Fifth Avenue's kinda weird, right? You've got the monorail track diving the whole road and three lanes of traffic, one separate from the other two, moving in the same direction, which can cause confusion for tourists and turning cars. The city of Seattle has apparently had their eye on Fifth Avenue's issues and has some plans to install a new protected bike lane along it. Per the Seattle Times, the right lane would cease to be a car lane and would be converted into a bike lane. Microparks and greenery could replace some of the parking stalls close to curbs and cars would now park in the area underneath the monorail track, which is currently empty space. The two left lanes would remain and so would the parking spaces.
As you probably guessed, opinions are split on the idea. Seattle Bike Blog points out how dangerous Fifth Avenue currently is for cyclists and pedestrians and they think the changes could make it one of the coolest city streets in the nation. How many roads do you know that have car lanes, a bike lane, parks and a monorail track?
Jason Rantz, meanwhile, is Jason Rantz, and he's not happy. He doesn't see how this would address congestion in the area and thinks it would probably make things worse for a road that already sees 13,000 vehicles every day.
Regardless of where everyone stands (or rides, as it where), this isn't happening anytime soon. "We are not very close yet," says city traffic engineer Dongho Chang. There are multiple bike lane changes ahead of Fifth Avenue in the queue and there's a whole bevy of city processes that the idea needs to go through before approval. In the meantime, head over to Fifth Ave. and try to imagine what it might look like. Let us know what you think of the idea in the comments below.
· Protected bike lane on Seattle's Fifth Avenue may be in future [ST]
· Is this Seattle's most insane bike lane idea? [MyN]
· Innovative 5th Ave bikeway and public space in the works [SBB]