Starting this month, NE 65th St will be getting a safety facelift, complete with improved pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes, and a newer style of bus stop. We’ll jump into all those details in a moment, but first, let’s reflect on where we’ve been and how this project came about.
Collaborating with community goals.
This project began in 2016, as a collaborative effort with community members and Councilmember Rob Johnson. Together, we looked for ways to #Fix65th and improve safety for everyone traveling along the corridor. Last year, we made a number of more immediate changes to address community concerns, including lowering speed limits, adding pedestrian countdown timers, repainting crosswalks, and more.
Connecting to a larger vision.
This project ties back to our Vision Zero efforts to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030. Since 2012, three people have lost their lives in traffic crashes on NE 65th St, and 5 people have been seriously injured. Redesigning streets like 65th is one piece of a broader strategy to get Seattle to zero – education campaigns, enforcement efforts, and partnerships are also key as we work toward long-term behavior change.
Through this project, we’re focused on improving:
- Safety for everyone – people walking, driving, taking transit, and biking
- Access to the Roosevelt Link light rail station
- Transit service
We also want to make sure we’re maintaining access to businesses. It’s a balancing act,since we can’t make the street larger – we have to find ways to make it work smarter and operate more safely.
What changes will you see?
The map below shows a number of changes that you’ll start seeing as construction gets underway in August. Here’s a breakdown of project elements:
Ravenna → 20th
- 1 vehicle travel lane in each direction, with center turn lanes
- Protected bike lanes on both sides of 65th
- No on-street parking
- New transit islands
- Phased implementation for a portion of the street that’s next to where the future light rail station will be
20th → 39th
- Lane re-striping
- All-day on-street parking
- No bike lanes
New transit island designs.
One of the newer things you’ll see out there is a different style of transit island design.
It’s known as a Shared Bus Stop. This design has been successfully implemented in places like LA and Toronto. In this design, a bike lane runs along a transit boarding area, along the extended curb, rather than wrapping behind the boarding area. The bike lane is elevated to the sidewalk level to avoid conflicts with buses. This design allows the bike lane to be utilized as a portion of the bus stop platform. Which also means people on the sidewalk waiting for the bus and people biking in the bike lane will need to be on the lookout for one another.
This newer style of design provides:
- More space for transit riders, while preserving pedestrian path on sidewalks.
- More level boarding for transit riders, due to elevated bike lane.
- More accessibility of boarding area for wheelchair lifts.
Rules of the road refresher.
As these changes start taking shape, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence as a transportation agency if we didn’t remind folks about the rules of the road. Here are a couple quick tips:
Pay attention and put your phone down.
This applies especially to people driving (you know it’s a no, no), but also to people walking, biking, and stepping on/off the bus. Detach yourself for a moment and look out for fellow humans (and yourself)
Speed limits in Seattle are 20 MPH on residential streets and 25 MPH (unless otherwise posted) on arterial streets. Hint: an arterial street has a yellow line down the middle; non-arterials (residential streets) don’t
Be a good neighbor.
Remember that our streets are for everyone. Although space can be limited, our job is to create opportunities for all our fellow Seattleites to access and share the road as safely as possible. Some of us choose to walk, bike, drive, or catch the bus and we all deserve to do so safely. Slow down, yield, and look out for each other!
Beginning in August 2018, construction will begin to implement these improvements to NE 65th St, from Ravenna Blvd to 39th. We’ll issue traffic advisories and construction alerts as that time nears. The enhanced transit islands will be ready later this year. As part of our continued outreach efforts, staff street teams will come out to these locations to help educate about how to safely navigate the new transit island design!
Looking ahead, we’ll also be conducting a post-year follow-up evaluation in 2019 to measure the effectiveness of this new project.
Learn more about the NE 65th St Vision Zero Project and sign up for updates at www.seattle.gov/visionzero/projects/ne-65th-st.