December 31

Wallingford getting a bike boulevard in 2011



Want to ride your bike through Wallingford but fear the hazards on arterials? In 2011 you’ll have a safer way to get east-west through Wallingford — N. 44th Street from I-5 to Stone Way will become a bike boulevard that encourages cycling through the neighborhood and easy access to the N. 45th St. business district.

The local cycling group Spokespeople, headed by Cathy Tuttle, just got word that the project will be funded through the Neighborhood Projects Funds (formerly Neighborhood Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund).

In a Feb. 2009 post on the Sustainable Wallingford site, Cathy Tuttle described the goals of the bike boulevard:

What is a Bicycle Boulevard?: Bicycle boulevards prioritize bicycles using the existing roadway. On bicycle boulevards, bicyclists are free to use the middle of the street, sharing road space with cars. Bicycle boulevards employ traffic calming techniques that significantly slow cars down, and drivers are discouraged from using a bicycle boulevard route for cut-throughs. Motorists on bicycle boulevards respond to signs, signals, and traffic calming devices, expect to see bicyclists, and therefore travel with caution.

For new bicyclists and younger riders, bicycle boulevards provide a positive option to high-traffic shared roads. Bicycle boulevards are welcoming to children, families, and less able cyclists, and provide a more livable, healthy street environment for all neighbors and visiting pedestrians.

Why this location?: There are several reasons this location was selected for the Wallingford Bicycle Boulevard Project. North 44th Street is one street off of Wallingford’s main arterial and business district, it connects the Wallingford middle school and elementary school, it is an area with a high density of families with children, it is corridor with less elevation change than other east-west neighborhood streets, and it is a road segment with many existing traffic circles.

Tuttle told us that turning a street into a bike boulevard is relatively inexpensive, and may just require putting stop signs at every north-south corner along N. 44th St. She doesn’t yet know when work will begin on the new signage.

Here’s a video of a bike boulevard in Portland:

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  1. I am a rider but this is crazy. We've got serious traffic issues in the Seattle area and removing traffic lanes so some people can have a more enjoyable ride a couple of times a year makes no sense.

  2. Uh… did you read the article? It says PRIORITIZING bicycle traffic, not removing traffic lanes.

    I live just around the corner from 44th and it's fine with me.

  3. Interesting. Innovative. It gets bicyclists off of 45th and that is helpful and safer.

  4. I think you need to read the article again. When was the last time you got stuck in a traffic jam on N 44th? Read north forty-fourth not forty-fifth. Big difference.

    This will improve conditions and safety for everyone.

  5. Fantastic work! The establishment of bike boulevards in Seattle are long past due, and I'm thrilled to hear that Seattle is learning from Portland's exemplary leadership in clean, healthy transportation alternatives.

  6. Beautiful! I thought Seattle was bike heaven until I went down to P-town. Maybe one day we can get our stuff together like those guys. Way to go Portland.

  7. GREAT idea. Addresses the need for improved bicycle routing whilst embracing the reality that 45th (among other notorious thru-ways) will never be a safe bicycle route, even with those meaningless sharrows.

  8. This can't run all the way west to Stone — 44th westbound stops at Woodland Ave. Also, isn't Woodland Ave one-way there, forcing all cyclists up to 45th at that point?

    Still, this is welcome news. I hope that it'll be a safe and well-used street for bike traffic.

  9. I am so glad to see that Seattle is looking at their decision to put bike lanes in the high-traffic arterials. Almost every arterial in Seattle is only a block or two away from a wide, unbusy residential street that would work much better.
    Now, if they could take the bike lane off 24th Ave NW and put it on 20th Ave NW, they'd probably save some lives…..

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