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The protected Second Avenue bike lane is growing

Work starts Monday to bring the protected bike lane into Belltown

The existing Second Avenue bike lane downtown.

Drivers and cyclists might notice that Second Avenue on the south end of Belltown is a little torn up over the next couple of weeks. But after it’s all over, the Second Avenue cycle track will be that much longer.

The original protected bike lane stretches ten blocks from Pike to Yesler, and features not only concrete barriers to protect cyclists, but signal improvements to help prevent collisions. That track was finished in 2014, not long after Sher Kung was killed by a left-turning box truck at Second Avenue and University Street riding down the then-unprotected bike lane.

Farther north, Second Avenue is vulnerable to some of the same dangers, like opening car doors or left-turning cars. About two weeks from now, the same bike-safety improvements installed in 2014 should go north to Blanchard, adding five more blocks.

Eventually—SDOT says likely in October—the lane will extend all the way to Denny.

The before-and-after cross section for Second Avenue.
Courtesy of SDOT

With the addition of the bike lane, Second Avenue will be reduced to two through traffic lanes, plus a left-turn-and-parking lane on the east side of the street and a parking lane on the west.

Even after this stretch of work is complete, cyclists will have to wait a little while to use the cycle track northbound—Second Avenue is a southbound one-way street—until improved signals are installed.

In the meantime, Second Avenue will be rough for both drivers and cyclists. Second Avenue will be down to two lanes between Pike and Blanchard, and instead of using the unprotected bike lane currently on that stretch, cyclists will have to merge with traffic.