Crash Course

North Seattle Lashes Out Against Bicycle Lanes That Would Improve Safety

Crash Course

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DON’T WANT THIS DIET Angry Lake City residents fear improvements for bike riders.

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Four lanes of traffic currently run along Northeast 125th Street through the Lake City neighborhood. On average, vehicles drive 12 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which results in more wrecks with higher injury rates than on similarly sized streets in the city. SDOT's research shows that on most streets this size, 31 percent of accidents result in injuries; on 125th Street, 51 percent of the accidents result in injuries. The arterial also lacks bike lanes, and pedestrians tend to divert to side streets—streets without sidewalks—rather than use the sidewalks on 125th Street.

It's a dangerous street.

"We've had speeding, collision, and pedestrian-­crossing issues," says SDOT planner Sam Woods, the lead planner for proposed changes on 125th Street. "These are real dangers for people."

So the city is proposing a so-called "road diet" for 125th Street, which would reduce the four lanes down to two lanes with a center turn lane, flanked by two bike lanes. SDOT officials say the changes will reduce traffic speeds and make the street safer for everyone.

You might expect residents to embrace the plan. The city has completed 26 similar projects since 1962, including on highly trafficked corridors like Nickerson Street, Stone Way, and Fauntleroy Way. "Our study results of Stone Way show that vehicle speeds are lower and crashes are down significantly," says SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan.

But area residents aren't happy. A movement is mounting in North Seattle to argue that the changes will create traffic jams and actually cause unsafe conditions, and they're bombarding SDOT with letters protesting the changes.

Flyers distributed to doorsteps and left at businesses charge that reducing lanes "will create major traffic congestion between I-5 and Lake City Way." The flyers also say that the changes won't reduce traffic speeds or encourage bicycles to use the thoroughfare.

"It'll cause more accidents," says Karen McGough, who lives in a cul-de-sac off of 125th Street. McGough envisions buses mowing down cyclists in the new bike lanes, cars cutting into the turning lane to pass buses, residents unable to turn out of their cul-de-sacs, and traffic jams everywhere. "These are dangerous changes," she says.

Some business leaders agree: "We have grave concerns about the large changes being forced on the neighborhood and are opposing the project at this time," says Peter Lukevich, president of the Lake City Chamber of Commerce.

However, SDOT's Woods refutes those arguments, noting the success of similar projects in the past and statistics that show the neighbors are wrong about traffic.

The maximum capacity for a two-lane road with a central turn lane—e.g., Northeast 125th Street on a road diet—is 22,000 to 24,000 cars daily, according to SDOT. Currently, roughly 16,200 vehicles use the street each day. So 125th Street wouldn't be nearing its capacity on the road diet, making the specter of traffic jams appear unfounded.

As for safety, the numbers are in: After Stone Way's road diet, speeds decreased and total collisions dropped 14 percent, with pedestrian collisions dropping 80 percent. Bike trips along the corridor increased 35 percent, while bike collisions declined. Woods adds, "Our primary goal is improving safety."

The outcry seems less about traffic jams and safety than about trying to preserve the road's current car capacity.

Meanwhile, other neighborhoods are embracing road diets. Rob Fellows, a former transit planner, and his neighbors are expecting a similar program on Greenwood Avenue North. They welcome the changes as a chance to make their business district less "auto dominated," Fellows says. "A lot more work is needed to get the kind of street Greenwood deserves—one that's comfortable to walk and shop in. But calming the street down is a necessary first step in the right direction."

Lake City resident Dave Morris agrees. He lives at the cross street of Northeast 125th Street and 25th Avenue and estimates that 12 accidents occur annually in front of his house. Commonly, two cars are making left turns from the inside lanes, effectively blocking each other's vision of what's happening in the outside lanes of oncoming traffic. As the cars turn, they're struck by drivers in these lanes. The proposed turning lane will help solve this problem. And as traffic slows down, 125th will finally become a street that pedestrians feel comfortable using. (As it stands now, with a well-documented speeding problem, pedestrians take 127th instead, a street without a sidewalk, he says. "Pedestrians are in the street with traffic, and it's because people just don't feel safe on 125th.")

The comment period for the proposed 125th Street road diet has ended. SDOT plans to consider residents' concerns before moving forward. However, this debate will likely persist throughout Seattle into the foreseeable future, as SDOT invests in more projects that support walking, biking, and riding transit. (SDOT plans to install 20 miles of new bike lanes in 2010 alone.)

For now, McGough says Lake City residents are considering a referendum if SDOT won't back down. "I know people are up in arms" all over the city, McGough says, "about what is happening to their streets." recommended


Comments (60) RSS

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Here is one of the main reasons not listed in this article against single lanes. --- 3 Bus lines and school busses use 125th St. This will cause traffic to be continuous, as each time the bus stops, or even from one of the many traffic signals, the vehicles will stop. This will keep people from getting out of the many cul-de-sacs along 125th St. and also the side streets. Instead of helping traffic, it wil make it worse with the back up of traffic. Many people trying to avoid the traffic will be adding to traffic on the side streets which have no sidewalks. Right now the City is getting a great deal of REVENUE from the Police giving out tickets several times a week. Consequently, this has slowed down the traffic on 125th St.

Sincerely, Karen McGough who has lived in the area since 1966
Posted by Karen A on August 11, 2010 at 2:28 PM · Report this
In a fast growing city with increasingly bad traffic congestion, only bike zealots and the idiots at SDOT who are carrying water for them think that reducing arterial capacity (particularly on east/west routes) is a good idea.

Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Seattle residents oppose removing traffic lanes to put bike lanes in, so SDOT et al have shifted their message to talk about pedestrian safety, how evil speeders are, etc in an effort to change the subject. Don't let em!

Posted by Mr. X on August 11, 2010 at 3:16 PM · Report this
The busses get to stop in dedicated lanes of travel - over in the parking spaces. They don't get to stop in the travel lanes.

Since the busses have the space of the bike lane to saunter over in, they're able to pull into and out of traffic more effectively. They'll be blocking less cars than they currently do.

Mr X:
The traffic congestion is not on the roads where the bike lanes are being installed. It's illogical to presume that traffic congestion anywhere in the city equates to everywhere in the city.

Where do you get your numbers? The "overwhelming majority" ? No.

Here's an idea: instead of sitting at home and entering bullshit on the Internet, you could visit a road that's already been converted and see these changes for yourself.
Posted by KnowPeaceNoPeasSnowPlease on August 11, 2010 at 10:18 PM · Report this
Dedicated lanes of travel? You mean the bike lane plus at least 1/3 of what's left of the single through-lane. Will people wait patiently behind the bus? Nope. Look at roads where this happens.
NE 125th is NOT like Greenwood, Stone Way, etc. NE 125th, along with NE 105th and NE 145th, runs parallel with I-5. Commuters use all three to transit between I-5 and Lake City Way. Wanna reduce traffic on NE 125th? Get rid of the off ramp at NE 130th that via Ravenna connects to NE 125th.
Year-round cycling commuters like me and like cyclists like those in the pic accompanying the article are avoiding the steep hill on NE 125th. They head north to either bump west to 15th NE or continue on 25th NE past 145th where the road is clearly favorable to bike commuting even WITHOUT bike lanes.
Lastly, people speed downhill on NE 125th because it's downhill. No one averages 12mph over the limit going up the hill or rarely if ever gets a speeding tickets going up the hill. Law enforcement through congestion is unacceptable.
Bike lanes are a great idea and I support them in the right places, but NE 125th is not the right place. Also, this article unfairly "headline slams" the neighbors in this area. I know every one of them and the "Strangler" should be ashamed.
Erik Brihagen
Resident near NE 125th
Posted by Shred on August 12, 2010 at 5:51 AM · Report this
Karen, your argument is moronic. Clearly, police enforcement hasn't slowed down traffic enough; otherwise there wouldn't be so much speeding and so many injury collisions.

Mr. X - I drove 125th at rush hour the other day and there was zero delay. You're a jackass.
Posted by kurisu on August 12, 2010 at 1:11 PM · Report this

A KING 5 poll found that "Just 28 percent said they’d support replacing car lanes with bike lanes, with 63 percent opposed; and just 38 percent said they’d support replacing parking lanes with bike lanes, with 54 percent opposed."

Sounds like an overwhelming majority to me. And I've driven 50th enough times since SDOT pulled this road diet crap there to know that their line of patter about how it doesn't screw up traffic is pure BS.

Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 1:29 PM · Report this
@4 You don't know what parallel means. Stone Way runs "parallel with" 99. And last I checked, buses pull over to stop.

@6 Traffic volume on 50th: 27K. You have no evidence that a road diet will "screw up traffic" on 125th. I'm sure KING 5 could do some interesting polls on climate change and evolution too, but we wouldn't change our school curricula because of poll results. Well. Maybe Mr. X would.
Posted by kurisu on August 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM · Report this

I suspect you're talking about all of 50th - not the segment between I-5 and Stone Way I'm referring to. After all, why would the geniuses at SDOT violate their own criteria for imposing "road diets"

And my poll figures were in response to the poster @3. The Slog and Publicola echo chambers in no way represent the feelings of the public at large on this issue, and conflating that with evolution (and being something of a douche in the process) doesn't change that.

Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 4:23 PM · Report this
You're assuming that traffic was the same when they rechannelized 50th as it is now.

Polling people about things they are scared of is stupid, and the KING 5 poll question was phrased as badly as NRA "take your guns away" hyperbole.

You should go out on Fauntleroy and poll residents on how they feel about their road diet if you want information that's of any value.
Posted by kurisu on August 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Shorter @9 - polls are useless when I disagree with the results.
Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 4:57 PM · Report this
...and a better poll on Fauntleroy would probably be one of peak hour ferry users.
Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Oh, and again @9, are you assuming that traffic has increased or decreased significantly on 50th? If so, why is that relevant?

Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 5:12 PM · Report this
I have lived close to 125th all of my life - and I didnt realize there was a huge problem - on the other hand I do see alot of cops at the bottom of the hill ready and waiting to ticket people - I have yet to see an accident - and I have never seen a bicyclist - why do we need to be adding all of these bike lanes - when the end result is more traffic congestion to accomodate the smaller percentage of people who bike maybe at the most 3 months out of the year - I dont get it... mcginn is a wasting our money.
Posted by northend resident on August 12, 2010 at 9:09 PM · Report this
#13 - I have lived off of 125th my whole life as well. Clearly, you never go near 125th. It scares me to death. People speed all the time. It is not safe. Why are you so against things that will make all of us safer? Do you drive everywhere? Do you work for BP? Thank god the city is doing something constructive for once. Bring on the road diet, Seattle!
Posted by 125th kid on August 12, 2010 at 9:58 PM · Report this


This is what "road diet" supporters now resort to because the argument that we need to do them for bikes (the original rationale, and one that was much applauded in the Slog/Publicola echo chamber) is failing miserably with the public.

Posted by Mr. X on August 12, 2010 at 11:05 PM · Report this
16 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@ 15 - Just because you are angry, soulless and hate your life does not mean you have to take it out on everyone else. You live in the U District and have no idea what people up north think. Stick to your own issues and work on your own personal happiness. Then maybe you would be happy for the 125th neighbors who support this project and welcome it happening.
Posted by 125th Zen on August 13, 2010 at 8:39 AM · Report this

How little you know about me.

And most 125th neighbors DON'T support this project.

Posted by Mr. X on August 13, 2010 at 9:31 AM · Report this
@ 18 - You always say that the NIMBYs are the voice of the whole community. Unfortunately for you I know more than you do here. And I know that you are wrong.
Posted by 125th Zen on August 13, 2010 at 9:36 AM · Report this

Tell you what, do a public records request from SDOT for their public comments on this project and we'll see just who's wrong.

I double dog dare you.

Posted by Mr. X on August 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM · Report this
@ 20 - You mean you didn't do that already and send hate mail to those who disagree with you?

I don't need to do a PDR, Mr. X. Like I said, I do know what the opinion is.

Posted by 125th Zen on August 13, 2010 at 11:19 AM · Report this

And the fact that Ward Connerly, Michael Steele and JC Watts are black proves that a majority of Republicans are black, except they aren't.

When it turns out that the majority of comments from the area are opposed to the project will you eat your words? I doubt it.
Posted by Mr. X on August 13, 2010 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Oh, and @21, I think it's interesting how you project your personal attacks and nastiness onto me. Sort of telling, really.
Posted by Mr. X on August 13, 2010 at 11:47 AM · Report this
@14 - - wow - why do you think i am against safety - wow - why do you think I drive everywhere - wow - and work for BP - wow again - you certainly assumed alot - what about putting a light in for safety - i do ride my bike - and in fact my next door neighbor is a year round biker and he told me that most serious bikers choose not to go up or down 125th - because it is too steep - they go elsewhere - this solution will not work - why are so many people against it - do you assume it is because they are against safety - wow - and I have driven and walked up and down 125th for many many years so do not assume that I have never been near it - you were wrong in all of your assumptions - I think there are better solutions to this problem
Posted by northend resident on August 13, 2010 at 12:13 PM · Report this
I love it when you get all frothy Mr. X.
Posted by 125th Zen on August 13, 2010 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Holy diatribe, Batman.

I hope you all are having fun
while the city proceeds with its' plan.
Posted by Nuclear Marc on August 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM · Report this
12 MPH over the speed limit, ON AVERAGE? That means some people are going FASTER than 12mph over the speed limit. That's like the first law they cover in driver's ed. Seriously?

Here's an idea for the people who oppose the road diet: Quit driving 12 mph over the speed limit. Until then, SDOT has an obligation to find a solution to your illegal driving habits.
Posted by nullbull on August 13, 2010 at 4:07 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 28
@27, if people are driving so much faster over the speed limit, it is generally because the road can handle it. Speed limits should not be arbitrarily low. The speed limit on 125th is 30mph, and from 35th NE to I5, it should probably be 35. It is long, straight, has few lights and few major cross-streets, has grade separated sidewalks. It is one of the most functional east-west arterials in the north end of the city.

Another reason the speed is so high is because of human nature. People tend to lay a little heavy on the gas to overcome the steepness of a hill, and this hill is very steep. Going down it is impossible not to pick up speed because of gravity.

A few more stoplights for pedestrian crossings would probably do more to cut average speeds than removing lanes, but that isn't part of the agenda.

125th becomes 130th for the west side of I5. The city did this "road diet" for part of 130th, and it is nuts with lanes suddenly disappearing which cause sudden and erratic lane changes and merges.

Nobody bicycles this route and they never will. Get real. It is steep, very steep, you'd have to be Lance Armstrong to bike up it, and I'd be afraid to bike down it without some super brakes.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on August 13, 2010 at 11:03 PM · Report this
I am a pedestrian, driver and bus rider who lives a block off of Fauntleroy and I am very pleased with the road diet changes. I encourage you to come visit the stretch and see for yourself. Ferry traffic or not, the road is safer and *less* congested for all parties and I have seen more efficiencies in how buses, cars and bikes share the road. There may have been a bit of a learning curve for drivers who don't understand how to use the turning lane, but with a little practice, they are moving to and from their secondary streets with ease and improved communication with fellow drivers. I don't have the data, but I'm sure accidents have decreased.
Posted by homosapien on August 14, 2010 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Yeah, I second the success of the Fautnleroy road diet. I thought it would be a horrible idea. I was wrong. The traffic problems are gone. Everyhing runs smoother. Pretty amazing actually. And the ferry traffic doesn't seem affected at all. I understand the trepidation of those opposed. I also can't say if this is an "apples to oranges" situation with respect to these two roads. But you should definitely come over to West Seattle during rush hour (I know, sounds fun) and check out how well it actually works. You may be suprised.
Posted by worldcitizen on August 15, 2010 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Is there anyone who ACTUALLY believes that the occassional sluggish, wobbly, invisible, unlicensed two wheeled vehicles are a proper and equal partner for access to our paved arterials?

Of course not.

Bicyclists just want cars off the roads.

By the way, two weeks ago there was a television news video showing our Mayor blowing through a stop sign. When the video camera man screamed "hey Mayor you just blew through a stop sign", the Mayor yelled back "FREE RIGHT BABY !!!".

That's guy the rest of you elected to be the icon for Bicycle Seattle.

That video was immediately removed from public access.
Posted by Free Carry on August 15, 2010 at 6:08 PM · Report this
SDOT can make some bonehead moves but the road diet has worked well in other areas with similiar issues. Those that have doubts really should go check out other neighborhoods where road diets have worked and then take a stroll down their speed happy 125th for comparison.

It's hilarious how some people wish they could drive on freeways ALL the time and abhor the thought of driving through a neighborhood. School buses and city buses: blah! People walking their dogs: double blah! And don't forget those cyclists that are "trying to take over the world over our cars". BUT cyclist/ pedestrian numbers are growing and WILL keep growing so all those against making roads safer for everybody- I wish you had a time machine so you could beam yourselves back to the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or even the 90s....the golden days where cars DID rule the roads. I think you may be happier because it's just going to get worse for you.
Posted by drives a car AND rides a bike on August 16, 2010 at 2:45 PM · Report this
"Free Carry" @31 said "Bicyclists just want cars off the roads"

In my experience, quite a few (a majority?) of these bicyclists whose minds Free Carry is reading are also motorists, so I suspect his mind-reading ability is subpar. I hardly ever ride a bike myself but I know that bikes reduce traffic congestion on average - any time someone rides one instead of taking their car. (Sorry folks it's well proven, your "common sense" notwithstanding.)

Mr X gave 50th between I-5 and Stone Way as an example of a street ruined by the road diet. As a resident who lives 5 houses away from 50th in the middle of that stretch, I can't tell you how pleased we all are (all the residents I've heard from on the subject) with the change -- huge improvements. Speaking as a motorist.
Posted by digable on August 16, 2010 at 9:37 PM · Report this
Dear Digable,

A bicycle rider who mainly uses a car is a motorist, not a bicyclist.

I'm a motorist who owns four working bicycles, but I'm not a bicyclist.

Neither of us can speak for the bicyclist.

But we both know bicyclists. I will admit that there are two species of them. One wears black at night, is lightless, runs stop signs and doesn't wear a helmet. The other species is more respectful of the laws, but still can't keep up with traffic no matter what their physical conditioning may be.

The point of Madrid's article was missed by you. It was to extol SDOT's policies which are intended to slow motorized traffic by stealing motorized vehicle lanes from us car people.

On MY planet, that is known as traffic congestion.

In my last post I forgot to indicate that the Mayor blew through the stop sign while riding his motorized bicycle.

But that poor electric motor still can't get him and his bike up a hill at more than 10 mph.
Posted by Free Carry on August 17, 2010 at 6:14 AM · Report this

The "road diet" on 50th had its greatest negative effect on eastbound traffic traveling the length of the corridor, and I suspect that if you and/or your neighbors lived on Fremont Ave or points west and had to get to I-5 during the morning rush hour (or on a sunny weekend day, where I have waited up to 3 light cycles at a couple of different lights along this stretch since this change was implemented) you'd feel differently.

Posted by Mr. X on August 17, 2010 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Nathan 36
It's going to be funny in the future when gas is at $5-$7/gallon and/or there is rationing and all of you Lake City residents are stuck at home because you won't get your butts on a bus or a bike and you lose your jobs.
Posted by Nathan on August 17, 2010 at 10:03 AM · Report this
wilbur@work 37
Public comments about this project are very far skewed into the HATER category, and do not reflect the opinions of the neighborhood. However, the street that needs a road diet is 15th Ave NE (from 115th thru 150th, where the bike lane starts), which would be a great bike route if it weren't for the angry asshats who try to run you off the road when you do attempt to bike it.
Posted by wilbur@work on August 17, 2010 at 12:52 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 38
Nathan - speak for yourself, fatass.
Posted by wilbur@work on August 17, 2010 at 12:53 PM · Report this
So how is removing a lane going to fix the speeding downhill, save for congestion? I've seen this road for 10 years, and walk down the sidewalks of 125th between Lake City Way and 15th at least once a week. I fail to see any pedestrian danger on the sidewalks, save perhaps for the bums on the corner at LCW. I can also tell, albeit anecdotally, that reducing one lane in this corridor will cause congestion, even if the projections say it would be fine.
I love bicycles and bike lanes. 145th would be better. 125th is the wrong road for this. I know people as far north as Shoreline/165th that are howling in fury over this. Doesn't that tell the DOT anything?
Posted by Chakravant on August 17, 2010 at 1:17 PM · Report this
wilbur@work @ 37 - You are so right. Hopefully, a 15th Ave NE from Northgate Way to NE 145th road diet will happen soon enough. It has been mentioned and asked for by neighbors who understand the safety benefits. There have been a number of pedestrian fatalities/serious injuries on that section of 15th.
Posted by Yes on a 15th road diet! on August 17, 2010 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Chakravant - This is about SAFETY for kids, seniors and other pedestrians and transit riders. Also, people who live on the side streets will be better able to TURN LEFT. Give it a chance. Most people in other areas where road diets happened actually LIKE them once they are installed.
Posted by Give Safety a Chance on August 17, 2010 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Give Safety, I walk that road at least once a week, and have every week for pretty much the past ten years. It is not unsafe. I know people who do live and have lived on those side streets. They don't turn left. At all. If necessary they go past their street and turn around. A center turn lane is not going to fix a road with this level of congestion.
I've spoken to many a person along Stone Way. The verdict on that diet is mixed at best.
I like bikes and mass transit more than cars. We need bike lanes and light rail. Bike lanes on 145th make much more sense. This smells of using congestion to alter people's living and driving habits.
Posted by Chakravant on August 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Chakravant - I live there two. I walk there twice each day, at least. I make left turns every day. All my neighbors do as well. They support this project, even more if they have kids or ride the bus. It is NOT about bikes. It is about SAFETY.
Posted by Give Safety a Chance on August 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Until I see a viable alternate plan to improve bicycle/walking safety and encourage bicycle/walking from the opponents to this plan, I'm in full support of the SDOT plan. We need to do more to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes or bus in this city. SDOT and The Mayor are doing just that. Hats off to them.
Posted by jsmith32 on August 17, 2010 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Then specifically where are the dangerous places, and how are they dangerous? I fail to see why an 18 month old isn't safe walking down 125th. Even walking across 125th at a stop light is safe.
If it is about safety, where is the danger?
BTW, I ride the bus and I have children. The people I know who live on 125th feel there is a better use of the money for their neighborhood. Like doing something with that park around 143rd, the one with the closed bathrooms due to chronic heroin use and prostitution.
Posted by Chakravant on August 17, 2010 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Chakravant - Have you tried crossing 125th at 7:30 am? At 6 pm? Please try that. Try it at all of the bus stops between Roosevelt Way and 35th. You will be enlightened. Some days I need to wait 10 minutes to cross safely. Winter is especially bad. I wear fluorescent gear and carry a flashlight when I cross. A number of pedestrians have been hit on that street, one was in a wheelchair trying to cross. At least one cyclist has also been hit. The worst intersection: 125th and 25th. There have been many serious injuries there.
Posted by Give Safety a Chance on August 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Yes I have crossed 125th at those times and locations. I consider them safe enough for children to cross it alone.
Posted by Chakravant on August 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Chakravant - Well, I must love my children more than you love yours.
Posted by Give Safety a Chance on August 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM · Report this
amyl 49
Buses pull over into the bike lane and parking area to make stops. You HAVE to stop for school buses, it doesn't matter if they are letting kids out on a 2 lane road or four lane road. The bus argument doesn't work.

Users of 125th have traditionally failed to regulate their own speed to one that is safe and compliant with the law. The bottom of 125th has been a famous speed trap for nearly a decade. Now the city is forcing safe speeds by limiting access to open road. Sorry kids, but you did it to yourselves...
Posted by amyl on August 18, 2010 at 1:51 PM · Report this
amyl - what you, and the other posters here, fail to take into account regarding the bus argument is that there are no parking lanes on 125th between the I-5 and Lake City Way. Not now, and not in the project plan. It makes me wonder if many of the project advocates are supporting the concept without regard to the physical realities.

A standard articulated bus, such as those that serve the 41 route on 125th, is 102 inches, or 8.5 feet, wide. For the sake of safe passing and curbside leeway, let's say the bus will occupy 10 feet of road width. Given the absence of a parking lane on street, and the 5-foot width of the proposed bike lanes, how can you honestly say buses will not block traffic? Sure, you will be able to use the turn lane to pass, but that's not a good, nor a safe, solution, especially during peak traffic hours.
Posted by james52 on August 19, 2010 at 10:11 AM · Report this
@#44 -
False dilemma.
The plan to encourage more people to get out of their cars does not necessitate them getting onto bicycles or into buses. Electric cars can happen. It's a reality. Some people (I would guess most) are not fit enough to ride up 125th or skilled enough to ride down it. The second an affordable electric car is on the market, I'll get one and drive it up and down 125th 12mph over the speed limit, according to one study.
Furthermore, bicycle safety is the responsibility, in large part, of the bicyclist, in much the same way that personal safety is for those who hang out in Central Park after midnight. Good judgment can keep you safe most of the time regardless of what others do.
Posted by maxwerm on August 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Bicyclists on 1st Avenue South.

1st Avenue South has bicycle lanes.

I encountered two bicyclists on my way North on that street.

One stayed in the bicycle lane, but ran the STOPLIGHT at 1st South and Lander.

The second weaved wildly on the sidewalk then jutted out in front of me and a driver in the left lane and North into the Southbound lanes and then ran the same red light.

Do these anarchist criminals need greater access to our arterials?
Posted by Free Carry on August 19, 2010 at 6:37 PM · Report this
@28: "Going down it is impossible not to pick up speed because of gravity."

Uhm, let me explain the concept of "brakes" to you. I believe every car on the road is, in fact, equipped with them.
Posted by Orv on August 19, 2010 at 7:35 PM · Report this
This article contradicts itself a bit -- it claims this project won't increase traffic congestion, but then says the goal is to slow down traffic. Isn't slow traffic pretty much the definition of congestion? I generally support better bicycling facilities, but too often the goal actually seems to be to make driving less convenient. Is the idea to help bicyclists, or to punish people for driving their cars?

I have mixed feelings about lane diets. I usually think center turn lanes are a good idea because they separate traffic moving in opposite directions, and keep turning traffic out of the travel lanes. People around here tend to use them as merge lanes, though, which invites head-on collisions and defeats the purpose. They also don't mix well with in-lane bus stops.
Posted by Orv on August 19, 2010 at 7:45 PM · Report this
After reading all the comments posted here, on the article about the same issue in the Times, and the two op/ed pieces written by Ms. Brodeur in the Times as well, I have become convinced that this isn't - or shouldn't be - an argument about bike lanes. But that's what it has turned into.

Fact is, 125th is too big for the traffic it receives. Undoubtedly this is because it was anticipated to receive more traffic with development. This traffic hasn't materialized for whatever reason, and now we have 16,200 cars driving down a road that was built to handle more than 24,000 cars. And its that over-capacity / under-use that has encouraged drivers to speed 12mph over the limit (on average), and has given 125th a higher-than-city-average accident rate.

Any city planner will tell you that adding more lanes won't necessarily improve traffic. But cutting down 125th to 2 lanes, with a turning lane, bus pullouts, and bike lanes will decrease traffic violations, decrease noise pollution, decrease the road maintenance costs, and increase the quality of living.

Isn't that something worth arguing about?
Posted by MtnFreak on August 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM · Report this
Spicy McHaggis 56
I'm a bike commuter and I think the so called 125th road diet is one of the stupidist ideas I've ever heard of. There are plenty of side streets cyclists can take more safely than 125th even with designated lanes.

125th is part the thoroughfare that runs from I-5 (the 130th exit) to Sand Point way. Are Grace Crunchian's flunkies still dominating SDOT?
Posted by Spicy McHaggis on August 23, 2010 at 6:52 PM · Report this
even with the bike lanes i would never ride on 125th? why would anybody when the side streets are as fast and way safer
Posted by Dr J-Man on August 23, 2010 at 7:10 PM · Report this
Oh enough of these stupid bike lanes and sadomasochistic sharrows. Why masochistic desires of a few are more important than increasing the speed of a bus for example?! If we want people to drive less, we need better transit, we need bus lanes then, not bicycle lanes. Besides any street that is connected to a freeway do not need bicyclists on it! Close the ramps and cancel the bus service then. Otherwise everything becomes dysfunctional and hazardous. I just can't understand how walking and bicycling next to diesel trucks, fumes and dust/spray is healthy? And how slowing down a bus full of people is good for anyone? It's pure sadomasochism.
Posted by mikey on August 27, 2010 at 2:06 AM · Report this
I live in the neighborhood, but I didn't comment. I now regret that I didn't. I assumed that my neighbors would have learned from other parts of the city that did this, but unfortunately, they haven't. They have used the same arguments against it, despite the fact that it has been quite popular in other parts of the city. It if works for Fauntleroy, then it should work here (Fauntleroy has an unique argument, in that it has to deal with ferry traffic).

The simple fact is that changing from 4 lanes to 3 lanes improves safety immensely, while maintaining almost as much throughput. The science supports this (how many traffic engineers oppose this? anyone?). It sounds counter intuitive, but makes sense if you think about it. Four lanes is much faster than three, but only if there are no left turns. If you allow left turns, then the inner lane often gets blocked. Once the inner lane gets blocked, people swerve to avoid that lane, thus increasing accidents.

From a safety standpoint, crossing the street is much easier with three lanes. Crossing four lanes is quite dangerous. If someone from the outside lane stops for the pedestrian, the driver swerves to the inside lane (not knowing about the pedestrian). If the pedestrian doesn't see the inside car (which was blocked by the other car a second ago) then an accident can occur.

Perhaps the city should do the work on a trial basis. See how many people complain about it two years after the work. Just like Stone Way, they won't mind.
Posted by Ross on August 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM · Report this
The term crash course refers to intensive or brief learning, which may be taken in emergency situations. Often however, the term applies simply to a brief introduction to material that will allow one to understand more in depth material.

If one looks on the Internet, one will see “crash course” applied to virtually anything one can learn. Usually a crash course of this type is free. For example one can find a crash course on HTML, on French history, Constitutional law, or guitar chords.

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Nissan Patrol
Posted by angelthomos on September 12, 2010 at 9:31 AM · Report this

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