Metro Route 48 Cowen Park via 23rd Ave; Photo by Oran Viriyincy
Safe streets advocates hoping for a protected bikeway to be included in 23rd and 24th Avenue's upcoming $46 million overhaul were dealt a blow last week when SDOT decided to continue pursuing the "Neighborhood Greenway" option for the project. Under this plan, the city will make traffic calming and way finding improvements that encourage people to walk and bike along parallel adjacent streets while essentially reserving 23rd for high speed vehicle traffic.
While the greenway will provide cyclists and pedestrians a safer space to get around within the area's residential neighborhoods and connect to three public schools, people wanting to access 23rd Avenue businesses will still need to use the busy thoroughfare. With no dedicated road space, they'll have to choose between impeding the one lane of though traffic in each direction, slowing traffic and transit, or biking on the already busy sidewalks.
Furthermore, the greenway plan does nothing for cyclists who need to get across the Montlake Bridge or I-90 corridor. Connections across both of those areas have yet to be worked out and the initial indications are that there are few good options outside of 24th Avenue itself.
· 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project [Seattle.gov]
· City selects 'hybrid' route for bike, pedestrian-friendly greenway connecting CD, Capitol Hill [CHS]
· City picks 'hybrid' route for Central Area Neighborhood Greenway [SBB]
Daniel Diiulio is a civil engineer and current graduate student at the UW; he considers bicycles vital to humanity's future prosperity. Follow him through the streets of Seattle here.