(note: this is an April 1st post, which I can now freely say as it is no longer April 1st)
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.
At first I thought this was an April Fool’s joke, but it kinda makes sense and might improve traffic flow. One quibble: if you mean 15th Ave NE, which I assume you do, it helps to spell that out, rather than “15th.”
I think it would destroy Wallingford and our central area of shops and restaurants–we would just be an I-5 on ramp for neighborhoods west of us. I’m also concerned for people living around 45th as it would be very hard to get around having the other one way 5 blocks away from 45th. It would put a lot of local traffic onto the residential streets. I’m not against one way streets, but I think that is too far apart.
Proposal for a bike lane East bound on 50, OMG
in 20 years of living close to 50th and driving East
daily, I have watched a handfull of cyclist try, with
great distress, to navigate the steep grade from
50th Ave. N to 5th N.
I must emphasis, “handfull”, in that cyclist seem to rarely
attempt the east bound travel.
This part of the proposal is simply misguided.
This proposal might sound great for people who want to travel between I-5 and Fremont/Ballard, but what will the effect be on our neighborhood?
It seems this idea will increase traffic speeds on 45th. How will this effect the pedestrian experience? I wouldn’t want that corridor to look like Roosevelt, where traffic moves more quickly, but the street is less inviting.
What will this do to our narrow side streets? It seems traffic would greatly increase on them. For instance, a car traveling northbound on Wallingford Ave wanting to go to Dick’s will now have to use a side street to travel eastbound.
Is the bike lane on 50th two-way?
I assume so, but you think it would be in the graphic, don’t you? Preliminary designs and all.
I think one way streets are being abandoned in most places. Very difficult on neighborhood commercial. Very inconvenient for residents making local shopping trips.
I think this is an April Fools’ Joke! Eric, is this for real??
Hi Amy: Full disclosure, yes this is an April Fools’ joke.
We moved from Sacramento where they were in the process of ripping out the long established one-way streets and converting them into two-way. Apparently, current research shows that when you lower speed levels, it’s more conducive for local businesses and promotes a pedestrian economy, which all amounts to less crime and more money flow (and for WA, which has a sales tax based revenue, that would be important, yes?). We love Wallingford for it’s character and charm – it would be devastating to watch its core become off/on ramps for I-5.
I don’t understand. On 50th, Which 15th? The one in Ballard? The one in the U. District?
Same question for 45th. And I don’t think 45th crosses Green Lake.
Maybe I am just not reading it correctly.
iowagirl: Thanks, I corrected the text to say 15th Ave NE.
I do think this solution is somewhat inevitable, but will require a LOT of thinking about traffic patterns.
For example, the 26 bus, both north- and south-bound, now jogs westward at 50th to stay on route. Would Latona and Thackeray south of 50th have to switch their one-way directions? Or would the 26 route change?
Also, those living in Tangletown who now exit I-5 at 50th and travel westbound will have to use either the 45th or the 65th off-ramps. In the first case, one of the residential streets will become an arterial for people traveling north from 45th street (it can’t be Latona anymore since it requires a west-bound jog at 50th).
In the second case, the off-ramps at 65th would have to be seriously re-worked – they are nightmarish already without the influx of a lot more traffic. It would also tax the left turn from 65th onto Latona, which is already challenging.
As for the bike lane on 50th, I’m not sure what #3 Chas is talking about. Bikers go down steeper grades than 50th (like on 53rd). It is the heavy car traffic, not the grade, that keeps bikers off of 50th. Having a separated bike lane would help with that. The problem I see is training the drivers not to block the lane (or smash into a biker) as they queue up for the I-5 on-ramp at the bottom of the hill.
@Doug #4, I wonder if lobbying for wider, more pleasant sidewalks as part of the design would help on 45th? 50th could benefit from wider sidewalks as well.
I guess… However, separating the 2 directions of bus travel by 5 blocks probably excludes some riders who have mobility problems (doesn’t matter if you can get there, if you can’t get back).
I propose we keep the buses going both directions on 45th, in their own lanes, with no loss of free street parking or one-way car-traffic lanes, by constructing a one-lane elevated busway from Fremont Ave. to 15th Ave NE. Buses would enter just West of Fremont, going up a ramp. Traffic coming from 45th would still be able to turn left onto Fremont, by going under the ramp, so long as their vehicles were no higher than 6’8″. For ADA compliance, along the route, each bus stop would be equipped with either an elevator+stairs to the street or a skybridge to an accessible building. This public/private partnership would also help drive foot-traffic to businesses that currently lack substantial curb-presence.
This should improve transportation mobility for both drivers & riders, while preserving the traditional “parked cars everywhere” feel of this important neighborhood business corridor.
Ha! Got me. Nice job, Eric.
I agree with Dave about specifying which 15th Street is being referred to. I just wrote a long email to City Council. This proposal will create more cut-through traffic into the neighborhood, and, as someone wrote, benefits cross-town traffic but not the neighborhood. Also, we live on NE 50th and can only turn into our narrow driveway going westbound. We simply cannot turn right into the narrow driveway from the curb lane. I also took the opportunity to point out that the middle left-turn lane added to NE 50th several years ago has created MORE congestion. What were they thinking? And, people often use the middle lane for a through lane, which is very dangerous for other unsuspecting drivers! Please write to the City Council!! Thank you. I’m about to put my house on the market. Between the drunks, heroin addicts, and traffic, this is becoming a much less desirable neighborhood. I can’t believe regular houses are selling for $1 million now.
What!!??? Is this really an April Fool’s joke?? Please don’t tell me I just wasted an hour plus of my time at work because I was very alarmed at this idea.
Kelly, me too. Peeved. But I agree wholeheartedly with what you said, and maybe the council will listen to that.
Even if this is an April Fool’s Joke, I do think something like it is logical and inevitable. It doesn’t hurt to start thinking about it.
Thanks, April! I also complained about the alcohol impact boundary east of I-5 that has sent drunks into our neighborhood, which has been several years now. But I wonder if council members are aware. There was a group of us who got good support from north precinct to help get stores to stop selling the cheap, high alcohol products. But not ultimately successful. If you see stores selling to drunk persons or see criminal activity on store properties, take pics and file complaints with State liquor board. Thanks!
Nice. Good job on April 1st!
We are way too serious most of the time.
Eric, this would have been a great joke if it weren’t for one thing, the survey was not a joke. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were not trying to use an inflammatory article to drive feedback on a public survey. Even so, linking to the survey was a stupid thing to do.
I think this is rather in bad taste. This is the sort of thing you knew would be inflammatory and you posted it, probably just because of that. If you’re trying to make the blog a trusted source of information with level headed and respectful discussion, this doesn’t help.
See John Oliver and boycotting April Fools.
I agree with Suzy. I formerly have thought of this as an important source of info. Be a comedian elsewhere! This hit close to home, and good point about survey being real. I wasted closer to 2 hrs on this this morning. I’ve been through a divorce and cancer and still found lots to laugh about. But this, not cool
April Fool’s Day spoof articles are a time honored tradition and should be encouraged on this site. However, this one may have been a little close to reality to really work. A proposed bike-compatible gondola where cyclist hooked up to it like a chairlift and then used theory peddle-power to generate electricity for the areal ride from UW to Ballard would have been more in the spirit.
Pretty solid joke.
Not a bad idea, ragweed! Plus at least it’d be in the air and not tangling with traffic!
Haha! I thought it was funny. I was ruffled at first, but that’s a good one. April 1 must be a tough day for some. What with the fake news stories, product launches, special deals and click ‘n switches, it’s madness out there!
Do yourself a favor and stay off line today. Really, it’s not worth it.
VERY impressive April Fool’s joke. Kudos!
I thought it was a great April’s Fool’s joke. Realistic enough to get fooled. And no one was harmed! However, if this was a true proposal I would be shocked because two three-lane highways would destroy the neighborhood. But didn’t someone propose a “tunnel to Ballard” idea at some point?
Well, those of us who took the time to think and write about the issue were harmed. Waste of our time and concern. Not am issue I guess for people who have plenty of time to waste on nonsense apparently. I’m getting out of this string and getting wallyhood out of my life until I no longer have one and can waste time.
#11 – Thank Dog!!!
April Fool’s jokes in news sources are hard to pull off. Need to be truly outrageous. I was pulled in because traffic is so terrible on 50th and 45th, and was hopeful that the city was looking for a solution.
Thank you Eric for alerting us that it was a joke. I read through 1970’s plans for an elevated expressway above North 50th, so it was not entirely unrealistic. I wonder how many people completed the SDOT survey while thinking passage would result in a bus lane on North 50th.
Well played, Eric!
Thank you, Eric!!!!! I loved the idea! Great April fool’s joke!! SO interesting to see the varied responses!
I love Wallyhood.
Have you seen the Proposed Land Use signs at the Pike Place Market and the Space Needle? KiroTV.com has a slide show. I hope DPD enjoys all the attention they get.
When I first saw this, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. But then after investing a fair amount of time into it, took it as real. There is a fine line between being clever and being dickish. For me, I think that line was crossed and I’m leaning towards dickish. Well played joke on us all, in retrospect, but mostly dickish.
I have to say I agree with Ken. This story was way too plausible to to be an April fool’s joke. I ended up feeling a bit annoyed rather than amused. I did exactly the same as Ken and spent far too long considering the real life effects that this change would have have on me and my family. This was definitely cleverly done, but it didn’t really have a humorous side to it that a true April fools joke should have.
I’m sure that, like all other projects and proposals in Seattle, the real decision to go forward with this debacle has been made secretly behind closed doors and the window dressing known as public input is a total sham. This city is strangling itself with feel-good projects and special interest agendas. In the next 20 years Seattle will have turned into the Detroit of the West – driving out its tax base and folks with common sense. As for this particular boondoggle, my comments to SDOT and Mayor McCheese: “Seattle IS NOT Copenhagen! Copenhagen is a compact, concentric, FLAT small city that has narrow old streets and is easily biked (I’ve actually been there and done that). Please quit trying to turn Seattle into that model – this is a very hilly city which is not conducive to bicycling to any but the most ardent, hardcore riders. Your PC planning models are ruining Seattle for citizens and businesses. Common sense should trump feel-good initiatives and special interest boondoggles.”
Yeah, not quite over-the-top enough to be an effective prank. Fake Quotes might have helped.
Meanwhile, are those people who were wondering which 15th Ave also spoofing? For the record, the distinctly non-arterial street that is NW 45th at 15th Ave NW already IS one-way.
Don’t assume it’s a prank. The city tried something like this over a decade ago and backlash quelled the attempt to make Wallingford a primary pass-through between I-5 and Ballard. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” ? – NOT!
No one is assuming it’s a prank, Mike. We all KNOW it’s a prank because the author said so. Unclench for a bit.
NOT a prank – links to City of Seattle survey. Wallingford Chamber of Commerce put out a response today.
I agree with the ‘not very funny’ response here. This neighborhood is all about walking. There’s a kind of small town feel that makes it welcoming. The new bulbs the city installed make crossing the street safer for everyone, especially children. Having a super highway running through would transform this place into a dead zone. Jokesters be warned, when the joke, were it true, harms a lot of people its not a joke.
can’t agree with Lukaxz. I don’t think the joke harmed anyone. And it certainly prompted a lot of thoughtful comments. I am unsure of the new bulbs, contributing to safety. I think a flashing light would be more of a safety feature. The article, and the fact that it was a joke or not a joke, elicited so many interesting responses!
Im a driver and a cyclist, and over the past decade and more particularly in the past six months I’ve seen SDOT roll out some of the dumbest “improvements” I’ve ever seen. So, joke or not, I would not put any of those ideas past SDOT. Look at what they’ve done to 2nd Ave. downtown. Until we have a comprehensive subway system in place, there will be no relief. Imagine an east-west subway from Magnusson to the locks via 45th. Not everyone can bike to work or ride a bus. To take away car lanes is the absolute wrong thing to do. I like the idea of a pedestrian/cycle overpass at 47th, but I hope the 20 years of planning is a joke.
This is cute, but please remember the fool’s number one rule: IDENTIFY YOURSELF.
If the targets of a prank don’t realize it’s a prank, then there’s nothing funny about it. That’s the difference between laughing with people about a silly article and laughing at them for being dumb enough to believe the silly article.
This is especially important in the context of a blog post, which doesn’t vanish after April 1. Anyone reading this a month or a year from now is likely to overlook the article date in six point font. Currently, there is nothing to indicate that this is anything but a typical, straight-up Wallyhood article unless you dig into the comments. Even some people who bothered to comment didn’t seem to realize the whole thing was a prank.
This post obviously took some thought and creativity. At least a few people found it amusing. Those who didn’t were mostly upset because they were allowed to fall without a net, left to think it was real without being let in on the joke. It’s worth keeping the article around; but for the sake of posterity, I suggest two changes:
1. Add a note at the bottom of the article in a big, bold font: “Happy April Fool’s!”
2. Change the links in the article. Once someone follows a link, you might not get them back and you won’t have a chance to tell them that this was just a joke. You could point them someplace like this: http://goo.gl/OT7f8
I do appreciate it when people make the effort to try to make me smile, so thanks.