Bicycle Improvements along East Marginal Way South

With construction to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct well underway, travel for bicycle commuters has not been easy, as both SDOT and WSDOT are keenly aware.  We know many bicycle commuters travel East Marginal Way South/Alaskan Way South between the stadium area and South Spokane Street and the swing bridge to and from West Seattle.  That’s why we’re thrilled to say a newly rebuilt multi-use path on East Marginal Way South, between South Atlantic Street and South Massachusetts streets, is now open!  It’s all new concrete, with improved drainage (no more puddles to pedal through) and no more slippery red-brick surfaces to negotiate.  

Looking south from South Atlantic Street at new multi-use path and adjacent work to repave southbound East Marginal Way South

 WSDOT is taking the lead in solving bicycling and pedestrian issues associated with south end SR 99 construction.  In addition to repaving East Marginal Way South, WSDOT is adding new, dedicated northbound and southbound bike lanes.  These lanes are expected to open for use in early June.  The new northbound bike lane on East Marginal Way South, adjacent to the SR 99 construction zone, means northbound bike traffic will have a straight shot north to South Atlantic Street with a connection to the dedicated shared-use path.  (FYI the opening of the new northbound bike lane on the west side of the street means cyclists will no longer have to cross traffic at South Massachusetts Street)

This is what the new northbound bike lane will look like – just a bit less wide (above photo of early 2012 temporary multi-use path looking northbound)

 To further aid cyclists lower speed limits have been posted and more signage added to alert motorists to the presence of bicycles.  It all means that bike riders spoke (no pun intended) and we listened.  It’s also great news since in addition to the challenges of keeping the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement construction zone safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, there’s the added dimension of a large number of trucks serving the Port’s Terminal 46.  

Of note, on May 10, crews clearing space for SR 99 tunnel construction rerouted six blocks of waterfront traffic (pdf 596 kb) from Alaskan Way to a newly improved road beneath the viaduct. The traffic switch – which will last through at least early 2014 – changes the way drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians travel along the waterfront south of Spring Street.  There is no change to how pedestrians and cyclists access the King County Water Taxi.

 One last thing, WSDOT will host a Bike to Work station from 6 to 9 a.m., Friday, May 18, at the corner of South Atlantic Street and East Marginal Way South (near the Terminal 46 truck entrance).  Stop by and say hello or you can call or email the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at Viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov.

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