How do you envision a safe and accessible 23rd Avenue?
Improvement is coming for those who bike between the South End and University District, it is just a question of where these improvements will be made — on 23rd Ave. or a parallel route?
Starting in 2014, the Seattle Department of Transportation will begin a repaving, transit efficiency and complete streets re-evaluation of 23rd Ave. from East John St. to Rainier Ave. South, as reported earlier on the Seattle Bike Blog. As public outreach for the project continues, SDOT already has plans to electrify transit, install transit signal priority and improve the pedestrian environment on what is currently a four-lane arterial. However, as the city is still considering whether bicycle improvements will be made along 23rd Ave. as a component of this complete streets project. The upcoming March 2 Open House is a great opportunity to provide input about the issues and needs surrounding bicycle access along and across this corridor.
What could a “complete streets” redevelopment of 23rd Ave. mean for bicycles?
23rd Ave. represents a critical connection between the south end and the University District. Significant destinations impacted by the project corridor include the revitalizing commercial corner at 23rd and E Union, Garfield High School, the I-90 trail and the future light rail station at I-90.
The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Update’s preliminary draft bicycle network recommended protected bike lanes as the desired bicycle facility along the 23rd Ave. corridor, while also identifying the Central District thoroughfare as a “multi-modal corridor,” given the heavy demands for all modes operating in the limited right of way. For instance, Bus 48, running from Mt. Baker to the University District via 23rd Ave. and continuing north to Loyal Heights, is one of the busiest routes in King County. About 6,900 people ride daily on just the southern section.
The city is currently undergoing a Transit Reliability Study to help determine if 23rd Ave can support a three-lane cross-section while maintaining transit reliability and efficiency. While transit is a high priority for 23rd Ave, the majority of the corridor experiences motor vehicle volumes well below the threshold needed to support a three-lane cross-section, which would ultimately make it safer for people to travel by all modes along and across the corridor.
While complete streets are designed to enable safe, attractive and comfortable travel for all users, space constraints throughout the corridor may limit which modes the redesign of 23rd Ave. can prioritize. The City is exploring options to improve pedestrian safety and access through the project; however, the City is preliminarily proposing favoring an alternative, parallel route to support bicycling given the constrained roadway width and concerns about conflicts between bicycle traffic and transit on the corridor. Whether 23rd Ave. can accommodate a bicycle facility that will be safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities will be determined by the results of the study as well as input from the community.
How do you envision a safe and accessible 23rd Ave? The city is interested in hearing from you!
Join SDOT at an open house on Saturday, March 2, to learn more about the project from the design team. If you are unable to attend the open house, you can still comment on the project by contacting the Project Manager, Lorelei Williams at (206) 684-5178 or by email.
Open House Details
When: Saturday, March 2
Where: Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry St, Seattle, WA 98122
What Time: 2 to 4 p.m.
We hope to see you there!