Two-Way Broadway, Alternative Cross-Section

Well talk about a busy week. If only all weeks could be this exciting. I wanted to pass everything along ASAP because we have a good amount of competition from Capitol Hill Seattle and Central District news when it comes to pushing time sensitive news out and I don’t want us to be the last. All documents can be found at the streetcar website.

The engineering drawings have been updated as well as some new analysis added.

New Info:

UPDATE 1:45: To me the least interesting part of the report is the accessibility report which states the obviously just in technical terms. Essentially there is a pretty steep hill between Broadway and 12th Ave (duh) and any kind of moving sidewalk or escalator is ridiculously expensive (duh). The most interesting part is the new information on how the streetcar will impact bicycles done by Alta. The key findings are:

  • The Two-Way Broadway and Pioneer Square loop alignments maximize cyclist comfort and maintain bicycle system quality.
  • Streetcar tracks along 5th Avenue south of Jackson create challenges for cyclists accessing King Street.
  • The Minor/Boren couplet has the highest potential to negatively impact cycling conditions. These impacts occur primarily through the installation of tracks on roadways that already present significant challenges to a cyclist (e.g., roadway speed, and number of potential vehicle conflicts).
  • The Broadway/Boylston alignment could provide good connectivity while minimally impacting the cycling environment. There are some design challenges created by tight intersection geometry and irregular left turns. Alternate cycling routes may be necessary through this area.
  • Installing streetcar tracks on any portion of 12th Avenue will result in degradation of a key north/south cycling corridor.
  • Jackson Street presents significant challenges for adequately accommodating all transportation modes. The City should consider designating King Street as the preferred bicycle travel corridor, optimize the street for bicycle travel and provide enhanced wayfinding signage to direct people to the facility.
  • Many intersections on the proposed study corridor present potential hazards for cyclists turning left due in part the juxtaposition of offset roadway grids. As the track alignment is further refined, bicycle friendly design solutions specific to each intersection will be finalized.
  • The several potential alignments in the northern (Broadway) portion of the corridor include loop options along 11th and 12th Avenues that would create either clockwise or counterclockwise streetcar service. Ether option will need to carefully be designed to include bike lanes and minimize the loss of parking where possible.

Updated but not new info after the jump.

H/T to Gordon Werner

77 Replies to “New First Hill Streetcar info”

  1. I like the inclusion of the street-cutaways showing where the row will be with regards to the traffic lanes

    1. Yes gives you a very complete idea of what they are thinking of. It would be nice if URS would team up with another firm that has more of an urban planning background. From what I know URS is a very technical, engineers oriented firm.

    2. Yes, I like the sectoins too, but am wondering as they don’t have any at the proposed stops, how they would configure these. Curb bulbs don’t seem likely, as they would either cut off the bike lane, or outside driving lane where they exist. So I’m guessing they would have to do a center of the street island? Does anyone have info on this layout?

  2. I was looking at these drawings and I noticed something that I was unsure if it was always there or not. From the drawings, it appears that Broadway south of Denny Way will be configured with 4 travel lanes. This is an increase from the two travel lanes and the center turn lane.

    Also, it looks like they are removing the median island in front of SCCC. While I understand that this will likely not be a stop, it would be nice to keep the island for a potential future island stop. After all, there is a pedestrian crossing signal there as well.

    1. There are two two-way Broadway cross-sections. The “preferred” cross section is the one you mentioned. 4 through travel lanes and one parking lane. I’m assuming it is preferred because it will ensure the fastest streetcar operations, ie least vehicle congestion while not forcing bicyclist to travel in the same lane as the tracks… Actually now that I think about it a bit more that might not be true. It will allow cars to pass the streetcar, which in my opinion shouldn’t be priority. This will calm Broadway much like buses do on the Ave which is good for all modes besides cars. Also because cars can’t pass a streetcar (and then queue at the next intersection) this means that the streetcar might actually experience less congestion because all the car that otherwise would have passed the streetcar will be queued up behind it. Not in front of it slowing it even more. I think a more detailed analysis in VISSIM would show this. The only issue then becomes will this then affect other transit? Will the 49 continue to be on Broadway? I don’t know.

      The other cross-section is a 3 lane alignment similar to the current with 1 lane of parking and two 5 foot bicycle lanes. Sounds very good to me but that means taking out a lot of parking. Then again the other one does too. Also note that Alta said this cross-section is the better of the two and I agree.

      So it guess it comes down to what it usually does. Do we provide vehicle capacity and parking or reallocate space to transit and non-motorized transportation?

      1. I wish they had looked at possibly removing the middle turn lane as an option of reclaiming some street space.

      2. That would mean that left turns would need to be restricted and make it hard to site center platforms which use the area that left turn pockets would otherwise use. The nice thing about the 3 lane configuration is that it is uniform along all of broadway. It doesn’t wiggle around on Broadway very much.

  3. The Weller Street loop has perfect connections to Link at IDS both inbound and outbound, and lines up with the Weller St. pedestrian bridge for Sounder access and ped access to the North Lot future development zone.

    What does the Pioneer Square loop offer to compete with that? Pioneer Square is a place that could use a boost, but seems out of scope for this project.

    In the future, if a streetcar is constructed on 1st Ave. or restored the waterfront, that could properly serve Pioneer Square and then shoot out to Jackson. With the new loop around 14th Ave. instead of Boren for this line, the additional distance to cover to get to 23rd Ave. (included in City’s Streetcar Plan) is reduced to 3000 feet.

    With an extension to Aloha we really need to find the funding for, the loop around Cal Anderson Park seems superfluous.

  4. So…exactly HOW many bicyclists will be effected and how does that compare to the projected ridership of the corridor its affecting? (IE hurting 50 bicyclists/day will require moving a line that moves 5000 people/day.)

    Funny story, when in Portland over the weekend, there were tons of bicyclists riding down the middle of the streetcar tracks. And in the area between the rail and the platform (about 1.5′ gap & I’ll post a bunch of pics tonight). People are managing down there just fine…

    1. The problem is that *when* it does affect a bicyclist it *really* impacts them to say the least. Riding in the middle of the tracks isn’t advisable but I have done it before. I feel more in control than out in the second lane with 5 cars right behind me. I believe that the major problem with the SLU streetcar is when it turns. It has a lot of oblique angles that catch unsuspecting bicyclists tires. I don’t know for sure but I would bet that this has been the major cause of most injuries related to the SLU line.

      1. I’m not disagreeing that the streetcar doesn’t affect bicyclists, but what are the numbers? What is the cost/benefit analysis of the situation? Nobody seems to want to give out any numbers of how many are affected. It seems slightly dishonest and a great NIMBY tool: hiding behind the guise of negatively impacting cycling just so we can continue to have inaction.

        If it affects 1,000 bicyclists, ok, lets have another look at the streetcar design. If it only affects 50, I say tough luck, get out of the way and bring in the excavators, lets stop wasting time.

        And how many cyclist injuries have there been with the SLUT? Any numbers, or just a hunch?

      2. I have no idea what the numbers are. I would be interested to see.

        However it is very hard to argue for something that compromises safety when a better option exists. For example are you talking about the jog over to 14th? I think there are a lot more issue with that than just bicycles. That intersection is complex (read slow) for a streetcar and combined with increased coverage in the area at the south end of the 12th corridor is an economic development opportunity. For bicyclist coming down Boren southbound could be very dangerous because of the how steep the hill is and thus the high speeds they might have.

      3. The numbers are such that there has been serious conversation about a class-action lawsuit against the City by cyclists who have been hurt by the SLUT tracks. I don’t have precise numbers either, but I know they are out there.

        And yes, the 14th loop solves quite a few issues with the Boren/Yesler intersection that several of us saw on a ride last summer.

      4. Don’t know the numbers off the top of my head, but the Jose Rizal bridge on 12th funnels literally all the cyclists commuting north on Beacon Hill that direction. If you’re heading to the ID or the downtown waterfront the jog over to King seems like a good alternative, but 12th/Boren is by far the best way to get anywhere north.

      5. Well, the value of a statistical life is about $8 million. The value of saving a commuter 5 minutes of travel time in each direction aggregated over the course a 40 year career is about $16,000.

        So you would need about 500 commuters for every cyclist you kill in a 40-year period in order to economically justify a project that increases cyclist risk, and that assumes that you are not taking into account the social justice considerations.

        Given Sound Transit’s current ridership projections of 3,500, you could afford to kill about 1 bicyclist every 6 years or so and still make the project pencil IF the bicycle hostile alignment actually saved 3,500 commuters 5 minutes each way, again ignoring the social justice concerns which are not insubstantial.

        All this reduction of human life to cold numbers is mute, however, because the option that is best for bicyclist happens to also be the option that is the least expensive to build and has the fastest travel times. There is no tradeoff, so your willingness to make human sacrifices to the alter of “getting it built” is irrelevant.

    2. The numbers of cyclists effected today is not really important since Seattle is only beginning to get serious about providing cyclist facilities. Any number you look at today will be relatively small compared to other modes. Given the substantial growth in cycling in recent years, anything you do to improve, or at least not substantially degrade, conditions will contribute to continued growth in cycling.

      Some riders with more experience and/or fatter tires will have no trouble navigating streetcar tracks. Given the larger cyclist population of Portland, along with a longer modern history of streetcars, it’s no surprise that there are cyclists who ride along those tracks. I’ve got 25+ years of urban cycling experience and will ride just about anywhere but given my narrow tires I won’t go near the tracks. I’ve got enough to concentrate on without worrying about whether I’ll catch my tire in the rails.

      1. We’re also just beginning to get serious by spending billions on a massive transportation system that will linking an entire region.

        I can’t compare it to other modes because there…are…no…numbers. That’s my point. Nobody has ANY reasonable counts on bicyclists along the proposed streetcar corridors! I want to see the number of cyclists that use Broadway and 12th. Why doesn’t Seattle get someone to sit in a chair along 12th and/or Broadway and have them count the number of cyclists?

        I’m not angry about cycling, but I am angry how a mode like biking can completely derail a plan for a costly, permanent 100-year investment in city-changing infrastructure (Last time I checked, the rails are embedded in concrete while bike lanes are painted on). There needs to be a balance with the bigger goal of realistic mass transportation that will have the most impact on travel times, mobility, ease of use, and accessibility. We take the car impacts VERY seriously and analyze those numbers. It should be done with bikes as well instead of making what seem to be broad claims on non-existent numbers.

        Decline in Portland biking, the US mecca of urban cycling:
        http://www.willametteweek.com/editorial/3606/13475/

        Seattle estimates a city-wide 4000-8000 cycling commuter range:
        http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeprogram.htm

      2. The anger you are feeling about that whiny minority derailing your transit agenda is likely far less significant than the anger felt by the 4000 to 8000 human beings whose lives you have just placed on the table as something to be “balanced” against travel time for transit riders.

        Furthermore, any bicycle numbers that you would identify today are irrelevant to the future. As with transit, or highways or any other mode of transportation, the number of users scales up as the quality of the infrastructure increases. You would not evaluate light rail ridership by counting existing bus riders, because the light rail will attract new riders. Likewise, if the city were to actually build a network of high quality bicycle infrastructure, the number of bicyclists would increase dramatically.

        Of course what is really relevant to the discussion is not what is good policy, but what is good politics. The mayor of Seattle bikes to work with his security detail tailing him in an SUV at 10 miles per hour. Do you really think that you are going to get anywhere politically with your dismissive attitude?

      3. Tony you hit it on the head. The reason Bicycle lobbies are strong is because the stakes are high. I can’t count how many times I have been harassed or felt endangered by a driver. Threat to life and limb are powerful moderators, especially when all other road users are just “annoyed” by something.

        I would added that as a bicyclist the 3-lane 2-way Broadway configuration would attract me to use broadway much more than the current design.

      4. Tony,

        I agree with your value judgment, but you have to account for the lives saved by reducing driving.

      5. Don’t conflate bike lanes and bicycle transportation infrastructure.

        Most bike lanes in the U.S. are primarily a motorist facility, designed to make cyclists feel safe without having to take a position as far into the lane as they otherwise would. A paint stripe doesn’t stop cars from killing cyclists.

        According to AASHTO, the minimum physical operating envelope for a cyclist is 40 inches. This means that the cyclist’s wheel track should be at least 20 inches to the left of any obstruction.

        When a typical passenger car is parked tight to the curb, the driver’s door, when opened, will extend 110 to 120 inches from the curb, though some vehicles are considerably wider. If open-door width is 120 inches, the cyclist’s wheel track should then be a minimum of 140 inches from the curb. That’s just under 12 feet from the curb as a safe, legal, standards-compliant location to expect bicycles when on-street parking is allowed.

        Yet many city streets have 8-foot parking and 4-foot bike lanes. A cyclist riding within these bike lanes is accepting significantly greater risk by riding closer to parked cars, but this positioning improves traffic flow for motorists by keeping most cyclists out of the general purpose lanes.

        If you’re talking about a four-foot bike lane with no parking beside it, or a bike lane with a buffer zone between parked cars and the right edge of the bike lane, those can actually improve cyclist safety. But most bike lanes are designed to make cyclists feel good about riding too far to the right.

    3. Remember, too, that if the alignment leaves cyclists thinking the only safe place to ride is between the tracks, then the streetcar is limited to bicycle speeds any time there’s a bicyclist on that segment.

      Unlike motorists, streetcars can’t change lanes to pass slower vehicles.

      1. Well said. I tend to focus on the cyclists getting killed argument, but for those who seem to consider cyclists expendable, the travel time impact argument is quite persuasive. :-)

  5. What is the rationale for the loop around Cal Anderson Park anyway? Seems like it would be less expensive with less neighborhood impact if the route was 2-way along broadway at that point.

    1. I read previously the streetcars are going to run on trolleybus wires, which means they can’t switch directions the way the SLU streetcar does at the ends of its route, it has to loop at each end.

      1. I believe this came from the original streetcar route report (I don’t recall the exact name). However, if the trolleybus wires are used, it would not have to loop. Instead, it could be a single pole on each end of the streetcar. Once the car got to the end of the line, the operator would need to pull off theone pole and then walk to the other end of the car and attach the other pole. Not exactly efficient but doable.

    2. There now appears to be an alternative to the 11th Ave loop that didn’t exist at the previous planning stage. A fully 2-way Broadway option is now being considered with a terminus on Denny, so I think your point is being considered.

    3. The rationale was both turn-around issues and bicycle impacts. Due to the bicycle conflict, which is very real, any two-way broadway alignment must make room on the Right of way for dedicate cycling facilities. One way of doing that is to remove a lane of parking as SDOT has proposed in the drawings above. The other way to do it is to remove the center turn lane as the Capitol Hill Community Council proposed in our Complete Streetcar memo referenced here: https://seattletransitblog.com/2010/01/25/capitol-hill-community-councils-streetcar-proposal/.

      We believe that local businesses will strongly object to the removal of a lane of on-street parking and that far better opportunities exist to improve the pedestrian and bicycle environment if we remove the turn lane instead. SDOT did not receive our memo until after they had completed the drawings above. I believe that SDOT plans on studying and releasing a third, 2-lane broadway configuration in the next round.

  6. So why does the alignment for Broadway go all the way to 14th, then take Yesler to Broadway, crossing Boren twice?

    It occurs to me that Yesler is kind of peripheral to the First Hill neighborhood, and you could cover almost as much of it and get there as quickly if it got there by Jefferson or Cherry. This would cover more of the 12th neighborhood and would make for a much better 12th/Broadway compromise than the 12th/Broadway couplet.

    Of course what I’d really like to see is some exclusive lanes between King Street Station and First Hill to make sure the streetcar gets between the two quickly.

    1. There must be some reason they decided to go via 14th and Yesler, because the earlier alignment maps showed a route via 12th to Boren and then Yesler. Maybe they’re trying to avoid the 12th and Boren intersection, or the complicated trolley bus wiring at 12th and Jackson, or maybe they’re trying to avoid impacting the bike lanes on 12th. It would be interesting to know more about why they chose to go via 14th.

      I think Jefferson and Cherry are both too steep for a streetcar. I know that Columbia is around a 10% grade through the SU campus, and both Cherry and Jefferson are at least as steep.

      1. The 14th Ave jog is motivated by two things: heavy traffic congestion at 12th and Boren, and the Cedar River Pipeline, a major 100-year-old, 42-inch water main that runs under 12th Ave. Making the turn at 12th and Boren would require relocating a portion of the pipeline at substantial cost. The traffic congestion actually increases travel time compared to the 14th Ave alignment.

        The decision to travel up yesler to broadway rather than boren is motivated both by traffic congestion on boren and by a desire to serve the heart of the Yesler Terrace community, which after its redevelopment, will contain as many households as all of the rest of First Hill combined.

    2. I think it was a grade issue. Maybe the streetcar could’ve done it but it would have had to go very slowly or something. I remember being at a streetcar network report meeting a couple years ago in which some guy (not from the city but from the audience) said that he had gone down and surveyed it himself and that it was too steep for a streetcar. I’d tend to believe the city more than him, though..

      1. Hmm… I’m checking the contour lines on iMap, and I don’t think I believe that for Jefferson. The steepest block of Yesler (between 10th and 11th) rises 25 feet, and each block of Jefferson between 12th and Broadway is the same. Unless they are planning to regrade Yesler? Anyway, standard blocks are 330 feet, so we’re talking about a 7.5% grade.

    3. I asked Ethan Melone about the jog around 14th today, and he said that it’s due to all the traffic congestion and cycling impacts on 12th between jackson and Boren. He said travel time studies also showed that travel time would be less when going around 14th.

      One big unanswered question is the traffic impacts of adding a new left-hand turn signal for the streetcar at the already-complicated 14th/Rainier/Boren/Jackson intersection. Evidently that won’t be examined until the EIS.

  7. Interesting ideas, but at first run through I have to say I liked the Capital Hill Community Whatever version better.

    1. Agreed but I think that version also has a lot of ideas that are above and beyond the scope and budget of the project.

      1. IF the 2.1B Rail Measure is put on the ballot and passed this year, what effect would that have the First Hill Streetcar?

        How much do you estimate it would cost to do the above mentioned version and extension to Aloha?

      2. No one has any idea what a package this November would have, it is very possible that the $2.1b number was random, just to see what kind of opinions there are about projects of that general scope. The Aloha extension would be about $25m (http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/st2/st2_final/N07c_Streetcar_John_Street_to_Aloha_Street_Extension.pdf) and no one’s done any analysis really on the cycle track plan but I’m guessing (admittedly a little randomly) that it would be about $10m-$15m.

      3. Thanks for the info. When is the decision on the First Hill Streetcar going to be made do you know? As much as I want more streetcars… yesterday, a few months don’t really matter if some of that money could go to doing it right.

      4. I think the extension would be 20-30 million very roughly. As for the street refubishment it could wildly vary from maybe 5 million to 15 million or all of broadway. Those are complete guesses btw.

      5. The Aloha extension is beyond the budget, but not beyond the scope. Every single study conducted by both sound transit and the city of seattle leading up to this project has contained specific reference to the Aloha extension, while none of these studies mention the Boren-Seneca alignment or the 12th Ave alignment. Furthermore, the interlocal agreement specifically states in the very first paragraph, which defines the project scope, quote:

        The Project consists of the design and construction (directly or by others under the City’ s direction) of the Project as set forth in the “Minimum Scope of Work” which is attached hereto as Exhibit A, and is made part of this Agreement by this reference. The Project includes management and implementation of all actions required to design, construct, equip and operate the Project. The Project may also include design and construction of the streetcar connector north of the Capitol Hill Station at John Street or beyond the International District/Chinatown Station at 5th Avenue S, subject to the approval and concurrence of Sound Transit’s Board and the funding limitations provided in Section 3.

        Emphasis added.

        As far as funding is concern, where there is a will there is a way. Seattle is one of the wealthiest cities in the country and we have a fantastically generous and pro-transit citizenry. The city spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on transportation infrastructure and the city has a fantastic bond rating. If the Aloha extension is a priority for the City Council, they can find the money for it. If you, or anyone else thinks it should be a priority, e-mail the City Council and tell them so.

        While money for the Aloha extension is not yet secured, the community council’s other ideas, such as the right of way configuration and the two-way broadway alignment are well within both the scope and budget of the project.

    2. We are now calling it the Capitol Hill Complete Streetcar Campaign. We hope to have a website soon.

  8. When are we going to place the bike lane between the sidewalk and the parking in the USA? That’s what makes bikes work in Holland, Germany and Denmark.

    1. AASHTO, MUTCD, and WSDOT design standards would require significantly more right-of-way for segregated bicycle facilities than for bicycle lanes on a shared roadway; many city streets don’t have room for that approach unless you take away general purpose lanes or make the sidewalks smaller.

      1. No, they don’t allow facilities that force you entirely into the dooring zone.

        Cars have doors on the passenger side, too — if you put parking to the left of bikes, you need to have a bike facility wide enough to keep cyclists to the right of the passenger-side door zone, while still providing a reasonable operating clearance on the cyclist’s right.

        If you put cyclists to the left of parked cars, they have a 12+ foot lane to use to avoid the driver’s side door zone. The paint stripe doesn’t really provide cyclists any protection, but it also doesn’t confine them to the bike lane.

      2. Since cars average occupancy is 1.1 persons, why should I be concerned about any passenger doors? They are rarely, if ever, used.

        Funny, it works just fine in Holland and Denmark and Germany. But I guess we are never going to be able to do that in the USA. Makes me doubt any real future for alternative transportation here, including true High-Speed Rail.

      3. It works well in countries where there are enough cyclists that drivers are used to seeing them anyway.

        Cars in the U.S. may rarely carry passengers, but passenger doors are often used for loading and unloading stuff from the passenger compartment. And since motorists are used to being able to leave the passenger-side doors standing open while loading/unloading, they won’t give that up instantly just because they’re blocking traffic.

        On the driver’s side they’re at least aware a passing car could take their door off. If it’s just bikes on the passenger side, most motorists really don’t even think about bikes.

      4. In some ways yes some ways no. I have a friend who know a lot more about it than I. I guess back 20 years or so there was a big debate about on-street or off-street bicycle facilities and the on-street crowd won the North America while the off-street crowd won in Europe.

        The senior bicycle planner for PDOT and a principal at Alta are making a bicycle design manual for cities which is more responsive to urban environments than the highway centric designs.

      5. I recall that a big factor in this debate was centered in California. In the 70’s, California required bikes to ride on bike paths when they were built next to the roadway. The paths were poorly constructed (essentially it was a sidewalk) and the intersection geometry was worse. What occurred was that, not surprisingly, the collisions with bikes using the paths was much higher than those using the roadway (in defiance of the law). This also helped the rise of the vehicular cycling philosophy.

        In my work I’ve had the chance to see collision reports and bicyclists using sidewalks still have a higher rate of collisions than those in the roadway. Simply put, motorists see what is on the roadway, not on the sidewalk. That is the key issue that will need to be addressed for cycle tracks to be designed and accepted in this country.

      6. Off-road cycling infrastructure didn’t win in all of Europe, either.

        It definitely brings its own design concerns and costs — the buffering essentially turns the cycle track into a separate road for intersection purposes, which can require separate traffic signals and turn phases if you want to avoid car/bike conflicts.

        U.S. roads would generally require even more care than Europeans given the different legal environment. In much of Europe, motoring is considered a dangerous activity, and motorists are held to some form of strict liability. If a motorist hits a pedestrian or cyclist, there’s a rebuttable presumption that the motorist was at fault. (In the U.S., “I didn’t see him” is a common excuse for not yielding to a pedestrian or cyclist. In the Netherlands, that same statement would be a confession that the driver was driving too fast for conditions or wasn’t paying enough attention to the road, because it’s assumed the driver should be able to see and avoid other legal road users.)

  9. I love the Accessibility Report!

    See, I still wish we could run bi-directional on 12th Ave, turn on Columbia St. through the SU campus, and then run bi-directional down Broadway.

    It connects developable land, county buildings with multiple employees, 12th Ave community, SU, almost to the door of Swedish, and then the Broadway business corridor on Cap Hill.

    Could the streetcar manage a 10% grade through the campus? Would SU go for it?

    1. Only part of the route is 10% grade, move enough dirt there along the length of Columbia and you could get that down to 7%. Of course I doubt SU will easily give up pedestrian corridors and pave over a cobblestone street. What would be downright miraculous would be if they agreed to give up land near the corner of Columbia and Broadway allowing a direct crossover to Boylston street. I think actual auto streets like Jefferson or Cherry are a bit more likely. You can compare their topography on iMap, it looks to me like Jefferson has the smoothest climb and is comparable to Yesler, but Cherry is the sort of street I could imagine being widened and regraded with exclusive center streetcar lanes, which would be especially nice.

      1. SU wants a 12th Ave alignment more than you think they do. If a streetcar through Columbia is the only way to get it, they might be willing to talk… You’d have to actually ask them rather than assuming you already know what they would say.

      2. Yes it is very funny because that I know that are more engaged on this than I always talk about SU but they don’t really engage publicly, which I find a bit odd.

      3. Couldn’t SU kick in for cobblestone street and landscaping along the streetcar route at that point. After all, it’s not currently car-accessible, so who says it needs to be converted to a paved street?

        I think it also presents opportunities for them to increase some commercial revenue for the university or bring the public in to some student-run productions.

  10. I think the most interesting part of this presentation is the Pioneer Square loop. I never saw this segment on any piece of previous Streetcar alignments. It’s noteworthy pointing out that part of this line would replicate the old Waterfront Streetcar line and place stations at the WF terminus at 5th and Jackson and close to the old Pioneer Square station. They’d have to redo the old WF stations to accomodate the low floor Skoda vehicles.

    1. Yeah, not really sure about the whole Pioneer Square loop. Are they trying to bury the 1st Ave Streetcar?

      1. Yeah why not just have it end at IDCS and wait until 1st Ave to get it into Pioneer Square?

  11. Downtown Tacoma had “moving sidewalks” for a time in the early 60’s. They never worked, and it didn’t help the mass evacuation of that area in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

  12. Getting closer, but five feet is really too narrow for next to a parking lane. Better idea: Eliminate on-street parking, make that an 11-foot loading-only zone. Eliminate the center turn lane, and give the bike lane a proper six feet.

    1. The drawing also mislabels the general-purpose lane as “Auto/Streetcar”. It’s a general purpose vehicle lane, and the street cross-section will make cyclists routine users of the lane.

      If the parking lane is only 8 feet wide, and the bike lane is only 5 feet wide, then a Ford F-150 parked legally will hang out into the bike lane even with its door closed. When its door is open, almost the entire bike lane will be blocked. (Even my little Subaru is 110″ wide with the driver’s door open.)

      Many vehicles are wider than that. They may not block the streetcar, but they will certainly obstruct the bike lane on a regular basis, leading cyclists to merge into the general-purpose lane.

      That lane should not be labeled “Auto/Streetcar” when its design requires regular use by cyclists.

    2. Why do they have the lane next to the parking lane 5′ but the one next to the curb 6′? It seems like they should switch those.

      1. Yep, the bike lanes are bassakward because the people drawing this stuff are clueless. And a turn lane needs to be 11′? That’s like wide enough to have a 60mph speed limit. 28′ of sidewalk, OK if you’re putting out tables for a cafe but begeesous, how many people per hour can you push though 28′ of sidewalk. My favorite is in Bellevue where on 116th they have a continuous center turn lane from NE 21 all the way up to Northup even where it crosses under I-405. I’m not anti roads but can we please just stop building more of them in Bellevue until the lunatics are removed from the planning process?

      2. Just a guess, but is the 11′ turn lane actually sized for the center-platform streetcar stops?

        When you look at sidewalk width, keep in mind it’s not all available for walking laterally. You lose a couple of feet to parking meters and such, doorway room in front of buildings, etc., and then you want to keep a wide enough traffic area that two wheelchairs can pass in opposite directions without having to swerve around each other. A 14′ sidewalk isn’t really that big in an area with significant pedestrian traffic.

    3. Paul,

      Your pro-bicycle stance is greatly appreciated. However, eliminating on-street parking in a vibrant neighborhood business district consisting primarily of old buildings that do not provide any parking is a recipe for economic decline. Once our transit system is more mature and our mode split closer to 60% non-SOV as opposed to 3% or whatever it is now, then we can talk about eliminating parking without killing local business. The reality is that through good design and a reasonable compromise, we can provide world-class bicycle facilities and maintain the parking for businesses. There does not always have to be a fight. Win-win solutions are possible.

      1. Also I believe I read on here (and it makes sense) that on street parking between bikes and peds is actually safer and generates more foot traffic than just lanes, sidewalk.

        Take away the lanes (well lane in this case), not parking.

      2. On-street parking is also a buffer between pedestrians and cars.

        Pedestrians don’t like walking next to traffic lanes, it’s dangerous, noisy, and in wet climates it’s a good way to get drenched when cars hit puddles.

  13. I’m sorry, this is a bit ridiculous.

    Bicycle handlebars are between 18 and 24 inches wide on a lot of bicycles.

    Car doors swing wide. http://www.bikexprt.com/bikepol/facil/lanes/doorwidth.htm
    A GMC 3/4 ton pickup is just over 10 feet from the curb edge to the tip of an opened door, which in this illustration gives the bicycle 6″ to fit in.

    Now, are we going to say that streetcars have a 3′ passing distance with bicycles? Or are streetcars not vehicles?

    Also, where are the bicycle counts that SDOT promised to get for the proposed routes? When are those expected?

    This all seems rushed and not well researched, at least on the bicyle end.

  14. It is curious that a cycletrack was considered on broadway, but not on 12th. Would 12th still be less ideal if a cycletrack were included there?

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