I went to the Move Transportation Levy meeting at Roosevelt on Monday night. I had figured the levy would just amount to adding a couple crosswalks to the neighborhood and then focus all the real money on Northgate and other light rail stops, but the draft proposal currently includes funding for making 45th and 50th one way streets. SDOT is maintaining the proposal will alleviate long standing complaints about East / West throughput in our area while also adding dedicated transit and bike lanes.
The current thinking is for 50th to be one way East bound between 15th Ave NE and Fremont Ave N, and 45th to be one way West bound between Green Lake Way and 15th. The East / West directions are being chosen so that cars can circulate between the two roads using right hand turns instead of left hand turns.
Each roadway will be 3 lanes wide, with one of the 3 lanes reserved as a transit (bus-only) lane. The bus lanes will be on the North side of 45th and the South side of 50th. SDOT maintains that separating out buses and then coordinating signals for one way traffic means that car throughput will be increase by 30%, and buses during rush hour will be able to pass through at over twice the speed they do today.
The final aspect of the plan is to add a protected bike lane to 50th on the South side of the roadway. SDOT states this will connect cyclists in Wallingford and Phinney with the U-District, meeting a key need identified in the bicycle master plan. With all the bike-only density going in on 45th, SDOT did not feel that an I-5 crossing could wait the 20 years or so it would take for the planned pedestrian and bicycle overpass at 47th to be built.
This is the configuration they are proposing for 45th, and then 50th:
One drawback of the change is that parking will no longer be allowed along 50th. SDOT states this is consistent with the general move to convert parking lanes into bike lanes, and that houses along the roadway have driveways and off street parking. They compare the overall effect being achieved to the recent reconfiguration of Roosevelt way, which also eliminated some parking options.
Finally, SDOT is stressing that the plans are preliminary, simply meant to illustrate the idea for the purposes of the levy. If the levy passes, there will be a public engagement process to come up with the final designs. There will also be some obvious reconfiguration of bus routes and impacts on secondary streets where they meet the arterials. Before proceeding to the detailed design stage SDOT needs the levy dollars. If you want to provide feedback on the draft proposal, the online survey is here.