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What’s a Buffered Bike Lane?

N 130th before the buffered bike lane was installed.

After the buffered bike lane was installed on N130th.

If you’ve never heard of a buffered bike lane, that’s because before now, Seattle hasn’t had any.  SDOT has just has just put the finishing touches on the city’s first buffered bike lane on N 130th Street from Greenwood Avenue N to Linden Avenue N.  Long-awaited by the Bitter Lake Community, this is one of a number of roadway improvements recently made on this “complete street” that  makes travel safer for everyone whether on foot, bike or in a car. 

The first such enhanced bike lane in Seattle, the buffered bike lane is a five-foot-wide bike lane that is buffered by a 2 ½ – foot striped “shy zone” between the bike lane and the moving vehicle lane. This design makes movement safer for both bicyclists and vehicles. With the shy zone, the buffered lane offers a more comfortable riding environment for bicycle riders who prefer not to ride adjacent to traffic. This system allows motorists to drive at a normal speed; they only need watch for cyclists when turning right at cross-streets or driveways and when crossing the buffered lane to park.

The street also features two vehicle travel lanes (one eastbound and one westbound), a new curb bulb at the marked crosswalk at N 130th Street and North Park Avenue N in front of the Bitter Lake Community Center and will next build a pedestrian refuge island at this crosswalk.

The changes to improve safety, pedestrian access and bicycle usage along the N 130th Street corridor are part of SDOT’s Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan implementation and were funded by the voter-approved Bridging the Gap transportation initiative.