Seattle’s newest protected bike lanes & neighborhood greenways!

New protected bike lanes on 4th Ave provide safety and comfort for people biking downtown.

Summary: 

  • Building a connected bike network for people of all ages and abilities is key to our recovery in 2021 and beyond, while fighting the climate crisis. 
  • Despite the many challenges we face, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all.   
  • We made progress towards our connected bike network and completed key projects that connect people to places. Check out some of those projects
  • We also pivoted with the times and were one of the first major cities in the country to close streets to thru-traffic and open them to people walking, rolling, and biking during the pandemic. 

Take a ride on our new protected bike lanes & neighborhood greenways! 

More than ever, Seattle needs a robust, multimodal transportation system that gives people options and provides safe alternatives to driving alone. Building a connected bike network for people of all ages and abilities is key to our recovery in 2021 and beyond, while fighting the climate crisis.

Despite the challenges of 2020, last year we continued to make progress towards our connected bike network and completed key projects that connect people to places.

The majority of these projects are made possible by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle! (Thank you!!) 

These new protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways are just some of the ways that the Levy works to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets, sidewalks and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.  

Our vision is to make riding a bicycle a comfortable and integral part of daily life for people of all ages and abilities in Seattle.  

One of the ways we’re getting there, is to create a connected bike network that includes 100 miles of protected bike lanes and nearly 250 miles of neighborhood greenways – this network is outlined in our Bicycle Master Plan. When complete, every household in Seattle should be within a quarter mile of an all ages and all ability bike facility.  

“I’m happy to see the City continue to make progress towards an all ages and abilities bike network, especially in such a challenging year. Projects like these show SDOT’s ability to make investments in safe, accessible infrastructure, which is vital to helping people get where they need to go. Last year, many residents discovered (or returned to) active modes for getting around; this year, active commuting will be a key piece of the transportation puzzle as commuters return to downtown.”  

Sarah Udelhofen, Co-chair of Seattle Bicycle Advisory Council 

Here are some of the projects we completed last year:  

SW Avalon Way 

New protected bike lane on SW Avalon Way.
New protected bike lane on SW Avalon Way. Photo from SDOT Flickr

In West Seattle, we added nearly one mile of protected bike lanes on SW Avalon Way between S Spokane St and 25th Ave SW to create a bike route for people of all ages and abilities. This helps connect West Seattle to the West Seattle Bridge Trail and beyond – including the SODO Trail and Downtown Seattle. 


Aurora Ave & NW 83rd St 

In Greenwood, we improved the intersection of Aurora Ave and NW 83rd St to make people on bikes and pedestrians more visible to drivers. To do so, we created a curb bulb on the northwest corner and added a new crosswalk on the north side of the intersection. We also added Cross Bike markings on the pavement to help guide people on bikes through the intersection and help drivers know where to expect bicycle riders. This intersection connects people to future protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways (including a neighborhood greenway that’s coming to 83rd St!) so they can travel from the Interurban Trail to Ballard in the west and Green Lake and the University District in the east.  


4th Ave 

Downtown, we added protected bike lanes on 4th Ave between Bell St and Madison St and are on track to complete another segment on 4th Ave this year. The 4th Ave protected bike lane is a missing piece in our Center City Bike Network and makes biking a safer and more viable transportation option to and from downtown. When complete, people can ride from Belltown to Pioneer Square and head back north on the existing 2nd Ave PBL. 


Bell Street 

Also downtown, we nearing completion of another section of the Center City Bike Network along Bell Street! From 5th Ave to Denny Way, we added a two-way protected bike lanes with concrete curb barriers separating people on bikes from cars. To east, these protected bike lanes connect to protected bike lanes on 9th Ave N. To the West, they connect to the Bell Street Park, a Stay Healthy Street. Bell Street Park connects to the protected bike lanes on 2nd Ave, making this a key bike connection between downtown, Belltown, and South Lake Union.


 E Yesler Way 

New protected bike lane on E Yesler Way
New protected bike lane on E Yesler Way 

On First Hill, we installed protected bike lanes on E Yesler Way from 12th Ave to 14th Ave S. These new lanes will improve safety around the streetcar tracks and connect to the existing protected bike lanes on E Yesler Way to the west. 


S Lander St Bridge 

Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee member, Joe Laubach, on the Lander St Bridge during construction in summer 2020. Photo Credit: Joe Laubach.
Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee member, Joe Laubach, on the Lander St Bridge during construction in summer 2020. Photo Credit: Joe Laubach. 

In SODO, we completed the Lander St Bridge that includes a 14-foot walking/rolling/biking path that is separated from the road. The bridge connects two sides of SODO that are divided by train tracks and increases safety for people riding bikes on this very busy freight route.  


E Republican St & E Roy St 

New crosswalks with flashing beacons on 15th Ave E that are part of the Meany-Lowell Safe Routes to School project.
New crosswalks with flashing beacons on 15th Ave E that are part of the Meany-Lowell Safe Routes to School project. 

On Capitol Hill, we converted almost a mile of E Republican St and E Roy St into a neighborhood greenway. This project was part of our Safe Routes to School program and will increase safety for students walking and biking to and from Lowell Elementary School and Meany Middle School.  


People on bikes enjoying a sunny Seattle day on a Stay Healthy Street in Greenwood
Enjoying a sunny Seattle day on a Stay Healthy Street in Greenwood. Photo from SDOT Flickr

In addition to building these bike facilities, we also pivoted with the times, and were one of the first major cities in the country to close streets to thru-traffic and open them to people walking, rolling, and biking during the pandemic.  

In 2020, with Washington State’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, neighborhoods throughout Seattle experienced an increase in bicycling activity and a renewed desire for safe and comfortable walking and biking facilities. We respond to these calls launched more than 20 miles of “Stay Healthy Streets” to give people ample space to travel and recreate in the neighborhoods.  

And we’re thinking longer term. Stay Healthy Streets are an important tool for Seattleites to get outside, travel to essential services and our small businesses as we start to reopen. With community engagement, these streets can become permanent, treasured assets in our neighborhoods to facilitate stronger practices around mental and physical health. 

Despite the many challenges we faced, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all.  

Our work continues.  

This year we’re on track to extend two-way protected bike lanes on 4th Ave north to Vine St and add protected bike lanes to 4th Ave south of Madison St that will connect to the 2nd Ave protected bike lanes. We’ll also add protected bike lanes to 12th Ave S as part of the 12th Ave S Vision Zero project. These projects will bring us very close to completing the City Center Bike Network – a huge milestone that increases safety and accessibility for people biking downtown!