The Green Lake and Wallingford Paving and Multi-Modal Improvements project (new name!) is the city’s official name for work to be done up by Green Lake, but also includes a host of improvements and renovations along 40th St. These include addition of and improvements to cross walks; repairing sidewalks; installing some bus shelters; adding and improving pedestrian lighting; repaving of 40th; and construction of a bike lane.
While the sidewalk repair garnered some criticism when it was revealed that a number of trees might have to be cut down to facilitate that, the greatest controversy was generated by the bike lane. The lane, separated from traffic by pylons, would run from Stone Way to 7th Avenue (where it would meet the Burke Gilman Trail at the awkward, 5-way intersection at the western edge of the UW) along the south side of the street, and would eliminate all parking on that side of 40th. This upset not only people accustomed to parking there, but folks nearby on the side streets who would find themselves competing with additional cars for space along the curb. An article I wrote about the bike lane back in March generated 200 comments from readers.
Not only did you sound off here on wallyhood, but a good number of you must have taken your complaints directly to SDOT. As a result, the bike lane is on hold, and the city is considering other options for moving bikes east and west. An email update went out last week to this effect, and the statement now appears at the top of the project website:
Our original design for improvements on N 40th St responded to public feedback expressing the need for improved east-west bike connections through Wallingford. During our recent outreach, however, we heard concerns about our plans to add a protected bike lane on 40th, from both nearby neighbors and businesses, as well as from people who bike through the area. Given these concerns, and existing east-west bike infrastructure already in the area (via the Burke-Gilman Trail and the Neighborhood Greenway on N 44th St), we’re taking a step back to reconsider the design for bike improvements in this area. In the coming months, we’ll evaluate other potential improvements to east-west bike connections in Wallingford. We plan to share these alternatives with the community for feedback early next year.
Although I’m an avid bicyclist, I wasn’t too excited about the prospect of a bike lane on 40th; there are just too many cars there, so I think I would still opt to bike on 39th or 41st. SDOT cited the proximity of other east/west bicycling options (the BGT and the Neighborhood Greenway on 43rd and 44th) as among the reasons they are reconsidering the 40th St. bike lane. I also wonder how much the rancor spawned by the 35th Ave. bike lane weighed on their minds.