October 7

It's happening this morning – Roosevelt bike lanes are going in



Controversial, contentious, confusing … maybe traffic calming?

The bike lanes proposed on Roosevelt Avenue Northeast are going in this morning.

Be prepared for a different afternoon commute home.

For previous comments and thought about the lanes, see our story here and more recent comments here.

About the author 

Sara W

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  1. the city promised sidewalks would be installed within a year.

    I find that hard to believe. When the neighborhood was brand new it wasn’t part of the City of Seattle, so I don’t know why the city would even make such a “promise”.

  2. @whendriving – I have spoken to our city about sidewalks….it’s never going to happen is their answer. Fun fact; a neighbor whose parents purchased in the neighborhood when it was brand new – the city promised sidewalks would be installed within a year. We’re all still waiting.

  3. Mr X ” all to appease an extremely vocal minority (3.5% at last count) who choose to bike.”

    This not to appease just the 3.5% that choose to bike commute… I auto commute, but I’m also in favor of more bike lanes everywhere.

    And as to people using Roosevelt when I-5 south is clogged up… I’m glad it will slow down those drivers… I for one don’t want them using Maple Leaf as a shortcut anyway.

  4. WhenDriving, actually, we don’t have nearly enough money in the transportation budget for cyclists or pedestrians. We have an administration that has sought to improve cycling facilities, and also recognizes that pedestrian infrastructure (as An Observer has discovered) is expensive. We have a City Council that pays lip service to the scale of pedestrian infrastructure and improvements we need to make, but continues to underfund same. We do indeed have in Sound Transit an agency which will spend tens of millions of dollars on parking garages without batting an eye, but throws the responsibility for the overwhelming majority of sidewalk development onto the cities in which it builds.

    This is not an ‘urban planners making decisions’ problem. This is a ‘we say one thing but do another’ and ‘we don’t spend nearly enough money to really encourage these modes’ problem.

    Finally, I’ll say that Maple Leaf sounds like a perfect candidate for neighborhood greenways; I suspect a lot of the willing but wary would be far happier to not be on the arterial if they had a suitable parallel route. I know that’s what SDOT is going to do on 23rd through the Central District, again assuming we can find the funding to make it happen.

  5. @76: “Bike infrastructure on arterials is not necessary for bikes to be safe. They are necessary to attract more cyclists by making the more direct routes safer. Cyclists can be perfectly safe on non-arterials without infrastructure, it’s just less convenient because it is less direct.”

    That is nonsense, clearly you’ve never attempted to bike on a non-arterial route. Within neighborhoods, say within the Maple Leaf area between 5th and Roosevelt, north of 80th, it is relatively safe to bike on neighborhood streets. It is totally unworkable to bicycle any distance using non-arterial streets because they don’t have signals where they cross arterials. You are forced to cross a street with no signal, which is tricky and treacherous while riding, or forces you to dismount and cross as a pedestrian. And the residential streets are ONLY safer as long as there is no traffic, because you’re forced to bike into oncoming traffic and hope they see you and figure out who has to yield. Most drivers do not do a very good job of yielding to cyclists on residential streets.

    It is much more workable, and safer, to stay on an arterial, but without bike infrastructure on the arterial is is extremely dangerous, and you frequently run the risk of being run off the road, pushed into parked cars, etc.

    I agree with your concern about the lack of pedestrian infrastructure, but I vehemently disagree with your blatant attempts to pit cyclists and pedestrians at odds when infrastructure for both is mutually supportive. A neighborhood that is friendly to cyclists is friendly to pedestrians, and vice-versa. A car-dominated neighborhood will be dangerous to both cyclists and pedestrians. Your attempt at divisiveness is totally unwarranted.

  6. I stand corrected regarding the specific 2012 mode split for bicycles- except that the larger point is that bicycles still comprise a tiny minority of commute trips.

    Your second paragraph is just flat wrong – have you ever been stuck behind a bus (or right-turning vehicle at an intersection) before? You used to be able to pass them during peak hour when there was a second lane available, and now you can’t. That absolutely does impact traffic flow (and SDOT is also notorious for their opposition to left turn arrows).

  7. Mr. X: it’s not 3.5% but 4.1% according to Census data. Note drive alone is 49.24%. I think what you’re also not seeing is that the bike lane keeps northbound traffic moving without having to wait on a slow moving cyclist.
    The only way this could ever affect southbound traffic is if there is someone waiting to turn on to eastbound 80th. It hasn’t seemed to be a problem when I’ve passed through, but if it does, SDOT could always put in a protected turn phase (left turn arrow).
    But carry on with your doomsday predictions.

  8. This is gonna be a real joy the next time there’s a problem on southbound I-5 during the morning commute – all to appease an extremely vocal minority (3.5% at last count) who choose to bike.

    Heck, at this rate, if we keep reducing peak hour arterial capacity we might just get to 5% by 2025, though given our weather and topography (the true impediments to significant bicycle use), I’m not holding my breath.

  9. I have been using Roosevelt, have noticed no horrible traffic effects. Have seen two bicyclists.

    Concerning sidewalks: I have gone through the process required to get a sidewalk on NE 105th between Roosevelt and 8th NE (a designated pedestrian corridor). It is a lengthy process, lots of public meetings, we have a plan in place.

    Ultimately, the million dollars it costs to design and install the sidewalks, curbs, planting strips and drainage improvements for this short stretch of road is not available.

    I was thinking Sound Transit might install some sidewalks in the area, since they are building the light rail, but both Sound Transit and the City are claiming the funding is not available. Multi billion dollar project, and no money for critical infrastructure.

    I think Sound Transit is considering a single sidewalk extending from 5th NE to Roosevelt on NE 103rd? If you guys on NE 103rd don’t want a sidewalk, put it on NE 105th please.

    Please note the trashy section of NE 106th at 8th NE (near the beaver dam) is the result of the Park Apartments at Northgate refusing to tend their landscaping there. I’ve asked politely for over a year for them to clean this attractive nuisance. Meanwhile we get to enjoy the worst sorts of behavior on that short stretch of road. You name it, it goes on.

  10. Brought to mind a horrible site I had of a bicycle rider on Roosevelt a couple years ago. Was riding downhill and apparently didn’t see drainage grate that was obscured by fallen leaves. Took a header over his bike and bashed out his front teeth. Mouth was a bloody mess. Also wanted to add I live on NE 115th St which is mapped and marked as a bike route to cross to the west. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw someone use this route. Bikers gonna do what bikers gonna do.

  11. Not sure why people are trying to make this into a bicycle vs pedestrian thing.

    I’d like to see people use both methods, instead of driving, whenever possible.

    I really doubt that urban planners took money away from sidewalks to make our streets safer for cyclists.

    If people want sidewalks in the northern parts of ML that don’t have them, start a process to get them. Don’t blame cyclists.

  12. Just realized you cannot stay out of the way of open car doors if you ride on these streets-unless you ride in the center of the street-alas. Well like I said on my first post the change did not seem too bad when I drove on Roosevelt yesterday. But I don’t live on the street and am not impacted by the change. Hopefully this will address the issue and the city can focus on pedestrian safety and speeding. As far as I am concerned speeding, especially on 5th av is a terrible problem.

  13. Tim’s absolutely right: the non-arterials don’t provide cycling access. This is a matter of geography and safety, not convenience.

    Bicycles can’t safely travel long distances on non-arterials for the same reason cars wouldn’t: they’re narrow roads with a blind corner every few hundred feet, and the risk of a collision is extremely high. These are roads designed for traveling slowly 1-2 blocks from a home to the nearest arterial. They don’t become safe arterials for bicycles just because bicycles are smaller vehicles.

    And geographically, it just doesn’t work. The only non-arterial that actually extends from the south to the top of the hill is 8th Ave, and the intersection of 8th Ave and 80th is essentially unpassable to north-south traffic.

    Believe me, as a daily bike commuter who lives north of the park, I’ve tried every single one of these proposed alternates. The new Roosevelt bike lane is the only one I would feel safe taking my family on, and it’s the only safe option for non-expert cyclists who aren’t able to climb the steep hills from the east and west.

  14. Buzz,
    Yes both 8th and 12th (you said 15th but I think you meant 12th) have traffic circles. But they are dangerous for the reason I mentioned–drivers too often don’t yield to other drivers and aren’t looking for bikes. They glance up the road for as far as they can see (often just a car length or two) and keep going without hitting the brake pedal. Or perhaps it’s not that they don’t see bikes or pedestrians, it’s that they are not looking for them.

  15. Tim

    Don’t both 8th and 15th have traffic circles? And if so, does that not reduce speed thereby making the streets safer to ride on? Moving riders to these far less traveled streets seems to be a good compromise. Why wouldn’t riders support that?

  16. JCG –
    The majority of our neighborhood is starting in a worse place than cycle infrastructure and has no pedestrian infrastructure whatsoever. No school in our neighborhood has complete sidewalks inside it’s walkshed. Most of our bus stops don’t have pedestrian infrastructure to get to them. Most of our neighborhood can’t walk to our business districts on sidewalks.

    Bike infrastructure on arterials is not necessary for bikes to be safe. They are necessary to attract more cyclists by making the more direct routes safer. Cyclists can be perfectly safe on non-arterials without infrastructure, it’s just less convenient because it is less direct.

    This is not true for pedestrians. It is inherently unsafe to walk in the roadway. It’s inherently less safe to cross at uncontrolled crosswalks.

    So while I understand the point you’re trying to make, and it’s certainly valid in certain other areas of the city, it simply doesn’t apply here in Maple Leaf.

    Sue – Brian at SDOT was great. He did as much as the system he works under allowed him to do and the ultimate outcome of this project is much better as a result of him working with us — particularly what they discovered when they did the traffic surveys. SDOT still needs to move beyond the “crosswalks are unsafe” culture created by John Shaw and others. New blood like Brian is trying, but there remain too many holdovers in supervisory positions to really make progress (as you know).


  17. David Miller

    Cyclists can be perfectly safe on non-arterials without infrastructure, it’s just less convenient because it is less direct.

    If I was going from 100th to 65th or vice versa, there’s no way in hell I’d bike down 8th or 12th. There are too many drivers that don’t slow down or yield when I’m in a car. I’m much less visible on a bike (when drivers glance around the corner) and am likely to get hit.
    Bike lane or not, I’m sticking to 5th or Roosevelt.

  18. David, thanks for the clear and detailed post. I can appreciate the challenge of representing a neighborhood that includes pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

    I’m glad to hear the community council didn’t actually oppose this project, although I wish they would also have not opposed it under a more sympathetic city administration. One thing about pedestrian and cycling improvements being evaluated differently is that, in our neighborhood, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure weren’t starting from the same place. Until this change, there was no safe bicycle access to a big portion of our neighborhood from the south.

    Going forward, I completely agree: pedestrian and cycling improvements should be approached the same way. But I guess it seems perfectly reasonable to me that there would be a different standard for the first project to actually open the neighborhood to a transportation option.

  19. The idea you have to step off the curb to show intent and trigger a cyclist or motor vehicle to yield is ABSOLUTELY false. We went through this with WA-DOT and the Seattle Police Department. A pedestrian just needs to be standing on the curb (where those exist in Maple Leaf) and facing the street in which he/she wishes to cross. That’s enough intent to trigger a yield from cyclists and motor vehicle operators.

    PLEASE do not start stepping into the street because you think you have to do so in order to get cyclists and motor vehicle drivers to obey the law.

    Cyclists and motor vehicle drivers, you are REQUIRED to stop for pedestrians when then are standing on the corner. This is especially tricky precisely in this stretch of Roosevelt across from the park because only one side of the street has corners so drivers/riders are particularly less likely to recognize the need to stop.

    There are a lot of comments here, many driven by a great deal of misinformation. There are two items I want to address:

    1. The MLCC did not oppose this change, largely because we’ve been around the block a few times and know opposing it to the current administration is pointless. We instead asked for mitigation in order to balance out the decrease in pedestrian safety. We know this reconfiguration decreases pedestrian safety because SDOT has told communities across the city placing cars next to the curb with no buffer decreases pedestrian safety (i.e. we’re not making this part up).

    We got some of what was necessary (1 crosswalk and no parking signs) but not key crosswalks across Roosevelt to the park. Because of this, again based upon information we’ve received from SDOT, we know this reconfiguration increases hazards to pedestrians.

    2. Bike lanes in Seattle are placed on a “build it and they will come basis.” No minimum amount of cycle traffic is required by SDOT before they put in bike lanes. This is broadly hailed by most of our elected officials and many Seattle residents as good public policy to encourage growth in cycle commuting.

    The same is not true of pedestrian infrastructure. It is true that super-majorities of Seattle residents and all elected officials say we want to encourage more pedestrian activity. However, our crosswalk requests — which are also just paint on the road — are continually turned down by SDOT because there are “not enough crossings to justify them.”

    Let me make this more plain…

    Bike infrastructure is built in advance to encourage higher use.

    Pedestrian infrastructure is built in arrears only once high use is present.

    This is why we get so exasperated every time this issue comes up. It’s not equitable and it is not fair — particularly given pedestrians massively outnumber cyclists.

    Increased bicycle infrastructure is inevitable in Maple Leaf. What we REALLY want is for pedestrian infrastructure — and by this I’m only talking safety infrastructure like crosswalks and simple controls — to be on the same footing. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. It’s certainly a more LOGICAL approach than what we’re seeing from SDOT currently.

    If the folks posting with such passion here agree, email Council, SDOT head Peter Hahn, Mayor McGinn, and Mayoral Candidate Ed Murray and tell them to adopt a “Build It And They Will Come” approach to pedestrians in Maple Leaf.

    You should also come to our Candidate & Issues Forum on October 16th (7-9pm at Olympic View Elementary). This subject is likely to come up in the Q&A.

    David Miller

  20. Great post David,

    I think the quickest way to get infrastructure is wait until a family is mowed down by a speeding motorist. Then politicians and bureaucrats fall over themselves to “address the problem.” A little too late but that is about the only time you see real action.

  21. Donna, I misread your post. I read it as about walking on the sidewalk, not crossing the street. Sorry for any confusion.

    Indeed pedestrians now need to step in to the street, but at intersections you can step in to the small triangle where the sidewalk is rounded off.

    In some senses though it’s a little bit safer as there is no giant SUV parked there that you have to try and “see around”.

  22. Tim – I was merely pointing out that pedestrians need to be a bit more cautious about crossing the street when on the west side. I don’t think I in any way whatsoever said that pedestrians were in danger when walking on the sidewalk. The tree lined planting strip is not on the corners where people would be standing to cross the street, so I’m not sure why you would emphasize I “failed to mention” it — there is no reason to mention it as that tree lined planting strip is not a buffer (as defined by SDOT) for pedestrians and has nothing to do with people making clear eye contact before crossing.

    I made my comment because an earlier post had stated that pedestrians need to step off the curb to show intent to cross. That is simply NOT a good idea at corners along this stretch.

    The message should be to always be positive that vehicle drivers and bicyclists have made eye contact and have stopped before crossing in front of them. Nothing more than that.

  23. Tim

    Most houses in the neighborhood were built with a garage-maybe, problem is those garages were built to accommodate 1 Model A or Model T Ford. They were not built for a modern two car family. When a car loses control there is no way to determine where it will end up so I really can’t honestly say bike lanes would make that particular issue worse. I read an article on this site a couple months ago that SDOT considered creating a barrier along the south bound lane on 5th av to accommodate a bike lane. Initial reaction was these guy are crazy for even considering eliminating all that parking for homeowners on my street like me. I really have to admit though that if it slowed down traffic or better yet reduced it and I could still pull into my spot in my front yard I would gladly give up the space. But I think every side street would suffer the consequences.

  24. I wish they’d have invested in sidewalks first. It can be dangerous for my kids, myself, our dogs – walking around our own neighborhood, with the speed of cars & no sidewalks…

  25. This is a great thread. Seriously. No, it’s not the ideal way to work out our neighborly differences, but it’s still instructional. It’s giving me perspective on those who, say, think it’s dangerous to cross Roosevelt—buffer or not—on foot. It must be a similar mentality that makes folks think any of the above comments are even remotely vitriolic.

  26. This discussion is quickly devolving into something out of the movie Anchorman. Remember when all the local news stations squared off for a gang turf war? Maybe Maple Leafers could rumble in the new park and settle this once and for all. Pedestrians v. Drivers v. Crosswalkers v. Cyclists. NO COMMERCIALS! NO MERCY!” PBS gang

  27. “No I have not been to every city in every state, but I would put money that every city in every state has some street parking.”
    Please get in contact with my bookie; I’m looking forward to taking your money.

    “Street parking is common all over the place and that is an obvious fact.” Citation needed.

    “The concern that Donna pointed out above (#53) about reducing the buffer is a valid one.”
    Regardless of whether you’re a child or not.
    But what Donna failed to mention is that there’s still a tree lined planting strip. So it’s not as though as you’d get hit by a car by extending your arm over the edge of the sidewalk. If there’s a slightly out of control car zooming down the road, they’ll hit the curb and/or grass first. A majorly out of control car will do the same thing as if there were still a parking strip with no cars in it.

    “so yes part of it does belong to me” and yet you use it for up 72 hours a time leaving zero ability for anyone else to use it. It belongs to everyone and yet you’re claiming ownership over it.
    Many homes in this neighborhood were built with garages. If you’ve chosen to convert yours into something other than a place for storing a vehicle, it’s quite selfish to demand the city to give you a free place to park.

    And since I bet you’re going to ask: Yes, I have a car, no I don’t have a garage and no I don’t park on the street. If street parking were taken away completely on my block it would have little effect on my property value.

    As you said, “Part of it belongs to every person that paid taxes related to the construction and maintenance of roads” so everyone has a right to part of that roadway, even the bicyclists. A parking lane moves 0 people. Go back to #57 and you’ll see how little cars actually pay for the roads they drive on.

  28. @Tim:

    “Wow, you’ve been to every city in every state and verified that they have on street parking? impressive!”

    Wow, that was a real intelligent response. No I have not been to every city in every state, but I would put money that every city in every state has some street parking. Do you actually want to be childish and try to debate that? Grow up. Street parking is common all over the place and that is an obvious fact. I am not saying that we can’t retro fit existing streets and design new streets to better serve cars, buses, pedestrians, and bikes, but in certain cases some existing streets don’t make sense and I personally believe the stretch of Roosevelt related to this blog post is one of them.

    You already stated that you don’t have kids, well those of us that do and that walk our kids around this neighborhood have some concerns. The concern that Donna pointed out above (#53) about reducing the buffer is a valid one. Maybe not to you, but too others. Some of us also own homes in this neighborhood and can relate to those who have and or will be losing parking spaces when the lane is extended, which I am sure will happen. You probably don’t care, but others do because it will effect the homes value. So forgive those of us that have different criteria and thought processes than you. There will always be cars and pedestrians and they will always outnumber bicycles…..period. Therefore lashing out at the majority who may or may not agree with having to cater to the minority of bike riders in certain circumstances is futile.

    “You need to stop overreacting when something that doesn’t belong to you gets taken away.”

    I helped pay for it, so yes part of it does belong to me. Part of it belongs to every person that paid taxes related to the construction and maintenance of roads. Do I really need to explain how that works to you again? I have as much right to voice my opinion against the bike lanes on that stretch of Roosevelt as you do for them. I know that is hard to understand, but keeping trying and you’ll come around.

  29. Buzz, you don’t have to change your routines. If other people want to do it, let them.

    Yes, it takes extra time to shop daily. But some people like it because they have fresher produce and less spoiled food that expired when they bought more than they needed.

    It’s a lot like buying gas–I like to fill up the whole tank so I don’t have to stop every week. But some would rather fill up small amounts in order to reduce the weight they’re carrying or to spread out the cost over a longer time frame. Neither methodology is wrong–it’s a preference.

  30. That’s the point of frequent trips. The typical family’s schedule is a nightmare to negotiate so let’s add a dozen weekly trips to the grocery store instead of one.

  31. Buzz #58

    It seems to me that many more people are carpooling

    It can seem that way all you want, but the data doesn’t lie.

    the BLOG it is posted on have an obvious agenda

    You pretty much contradict this claim in one of your following sentences: “the students who did the study”. The blog didn’t conduct the study, they just reported it. That’s what blogs do.

    the article mentioned above was conducted by, ” Employing a method recommended by Transportation Alternatives”

    The article did not conduct any research. The article is just a summary of the study. And before you dismiss it because of who developed the methodology, you should actually look at the methodology. It’s on page 5.

    I would love to see someone negotiate their bike with 150 dollars worth of groceries on their back

    That is the very opposite of frequent trips. Frequent trips in the case of grocery shopping would likely mean stopping at the grocery store 5-10 times a week; not a $150 once a week stock up trip.

  32. Tim

    It is clear that you are intelligent and well informed, but it also seems you have an agenda here. Also, some of your comments play loose with the facts you use. The link you posted in #2 is true, a majority of Seattle residents do not drive alone. But the data does not break down commuters transportation preferences. It seems to me that many more people are carpooling (which still requires a vehicle) than using mass transit or riding. While this is very good news the Seattle Times story you posted really does not support any argument that cars are not an essential mode of transportation for residents of Seattle. It seems to me that the car owning public still deserves priority in investments in infrastructure and parking availability.
    In posting #42 you challenge Maple Leaf Bob’s contention that businesses could be negatively affected because of the changes to Roosevelt by citing the following article “pedestrians and cyclists tend to make more frequent trips to retailers than car drivers?” A quick reading of this article exposes two serious flaws-fist the BLOG it is posted on have an obvious agenda that supports limiting single vehicle use for other modes of transportation. Second the the article mentioned above was conducted by, ” Employing a method recommended by Transportation Alternatives” So a group which had a stake in the outcome of this study provided the methodology to the students who did the study? I am unsure that citing this article helps your case much. I tend to agree that limiting vehicle parking in business areas would lead to more frequent trips however. I mean I would love to see someone negotiate their bike with 150.00 dollars worth of groceries on their back with two kids in tow. You did make the very reasonable comment that both studies were done in NYC and recognize that the comparison to Seattle should be “taken with a grain of salt” so thanks for that. As I mentioned before the city must ensure the safety of riders and pedestrians who share the road. But it should be done in a way that minimizes impacts to the vast majority of folks who depend on cars.

  33. Thomas, everyone pays for the roads. Gas tax is a very small percentage.
    Grants & Other: $96.9 (29 percent)
    Debt: $77.4 (23 percent)
    Bridging the Gap (a property-tax levy passed by voters in 2007): $60.9 (18 percent)
    General Fund: $42.3 (12 percent)
    Reimbursables: $42 (12 percent)
    Gas Tax: $13.4 (4 percent)
    Cumulative Reserve Fund: $7.6 (2 percent)

  34. Maple Leaf Bob, you are an island of sanity in an insane blogosphere. The war on cars is real, and it continues. After all, who pays for the roads? I seem to remember it’s drivers.

  35. MapleLeafBob #52

    we have streets that include parking in every single town, city, and neighborhood in this entire country.

    Wow, you’ve been to every city in every state and verified that they have on street parking? Impressive!

    the majority of tax payers support the notion of street parking

    Except the majority of taxpayers don’t get street parking because there are more cars than space on roads. You need to stop overreacting when something that doesn’t belong to you gets taken away.

  36. Is this another bike lane that the Cascade Bicycle Club members who have a hill-less 15 minute commute downtown or to Fremont urged on a high hill above N/NE 75th but probably won’t use?

    We drove down Roosevelt yesterday evening and we feel your pain. Yeah, we don’t go uphill and downhill on bicycles at night for a 17-mile roundtrip outing. We’re bad Seattleites that way. Don’t come at us with pitchforks, cyclists, to run us out of town!

  37. This is not a pro- or anti- comment on the rechanneling — I understand the intended positives and the potential negatives — but just a reminder for pedestrians:

    One of the issues with this particular re-channeling is that it puts car traffic right next to the sidewalk on the west side of Roosevelt. According to Traffic Specialists in SDOT, this is more dangerous for pedestrians because the “buffer” of a parking strip is removed, which doesn’t allow pedestrians to step off the curb and indicate their intent to cross.

    So while it is always smart to catch the eye of the vehicle or bicyclist before crossing the street, it is particularly important here since stepping of the curb will place pedestrians immediately in the car/bike traffic lane.

    Let’s all just be careful and considerate.

  38. @Tim:

    “…I don’t quite understand the notion that the government must make some affordance for citizens to store their personal property in the public right of way.”

    Well, its pretty simply actually. Government only exists because of the citizens. Without tax money, the government does not exist. Therefore, the government must listen to tax payers and the majority of tax payers support the notion of street parking. That notion gets included in the design and construction of streets and presto…..we have streets that include parking in every single town, city, and neighborhood in this entire country.

  39. i used to live in ML and still own property there.

    not much opinion on bike lanes other than it seems most people will have to use them in a few years because our crumbling roads will not be navigable by regular cars.

    but a few notes:
    – i never felt safe crossing roosevelt at a crosswalk around the park on foot, even pushing a baby stroller, almost every car sped and/or did not stop. not worth playing chicken either.

    – you have to give people (especially west of the park) safe access to this great new neighborhood park, otherwise you waste it.

    – i have rarely seen a bike rider stop for anything, even a red light or stop sign, and bike lanes won’t change that. stopping for a pedestrian, now that’s laughable.

    – if traffic backs up on roosevelt, more and more people will race up/down brooklyn and 12 ave between 82nd st and 80th (leading directly to the I-5 access ramp) as a “shortcut”. this is already dangerous for the residents of those streets and will only get worse. so, do not make arterials worse for cars because the alternatives have multiple detrimental consequences.

  40. Recently spent a sunny weekend in Vancouver BC. The well thought out bike lanes and cycle tracks opened my eyes a bit. Our hotel lent us a couple of bikes, we cruised all over downtown, Stanley Park, English Bay, False Creek. Miles of interconnected bike paths made getting around easy and, dare I say, fun.

    I am withholding judgment on the new bike lane on Roosevelt. Maybe it won’t be a traffic snarled mess? Maybe it won’t be a huge hassle?

    I have not noted any “bitter and hateful comments with adults flinging poo at each other like animals”. You have all been comporting yourselves as adults, I am proud to live among you in this great neighborhood.

  41. Well many families living in Seattle own 2 cars because they need them-to be honest if I could get rid of one or both of my expensive gas guzzling cars and relied solely on transit, bicycling or walking I would do it in a second- just think of the money saved. Unfortunately, we will be car dependent for some time to come. Just to be clear I support bike lanes and transit, which by the way do not have to be an “affordance” by government. But since government views mass transit and increased ridership as important we have a transit system and bike lanes. I simply hope that government continues to view tax paying citizens who happen to rely on cars as-at least as equally important as the very tiny percentage of the population who ride or the more sizeable population using mass transit.

  42. Buzz,
    I have neither a garage nor kids. None of the situations you mentioned require a 2 car garage, or even a garage of any sort. Nor do they require street parking.

    Perhaps it’s because it was unheard of where I grew up, but I don’t quite understand the notion that the government must make some affordance for citizens to store their personal property in the public right of way.

  43. Tim

    Maybe where you live everyone is blessed with a two car garage. Maybe both parents telecommute, live right next to the school their kids go to; maybe their children’s extracurricular activities somehow magically come with some sort of convienent carpool arrangement that whisks them from soccer practice or music lessons to the front door every single day. Perhaps the grocery store, park, hardware store doctor’s office, family and friend’s homes are right around the corner. Maybe someone (perhaps you Tim) has invented the ability to teleport themselves and their kids to wherever they wish to go. Unfortunately the rest of us aren’t lucky enough to own a 2 car garage telecommute, work near our homes or have a full time chauffeur to run errands for us while we blissfully juggle the many responsibilities that we have which require something other than mass transit, a bicycle or a short walk to negotiate everyday. This ain’t Issaquah dude.

  44. Figured as much. Too bad because if people slowed down and paid attention a lot of the issues discussed on this thread would solve themselves. I think however that any changes to streets that limits parking in this city is crazy! You can’t encourage modern families to live in seattle by increasing density while eliminating parking capacity.

  45. JCG I don’t think I realized that 🙂

    There’s also Real Property Associates, who also have their own off-street lot.

  46. Wait, how does this change cause any business to lose parking in the first place? There are only two businesses on Roosevelt between 75th and 85th: one is a gas station, and the other (Coa) has its own parking lot. Surely this can’t be a serious objection.

  47. MapleLeafBob #39

    Get real, you can’t be serious with that mentality.

    How about some real data to back it up?
    A recent analysis of sales receipts and real estate data in New York City found that streets where traffic lanes and parking had been re-purposed for bus lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian space performed better economically, overall, than streets that saw no changes.”
    Or how about pedestrians and cyclists tend to make more frequent trips to retailers than car drivers?

    Yes I know Seattle is not NYC, so take it with a grain of salt. But don’t be so quick to dismiss.

  48. #37

    I think the city should install traffic circles on busy roads like 5th av to slow drivers down.

    Won’t happen because 5th is classified as a minor arterial. And since 5th (and Roosevelt and 15th) are used by trucks, you need either a really skinny circle or a really wide road so they can make it around. And the wide lanes required for trucks are narrow enough that cars don’t have to slow down much to get through them.

    Speed bumps also aren’t the answer; SDOT was going to install them on 3rd Ave NW but decided not to because it would be too hard for the snow plows to clear the street. $10 goes to anyone who can explain that one to me.

  49. “it is a moving violation to not stop for a pedestrian at any corner, NOT just marked marked crosswalks.”

    That is not true. To clarify, pedestrians need to show “intent” to cross the street. Just standing on the corner is not good enough. Step off the curb people.

  50. I just have to comment to those acting like losing customers or finding new customers is so easy for businesses. As a business owner myself (not in Maple Leaf), I can say most of you making those comments either don’t own a business or are just plain ignorant. Location and accessibility are HUGE factors for retail style businesses. Throwing out comments like they should just adapt to attract bicycle riders is laughable. Get real, you can’t be serious with that mentality.

  51. I’m normally pretty cranky pants about these, I think the changes along 75th Ave NE are confusing, but I really like these bike lanes and am glad they happened. We may not see the impact immediately, but years down the line we are going to be happy our neighborhood made space for bike commuters.

  52. I checked out the Roosevelt “road diet” yesterday and it did not seem to bad. Having said that the city is not addressing the real problem with car vs. bike. vs. pedestrian. The real problem is speed! I live on 5th av just a block north of 80th and I can’t tell you how crazy things get when people fly down that busy street to make the light at 80th. As you may know, a bike lane runs along 5th on the north bound side which pushes traffic over toward my side of the street where I park. After one lost mirror to my van and 11k in damage to my car that was sideswiped by a speeding concrete truck-nearly killing me and my two year old-I quickly realized there must be a better way to share the road. I think the city should install traffic circles on busy roads like 5th av to slow drivers down. Bike lanes alone wont do the job. In fact, poorly designed bike lanes seem to only give less room for speeding divers to negotiate busy streets. I support bike lanes and more crosswalks, but speed, and distracted driving are the biggest issues regarding safety on city streets and building bike lanes to slow traffic is a bad idea. Of course, this is all anecdotal blathering so the statistics may prove me wrong entirely.

  53. I gotta respect the comment “pedestrian have the right of way and should act like it.” When I stop for someone crossing the street they often wave at me or thank me like I have done them a favor. No favor, it’s the law. You don’t need to run across the street to get out of my way either. Walk as you normally would. Sure, make sure the car/bike has stopped before you cross but then you own it kid.

  54. As a cyclist and busrider, I would like to mention that my bicycle collision with an
    at-fault vehicle occured while I was in the bike lane on 70th, so those who blissfully think or act out their right of way (#20) should recognize they could be right…dead right. Everyone be more aware.

  55. I drove down Roosevelt today, just to see what it was like (I normally use 5th). I welcome the addition of the better bike lanes, and I hope that this encourages more ridership.

    More people on bikes, instead of cars, is better for us all. Less pollution, less wear and tear on our roads, less noise, fewer cars racing through our streets.

    I suspect that only people that want more people in cars and fewer people on bikes are auto dealers and car mechanics, and a few businesses that think customers only arrive by car.

    If the handful of businesses on Roosevelt that don’t have enough car parking want to attract more customers, let them do more to make themselves attractive to bike riders, and to pedestrians.

    Maple Leaf is a residential neighborhood with a small business core — that small business core shouldn’t be making our decisions for us, the residents should be making the decisions, and as resident, I’m in favor of more bike lanes on our through streets.

  56. Have been wondering whether to chime in here or just let it go…

    I agree with “Neighbor” and some some others who are saddened by this divisiveness and accusations here. I am a supporter of these changes, and I am a 20 year resident of Maple Leaf, situated just a block from Roosevelt. Our household has three cars, but I also bike to and from work most days, up and down Roosevelt and 11th, year round in anything but ice. As a frequent pedestrian in the Ace/Snappy Dragon/Maple Leaf Cafe area, I agree that traffic speeds are often too fast near the top of the hill, and would welcome more marked crosswalks or other visual means getting people out of their tunnel vision. I have been yelled at while crossing the street with my son in an unmarked crosswalk “what do you think the crosswalk is for, old man?” It’s laughable sometimes, up until someone is hurt.

    It’s too easy to label this as an “us vs. them” sort of situation, but I suspect it’s mostly just “us.” PS: Thanks to Chris and Laurel for your articulate and reasoned comments.

  57. I would also point out to those of you citing articles with statistics, that stats only show what was happening during a particular range of tested time, not what will happen in the future.

    Humans are highly adaptable. We evolve even under protest.

  58. I drive and ride on this street. My husband does too, in fact is out riding to work now, in the rain. Our friend uses this route approx. 300 days a year to get from SLU to just north of NG. So, I guess I know 2 of the 4 cyclists naysayers contend the bike lanes were built for.

    Last winter while my husband cycling home, with lights on his bike and over 20 years of cycling experience, was “doored” right outside of Reckless. Luckily he wasn’t thrown into the on-coming traffic but does carry an 11-inch scar on his thigh to remind him that the driver didn’t look before opening his door.

    Slowing traffic in Maple Leaf during rush hour is caused more often by divers too absorbed in their own commute to stop and allow left turners to go. Watch for this the next time you are cursing the cyclists for your slow progress. Its not them, its us. It only hurts 12 seconds to stop and allow someone to turn.

    And lets talk about the speed over the top of the hill near the businesses. Its too fast. How many times has a car ended up in the “moat” around the 9100 Roosevelt/Marco Apartment building? That corner is notorious for speed and aggression.

    Yes, drivers will have to pay attention. I would lay bets that the first accident that happens post-bike lanes won’t be due to a cyclist, it will be due to a driver missing the lane marker because he or she is texting. This happens on 15th all the time at the point where the lane merges over around 84th.

    And Judy, side roads are often much more dangerous for cyclists during commute hours. Your reasoning should also exclude pedestrians from using crosswalks on major arteries which of course no one would consider because everyone is used to pedestrians.

    With time, annoyance, patience and no doubt more cyclists deaths, the city will get used to bikes too. I certainly hope so for the sake of our air quality and rising obesity.

  59. CC, the businesses can adapt to the changing urban landscape. The policies of our neighborhood should be made by the residents, not the handful of businesses that have David M’s ear.

  60. I think this is ridiculous. Make it stop. Cyclists can use side roads, such as 8th. Leave the major arteries for cars and buses. Waste of money.

  61. Perhaps this site should disable commenting like Popular Science recently did. I’m saddened to read through all of these bitter and hateful comments with adults flinging poo at each other like animals. How’s about everyone puts their road rage away and goes for a nice bike ride?

  62. OpenMindedGuy, I agree it is totally silly that a business owner should be worried about fewer customers. I mean, they grow on trees don’t they and something like no parking in front of your business will have zero, I repeat zero impact on them.
    KCJ, you are a lot more gracious than I am. You say “good luck” and I say ” it sucks to be you”.

    Hey folks, improve my quality of life and check out 15th ave.

  63. A couple of random thoughts: I have yet to have a southbound cyclist stop for me and my dogs at the 84th St crosswalk – hopefully this will change with this newfound harmony between bikes, cars and pedestrians. Good luck to the homeowners on the west side of Roosevelt who need to back out of their driveways weekday mornings or Friday afternoons – they’re going to need it.

  64. CC, how are residents that live on Roosevelt negatively impacted by this? The only constituents that Dave M. was trying to protect, are his supports in the Maple Leaf business zone, those few that don’t have enough off street parking, that are worried that less parking will mean fewer customers.

    As to riding in the cold in Jan., just because you are too soft do do that, doesn’t mean others will be.

  65. I commuted home today using the new Roosevelt bike lanes. The improvement couldn’t be more obvious. They’re great.

    All four lanes on Roosevelt were clear and wide. Car traffic was smooth, and visibility between lanes and to the sidewalks is better. Everything feels well buffered and safer, and all traffic moved more smoothly.

    I’m grateful to SDOT for making this happen: it’s a big upgrade to our neighborhood. It was unfortunate that for so long, our central business district and park were only accessible by car: finally fixing that is going to be a big deal.

    It’s disappointing that the community council invested so much energy into obstructing this, and for such weak reasons. It would have been one thing if they had ever proposed any alternatives. The message was always simply been that Maple Leaf is on top of a hill, and as long as they keep the neighborhood inaccessible to cyclists, there won’t be enough of them to matter. Very disappointing.

  66. Well typed OpenMindedGuy. When it is January, raining sideways and 38 degrees I am sure that it is the lack of bike lanes and not the weather that is the culprit for the lack of riders.

    Can all you supporters be honest with yourselves here ? You do not live in the area on Roosevelt that is directly impacted by this. I don’t either and in the typical “it sucks to be you” style of Seattle I hope that so many people are put off by this that traffic is reduced by 50% on Roosevelt. Why would I wish for that ?Because it does not directly affect me but it sucks to be you.

  67. What is with this BS argument that “not enough people ride bikes to justify these bike lanes”.

    Maybe if we had more safe bike lanes, more people would feel safe riding their bikes.

    There is nothing in the laws of nature that dictates that humans are destined to live in an auto-centric world.

    Cities like Portland and Santa Cruz have more bike riders, because the bike lanes their are better, and there aren’t a bunch of nimby’s standing in the way of progress.

  68. I drive on Roosevelt daily and walk this area on a regular basis. I look forward to a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians and see no problems as a driver with the new lanes.

  69. That parents would pester the council for more crosswalks is unfortunate. Roosevelt is a relatively placid street. Pedestrians have the right of way and should act like it.

    Worth considering in all of this is that self-driving automobiles will sooner-than-most-realize will completely eliminate congestion concerns, among other nuisances, but I digress.

    Stop the whining. Bicyclists can now safely summit our little hill, and many drivers can now stop freaking out whilst encountering said bicyclists. Those are two huge wins. Traffic? Pedestrian safety? Not significant problems before, not significant problems after.

  70. Tim – Worth pointing out the Roosevelt routes carry 5,000 passengers a day. Roosevelt’s annualized weekday cyclist count isn’t 1% of that.

    It will be interesting to watch the interplay of buses, cyclists, and cars at those intersections. I looked at the turnout striping and we’re pretty sure SDOT never talked with Metro about the sizing. No doubt buses will be waiting through multiple turn cycles, delaying thousands of non-car commuters every day.

  71. Chris – Data shows it will slow bus traffic and cars. The sympathetic staffers at SDOT pushed for a traffic engineering analysis that demonstrates this. They made changes to the configuration to make the problem not so bad.

    I’m glad you have no problem, but we get emails and calls every week from parents wanting crosswalks for their kids in that area.

    I don’t think roads should be used only for cars and none of the people I know who objected to this think so either.

    This makes the roadway less safe for pedestrians, and there are LOTS more of them than cyclists. Why we’d endanger a larger group of people for the benefit of a seasonal smaller group is a policy question I don’t have the answer to.

  72. Hmmmm……a word that is actually a combination of two words where one starts with C and the other starts with F comes to mind.

    That will be what happens to Roosevelt and 15th. Clog one route and then people will shift to the other, so they have effectively killed two major routes through our little neighborhood. Nice work.

  73. …just like they do today when there’s a car parked in the curb lane.

    And remember, it’s not only legal for cars to drive in the bike lane to make a turn–it’s the best way to prevent a right hook.

  74. David–
    I don’t think Roosevelt is wide enough for a single bus lane, let alone two. And the 66 and 68 are hardly high ridership routes (Sorry, I don’t know of a more recent source). 66 and 68 have a combined 55 northbound weekday trips (26 and 29 respectively) which hardly makes them qualify for dedicated lanes.

  75. with essentially zero effect on traffic flow beyond left-turns NB at 80th

    And it’s not like they can’t (in the future) upgrade the signals to allow protected left turns, a la 65th & 15th.

  76. The major reason I started commuting to work by bike is the addition of bike lanes all the way down Roosevelt, and back up 11th. You can’t blame people for not biking when there’s no safe paths for them to bike. And when you can put in a bike lane with essentially zero effect on traffic flow beyond left-turns NB at 80th, I can’t fathom why anybody would be opposed to the idea unless they just think roads should only be used for cars. It’s pretty obvious to me that it will increase traffic flow & speeds while making the road safer for cyclists. David sees that as a negative, but I sure don’t. I have no problem crossing Roosevelt safely on foot anywhere between 75th and 80th, even when jaywalking across the street in the middle of a block to get to/from the bus stop at 80th.

  77. Finally! Count me among those residents who think this is great news. Yes, it’s messy transportation planning, but I believe that in the long run it puts Maple Leaf on the right path. I’m certainly not concerned that this will harm pedestrian safety, for what it’s worth.

  78. Tim – Where she will find that despite 6 years of working on it, bicycle ridership in absolute terms has gone up a fraction while bus ridership has soared. On Roosevelt, and elsewhere, we’re putting in bike lanes that either interfere with buses or are going where bus lanes could have gone.

    And those counts, by the way, don’t take into account how bicycle commuter use is highly seasonal.

  79. While certain staffers at SDOT did a good job of advocating on our behalf, this was always a done deal. We get one crosswalk and several “No Parking From Here to Corner” signs — but not all the crosswalks we need across Roosevelt to our new park.

    Ironically, we aren’t getting these crosswalks because there aren’t enough people crossing them during the hours they surveyed — a standard applied to no bike lane anywhere in Seattle ever.

    As far as we’ve been able to determine, this bike lane is the first in Seattle that increases the danger to pedestrians. In this section of Roosevelt there are no speeding problems according to SDOT’s own data.

    So when folks object to anyone criticizing this by claiming how this will slow traffic or improve pedestrian safety, they’re just wrong. This might be true for other instsallations, but NOT this one. Pedestrian safety is harmed and speeds in this section are at or below the limit already.

    On a related note, please remember that MLCC is holding our Candidates & Issues forum on October 16th from 7-9 pm at Olympic View Elementary.

    David Miller

  80. For all of you oppressed drivers who are going to switch to driving on 15th NE,remember:
    -it is illegal to go around a bus trying to merge into traffic with a turn signal on.
    – it is a moving violation to not stop for a pedestrian at any corner, NOT just marked marked crosswalks.
    I am a bus rider, bicyclist, pedestrian and driver. I commute to UW daily by bike rain or shine . I choose 2oth NE because it is not as busy. If the city is truly serious about encouraging biking, they would put a curb between bikes and traffic. Meanwhile this biker will take the “road less traveled”.

  81. SDOT is the only transportation entity I’ve ever heard of that thinks traffic jams are a good thing. The more money they spend, the less transportation we get.

    It’s time for a new Mayor.

  82. Seattle weather + hills + poor infrastructure = limited desirability for bicycles. I very much wish Seattle was a commuter-friendly community but almost every one of these bike lane takeovers is a gross waste of money. Sad. =(

  83. Wow, I can’t wait to see how far Roosevelt Way backs up during the evening hours with one lane. It used to back up as far as NE 94th in the southbound direction. Now I am sure it will be much worse.

  84. Well as a car driver, bicycle commuter, and Roosevelt Way Resident, I think it’s great to have a bike lane on the entire uphill portion. It’s very treacherous driving or biking up that stretch during the afternoon commute. This will help keep riders safer and speed up the flow as well.

    I thought it would have made more sense to eliminate the parking on the east side of the street (rather than the west) the whole way and skip the crosswalk bulbs at the park to avoid the weird lane zig-zagging at 80th and also avoid putting the bike lane in the door zone, but that would make too much sense, I suppose.

    Still, more dedicated bicycle lanes are better for everyone.

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