Bridging the Gap Funds Seattle’s Third Neighborhood Greenway

Dozens of families and community members took to the street and celebrated the grand opening of the Ballard Neighborhood Greenway last Saturday. Kids joined in a bike rodeo; neighbors rode a Dutch Conference Bike; smoothies were made with a bicycle blender; people danced on a sidewalk piano; and the Undriver Licensing™ Station passed out licenses to folks who pledged to walk, bike and ride transit a bit more. One of the main highlights of course was the ribbon cutting! 

Waiting for the ribbon-cutting!

Waiting for the ribbon-cutting!

Early data collection shows the greenway is being used by people riding bikes. On Friday, September 6 101 bicycles crossed our counter on NW 58th Street between NW 20th and NW 17th avenues. On Saturday, the numbers jumped to 220 and on Sunday, 163 bicycles passed by. There is also this ridiculously cute video of a local teen selling lemonade and discussing the uptick in business since the greenway was added.

Funded by the voter approved Bridging the Gap (BTG) levy, the 2.1 miles long greenway follows NW 58th Street for the majority of the route, improving access to a park, schools, shops, restaurants and services. The greenway makes the residential street safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk and ride bikes. SDOT worked closely with the community and the two volunteer groups—Ballard Greenways and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways—to find solutions for making the corridor friendlier for all travelers. Traffic calming improvements include lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour; adding wheelchair curb ramps at busy intersections; putting in speed humps; making sidewalk and pavement repairs; widening the sidewalk on Seaview Avenue NW; installing Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons at 24th Avenue NW and a partial diverter at 15th Avenue NW.

Intersection of 24th Avenue NW and NW 58th Street.

Intersection of 24th Avenue NW and NW 58th Street.

The Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons are one of the features that stand out the most. The intersection of 24th Avenue NW and NW 58th Street functions the same way as it has in the past. Vehicles and bicyclists traveling east-west along 58th must still obey the stop signs before moving through the intersection. However, now people walking and riding bikes can press a button and lights start flashing to alert north-south drivers that people are crossing. An additional crosswalk was also installed on the north side of 24th and green ‘crossbikes’ (a crosswalk, but for bikes) have been added. Similar to green lanes around the city, they highlight areas where bicycles and cars cross paths.

Bridging the Gap is also funding the installation of neighborhood greenways in the Beacon Hill neighborhood connecting the I-90 trail to S Lucile Street and I-5 overpass, in the Delridge neighborhood connecting the West Seattle Bridge Trail to High Point and on Fremont Avenue N connecting to the Interurban Trail. Also being studied are additional routes in Ballard, the Delridge/Highland Park neighborhood, University District, Central Area, Madison Park and Olympic Hills in Lake City.