Proposed Design Drawings (Via SDOT)

Last week SDOT again recommended the rechannelization of NE 125th St from Roosevelt Way NE to 30th Ave NE, converting the current configuration from two travel lanes in each direction, to one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and bike lanes in both directions. At the intersection of NE 125th St and 10th, 15th and 30th Ave NE the current lane configuration is maintained.

The rechannelization would also have a transit component, allowing buses to travel straight through major intersections (10th, 15th and 30th Ave NE) in the right turn only lane, as well as including an aggressive stop consolidation program, reducing the number of stops from 15 to 5. This will likely maintain or improve transit travel time through the corridor, as long as bus reentering delays are not significant at location where buses do not stop in the flow of traffic. I don’t know where the proposed bus stops are so I can’t speak to this point.

This is a good proposal. It improves safety for all road users, likely maintains or improves transit travel times, and has minimal impact on vehicular travel. The biggest win will be the reduction of excessive speeding along the corridor. Send comments of support to walkandbike@seattle.gov. Opponent of the plan have been especially well organized so comment of support are important.

19 Replies to “SDOT: NE 125th St Rechannelization Recommended Again”

  1. I’m delighted SDOT hasn’t given up. This is my former ‘hood. The car drivers came up with the zaniest ideas for how bikers should get around last time, often demonstrating painful lack of knowledge of the street layout in their own neighborhood.

    Still, the idea of having buses in the right-turn lane, and then going back into the main travel lane, bears explanation. As much as possible, buses should never have to pull back into a travel lane. Car drivers ignore laws requiring them to yield the right-of-way to buses. Maybe SDOT has figured out a way for those lanes to be clear when the bus has to pull back into them …

    1. Agreed. When I was in high school, the hill on 125th used to be a speed trap because people were always speeding along that stretch of the road, both up the hill and down it.

      I also have concerns about buses popping in and out of right turn lanes especially with the bike lane there. Anyone familiar with such a design working out well in other parts of the city?

      1. I’ve read a lot on the topic of the 15th Ave NW BAT lane. It seems that bikes and buses are an inefficient pairing of modes to put in the same lane, hence my suggestion below to keep them separated.

  2. At the risk of ballooning the cost of the project, may I suggest islanded bus bulbs? Have the bus stops be on pedestrian islands along the main travel lane, with enough room on the other side of the island for the bike lanes to be continuous, even if temporarily narrowed, and perhaps not absolutely straight. The area between the pedestrian island and the sidewalk across the bike lane would be a crosswalk, of course.

    The idea is to keep buses from blocking the bike lanes and keep bikes out of the way of the buses, while not having buses yield the ROW in the general traffic lane.

    1. They aren’t going to spend that kind of jack this far north. As it is, I think this is all penciled out under 100K. It’s just paint. If you start making actual infrastructure changes, it gets pricey fast.

      Not that I wouldn’t love curb bulbs, but there are certainly places I’d rather see the money spent, even in this (my) neighborhood.

      For instance, the stretch of 125th between Lake City Way and Sand Point (and Sand Point itself – I dream) is in desperate need of pedestrian and/or bike infrastructure. The lack of sidewalks or any way to get through this stretch without taking your life in your hands is a travesty.

      1. Agreed, b.

        I’ve taken my life in the Creator’s hands many time on 125th/Sandpoint. The Creator meant for many people to walk and bike in that area to adore Her handiwork. Alas, it is a speedway for people with other priorities on their mind.

      2. Also, regarding the $100K cost, the street is being repaved and will have to be restriped anyway. Doing it with the bike-lane alignment instead of the current alignment shouldn’t increase the cost of the repavement project.

        Like only buying low-floor buses during fleet replacement, road re-striping can be accomplished in a revenue-positive manner if we just have the patience. (Yes, road re-striping done at the time of repavement is revenue positive, as slower cars do less damage, and bike lanes mean less of the street width is being damaged.)

  3. I think the opposite approach is needed.

    There are no major East-West arterials in North Seattle which is one of the main reasons for all the gridlock.

    What is needed here is a limited access highway, not a road diet.

    This would pull traffic out of I-5 faster (same as the Mercer redesign).

    It would also pull traffic out of the side streets faster.

    Bikes could still be accomodated in a completely separate pathway, if say, the new “Route 125” were depressed into the ground and some side pathways were built.

    Exits would include 99, Ballard and the shore.

    1. I should probably just let this lie, but…

      Do you even know this area? There isn’t any gridlock here. There isn’t even any northbound on ramps or off ramps to I-5.

      It’s also got residential housing all along it.

      There are also a number of East-West arterials along here, including 145th and Northgate, that also do not have gridlock or anything remotely resembling gridlock. This will also continue to be an arterial, and will serve the same capacity as it does now. 125th is not the fastest way to anywhere, except maybe Lowe’s and Bitter Lake.

      Personally I’d just close the street entirely, and turn it into a wildlife crossing so that the wolves, coyotes and bears can more safely access their feeding grounds in Laurelhurst. But then I’d be labeled an extremist. ;)

    2. How can north Seattle have gridlock when the city is depopulating? Are the birds driving cars now?

    3. I agree that there are east-west capacity issues north of the ship canal, but those are further south, like around 85th, and 45th. 125th is never crowded, and neither is 145th. Northgate Way does get a bit congested but I certainly wouldn’t use the word “gridlock” to describe it, especially not the stretch between Lake City the mall, which is about the part of 125th that is getting the road diet.

  4. NE 125th St. not only has less traffic than most road diet streets (1/3 less than Nickerson, without the freight issue); auto volumes there have actually *fallen* 17% in the past decade. The 3-lane configuration can handle 25,000 cars a day. Just 16,000 use NE 125th. There will still be extra, unused car capacity there. Only it will be slower and safer, inviting more people to walk and bike and slashing injuries and deaths. The Ped Board strongly supports this one.

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