Seattle Bike Blog has the scoop that the Seattle Department of Transportation has abandoned their proposal to install the city's first "American-style cycle track" on Dexter Ave. After hearing concerns and complaints about the original plan to have parked cars serve as a physical buffer between the bike and car travel lanes, SDOT is now proposing buffered bike lanes, similar to the buffered lanes they recently installed on 7th Ave.
The new proposal calls for a six-foot bike lane on each side of the road with a two-foot painted buffer between the travel lanes and bike lanes. Parked cars will be between the bike lanes and curb. The proposal retains other design elements from the original plans, such as restriping Dexter from two lanes in each direction to one with dedicated left-turn pockets in "high need areas," building extended bus bulbs, and adding several marked pedestrian crosswalks.
"We really want to ensure we've got the right facility for the right location," said Sam Woods, SDOT bike program supervisor. "We got a lot of good input during our public engagement process that highlighted issues with driveway crossings and sight distances."
The Cascade Bicycle Club was among the groups that raised concerns about the original design. According to Cascade Advocacy Director David Hiller, "Dexter has challenges that a U.S.-style cycle track can't necessarily cope with."
He says those problems include conflicts with turning vehicles blocking the lane, poor sight distances (made worse by Dexter's hills), cyclists traveling at different speeds, and maintaining the cycle track as debris collects in the lane.
"We see separated facilities like the original proposal as the future, a relatively near future," said Hiller. "But, this one wasn't necessarily suited for the conditions. The buffered bike-lanes present a real opportunity to improve cyclist comfort on Dexter."
SDOT is holding a public open house to present the new designs on Thursday, Aug 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Swedish Cultural Center.