Tonight, from 4:30 to 7 PM at the Miller Park Community Center, SDOT is hosting an open house on the 23rd Ave corridor, a Complete Streets project that will remake 23rd Ave to improve mobility and safety for all road users. The project’s current primary elements include, in addition to repaving, a road diet (four lanes to three, except at major intersections), transit priority (bulbs/islands and signals), repaired and widened sidewalks, an adjacent neighborhood greenway, and some design work towards future trolleybus overhead.

23rd is the primary arterial for north-south travel in eastern Seattle, between Mount Baker Station and the future University of Washington Station. With no major transit investment slated for this corridor, the new 23rd Ave design’s success in accommodating buses will likely define north-south mobility in this part of the city for the foreseeable future; getting it right is essential. If this is a part of the city you care about, you should be there tonight to make your voice heard.

46 Replies to “Tonight: 23rd Ave Open House”

  1. A road diet can’t work w/o great mass transit which is what our region doesn’t have (and voters refuse to pay for). Reducing lanes will only create more traffic issues. Let’s just repave the road and save some money. Being a bus corridor reducing lanes only makes the problem worse.

    1. Last I heard, SDOT’s traffic studies indicated the mixed three-lane/four-lane profile didn’t adversely affect transit travel times.

    2. Lane changes go away when you reduce four lanes to two, and that ends up improving traffic flow enough to compensate for the two lanes, and I think it also lowers the accident rate.

    3. Even if congestion did increase for road diets (the current data seems to point to the contrary) it makes the streets SAFER for pedestrians, bicyclists AND drivers (fewer lane changes = fewer accidents).

      I agree that we need to keep pushing for more transit infrastructure, but insisting that all roads stay four lanes wide when we have people actually living in this city is setting your priorities wrong (people should come before cars, not the other way around).

      I would also like to note that though 23rd/24th is not likely to see new transit soon, there is quite a lot of new transit going in 10-15ish blocks to the west on Broadway in the near future (streetcar and light rail) and there are plans to put a BRT up Madison.

      Capitol Hill/First Hill may not be the best served part of town (that title belongs to downtown), but its getting more transit dollars heading its way right now then most other places in the state.

      1. I wonder why 23rd isn’t on the list for additions, at least long term. At least some better access across the cut would be good; unlike, say, not-at-all dense Lake City, a rider can’t get from the CD to University Village.

    4. Also, if you are worried about bus speeds, I think the closest equivalent bus route in the city that has already gone through a road diet is the #5 on Greenwood. I ride this bus frequently from north Greenwood, where I could easily choose to take the #40 or Rapid D instead. Despite both of those buses going down a major arterial (Holman/15th) that will not likely get a road diet, the 5 still seems to be the faster bus.

      Its true the the route of the 5 is more direct, but if the road diet were really slowing the bus down you would think that it would be slower then the Rapid D that runs down arterial roads until it gets to uptown…

    5. Road diets are good for everyone.

      – Wider lanes improve safety and reduce crashes.

      – Reducing the number of travel lanes reduces speeds, since it’s no longer useful to speed up behind someone to pass them. This reduces crashes, and especially reduces collisions with bicycles and pedestrians. Paradoxically, it can also improve travel times, since a surprising amount of traffic is caused by lane changes and other traffic movements.

      – Switching from an even number of lanes to an odd number of lanes improves traffic flow, since cars going straight are no longer blocked behind cars turning left.

      There’s a reason that none of the road diets have yet been reversed. The SDOT has carefully measured the performance of these roads before and after the changes, and they’ve always improved in every way that counts.

    6. I agree that Road Diets are bad — but for another reason: there is a better option: BAT lanes. BAT lanes clearly are the best for transit because they give them a mostly dedicated lane that doesn’t have to worry about left turning vehicles, or backups in the general purpose lanes.

      BAT lanes have all of the advantages (for transit) that a normal road diet would, and personally, I would prioritize building a set of good, fast transit corridors over normal traffic flow.

      1. In this situation, not so much. One big reason why is left turns. Designate the right lane as buses and right turns only, and anytime anyone wants to turn left, all the cars will get stuck behind (except those that illegally cut over into the bus lane to pass). Also, the lanes are relatively narrow – they work ok with ordinary-sized cars, but there really isn’t enough room for a bus and a semi-truck to pass each other side by side.

        Finally, there’s the issue of signal timing. The current configuration, in which left turns block a travel lane requires that northbound and southbound traffic on 23rd have completely separate signal phases so that whenever there is a green light to go straight, there is a green arrow to turn left. This configuration prevents left-turning cars (at least at signalized intersections) from blocking thru traffic while they wait for an opening. It works, but considering the fast majority of vehicles at any given intersection (including all buses) are going straight, it’s inefficient and leads to a lot of wasted time waiting at stoplights. In practice, the improved signal timing that this road diet show allow (northbound and southbound traffic sharing a signal phase, with a relatively short left-turn phase) far outweigh slightly longer lines at intersections resulting from one lane per direction instead of two – especially during the off-peak.

    7. Driving buses on 3 lanes roads is much easier. When you pull over to the curb drivers can easily pass you. The extra lane width allows more room for passing and allows me to start rolling the bus forward with my signal turned on to reenter traffic. Contrast that with a dieted road where I stop in a narrow lane and block traffic behind me. The longer I stay in the zone, the more irritated drivers behind me get and start changing lanes which creates a blockage. I have my own lane so I can start rolling at any time, however there isn’t much room and drivers tend to dart in front of my bus more quickly without noticing that I’ve started rolling so the whole maneuver tends to be much riskier.

      A good example is Nickerson St. The sections with the most congestion are at both ends where the lanes weren’t changed. The middle section that everybody freaked out about flows well and is much safer.

      I don’t know 23rd but after decades of road diet experience I would have no reason to doubt SDOT’s engineers.

    8. Well, you *can* get from the CD to UVillage on transit – it’s just not a simple process. Winds up being easier to walk (either across campus or down 45th) from 15th (or I suppose up Montlake from the UWMC stop). Not really worth the hassle for the transfer.

  2. +1
    There’s great opportunity here for improvements for walkers, bus-riders, and aesthetics, without substantive impact to drivers.

  3. On Phase 3, it’s all about providing storage for the cars that are attempting to enter the Montlake Intercluster. Good urban design meets state-imposed concrete.

  4. I’ve learned from other bicyclists how to use roads like 23rd so they are the safest routes. Unfortunately over 90% of bicyclists I see miss the opportunity and ride in a manner shown to cause far more trouble, too far right or even on the sidewalk.

    For bicyclists, different speeds are best accommodated with a passing lane. The road diet removes the passing lane.

    Narrow outside lanes are far easier for bicyclists to let other drivers know the lane is occupied, with a center or left of center position so faster traffic changes lanes earlier and passes safely and predictably. Unfortunately most bicyclists ride too far right so following traffic sees the open space to their left as an invitation to intrude and pass unsafely.

    The road diet widens the outside lane so narrower vehicles can share to pass but not enough for large vehicles to share. That leaves the bicyclist who cooperates having to observe following traffic for size and moving left to prevent unsafe passing/sharing with large vehicles and moving right to share with narrow vehicles. What a pain, and chances of error are much greater.

    I disagree that the proposed changes improve conditions for ALL bicyclists. Excluded are responsible, competent bicyclists who cooperate with other drivers. The greenway leaves bicyclists crossing ALL streets from a minor street, thats why competent bicycle drivers prefer major streets – the crossings on major streets are far safer and easier. Crossing major streets, stop lights block all crossing traffic, just get in line with traffic going your direction and go on green – how could you ever get a simpler more protected system than that?

    I understand poor behavior may be better “protected” by speed reduction, but when design changes encourage poor behavior and discourage responsible competent behavior, there are very important trade-offs with possible worse outcomes than promoting simple but very effective behaviors.

    Thats why I have asked the city to study bicycling populations: 1. those bicyclists who want to avoid traffic and ride in “their own space” (too often violating important rules of the road) versus 2. those bicyclists who want to learn how to use the rules for driving behavior and ride with traffic.

    To my knowledge, that study has never been done. When I asked the city to provide any population (behavior) studies to support their program, they failed to provide ANY information and then REFUSED to conduct any such study. And that is the most powerful indication that they may be going in the wrong direction – if the bicyclists learning and riding with traffic had higher crash rates, then the issue would surely be studied and reported extensively to gain the political will and resources to promote and build the facilities to segregate bicyclists from traffic.

    So why are facilities so popular? Compare the hundreds of millions for engineering segregation to the volunteer efforts of bicyclists interested in promoting great traffic skills for cyclists. The stunning difference in resources alone is likely enough to explain the difference.

    Do we want a political/economic process, or do we want a process that looks at the choices, and TESTS them to inform our choices?

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    1. How DARE the city change the street from the cycling mecca that it currently is to something that is merely proven safer for all modes? Don’t they realize that the many thousands of children, seniors, and families that currently take the lane will be forced to instead take the lane? We need STUDIES. MORE STUDIES. Bring on the studies. The only thing that will help is studies. Won’t somebody think of the studies?

      1. Hello Andres,

        You’re right, it has been studied to death! But the same studies have been repeated endlessly: treatment studies and some crash & fatality studies. All too often facilities treatments fail to improve so the rationalization of “Safety in Numbers” is used to allow these “studies” to come to the politically correct conclusion.

        But behavior studies comparing the two opposite directions – driving with traffic versus riding to avoid traffic has never been done.

        And you’re right, that study would do nothing to improve conditions, but it would provide valuable information on our understanding of bicycling and inform our choices that could improve outcomes.

        Recently population (behavior) studies were done again on cigarette smoking. Comparing smokers to non-smokers smoking was linked to many more ill health outcomes than heart/lung diseases. Cigarettes were originally marketed as a health measure but until behavior studies were conducted we just didn’t have the information to get started changing behaviors and attitudes about smoking. Notice that treatment studies for cancer and heart disease would fail to show us how to prevent these diseases.

        Why deny bicyclists the power of this simple science?

    2. “Why are facilities so popular?”

      From the safety perspective: Having more bike facilities is strongly correlated with having higher bicycle trip share. And higher bicycle trip share is associated with much lower bicycle accident rates per bicyclist. This makes sense because drivers become better adapted to dealing with bicyclists and sharing the road. So even if the actual design of the road makes bicycling slightly more dangerous in a given corridor from a logistical/engineering standpoint, that difference is usually more than made up for by the fact that increasing the total number of bicyclists means that driver behavior will improve and hence accident rates will go down.

      From an environmental, urban livability, health, transportation perspective: Bicycling, particularly as opposed to driving has HUGE positive benefits both for society and for the bicyclists themselves. Thus, promoting bicycling is a great way to meet a bunch of policy goals, and there is no better way to promote bicycling than adding bike facilities. For all but the most intense bikers, feeling safe (emphasis on feeling), comfortable and welcome is an extremely important consideration when deciding whether or not to switch to biking.

      With that being said it could still be interesting to see study of whether keeping the four lane alignment, but converting two lanes into Transit and Bicycle (TAB) lanes would solve both the logistical/engineering problem you mention as well as achieving the other goals of the project, including promotion of bicycling and vehicle speed reductions. However, in this particular case, I think the ROW, at about 55feet, is too narrow to adequately accomodate pedestrians and four lanes of roadway.

      1. Yes, particularly given the extremely narrow current sidewalks on much of the street. The current travel lanes are also uncomfortably narrow in spots (and I say this as a pedestrian who is generally an advocate for narrower lane widths) and trying to keep the current 4 lanes was examined during SDOT’s initial process.

      2. ““Why are facilities so popular?”

        From the safety perspective: Having more bike facilities is strongly correlated with having higher bicycle trip share. And higher bicycle trip share is associated with much lower bicycle accident rates per bicyclist.”

        This is the Safety In Numbers rationalization.

        I made a sharp transition from bike riding to learning bicycle driving about 25 years ago. My injury crash rate was over 15 times higher as a bike rider, or 1,400% higher.

        The figures I’ve seen for SIN are a tiny fraction of that.

        Others have reported significant improvement and excellent results, so I’m wondering how this would look when informed by a behavior study. Which attitudes, approaches and skills have the best results and how significant are they? How would they be marketed and how effective would that be?

        The vehicular cycling program “VC” mentioned by others was never meant to increase bicycling and I found its author attacking and driving away any person he found that wanted to increase bicycling. Now, that’s hardly a mentionable test for increasing bicycling, let alone dismissing it entirely.

        A rational approach to testing our options is long overdue for the understanding and learning we might gain as well as setting a responsible approach to transportation and safety issues.

    3. When riding in rural areas with center left turn lanes, I’ve noticed that many drivers shift over to block part of those center left turn lanes when passing cyclists. That’d probably work well enough as long as there isn’t too much left-turning traffic.

      1. Hardly even rural areas–I (and many others) do this frequently on MLK north of Massachusetts. MLK is pretty low volume there (and is a two lane street + center turn lane) so there is little chance of a car turning left at any given time…just slide your car over a bit and avoid squeezing the cyclist! Hopefully it makes them feel safer with a bit more room to manoeuver.

    4. By your logic, the city of Bellevue should be a bicycling paradise as most roads over here are laid out exactly how you describe. Biking over here is not as bad as many fear, provided traffic volumes are moderate. Come rush hour, though, “occupying” the lane as a cyclist becomes more infuriating to many motorists which leads to all manner of intimidation and reckless behavior. I can deal with it and navigate around most of it but most folks won’t and cycling rates over here pretty much show these VC ideas to be useless for encouraging more people to cycle.

    5. When I had a bike none of these greenways and sharrows existed so I was always riding on the arterials: 23rd, MLK, Eastlake, 10th, etc. I never took the Fairview “bike route” because Eastlake was faster and more direct. Still, I like the greenways on Beacon Hill and Ballard and I’m glad more of them are coming. I would probably use the, same as I used the Burke-Gilman Trail instead of Sand Point Way where “faster” cyclists went. Because there are tradeoffs between speed, location, and amenities. For me, getting from the northern U-District to downtown quickly was priority, while my other bike trips the speed didn’t matter. Of course, other people will have speed priorities in other locations.

      Several months ago STB posted a video about the transformation of the Netherlands. In the early 1970s it was headed in an automobile/suburban direction like the US, but it was the kids who demanded safer bicycle routes to cut down on car accidents, and the rest of society agreed with them. Now there are bicycle trails everywhere and everybody and their grandma uses them for commuting, shopping, and everything else. That’s the reason there’s this push for greenways linking Seattle neighborhoods, so that a quantum level of regular people will be attracted to cycling. People who won’t go on the regular arterials because… otherwise they’d be there now.

      You (David S) raise a good point about the many intersections facing a side-street greenway, and that’s worth bringing to SDOT’s attention. Beacon Hill doesn’t have nearly as many major intersections because of the steep hillside and ridge, and in Ballard the intersections are not enough to be a big deal. But all is not lost. I bicycled sometimes on 19th, and the times I had to stop were not every block. Of course, 19th has lights at the major intersections. Would this too, so that you don’t have to wait a long time for an opening? Would drives put up with a second light just a block from the 23rd light? All these are worth getting answers on.

      I’m concerned that your “raising the skills of cyclists” may be different words for the “vehicular cyclist” phenomenon, the idea that we don’t want greenways because we’re vehicles dammit and we want to go fast like cars, and the faint-hearted needn’t apply. I couldn’t believe there were people like this when I heard about it: I ride in the road for my convenience, not because I’m opposed to safer slower paths, which I would also use if they were more comprehensive. The vehicular cycling movement is the opposite of the goals Alex Bailey described so well and I agree with.

      In any case, the only way these greenways would harm vehicular cyclists is if the law were changed to ban bikes from arterials, and I don’t see that happening because it would destroy the compromise between pro-car interests and pro-bike interests and pro-ped interests that led to the current law allowing bikes on both streets and sidewalks.

      1. Properly-built greenways are a vehicular cyclist’s dream — bikes are encouraged to control the lane, there’s no segregated infrastructure, speed limits are low enough that people on bikes have little trouble with faster traffic.

        As you note, the only potential threat of greenways is if they led to excluding bicycles from arterials. Given the blowback bicycle advocacy groups received from cyclists when they supported a mandatory-sidepath rule a few years ago (the “Mutual Responsibility” fiasco), I doubt any cycling groups would roll over for an arterial exclusion, and it would raise serious Growth Management Act issues for any city trying to restrict active transportation.

    6. As a commuter cyclist with decades of experience who rides 23rd today, I have to respectfully disagree, because the road diet doesn’t simply turn two lanes into one. It turns two lanes into one each direction, plus a center turn lane that most motorists will use as a de-facto passing lane when overtaking a person riding a bicycle in the travel lane.

      In my experience, riding properly centered in the travel lane of a 2+turn-lane street, motorists provide at least as much passing clearance as they do passing on a four-lane street without a center turn lane. Because the center turn lane is not a travel lane, it’s easy for motorists to use it briefly while passing a bicycle, they generally don’t have to wait for an opening in a lane full of traffic the way they do on a 4-lane.

      The only bicycle riders for whom the 2+1 street is more dangerous, in my experience at least, are people who insist on bicycling too far to the right, encouraging people in cars to pass illegally within the lane, without safe passing clearance. The current lanes on 23rd are generally so narrow that drivers must at least straddle the lane line to pass a bicycle anywhere left of the gutter. The slightly wider lanes proposed would allow impatient motorists to squeeze past edge-riding people on bikes.

      SDOT could encourage safer lane positioning by cyclists post-road-diet by including shared lane markings properly centered in the lanes. Shared lane markings also reduce the rate of wrong-way cycling, which is a very hazardous practice that some traffic-averse cyclists use in a belief that it’s safer to see the traffic coming at them.

      But, with a greenway going in parallel to 23rd, I would expect the most traffic-averse bicycle riders to avoid 23rd other than the last block to a destination right on 23rd, and the wider sidewalks post-road-diet may turn them into rolling pedestrians for that final brief exposure to 23rd.

      1. “As a commuter cyclist with decades of experience who rides 23rd today, I have to respectfully disagree, because the road diet doesn’t simply turn two lanes into one. It turns two lanes into one each direction, plus a center turn lane that most motorists will use as a de-facto passing lane when overtaking a person riding a bicycle in the travel lane.”

        Hello Josh,

        ah…. but that passing maneuver is now done against any opposing traffic risking a head-on crash! That really limits the willingness and safety of the passing maneuver. Shouldn’t we keep the turn lane for vehicles slowing for a turn, and not those speeding up to pass!

      2. It’s true, motorists changing lanes to pass do need to do so safely, which includes yielding to any traffic already in the lane. I don’t think most city drivers really find that difficult, and I’m not aware of any rash of head-on collisions on any of the City’s other streets with road diets. Quite the contrary, car-on-car crash rates decline significantly, and speed outliers, those going significantly above the prevailing speed of traffic, essentially disappear.

        Motorists don’t generally use the center turn lane to pass other motorists, and passing a bicycle is a much shorter maneuver that requires less course deviation since the bicycle doesn’t fill a full lane.

        SDOT has extensive data from past road diets, and they’ve published the details on their web site as well as in the public presentations for 23rd and for other pending street improvements.

  5. This will be so great for my neighborhood. IMO the most dangerous thing right now is a left-turning car blocking traffic, and watching the car behind change lanes to pass on the right, straight into the path of opposing left-turning traffic. It’s especially bad between John and Aloha. A single lane plus turning lanes may make people *feel* like they’re going slower, but I’d put money down that traffic won’t get appreciably worse. As a weekend driver I can’t wait for a more predictable, steady drive down 23rd, and as a weekday bike commuter I can’t wait for better ways to cross 23rd. I fear for my life every time I cross 23rd on Cherry, just praying that no left turning cars will hit me.

  6. Today, the ramps to 520 from Lake Washington Blvd are open. In the future, they are not. That means that these drivers will shift from MLK and Lake Washington Blvd to 23rd Avenue. This is especially true for any point north of Cherry Street. I’ve see drivers cut through the CD on Cherry and Union in the afternoons, then go up MLK to get to Lake Washington Blvd and eventually the ramps.

    I wonder if this has been factored into the traffic study, but I highly doubt it.

  7. Build the trolleybus overhead now. Or at least put up the poles for it! It’s craziness to rebuild the road and then have to go back and put up the poles later…

    A trolleybus “trunk route” along 23rd would go a long way towards establishing a “grid” of routes in Seattle.

    1. I’m afraid if they did that without putting the buses in immediately, they would be pounced on for wasting resources and locals would start demanding that the “unsightly” infrastructure be removed.

      Its often the case, for example, that the moment a stretch of trolley bus wire is not being used due to route changes that local land owners start demanding that the wire be removed.

  8. Does anyone know why the 8 has its silly around-the-block detour between Jackson and Yesler. I’m guessing it’s because of two blocks of missing trolley wire on MLK (I’m guessing the trolley wire is a legacy of some early system where MLK service was split on two routes, each going to downtown via Yesler and Jackson respectively. Then later, we decided we wanted thru north-south service on MLK, but were too cheap to add 2 blocks of trolley wire).

    Is it really worth slowing down everybody’s trip and increasing operational costs in perpetuity just so you can operate the route with a trolley bus along trolley routes drawn up 40 years ago?

    1. I hear it’s because of some destination on 23rd (I forget the name?) that generates a huge amount of ridership, so it actually makes some sense.

    2. Right, the 8 is not only not a trolley, it’s a fairly new route — I don’t think anything like it it existed 40 years ago (of course not on Denny, but I don’t think on MLK either). I believe the reason for the detour is to provide service directly to these blocks along 23rd, one of the major centers of the CD.

      My instinct is to agree that the route ought to be straightened, but I don’t know enough about local ridership patterns and conditions to be sure. People here have commented that the stops on 23rd are some of the busiest on the route. That isn’t really surprising, given the importance of the commercial district on 23rd, the generally residential nature of MLK north of I-90, and the fact that these stops have more unique walkshed than most of the 8’s stops due to being offset from them to the west. Straightening the route would certainly improve things for people riding through and make them somewhat worse for people going to and from those blocks of 23rd, so if transit demand to those blocks overwhelms demand going through by enough, maybe it makes sense. The problem is measuring demand.

      1. Looking at Google Street view, here is what the 8 appears to be deviating to:
        – a Starbucks
        – a Wallgreens
        – a small shopping center with tons and tons of parking
        – a flower shop
        – an auto parts store
        – Some moderately dense housing (one 5-storey building and 2 or 3 4-storey buildings)
        – a fire station
        – Catholic Community Services building
        – Seattle public library
        – a few townhomes

        There is nothing there that draws riders like, say, downtown, that would justify a deviation. Especially considering:
        – Along Jackson, the walk between 23rd and MLK is 0.22 miles and flat, with good sidewalks. Same with Yesler.
        – People heading north/south 23rd have the 48 – there is hardly any reason for them to take the 8 at all.

        If you want a legible transit network that maintains reasonable speeds, you have to stick to straight lines unless there is an overwhelming reason to do otherwise. The destinations on 23rd, while not negligible, are simply not an overwhelming reason to justify deviating buses to come a little bit closer to.

      2. The 8 was started in the 1990s from Queen Anne to 15th only, daytime only, and I’m not sure there was even Saturday service. It was so popular that the hours kept being extended and extended again, and then the route was extended to Rainier Beach. There never was any route on north MLK before that, unless it was yanked in the 60s or 70s, and the network was so downtown-centric at that point that I doubt it.

      3. Yes, and 23rd and Jackson’s two eastern corners are both slated for some significant redevelopment “soon” (hopefully not 23rd/Union style “soon”). DPD is currently looking at upzones.

        Neighborhood history reveals the 8 was a creature of the neighborhoods – looking for ways to get to the Center that didn’t involve going downtown, plus a connection to Cap Hill. The neighborhood at the time really did not want a MLK-only route as 23rd/Jackson was the heart of that commercial area (and still is). I understand that from a lines on a map perspective the detour may not make sense (the 8 in general is a series of compromises, after all) but there were definitely reasons why it was created the way it was.

  9. I attended the meeting. There’s not much to see. Phase 1 is John – Jackson starting this fall for 3-6 months. Phase 2 is Jackson – Rainier from fall 2015 to spring 2017. Phase 3 is Roanoke – John at the same time.

    Phases 1 & 2 are three lanes, with four at major intersections. Phase 3 is four lanes, for two reasons. One, they’re waiting to see what happens with 520. It may have a new southbound exit, and 23rd and Madison may get more downtown-bound traffic. Two, SDOT doesn’t currently have funds to convert convert phase 3 to three lanes; a major expense is widening the sidewalks.

    Two bicycle greenway routes are being studied, one on 21st/22nd and the other on 24th/25th. Both of them seem about equal to me. They haven’t yet identified greenway routing north of Galer or south of Judkins. North of Aloha is of course the steepest part, where the flattest routing would be welcome.

    There’s not much specifically for transit, just a belief that rechannelization will make buses more reliable by improving traffic flow. They’re not planning bus bulbs but instead these half-lane pullouts like Velo alluded to. So cars would be able to pass the bus while it’s loading. I asked whether this would force buses to wait for an opening to get back into traffic at every stop, and he said optimistically “State law gives buses priority when returning to traffic.” Yeah, right. But the pullouts have angled concrete approaches so there won’t be parked cars directly in front of and behind the bus, so that may help.

    1. I also attended. Phases 1 and 2 look great. Standard road diet configuration, 2 general purpose lanes and a turn lane. Instead of painting bike lanes, they’re widening the sidewalk and building parallel greenways. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      Phase 3 looks like a disaster. They’re keeping the same configuration. There won’t be parallel greenways, and the outside lanes are 14.5′ wide (!). The sidewalks are already wide there. Basically, the connection to the Montlake Bridge and the 520 bike path is going to suck.

      There’s room for protected bike lanes on the phase 3 portion of it. Vehicle volumes would also support a road diet there. I’m not buying the “wait and see” approach. WSDOT is doing a highway expansion, and that highway is going to continue onto the northern part of the 23rd ave corridor. I think it’s worth pushing for a better solution for phase 3. shows the different phases.

      1. Phase 3 is where the Lake Washington Loop route between 23rd and the Arboretum is an existing greenway-type route. I think there’s still some uncertainty around the final design of the “Montlake Lid” over 520, and what will replace the bridge cyclists use today at 24th Ave E. A connection through west of 23rd doesn’t look very likely, though.

    2. I’m not happy with that design conclusion. Why can’t they do bus bulbs – they already did a stop diet on the #48 a while ago. Not enough money? Or concerns that traffic will be too slowed down by the #48 passengers?

      And yeah, “yeah, right” would have been my answer to “but people are legally required to let the bus in”.

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