effort to give more people more room to move across Seattle with the first Stay Healthy Streets welcoming walkers, runners, and bikers.

Mayor Jenny Durkan says the decision to allow use of Cal Anderson and the city’s other major parks comes with expectations.

“The Governor’s order is Stay Home – not stay out. The social distancing necessary to keep us healthy will mean a new normal for Seattle’s parks, farmers markets, and public amenities,” she said. “Stay home, but if you need to exercise or go to get groceries at the farmers market, please no crowds, no gatherings, and keep it moving.” Continue reading

SDOT improving north end of Melrose Connector Trail

A portion of the Melrose Connector Trail above I-5 is closed this week for a Seattle Department of Transportation construction project to improve the cycling and walking connection between the western edges of Capitol Hill and the Lakeview Blvd area.

SDOT says the project is taking place at the north trailhead and will create a new bike ramp and better wayfinding.

The existing ramp was scheduled to be closed for five days during the work. Cyclists are advised to detour along Belmont Ave E and Bellevue Pl E. Continue reading