Five local neighborhood groups changed their streets on a grand scale on Friday September 18.
Instead of endless public meetings, design charettes, and flat conceptual drawings, we helped these four groups build protected intersections in Ballard and Bryant, and thousands of feet of protected bike lanes in Rainier and Ravenna. Here’s a look at what happened.
A crew, led by visionary Shirley Savel, and leaders Adam Dodge and Travis Merrigan, built 2000 linear feet of bike lanes out of white chalk, white duct tape, green butcher paper and traffic cones on both sides of Rainier between Columbia City and Hillman City.
The co-leader of Ballard Greenways, Chris Saleeba, also works at one of Seattle’s best bicycle and pedestrian design firms, Alta Planning and Design. Chris, Fred Young, and Steve Durrant of Alta created a protected intersection that was extremely effective at slowing vehicles and allowing people to safely walk and bike across NW 65th and 6th Ave NW, just where the next north-south greenway in Ballard is planned.
The Seattle Department of Transportation concurred NW 65th and 6th NW was a high priority for safety improvements and added a permanent crosswalk in record time.
Chris said the bar owner of Molly McGuires – the most active business in front of the new intersection – came out during the day and talked about how much he loved the improvements and wondered if he could get the crosswalk painted in Irish flag colors as part of Mayor Murray and the Department of Neighborhood’s new community crosswalk program.
Andres Salomon, leader of NE Seattle Greenways opted to bring a local group of volunteers together to build a protected climbing lane along NE 65th between the steep hill on 22nd NE and 20th NE. The Ravenna Bryant Blog wrote about Andres project in this small business district.
While setting up the bike lane and tabling all day on NE 65th, Andres and his crew observed traffic exceeding safe speeds, people in cars not yielding to people trying to walk across the street, and erratically moving cars along NE 65th that kept small businesses isolated and inward facing.
They felt the retail environment of this small commercial node could be improved dramatically with ordinary traffic calming tools and that a protected bike climbing lane as well as sidewalk improvements would benefit not just people who bike but the retail area as a whole.
Kenneth Trease and Jen Goldman, also from NE Seattle Greenways, won the competition’s honorable mention for their simple, yet amazingly effective design of a protected crossing of 40th NE along the Burke Gilman Trail.
The use of just cones to simulate curb bulbs – and a few “stop for pedestrian” signs at the crossing and along the trail – had people approaching the crosswalk more cautiously in cars and on bikes. This crosswalk was the site of a recent serious injury collision between a car driver and bicycle rider.
Staff from Seattle Children’s Hospital joined as volunteers at the information table with NE Seattle Greenways members.
Jen Goldman, one of the Protected Intersection project leads said,
“Our biggest take-home – we did not have one complaint about the crossing through the day. All feedback for the curb bulbs was favorable. People agreed that the crossing was dangerous as is. Granted, we were more able to speak with people walking and biking by vs driving, but some people who stopped and chatted mentioned they had driven through earlier in the day as well. The Metropolitan Market manager had reservations when discussing the project at first, but was pleased when seeing it.”
Jen’s daughter Maggie who celebrated her 6th birthday at the intersection crossing with cupcakes, thought it was a splendid place for a party for a girl who likes to walk and bike!
Another honorable mention went to Andrea Fitch from Site Workshop. She and her crew put together a design for a nicely tapered protected bike lane that leads people on bikes from the Fremont Bridge north of Florentia Street to the Ship Canal Trail.
This project got so much pushback from Metro and SDOT, that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways didn’t have the capacity to support it materially.
Andrea modified her ideas and her one-day design worked out really well. The adjacent business, Bleitz Funeral Home, became a big supporter and as soon as SDOT works out the METRO bus turning issues this project may also be built!
With PARKing Day Plus projects like these, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways continues to make much progress and hold on to the vision that one intersection, one lane, one neighborhood at a time will soon add up to a whole city with lively streets where people want to spend time with the people they love. It’s just a matter of time.
Read more details about all of these projects here.