We’re looking at fixes to the Bike Master Plan for Wallingford now that Move Seattle passed. First up: Green Lake Way and 50th.
Currently, the Bike Master Plan includes a cycle track on Green Lake Way North of 50th that continues around the lake, up to and past the Green Lake Community Center. The cycle track will be on the side of Green Lake Way that faces the park because that reduces conflicts with cars. It will also continue on 50th West of the intersection, connecting to a cycle track on Phinney.
The cycle track on Green Lake Way is funded as part of Move Seattle because Green Lake Way and 50th are going to be rebuilt for maintenance reasons. The cycle track does not continue onto Stone Way because of opposition by the Fremont Chamber.
If no change is made, the current Bike Master Plan will require that all the bike traffic on Stone Way North bound go diagonally across the intersection with 50th to access the new cycle track on Green Lake Way. That configuration will require a separate signal movement for bikes. What’s worse than a 5 way signal? A 6 way signal.
To fix that, we’re looking to extend the cycle track to include Stone Way between 50th and 46th, as shown here:
That change will result in the cycle track actually improving traffic, because the fix we proposed for Green Lake Way works great for a cycle track that continues onto Stone Way. It avoids the need for a separate signal movement and improves vehicle throughput at the light. Here is how the light would work:
The main advantage for vehicles would be more throughput since there would be a long 2 lane queue north of the light. That should eliminate backups to the lake and, with signal rebalancing, improve throughput in all directions. Here is how the pavement would look north of the intersection if the change were made:
- Vehicles gain a restored 2 lane queue on Green Lake Way south bound while approaching 50th. This should prevent traffic from backing up to the lake and greatly improve throughput at the light.
- Cyclists on the cycle track no longer must split car lanes while queuing up for the light
- Cyclists gain access to 50th and Stone Way cycle tracks without needing to merge into general traffic lanes.
The Stone Way cycle track would then go from 50th to 46th, ending up right around here:
As you can see, this location provides a giant sea of unused pavement, allowing for a lot of bike path options. This is also a great place to have a bicycle interchange as the Bike Master Plan calls for a regional greenway on 46th that replaces sharrows on 45th, and the interchange will help advertise that new greenway. The regional greenway on 46th will go all the way to I-5 if you go East, or connect up to a regional greenway on Woodland Park Ave if you go West.
It’s also good to have the interchange at this location because it will stop the cycle track from clogging the intersection at 45th- the light could continue working the way it does today, helping with Bus Rapid Transit throughput on 45th and the general traffic flow on Stone Way. I’m floating this and other ideas in a meeting with SDOT this Friday, let me know if you see problems or have detailed thoughts on other changes in this area.
Final side note: As for the roundabout idea for 50th and Green Lake Way that’s been floated a few times, if anybody is serious about diagramming that out and pursuing it with SDOT please let me know. My personal sense is that a roundabout will be less safe and will not fly with SDOT, but I’m all for creative thinking. When I started thinking all this through I thought a cycle track at 50th was going to be a mess, but after all this diagramming I now think it will work. The devil is in the details.