Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane Demonstration Project
Creating a safer, more predictable way to travel
Updated September 8, 2014
First Downtown Protected Bike Lane Opens on Second Avenue
Seattle’s first downtown protected bike lane opened today on Second Avenue between Pike Street and Yesler Way. With segments also on Pike Street between First and Second avenues and on Yesler Way between Second Avenue and Occidental Way, this new facility will more safely connect Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square for people biking.
Protected bike lanes physically separate people riding bikes from people driving and are distinct from the sidewalk, adding predictability for all roadway users. Protected bike lanes are especially attractive to people who might be willing to bicycle but are concerned about safety.
“This project will help Seattle better understand how to build protected and grade-separated bike lanes,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Second Avenue’s improved design will work better for pedestrians, bikes, automobiles and transit.”
The number of protected bike lanes in the United States had quadrupled since 2010, many of them in competitor cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston. Better bike lanes can’t solve every problem, but they are one of many tools Seattle can deploy to attract new businesses that employ talented workers and for residents who prefer to live, work, shop and play in Downtown.
“A safe bike thoroughfare, places for people to park their bikes and a brand new bike rental system—all of these things help upgrade the neighborhood and make it easier for people to visit businesses along Second Avenue and in other parts of the city,” said Dick Cantwell, owner, Elysian Brewery and a Second Avenue business owner.
The 20-year Seattle Bike Master Plan was recently updated and adopted by the City Council in April 2014. The plan’s goals include increasing the amount of bicycling for all trip purposes and improving safety for people riding bikes. During the update process, the City clearly heard the need for a protected bike lane network in Center City Seattle.
“The City Council prioritized the design and implementation of a safe network in Center City for people of all ages and abilities,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “I am pleased to see this first segment in place to support the connections we are making throughout the city on our Neighborhood Greenways.”
Over the past four and a half years, 61 bike related collisions have been reported between Pine and Jackson on Second Avenue. Fifty percent involved left hand turns, including a recent fatal collision. To help address this issue and continue towards its goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, the city installed new traffic signals for the protected bike lane. The bike signals will let cyclists know when to move and the left turn signals for eastbound streets will alert drivers when they can safely move through the intersection.
The Seattle Department of Transportation will be monitoring the project regularly and making adjustments as necessary. As with any new facility type there is an educational component so that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists are aware and know how to interact safely. The demonstration project will inform the design of the Center City Bike Network and provide a facility for Pronto! Cycle Share users to travel north-south across Downtown when stations open in October.
Curious how to park, unload, or use the new two-way protected bike lane? Read these postcards to learn more.
The bike lane on Second Avenue between Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square is about to get a makeover. Rather than relying on just a few inches of white paint, SDOT is preparing to demonstrate a modern two-way protected bike lane in Downtown. Protected bike lanes add predictability. Using curbs, planters, posts, etc., they physically separate people riding bikes from people driving, and they are distinct from the sidewalk. To learn more about protected bike lanes, how to use them, and other similar projects in Seattle, visit our Protected Bike Lane page.
Second Avenue parking lane and bike lane today
The protected bike lane and parking lane on Second Avenue
will look similar to Dearborn Street in Chicago
This could be a game changing project to help Seattle better understand how to build and operate great protected bike lanes. People can experience riding in the protected bike lane and learn what it is like to park and drive next to it. Pronto! Cycle Share arrives this fall, bringing people not used to bicycling to our downtown streets. The protected bike lane provides a space for all ages and abilities to bike. SDOT will collect feedback and data on how it is operating, which will guide us as we move through the design of the Center City Bike Network and the development of permanent facilities.
Check out the success of a similar bike facility in Chicago.
Click for larger view
The following goals are guiding the project:
- Safety for all users
- People biking – Support people of all ages and abilities riding bikes
- People walking – Separate bicycles from pedestrians
- People driving – Provide predictability within the street
- Provide a high quality two-way downtown bike facility in time for the opening of Pronto! Cycle Share
- Give people more travel options
The project provides a number of benefits:
- Improve experience and predictability for people riding bikes, walking and driving
- Improve safety as people are no longer riding bikes in the “door zone”
- Reduce conflicts of left turning vehicles and people biking and walking
- Fewer people riding bikes on the sidewalk
Why a protected bike lane on Second Avenue?
Second Avenue was chosen because it has the capacity for a two-way protected bike lane and because the current one-way bike lane is not performing as expected due to grade, proximity to parked cars, and turning conflicts. In addition, over the past four years, there have been 60 collisions involving bicycles on Second Avenue. Fifty percent of the collisions involved vehicles turning left at the crosswalk. Adding a signalized left turn for vehicles and restricting right turns on red will improve safety by reducing left turn conflicts.
Traffic Flow and Parking on Second Avenue
The graphic below demonstrates how traffic flow and parking will work with the protected bike lane.
Click for larger view
What to Expect
- On blocks where left turns exist: parking will be permitted in the lane next to the protected bike lane except during peak hours on weekdays 6 – 9 AM and 3 – 7 PM.
- On blocks where left turns do not exist: parking will be permitted in the lane next to the protected bike lane except weekdays 3 – 7 PM.
- Transit operations remain the same
- Two through lanes remain at all times
Loading and Parking Zones
Installation of the Second Avenue protected bike lane will require some modifications to parking and load zones. SDOT is working with the Downtown Seattle Association, Alliance for Pioneer Square and Commute Seattle and engaging Second Avenue businesses, property owners and residents to better understand their operational needs and to identify alternative load zones.
Traffic flow and new protected bike lane on Pike Street
To get people using the protected bike lane on Second Avenue to destinations along Pike Street and Pike Place Market, the protected bike lane is being extended along Pike Street between Second and First Avenue. The graphic below demonstrates how traffic will flow.
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Traffic flow and new protected bike lane on Yesler Way
To get people using the protected bike lane on Second Avenue to destinations along Yesler and Pioneer Square, the protected bike lane is being extended along Yesler Way between Second and James Street. Two on-street parking spaces on the north side will be removed; an all-way stop installed at Yesler and Occidental; and on-street parking restrictions removed for the remaining spaces between Occidental and James. The graphic below demonstrates how traffic will flow.
Click for larger
July/August – Outreach to adjacent property owners; traffic data collection and analysis
August – Finalize design; begin signal and street maintenance
September – Install protected bike lane
October – Monitor traffic, use and user experience and adjust as needed to optimize operations
September - Release traffic, use and user experience evaluation after one year of operation
The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 to $1.5 million and is being paid for using Bicycle Master Plan Implementation funds. The estimate includes design, outreach, infrastructure, construction and contingency funds.
Dawn Schellenberg, SDOT Community Engagement Liaison at Dawn.Schellenberg@seattle.gov or (206) 684 – 5189
August 2014 Construction Notice
August 2014 How to Park Near a Protected Bike Lane
August 2014 How to Load and Unload Near a Protected Bike Lane
August 2014 How to Use a Protected Bike Lane
August 2014 Pavement Repair Notification
July 2014 Project Brochure
July 2014 Letter to Second Avenue Community Members
Seattle Bike Master Plan
SDOT’s Protected Bike Lane Page
The Green Lane Project – Helping cities build better bike lanes
Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business – A study of Toronto merchants and patrons
Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business – Case studies on how 21st century transportation networks help new urban economies boom