Input needed! Bike and truck improvements for south end Ballard Bridge

We’re trying to make it easier to move around the south end of the Ballard Bridge and want to hear from you.  SDOT held a small working session with bicycle, freight and pedestrian advocates and is recommending the following changes.
15AveW&EmersonJuly72009A-Model

If you bike or drive this corridor, we hope you’ll take some time to read the project web site and use your experience to give us input. Submit comments right here on our blog by Wednesday, August 12.

Update from SDOT:  Hi there. It’s exciting to see how many people are commenting and we thought you’d like to know how we are going to respond to input. By close of business Friday, August 14 we’ll add a blog entry that summarizes how comments are being incorporated and why. Be sure to check back!

Also, thanks for the heads-up about branches obscuring some of the signs at the south end of the bridge.  We’ll have Urban Forestry crews out there in the next week to evaluate and trim.  If you come across greenery blocking traffic signs in the future you can call (206)684-TREE and we’ll have someone take care of it.

Thanks.

Comments

    • SDOT Blog says

      In February of this year, following public input, SDOT made the following improvements to the south end of Ballard Bridge:

      1) Shifted warning and guidance signs north on the bridge to give drivers and cyclists more advance notice and provide better sign visibility
      2) Painted the curb cut out for better visibility
      3) Added sharrows to alert drivers that bicyclists may be entering the road

      At the request of a business owner, in 2009, SDOT developed three conceptual designs for grade-separating bicycles from traffic. The three concepts ranged in cost from $900,000 to $3.1 million. At this time the designs are cost prohibitive and are not budgeted. Should funding become available, SDOT would need to consider if they are the best solutions for the amount of money and desired outcomes. If you wish to look at diagrams of the three concepts, please click here.

      In February of this year, following public input, SDOT made the following improvements to the south end of Ballard Bridge:

      1) Shifted warning and guidance signs north on the bridge to give drivers and cyclists more advance notice and provide better sign visibility
      2) Painted the curb cut out for better visibility
      3) Added sharrows to alert drivers that bicyclists may be entering the road

      At the request of a business owner, in 2009, SDOT developed three conceptual designs for grade-separating bicycles from traffic. The three concepts ranged in cost from $900,000 to $3.1 million. At this time the designs are cost prohibitive and are not budgeted. Should funding become available, SDOT would need to consider if they are the best solutions for the amount of money and desired outcomes. If you wish to look at diagrams of the three concepts, please click here.

      1

  1. Evin Gibson says

    I agree with the comment about the pushbutton light indicating a biker is waiting to cross. I have waited at this spot for several minutes before an observant driver slows to let me in.

    I would also suggest a sign for bikers telling them to stop and check for traffic, I have seen people in front of me just ride out there without even looking back. Maybe they just assume drivers will follow that “yield to bicyclists” sign that maybe 5% actually see.

    I am very glad to see someone doing something about this, I have always thought it’s just a matter of time before someone is hit here. (maybe you could push the date up..does it really take 10 months to plan and fund a $20k road improvement that could help prevent serious injury? I’ll leave my opinions on government run projects for a different blog.)

    • Evin Gibson says

      Oh, I think I was misunderstanding the dates, and this was planned for last August, but did not go through.

      There were some good ideas here, it’s too bad only some paint lines were added, I figured that was the near-near term solution.

  2. E. Lewis says

    For the short term, moving the curb cut south makes sense, but the location that’s been painted on the bridge as the proposed curb cut is too far around the corner (which obscures the view of the merge location from approaching cars and prevents cyclists looking back from clearly seeing approaching traffic). That curb cut location is a recipe for frequent and serios car-bike collisions.

    A location more in alignment with the southbound sidewalk would be safer because it would get bikes out of the lane of bridge traffic and maintain sight distance to and from the curb cut for both approaching cars and merging cyclists.

    Over the longer term, it really makes sense to provide a separated connection of some sort between the bridge and Dravus. This short stretch of high speed car traffic is a real deterrent for all but very experienced cyclists and unfortunately isolates otherwise very good biking areas in Interbay-Downtown and North End-Ballard.

  3. says

    I am pleased that SDOT is taking a look at this intersection. I have been bike commuting across the Ballard Bridge for 2 years now, and the south intersection is always a fearful (and often irritating) spot in the commute. The gap is very congested and it is generally necessary to wait for someone in a car or truck to slow down and wave the cyclist in. The benefit of this is the communication between cyclist and driver – the cyclist knows that driver saw them and is going to let them in to traffic.

    What does the green bike lane mean exactly? Will drivers know? Will cyclists know? Will the yield sign that is currently way to close to the intersection, and hidden in trees, be moved and possibly lighted? Will there be a sign on the path for cyclists to stop and check traffic before just blazing through the green lane?

    While I curse the current South exit to the bridge almost daily, it does at least force a fairly safe crossing for cyclists and drivers that are willing to work together. I would rather the city not make the proposed improvements now, and instead push for funding to drop the bike exit down to the existing path as per any one of the other 3 proposals.

    If the city is going to implement these changes please:

    1. keep traffic speed on bridge at 30mph (and enforce it).
    2. Move the yield to cyclists sign to a place where it can be seen and gives drivers more warning.
    3. Consider illuminating the yield sign or putting a flashing light on it.
    4. Place instructions for both cyclists and drives as to how to handle the intersection.

  4. says

    Maybe instead of bikers and pedestrians having to push buttons and wait for cars to stop so they can move, cars should have to push a button and wait until pedestrians and bikes stop before they can go. ;)

  5. Charles Redell says

    I live just past Fisherman’s Terminal and take this turn in my car and on my bike very often. Thankfully, I don’t often have to continue south form the bridge down 15th anymore, but have a lot in the past and still do on occasion.

    Everyone here is so polite about “cost being a limiting factor” but you know, I see so much money being spent all over this city on road improvements for cars that I have NO problem asking SDOT to spend a bit more money on this intersection.

    What you are planning seems like it will be an improvement on the exisiting situation. What it needs to be a much better improvement is:
    A) the speed limit bumps up to 40 just before this intersection. It should not move up until after it and the speed limit on the entire bridge should be enforced. No one drives 30 across it.
    B) The Yield to bike sign is in a ridiculous place right now, just a few feet before the spot where riders should come out. A bigger sign needs to be placed further north to give drivers more warning that they need to be prepared to slow down.
    C) install a push-button activated light so when a bike rider is at the intersection about to head South on 15th, he or she pushes the button and a flashing light on the yield sign and at the intersection warns drivers that a bike rider is present and that the driver MUST yield.
    D)The white stripe lines are not adequate to slow drivers making the turn onto the flyover. That should be concrete. Otherwise, people will cut the radius of the turn and take it way too fast.

    Thank you SDOT for the attempt at improvements, but please don’t do them half heartedly.

  6. says

    Heading southbound over the bridge, the speed limit is 30 mph until a few hundred yards before this conflict zone, where the speed limit jumps up to 40 mph.

    Later, somewhere past Dravis I think, the speed limit drops down to 35.

    Can we improve the safety here by keeping the speed limit at 30 mph until somewhere south of the conflict point?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>