by JOHN STEWART

Proposed 23rd Ave Cross Section
Proposed 23rd Ave Cross Section

On June 29th, at Garfield Community Center, SDOT presented their revised plan for 23rd Avenue, from John to Rainier. The project scope originally ended at Jackson but will now run to Rainier, taking into account the coming Link station at I-90.

Responding to community comments from the previous presentation in March, SDOT’s revised plan features transit- and pedestrian-friendly features:

  • A 3-lane alignment for the majority of the corridor, from Madison south to Rainier. Wider sidewalks, a completely reconstructed street (similar to what was done in the U District to the Ave, i.e. down to the dirt). 4-lane intersection profile at 23rd & Madison and potentially at 23rd & Jackson as well. The 4-lane profile is necessary due to traffic and turning volumes at Madison (and potentially at Jackson). This, combined with very narrow widths on portions of 23rd, preclude a cycletrack on the corridor.
  • $2 million for pole installation for future full corridor electrification of the #48 from the U District to Mt. Baker Station. SDOT is designing the electrification project. Metro and SDOT have been collaborating on funding for construction. Long-time followers of 23rd know that the two missing segments on 23rd are between John and Jefferson, and Dearborn and Hill.
  • SDOT and Metro will implement traffic signal priority for the #48. Stops will continue to be in-lane.

Read more about the project, including where to send comments, on SDOT’s project page for 23rd.

John Stewart is a transit advocate and Central District resident.

71 Replies to “SDOT Moving Forward on 23rd Ave Bus Improvements”

  1. This looks like a fantastic plan, and I hope it survives both the public and bureaucratic processes. More reliability for transit, much more safety for pedestrians, and no real injury to drivers.

  2. It is really disappointing they couldn’t squeeze in bike lanes or a cycle track. I don’t see why wider sidewalks an 5-6′ of planting space take precedence over bicycle infrastructure. That said, it sounds like the planning for this has been going on for a while and I haven’t been involved, so maybe there are good reasons.

    1. From the post you’re commenting on:

      The 4-lane profile is necessary due to traffic and turning volumes at Madison (and potentially at Jackson). This, combined with very narrow widths on portions of 23rd, preclude a cycletrack on the corridor.

      It’s not about the sidewalks and the planters.

    2. If I still rode, I would much prefer using a decent greenway on a parallel street to being on a high traffic arterial. Also, if I lived on the parallel street, I’d much prefer bikes and traffic calming to cars. I don’t know that traffic humps are necessary for the traffic calming though.

      1. Bike routes on arterial streets, here in the states where most businesses are on arterial streets, are important for business access.

        In many places bike routes along arterial streets are important because they’re the most direct routes (or, sometimes, the only reasonable routes) for going through (especially when grade is considered). That really isn’t true here, though — there are many excellent routes north-south through the Central District.

      2. (FWIW, I don’t think the lack of a bike route on 23rd in this plan is a terrible tragedy. I don’t think it’s impossible to accommodate bike lanes along with a couple higher-throughput intersections with the width given, but the additional challenge of supporting bus stops at these intersections might be too much. A lot of the businesses are on the east-west streets anyway.)

    3. Brett,

      A bunch of neighbors drafted a letter to SDOT when we first heard about the funding for the rebuild. We asked for a complete street, supporting the #48, pedestrians, cyclists and general-purpose motor vehicle traffic.

      Having sat through the process, it’s pretty clear SDOT tried hard to follow Complete Streets guidelines. But there just isn’t enough right-of-way to fix the street for pedestrians *and* include off-street bicycle facilities. The parallel greenway approach is a new one for SDOT; it’s going to be on all of us who live around 23rd to make sure it gets done right.

      To aw’s point – the real challenge will be calming the intersections (assuming we wind up with a route on 22nd, which sounds likely at this point) with the east-west arterials. That’s where the fun will really happen.

  3. Electrifying the entirety of the 48?? Are we seriously planning to lock in the existing 48 route, knowing it needs to be split and restructured?

    1. “The 48 from the U-District to Mt. Baker Station.” The plan assumes a split of the 48, which in turn implies a restructure (as the split would be very costly otherwise).

    2. It says “U-District to Mt Baker station”, and that resembles several unofficial proposals to electrify the south half of the route. The requests to split the 48 in general are even more numerous, to improve reliability.

    3. We won’t be able to have a split, electric 48S without filling the gaps on 23rd. Be happy SDOT was able to work the $$ for the trolley infrastructure into this project.

  4. With the new trolley buses on the way (with an order smaller than the current fleet), it’s a darn shame there isn’t a bigger push to get 23rd electrified for the 48 to use. Or, any other corridors and new trolleys to serve those corridors for that matter. New trolleys and wire seem to be a once-in-a-half-generation.

    1. Metro and Muni included a substantial number of options in the trolley order. If Metro sees a reason to grow the trolley fleet in the next 4 years or so, it won’t be a problem to do so.

    2. Funding for the full electrification isn’t here yet, but I wouldn’t underestimate the seriousness with which SDOT and Metro take the idea of electrifying this corridor. SDOT is paying for a shovel-ready design for overhead wire and substations, which is a non-trivial fraction of the cost of the project overall, and makes it much easier to win grant money for construction. Metro and SDOT are collaborating on a study that will show the financial and environmental benefits of electrifying this corridor, which can be used to show skeptical suburban King County Council members why they should vote to spend money on a “Seattle project”.

      This may sound like paperwork and bureaucratic machinations and silly local government politics, and to a large extent it is, but this kind of ground work is how small projects like this get built. I’m very optimistic about this corridor, and I think everyone else should be too.

    3. That project is just to replace the current trolly fleet. Electrifying another route would be a separate project. Just because it hasn’t been started yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There’s also University Link coming in 2016, which will presumably trigger a Capitol Hill restructure.

      1. But they are ultimately tied together. With the downsizing of the trolley fleet, it doesn’t leave much room or hope for any reasonable expansion the 48S. I’m excited to see more trolleys in the city, but the TMP identifies 3 other corridors for possible electrification and there seems to be very little momentum to move ahead with those projects. If someone came up with a more advanced plan for each corridor, then it would give KCM and SDOT some momentum to propose something grander and give people to rally behind. And if people agreed, KCM would need some extra trolleys to pull that off.

        Note Sound Transit purchased new locomotives and will be purchasing new bilevel cars in anticipation for an increase in Sounder service. Same with buying Link vehicles for ULink. They’re doing it years in advanced.

      2. What does this “downsizing of the trolley fleet” mean? Metro hasn’t said it’s going to dieselize any route or make it less frequent, so are these just spare vehicles, and does the current fleet have an excessive number of spares?

        ST has a large capital budget in ST2. Metro doesn’t have anything like that.

        The TMP is going ahead one bit at a time. The Fremont-Ballard study is underway, the Madison-BRT study is getting organized, and the Eastlake study is on-again, off-again. Further projects require council approval and budgeting. The TMP was never intended to be implemented all at once. Doing so would require a Los Angeles-style construction blast. That would require the city and county to agree to undertake it, and the state to allow the tax revenue to fulfill it (hahaha).

      3. My understanding is that Metro is ordering a handful fewer replacement trolleys than they currently have, because the new trolleys ought to be more reliable than the Bredas and franken-Gilligs we have now. Fewer spares should be needed than our current service requires.

        I think it’s fiscally prudent to include options for additional trolleys, but not to purchase them yet, given the lack of plans currently in place to expand the trolley system. The situation is not analogous to ST’s plans for more Sounder in Link service, as those expansions are already planned and, more importantly, funded.

  5. I’m a C.D/Madrona resident and cyclist, and I’m not too disappointed by the lack of a bike facility directly on 23rd. So many good alternatives exist for north-south travel, including 20th, 22nd, 24th, and 27th, and east-west travel is well accommodated by bike lanes on Jackson, Yesler, Jefferson, Cherry, Union. Greenway plans for Columbia, Alder, and Pine will make it even better.

    While a bike facility on 23rd would have been nice, the higher priority is getting the extra lane-width for buses, getting the trolley poles installed, ending the awful unprotected left turns at several intersections, traffic calming, and rebuilding the terrible pavement and sidewalks. Nice work, SDOT.

    1. +1
      Nice post, Zach.

      The fact that the Rainier Station will have direct access to 23rd should not be underestimated (it’s also less than 1/4 mile to MLK). I think more people will use that Link station than may be expected.

    2. 23rd has Garfield High School and numerous businesses and other destinations, plus the Link station. At the least, that’s less convenient for 20th, 22nd, 24th, and 27th. It’s also a through corridor right straight through without being interrupted by Garfield (24th) or I-90 (22nd and 20th).

  6. One other thing worth noting, buried in that presentation, is that SDOT recently received a grant for transit improvements between John and Roanoke, which will presumably pay for TSP and improved stops and suchlike. Along with the work SDOT is doing on Rainier, almost the entire Mount Baker-U District corridor will be rebuilt in the next few years. Very exciting!

    1. Glad to hear it! I’m assuming the John to Roanoke improvements would be more limited in scope and not a “down to the dirt” rebuild, however much that’s needed. Any idea if they would include rechannelizing 23rd/24th to match the new 3-lane profile of (most of) the rest of the corridor? If not, do you know who at SDOT we should contact about that?

      1. SDOT already did a project from John to Ward several years ago, when they rebuilt the outer lanes “down to the dirt” and resurfaced the inner lanes. As far as I know, there’s no plans to revisit that section, beyond the signal priority and nicer bus stops.

        If I remember discussion from the last public meeting correctly, traffic volumes at the Westlake/John/23rd triangle are too heavy and require 4 lanes on 23rd at that point. So even if there’s a future road diet to the south, it still won’t be an uninterrupted 3-lane corridor.

        If you want something like this to happen, your best bet is to wait for the inevitable Ward to Roanoke repave megaproject, and make comments as part of that design process. It’ll probably be in the next big deferred-maintenance SDOT levy, BTG2 or whatever they decide to call it. As-is, this project is already consuming SDOT’s entire annual paving budget and can’t be expanded any more – it is the capstone of the BTG project list.

    1. We’ll have more coverage of Madison as the city starts to work on that project, and we can talk about it at length then.

      1. Fair enough. I saw a lot of ideas for 23rd that could (will?) be equally applicable to Madison in the future.

      2. I asked about Madison-BRT at the last Central Connector meeting a couple months ago. The SDOT planner said they had started recruiting a project manager, and it would take a few months until the project is underway. My impression, if I remember right, is that the first open house will likley be late this year or early next year.

      3. … assuming a McGinn re-election. What Murray’s SDOT will do with the Madison BRT proposal is anyone’s guess.

  7. I’m disappointed. 23rd is the only good way to get in and out of Central Seattle. After this change, it’ll be just another poky local-access-only neighborhood street like 12th or MLK, and we’ll have *no* good access to other neighborhoods. The bus will still get stuck in traffic as much as it does now, and they’re not even widening the sidewalks or adding a bike lane to make it feel like we’re getting something nice out of the deal. As far as I can tell this is just an expensive way to make the street less useful. I wish they’d just repave it and leave the rest alone.

    1. Huh? The road diet will speed things up. No more deciding whether to be in the inner or outer lane to avoid turning traffic. Hopefully, the TSP will keep the buses moving well.

      And they are widening the sidewalks, if I read the SDOT presentation correctly.

    2. Page 6 of the presentation explicitly calls out wider sidewalks. In fact, much of the cost of this rebuild is moving the curb to accommodate them.

      Like any transit service in mixed traffic, buses can be delayed by cars, but the reason SDOT is keeping the four-lane profile at certain intersections is to keep buses moving. Considering that, and the signal priority the bus will gain on this corridor, bus travel times will improve.

      This project isn’t cheap, but the street will become very much more useful.

      1. When I went to the open house they made a point of the fact that they were not intending to widen the sidewalks, that there was no budget for it in the current plan. I didn’t see any mention of sidewalks in this presentation, but you’re right, if you look at the dimension numbers on their diagram, they are larger than the current sidewalks. Well, I’m glad we get something out of it, at least.

      2. The sidewalks will be wider, until vegetation takes over and limits the useful width to 2-3 feet (see West sidewalk of 23rd between John and Thomas).

      3. Mars, the original open house included the smaller budget amount, which did not include nearly enough to be able to widen the sidewalks. SDOT has chosen to follow Complete Streets and build sidewalks on 23rd that actually work (unlike what we currently experience); now they just have to find the rest of the $$ to finish the project. They’re phasing the construction, no doubt to have more time to go after more grants.

    3. “The bus will still get stuck in traffic as much as it does now.”

      No, it won’t. First, it will have TSP; that’s part of the project. Second, it won’t get stuck behind turning traffic, which will now have a dedicated lane (for left-turning traffic) or room to move out of the way a bit (for right-turning traffic).

      “and they’re not even widening the sidewalks”

      But they are adding a planting strip to separate the sidewalks from traffic a bit. That will be a big improvement for pedestrians.

      “I wish they’d just repave it and leave the rest alone.”

      The problem is that the current configuration is unsafe. Even if you like it, the city can’t possibly keep it. Both lanes and sidewalks are extremely narrow in places; the right-of-way just isn’t wide enough in those places for four full lanes.

      “it’ll be just another poky local-access-only neighborhood street like 12th or MLK”

      When I lived in the south end, I used to drive back and forth to Cap Hill all the time. I found that MLK was faster than 23rd because light timings were better and there was less traffic. The speed limits are the same.

      1. Strange – my experience has been the opposite: I moved a few months ago from 23rd & Cherry to a house on MLK, but I still cut over to 23rd as soon as I can, because traffic there actually flows smoothly. The speed limits may be the same, but traffic on MLK pokes along like everyone is half asleep – especially in the late afternoon, wow…

      2. You say “smoothly” and I hear “way too fast”…

        (Although I can’t dispute MLK’s sleepy pace..)

      3. When I had a bicycle in the early 00’s, MLK was always my favorite north-south route in east Seattle because it was the flattest street and wide and pretty low traffic. I haven’t had a bicycle since the Link redesign so I don’t know how it is for bikes now. There does seem to be more traffic on lower MLK now and the street might be narrower.

  8. No protected, separate bike lanes on 23rd Avenue is a major disappointment. 23rd should be safe for bicyclists of all abilities and ages, not just road warriors.

    1. The street is so narrow that it would come down to a choice between transit reliability and protected bike facilities. With protected two-way bike facilities and safe sidewalks, you would only have enough room for a two-lane street without any turn lanes. That would be a disaster for reliability on one of the heaviest-used transit corridors in the entire city (not to mention a source of general congestion throughout the CD).

      The parallel streets approach is much better in this particular case.

    2. That would make sense for Broadway which has destinations right on the street and where just being there in a pedestrian district is part of the reward. It might even make sense for Stone Way which has a modest row of destinations. But 23rd/24th is mostly single-family, and the few commercial districts it has are just a few islands, and of little interest to those not living in the immediate neighborhood. So why is it so important to have bike lanes right on 23rd rather than on parallel streets?

  9. Does anyone have information about whether or not the northbound and southbound separate signal phases are going away with this? Was that asked in the meeting? That seems to be what slows down cars and buses the most.

    1. With a two-way turn lane configuration, there is no longer any reason to have separate signal phases. And the inclusion of TSP in the project suggests that signals will be upgraded. So I’d hazard a strong guess that the separate signal phases (which are indeed very unhelpful on the northern part of this corridor) are going away.

    2. The 3-phase timing (All north go, all south go, East/west go) is only needed due to the 4-lane configuration. 5 lane (like at Jackson) or 3 lane (like proposed north of Jackson) don’t need this timing.

      The current 3 phase setup is optimal for a 4-lane road with heavy turning traffic, such as 23rd’s current, unfortunate setup. Without splitting north and south traffic into separate phases, left turns become almost impossible, and you only flow 2 lanes through the intersection ANYWAY, because both inner lanes are blocked in perpetuity by left-turn queues.

      Downtown Redmond is saddled some similarly configured streets – 83rd primarily. Their progression is a case study in these types of situations. They started as 4 lanes, with basic 2-phase signals, then switched to a 3-phase signal like we have today on 23rd, then finally went to a 3-lane configuration with a 2-way left turn lane and a pair of bicycle lanes.

      1. Let’s see…

        1. We have Metro 48 buses stop at far side stops, and design the roads to make it hard for cars to pass around them. That’s going to mean that cars are going to spill back into the intersection and won’t clear signals if a bus is in front of them. Today, they can go around a stopped bus — but that’s not really going to work very well with one through lane, is it?

        2. We have separate phases for north and south traffic to make it easier for vehicular left turns, although there is only one left turn on the corridor which has a turning bus route of of 23rd avenue (southbound Metro 8 buses at Jackson). It would seem that the objective would be to prioritize north-south through traffic (rather than left turns) so that Metro 48 buses can have the most green time possible.

        The road to slower buses is paved with good intentions.

  10. Any sense of whether keeping 4 lanes at the Madison and John intersections (and presumably for the stretch of road in between) in conjunction with 3 lanes elsewhere would allow for left turns onto Madison from 23rd? Also, will this work address the backups caused by SB 23rd traffic turning left onto John without a dedicated left turn signal?

    I also hope some thought is given to how to make that intersection work in conjunction with with the Madison HTC. It seems likely that the Madison HCT is going to end at 23rd (although I think you could make an argument to extend it to MLK due to the relatively short distance, the steepness of the hill between MLK and 23rd, and the retail in Madison Valley). If it does end at 23rd, there aren’t currently a lot of layover/turnaround options, but maybe that’s something that could be addressed in the redesign of this intersection. Maybe we need a roundabout! :-)

    1. If the Madison BRT ends at 23rd, there’s a good layover/turnaround nearby. From Madison EB, turn left onto 23rd, then left onto John. There’s a large landscaped area where John jogs over to become Thomas next to the Miller Park fields, which could be redesigned to accommodate turn around and layovers for a few coaches. Of course, then the BRT doesn’t make it to Madison Valley.

      As Bruce points out above, though, we should probably save the Madison talk for another day.

      It’s unclear to me exactly how far this project will extend in relation to the Madison and John intersections, but I suspect there won’t be any rechannelizing north of Madison until the next grant comes in. I’d hope that the Madison/23rd intersection will at least be rebuilt in the current configuration, because it’s in pretty sorry shape.

  11. I do have to flag the disturbing acceptance of bad public disclosure and participation here. Suddenly, the project goes much further, from Jackson to Rainier. The meeting materials on July 29 did not get to any of the substantive issues required to provide a common consensus; the issues that sought “votes” seemed to be window dressing; the major issues were decided in “the alternative”. Many residents in the corridor cannot get off work or family obligations to attend a meeting. The corridor is vital to many transit riders and drivers who extend beyond the Central District, such as the Rainier Valley, Capitol Hill and UW students and I was never told about seeking input (with the exception of this blog, which is playing an important service in a vacuum of public disclosure). All in all, I give the City of Seattle DOT a D+ for public participation and disclosure here.

  12. There is absolutely no excuse for 12-foot traffic lanes. This isn’t a freeway. Wide lanes only encourage speeding. Buses are only 8.5 feet wide. And those sidewalks are ridiculously wide for the foot traffic they’re likely to bear (which is practically none). Make the traffic lanes ten feet, the turn lane nine, the sidewalks six, and replace the stupid planting strips with a waist-high iron fence, and you’ve got plenty of room for a bikeway.

    1. That would just be recreating the unsafe situation that exists today, except with tiny bike lanes added. Remember that a bus is 8 1/2 feet wide not counting mirrors. 10-foot lanes are not functionally wide enough for a bus moving faster than 15-20 mph.

      11-foot traffic lanes would work, but wouldn’t get you enough extra space for even the narrowest of bike lanes.

      And… a fence? Really? Ugly, maintenance-intensive, and super-unfriendly to pedestrians.

    2. Iron railings?? That might be the weirdest and worst idea I’ve ever heard.

      Sub-11′ lanes means buses driving over the paint. This happens occasionally on the 10.5′ lane sections of Dexter.

    3. How do these lane widths compare to MLK through the Central District? It appears to me that the MLK lanes are 12 feet or wider, and that road seems to have little problem with encouraging speeding. Frankly, the extra widths are nicer in that drivers have a wider field of vision to see pedestrians preparing to cross the street. Right now, pedestrians and drivers alike feel risks with limited traffic visibility so limited – especially when traveling near a bus!

      1. Allow me to quote Jeff Speck, “Walkable City”: “Contrary to perceptions, the greatest threat to pedestrian safety is not crime, but the very real danger of automobiles moving quickly. Yet most traffic engineers, often in the name of safety, continually redesign city streets to support higher-speed driving. This approach is so counterintuitive that it strains credulity: engineers design streets for speeds well above the posted limit, so that speeding drivers will be safe–a practice that, of course, causes the very speeding it hopes to protect against.”
        […]

        “This logic–that higher design speeds make for safer streets–coupled with the typical city engineer’s desire for unimpeded traffic–has caused many American cities to rebuild their streets with lanes that are twelve, thirteen, even fourteen feet wide–a Ford Excursion is 6’6″–and most Main Streets were historically made of ten-foot lanes. That dimension persists on many of the best, such as ritzy Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. Yet many cities I visit have their share of twelve-footers, and that is where much of the speeding occurs. […] After all, if highways have twelve-foot lanes, and we are comfortable negotiating them at seventy miles an hour, wouldn’t we feel the same way on a city street of the same dimension?”

        I know on most super-wide arterials in Seattle, cars routinely cruise at 40 or 50 MPH (not 70, generally, though I’ve seen it on Stone Way). I’ve probably touched 50 downhill on 23rd before, just because the street makes it feel comfortable.

        The point of the (low) fence is to separate the bikeway from pedestrians, not cars from pedestrians. Trees would be nice but there isn’t room. Well, actually, you could knock the sidewalks down a foot to 6-7′, the traffic lanes by 2 feet, and cut the “tree lane” down by 2-3 feet, and leave room for a 5 foot bike lane on each side, including a jersey divider to separate it from cars. That still leaves 2-3 feet for trees, which don’t need a continuous-width “lane” of their own — just plant them on the sidewalk (now 9 feet in total). And a low fence to provide secure feeling. You see this kind of low fence all over European boulevards that don’t have curbside parking.

        The plan as presented is intended to provide a speedway for vehicles. Especially with left-turners out of the way, people are going to roar up and down that road. And bikes are going to be the ones to suffer — or they’re going to ride on that nice, empty 7-8 foot sidewalk.

      2. Wait… so you want a jersey barrier between the bikeway and the traffic lanes, AND a fence between the bikeway and the sidewalk? We’re building a street, not a jail.

        And you still haven’t addressed the fact that a 10-foot lane, while it may work on a shopping street that has no through traffic, isn’t remotely safe for buses on a higher-speed street. This is (and should be) a 30 mph through street. Part of the trouble with it today is that it has 10-foot lanes with encroaching trees, and buses can’t physically fit in the lanes.

        In 2003 I was personally involved in a bus accident further north on 23rd for this exact reason. Driving a northbound 43 in the right lane, I had slowed down to 10-15 mph (yay speed and reliability!) to negotiate the section of 10′ lanes immediately north of Boyer. I was over the lane line, but could not move any further to the right without hitting the trees. An oblivious truck driver passed me without paying attention to the fact that I was over the line and knocked my left mirror off.

      3. Aren’t buses over 8 feet in width, and adding on the mirrors makes them over 9 feet wide? Don’t the tree canopies hang over the road a bit which makes the clearance less than 12 feet unless there is aggressive pruning?

        All streets are not alike when it comes to speed. 23rd Avenue functions as a higher volume street for all types vehicles. 23rd Avenue carries buses as well as semis delivering goods and this is really the only street that many neighborhood businesses have to get deliveries.There is really no logical parallel alternative for this. Without 23rd Avenue having an adequate speed, there were also be an increase in cut-through neighborhood traffic and traffic on parallel major streets.

        I think narrower lanes are good things on minor streets, through areas with lots of pedestrians such as commercial districts and campuses and similar situations. Still, any street width is a function of the urban context and street function and not all streets are suitable for bicycle tracks. Every ROW allocation involves trade-offs.

      4. Fnarf, [ad hom] Single 12′ lanes are not going to make 23rd a speedway, and this idea of chopping up the right of way with fences is nuts.

      5. Al, most of us who live near the stretch of MLK from Cherry to Union want desperately to *narrow* the right-of-way. It’s hazardous to cross, and the wider lane widths definitely encourage higher speeds. I see far higher speeds on MLK than 23rd in my travels around the neighborhood.

        That stretch, btw, is only as wide as it is because it was the one construction project for the RH Thomson Expressway that actually was completed (the road was widened).

  13. The fence doesn’t “chop up the right of way”, it provides a low protective barrier for pedestrians who are unprotected by a lane of parked cars, as in this case.

    The jersey barrier is dumb, fine; replace it with the plastic tubes like they just installed on Cherry. Something to protect the cyclists, at least psychologically.

    12 foot lanes ARE speedway lanes. I have provided evidence from one of the top voices for walkable streets in the world. The lanes on the Aurora Bridge are NINE feet at their narrowest, and people drive 50 MPH on that thing all the time. Slightly narrower lanes — not as narrow as that — will force vehicles to SLOW DOWN, and will save lives. 12 foot lanes are killers.

    These are quibbles, though. The point is, these lanes are too wide, there is too much bumpf included in the plan, and there is in fact plenty of room for bicycle lanes on this street if the needs of cars was not the be-all and end-all of every Seattle street discussion. Here, I’ve gone and designed it for you, using Streetmix.net (even if you think I’m full of crap you have to agree that this is a cool site, try it): http://streetmix.net/-/12893.

    That’s 10.5′ traffic lanes, 9′ sidewalks including the tree space, which doesn’t have to be continuous and is overkill on this road with few pedestrians, and two 6′ bike lanes, all in the exact same 60′. It IS possible. If you don’t want it to be possible, that’s another story.

  14. I like the idea that my bus’s left-side mirror won’t get clipped anymore at 23rd and Yesler. That S-curve there (with the zones on the outside curve of the S) is just nasty. I can’t pull over to the right any farther than the curb lets me and I’ve still had that mirror boinked 4 times…

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