July 11

SDOT offers plan to complete Roosevelt bike lane



Presentation from Seattle Department of Transportation including comments from the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board.

At a meeting two years ago to introduce a plan to add a bike lane through Maple Leaf on Roosevelt Way Northeast, many neighbors in the south end spoke up when they learned that they would lose parking on the west side of the street from Northeast 75th to 85th streets.

Although the Seattle Department of Transportation promptly restriped most of our stretch of Roosevelt with a bike lane, the agency left 75th to 85th bike lane-free in favor of studying other options.

SDOT has since revealed its verdict, and to the typical neighbor, it might appear quite the same. Once again, parking on the west side of the street will be eliminated from Northeast 75th to 85th streets, making room for a bike lane on the east side of the street, as well as providing room for buses to pull out of traffic at more of their stops.

However, the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board points out that the new proposal is actually quite different in that it improves rather than impedes traffic flow on that stretch. In this pdf, the council shares its comments along with the proposal SDOT presented last month, including this breakdown of their understanding of the proposal:

  • 5 parking spaces removed east side of Roosevelt Way NE just north of the signal at NE 75th.
  • 5 parking spaces removed on east side of Roosevelt to the south of intersection at 80th
  • 3 parking spaces removed on the east side of Roosevelt to the north of intersection at 80th.
  • All parking removed west side of Roosevelt from 75th to 85th.
  • Reducing three in-lane bus stops to only one.
  • Retains turning lanes so no worsening of 75th/80th intersections
  • 8-foot wide parking area at curbs (versus 7-foot standard)
  • 6-foot bike lane width (versus 5-foot standard) on east (uphill, northbound) side, sharrows on the west side
  • Retained parking enough to handle maximum parking seen during surveys, though on-street availability shifts across

In an email to Maple Leaf neighbors (subscribe here), the executive board further elaborates:

According to SDOT’s data, there are enough parking spaces left to handle even the peak parking they saw during their multi-seasonal surveys. However, that parking may be located across the street from where homeowners and their guests are used to parking.

Under the new proposal, traffic flow in the area will not be diminished according to SDOT. In fact, there may be improvements because some of the parking that is being removed will allow buses to pull to the curb instead of stopping in traffic. This will reduce the current three in-lane stops to just one.

In response to comments received both from Maple Leafers and others across the city, the parking “lane” and the bike lane will both be one foot wider in this area than seen throughout the rest of the city.

But if you still don’t like the plan, you’ve got time to speak up. SDOT will present its proposal next month at an open house, and representatives also will available to field your questions and take your comments at the Maple Leaf Summer Social, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 25 at the Maple Leaf Park Playground. You can also email comments to Brian.Dougherty@Seattle.gov and MLCC@MapleLeafCommunity.org.

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  1. “I agree we should be getting sidewalks all over the north end of Maple Leaf, especially with the new light rail station coming in, lots of pedestrian activity will be generated, and we have no sidewalks to accommodate it.”

    I second this statement. Worry about pedestrians and children before bikers on a busy arterial is the real way to look at it. Who wants to bike on a street with busses that have a problem staying in their lanes? Putting the lanes on 125th was already useless (how many bikers do you actually see here? None because of how steep it is!). Let’s work on sidewalks and real development before bike lanes since the light rail will probably increase all forms of transportation, not just bikes.

  2. Having bicycled extensively for years, I am often amazed that bicyclists often think that traveling the same route that they drive with their cars is necessary. I have never cycled on Roosevelt, why put myself near cars going 35 mph, bike lanes or no? 12th is a great alternative, so is 8th. Bikes also have the alternative of riding on sidewalks if they are courteous and deferential to any pedestrians they encounter.

    I can see why losing parking is going to upset residents along Roosevelt.

    An upside appears to be, that by reducing parking near 75th on the west side of the street, it may actually reduce congestion for south bound cars on Roosevelt. It does back up severely when I-5 gets jammed and folks use Roosevelt as the alternate route.

    I agree we should be getting sidewalks all over the north end of Maple Leaf, especially with the new light rail station coming in, lots of pedestrian activity will be generated, and we have no sidewalks to accommodate it.

  3. MapleLeafBob writes “Many of those houses don’t have driveways on the front of their houses.”

    But don’t many of them have garages and driveways behind their houses? I’m not familiar with 100% of that area, but from google maps I see that nearly every house between 75th and 77th on the west side seems to have an alley driveway and/or garage.

    I’ve seen a similar thing in Wallingford before where residents demanded that a new condo contain a billion parking spaces as they were fearful that the condo residents would park in the streets in the surrounding area. Residents didn’t want to actually use their garages for cars as they were using the spaces for projects, etc.

  4. @David Miller:

    Having a friend on a local city council and being friends with the former legal adviser for Gary Locke while he was governor, I know there are a lot of factors and details that the typical citizen (myself included) are not aware of.

    The approach the council is taking to get more and more data from SDOT is great and it sounds like MLCC is truly looking for a valid compromise. Thanks for taking that approach.

  5. To be clear, MLCC has asked for community input. We have not taken a position yet. (We did not oppose the bike lane previously, contrary to some blog reports (not this one) — we asked SDOT to hold off to generate proper data to make the decision.)

    We have concerns about the loss of parking around our new park, the lack of pedestrian amenities on the north side of 82nd Ave NE, and the general lack of good pedestrian safety tools in the 75th-85th area. We’re still trying to understand how all this fits with SDOT’s proposal.

    We’re thankful for SDOT doing the added studies and making the changes they did. We’re now gathering input from community members and analyzing what SDOT brought.

    We’ll be reading emails and listening to comments at the Summer Social before we offer our opinion.

    David Miller

  6. Crosswalks in this area are a challenge because the streets don’t directly connect E/W. We will also see a rise in peds when the park is completed.

    As always, MLCC continues to advocate for more crosswalks across our arterials and minor arterials.


  7. I think it will all work out fine. Everybody was all up in arms about the 125th St road “diet”, but I haven’t noticed traffic being worse there after the fact. I have noticed that the speeds have slowed on that stretch, which of course was the focus of the changes, not increasing bike safety.

    I feel like bike lanes are simply one of the tools that DOT uses to calm traffic, and they have a tangential benefit in providing bikers with a place where they may feel safer (whether this is true or not is of course debatable).

    I appreciate the effort of MLCC on bringing up neighborhood concerns, but also being willing to accept the results of the DOT studies instead of just digging in with a hard-line position.

  8. What’s the SDOT plan for sidewalk construction in Maple Leaf? Cycling improvements are great, but too much of our neighborhood forces pedestrians to mix with traffic. Sidewalks are about 60 years overdue.
    I’m with Tom on street parking.

  9. Oh Tom, of course people don’t own the spots on the public street. But its easy to sit back and make snide remarks with an attitude that homeowners should just “deal with it”. Many of those houses don’t have driveways on the front of their houses.

    How about we just use that same approach and tell bike riders to just “deal with it” and navigate Roosevelt at their own risk without specific bike lanes? After all the public right away is already open to everyone without designated bike lanes isn’t it?

  10. Whoa, I didn’t know that when you bought a house you also bought the street in front of it. I was always under the impression that the city owned the street and that the public right of way is open to everyone.

    Perhaps those homeowners could start parking in their own garages and driveways?

  11. Sucks to be a resident that owns a house on the west side of Roosevelt between 75th and 85th.

    But hey, not being able to park in front of a house you own is way too much to ask for and apparently bicycle riders are more important. Those homeowners should get a reduced property tax bill to compensate for the lose of parking spaces.

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