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Parking, bike lane saga continues at open house Tuesday

Posted by Mai Ling on August 23rd, 2012

Have you made your opinion known about the addition of bike lanes/elimination of parking on Roosevelt Way Northeast?

Presentation from Seattle Department of Transportation including comments from the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board.

A second open house is planned from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E., giving you one more opportunity to learn more about the current plans by the Seattle Department of Transportation and lodge your support/complaint of the proposal.

Summary of proposed changes from the news release:

  • On-street parking would be restricted all day (“No parking anytime”) on the west side of Roosevelt Way NE from NE 75th Street to NE 85th Street
  • 13 parking spaces would be restricted (“No parking anytime”) on the east side of Roosevelt Way NE near NE 75th Street and NE 80th Street to improve traffic signal operations
  • 71 parking spaces would be retained on the east side of Roosevelt (which is more than enough to accommodate the peak demand for on-street parking).
  • A dedicated bicycle lane would be added in the uphill (northbound) direction so that slower moving people on bicycles do not hold up traffic.
  • Shared lane markings (sharrows) would be installed in the downhill (southbound) direction
  • The new parking lane on the east side of the street would be wider than the current parking lanes
  • The new bicycle lane would also serve as a buffer between parked cars and cars traveling on the street

Here are a few issues the Maple Leaf Community Council has with the current proposal:

Homeowners on the west side of Roosevelt need safer pedestrian pathways across Roosevelt now that they’ll have to park across the street from their homes. We also don’t know how the new park will increase parking needs. It’s likely, especially on heavy use days, there will be increased foot traffic across Roosevelt to/from the park. Access to the park on its west side will no longer just be concentrated there at NE 83rd. There will be new access points farther north for those park patrons looking to access the new portion of the park on the reservoir lid.

As most of us know, the lack of painted crosswalks in the area creates a dangerous situation. Ironically, having additional access points to the west side of our park will make it more difficult to get crosswalks under SDOT’s measuring system. We’ll have more pedestrian traffic, but it will be diffused across a wider area. Our hope is we can get SDOT to look beyond their current regimented system for calculating whether crosswalks are “allowed” and get painted crosswalks at each park entrance point in *advance* of the park’s opening.

If you can’t make Tuesday’s meeting but still have comments to make, email them to or call 206-684-7583.

Tags: Uncategorized

20 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 MapleLeafBob // Aug 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Just remember that with those bike lanes that run between the vehicle lane and parked cars, you really need to watch out when you open your door after parking. Those bike riders fly by pretty fast.

    A friend of mine took out three bikers by parking and then opening his door like a clothes line. After laughing like hell at the incident and pile up, it got pretty serious because one of the bikers was actually hurt pretty bad.

  • 2 ChrisWiggles // Aug 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Bob: It is the responsibility of the car occupants to open their door safely and not into traffic:

    RCW 46.61.620
    Opening and closing vehicle doors.

    No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

    I live in the 7800 block and have no problem with the loss of West side street parking, nobody parked in front of the Fairview school except for parties or the like. The folks in the block below the school might be more irritated, but I think it’ll be better for biker safety to have a dedicated northbound lane up the hill. They should have just painted this the first go-round, seems like an inordinate waste of time and money in all this delay…

  • 3 Sue // Aug 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I had a look at the data. Where is the data that says bike lanes reduce conflicts and accidents, expressed as benefits. There were no fatalities and only 2 bike incidents in 3 1/2 years in this area. Do bike lanes promote bike riding, maybe, Do bike lanes give bike riders a false sense of security, maybe. I’m not sold with the information provided.

  • 4 Sue // Aug 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    This article gives a pretty fair assessment

  • 5 DC // Aug 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    That article is old and seriously outdated. I suggest you get a bike and try riding around for yourself. After a few hundred miles of tooling about with and without bike lanes, you’re not going to seriously question it. The bike lanes are a lot safer because motor vehicles generally respect them, whereas sharrows and unmarked roadways are a continuous horror-show because drivers do not give the required (by law) 3′ passing zone around bicycles.

    Don’t forget the north-bound bike lane is intended also to improve the flow of traffic, that can easily be held up by a slow moving bike. That is actually a pretty good grade and a bike lane there would really help things out for EVERYBODY!

    That is not to say there are not other, valid, concerns about this plan. But questioning the safety is just going to support Cascade Bicycle’s charges of NIMBYism.

  • 6 Doug Campbell // Aug 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    There is definite a need for separation between the slow cyclists and faster motor traffic on the long uphill climb from 75th to 85th.

    In my evening commute, I feel the pressures of motorists behind me wanting me to pass bicycles, but also fear pressing cyclists into parked cars.

    This happens to me regularly. There is quite a bit of bike traffic on this route. In my rare outings as a cyclist I will not ride up this hill.

    It’s regrettable that west side of Roosevelt homeowners are losing parking at their curb, but the street is a city arterial and must serve us all.

  • 7 G Slettebak // Aug 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Why not divert the cyclists to ride up 11th Avenue? I live on 11th just north of 80th and we would welcome the sight of more cyclists passing by (a lot already do). The car traffic on 11th is infrequent enough that the cyclists could easily use this street without the need of no park signs and/or the cost of the shallows/etc. Add in the redesign of Maple Leaf Park with a north/south access path and I know what streets I’ll be cycling on (not Roosevelt).

  • 8 Drewskers // Aug 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I use 11th frequently but it does have two problems. Coming NB there is no way to get to 11th on a street, one is forced onto the sidewalk along Lake City Way between 75th and 11th. There are business entrances along there and a high potential for pedestrian conflict.

    Going SB on 11th it is hard to safely get into the existing SB bicycle lane on Roosevelt, I end up having to use the crosswalks at 75th and Roosevelt during peak hours. That is a big enough slowdown I usually just get on Roosevelt up by the park (at the marked crosswalk at 84th) and ride down Roosevelt.

    In other words, 11th doesn’t really work for some trips.

  • 9 MapleLeafBob // Aug 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    @Chris: well aware of the RCW. It’s just one of those reminders for both parties to watch out. It’s like saying that since the law states cars are suppose to stop at sidewalks I don’t have to take a little caution before just heading across the street.

    Common sense; it never hurts anyone.

  • 10 MapleLeafBob // Aug 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Correction to comment #9:

    I meant crosswalks, not sidewalks.


  • 11 Dan S. // Aug 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I’m fed up with these ideas that are cooked up by groups such as the Cascade Bicycle club et al. There wasn’t a problem with bicyclists until the city tried to push them onto the arterials. I used to bike in college and tried to avoid them, as do many bicyclists. The side streets offer a naturally slower moving environment and thus better safety ( as bikes can move towards the center of the street rather than in range of car doors). The arterials are for faster moving traffic, period. Some bikes are not a problem, but it’s is simply not their natural place. It already takes much too long to move around the arterials in this city (including the area in question) due to the lack of continual lane capacity and poor signal timing, among a number of other issues. More provisions for bikes at the expense of parking and traffic capacity only further exacerbates these problems and pushes more traffic and parking onto side streets in an effort to avoid tie ups and lack of space.

    Like many things in nature, traffic follows the oath of least resistance. The best placement of traffic schemes takes this into account and takes the safety of all into account at the same time and puts things where they belong as opposed to reflecting wishful thinking and untested and unrealistic theoretical models.

  • 12 Alex M // Aug 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Dan, there is no practical way for bicyclists to access Maple Leaf from the south without using arterial streets.

    As they hit 75th they must either go up Roosevelt, Lake City Way or 15th. No side street is continuous North to South in this area. As bicyclists must use arterials, giving them an uphill bike lane will speed traffic as drivers won’t be stuck behind them.

  • 13 an observer // Aug 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    The four way stop on Banner and 5th Avenue is totally bollixed up by the bike lanes installed there. The two very wide sidewalks on the 5th Ave overpass would be fine for bikes to use. Pedestrians are rarely seen on these sidewalks. Thousands of pedestrians share the bike path around Greenlake, and it no wider than these vacant sidewalks.

    Traffic now backs up badly at rush hour, far worse than prior to these bike lanes.

    The very few bike riders that use the northbound bike lane do not benefit nearly as much as this installation delays automobile traffic.

    It seems that we are bending over backwards to suit the needs of a vocal few.

  • 14 Doug Campbell // Aug 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm


    I agree that Banner intersection with 5th is sometimes bollixed. It should be studied and changed. Some better compromise must be possible.

    But I don’t think your analogy applies to Roosevelt.

    Because there a no good alternate routes, large numbers of cyclists already take Roosevelt northbound. (It is a much more bikeable hill than 5th!)

    With segregated bike and automobile lanes, northbound drivers on Roosevelt will see an improved flow of traffic, with less stress for all involved. This is not the vocal few.

    As traffic on our streets inevitably increases, let’s judge each revision for its own merits or lack of them!

  • 15 an observer // Aug 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I think you are right, I did go off on a tangent. Just trying to illustrate that the trade offs with these installations seem slanted to the two wheelers.

    How did the meeting go last night?

    The people who will no longer have parking on their side of the street, especially if mid block, are they do walk down to a cross walk and legally cross or are they going to jaywalk?

    Seems like we are forcing pedestrians to travel 90 degrees to traffic to protect those that are now traveling legally with traffic, as a vehicle. If struck the bicyclist has legal recourse.

    I imagine we will see a dead pedestrian or two, sooner rather than later. The good news: if they are jaywalking at the time, the driver won’t be at fault, so no pesky lawsuits can be filed.

    I ride a bike often, and have for decades, safely, and don’t see the utility of bikes lanes. Why bike along the same route you drive? Find the road less traveled, it makes all the difference. Take a varied route every day, see your city, it isn’t hard to do. Lots of options available to the bicyclist.

    I do see the benefit of reduced traffic congestion from this plan, a couple of weeks ago I walked from 85th to 75th and actually made better time than the cars did.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the folks on the west side of Roosevelt are definitely being adversely affected, and have every right to feel put upon.

  • 16 G Slettebak // Aug 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I have to agree with some of the content within observers last post. If I owned a house on this section of Roosevelt, I’d be bummed by four things – (1) losing parking in front of my house, (2) knowing that I’d likely have to park my car in a location out of my own sight in an area that is known for a higher than norm car prowl history, (3) the challenges that such plan would put on me in terms of being a pedestrian trying to cross the street and most importantly (4) how this project would then decrease the resale value of my home. I’m in support of the south bound bike lane on Roosevelt but seriously think the northbound lane is a mistake especially when there’s other nearby less impacting options.

  • 17 Doug Campbell // Aug 31, 2012 at 6:29 am

    The losses of the homeowners on the west side of Roosevelt are real. No doubt about it. But I don’t see other good options.

    One consolation for these homeowners may be that a high traffic bicycle route will be a lot better neighbor, for its safety and property value impact, than would an increased traffic automobile corridor.

    We all see what happens in the evenings when south bound I-5 is congested. I would expect a well-used bicycle lane to pre-empt discussion of additional automobile capacity (lanes) on Roosevelt, as the city grows more dense.

  • 18 Ed // Aug 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Is this really about bike lanes or have we finally found a way to stop the ONE GUY that parks on the west side of Roosevelt just North of Shell and backs up Southbound evening traffic all the way to Ace?

    yay bikes!

  • 19 an observer // Sep 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Ed, I know what you mean about that one car.

    Will the houses affected by this have their assessments reduced? Ought to. Doubt it.

    As soon as people understand that Roosevelt is more open, more I-5 dodgers will drive on it. I predict backups from 65th back to 75th as a result.

    Will we have two lanes southbound, with a distinct lane marking line? Or will it be kind of vague, like on 75th?

  • 20 Don Williams // Sep 8, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I oppose the sharrows because it is a definite “take away” from westside property owners (no parking in front of your home). With Property Taxes Surging in Seattle/King County, and voters who approve every measure from libraries to seawalls our taxes are oppressive and we have to sit still while Bicycle Mad Seattle takes away our parking. Thank You, SDOT and Mayor McGinn and the City Council.