Second Avenue

We Need to Apply our Lessons Learned from Second Ave Bike Corridor

SDOT needs to look at other dangerous cyclist spots and continue to show its creativity and flexibility. (Photo from Seattle Weekly/Lindsey  Yamada)

SDOT needs to look at other dangerous cyclist spots and continue to show its creativity and flexibility. (Photo from Seattle Weekly/Lindsey Yamada)

When reading a Seattle Weekly article (“Five things we learned about Second Ave Bike Lines) earlier this week, I was struck by a few of the main points that writer Daniel Person made. I believe that the most important takeaways is that SDOT has shown that it is surprisingly flexible. Indeed, this certainly seems the case given how it has pivoted and adjusted the infamous 2nd Ave corridor after a few minor bicycle vs. car accidents. Namely, it addressed the vulnerable spots for cyclists, where cars wanted to pull into parking garages. Raising the curbs outside the parking garages slows the drivers down before they enter/cross over the bike lanes.

Also, take a look at those planters. So SDOT can be creative and nimble. Why not address the dangerous spots that compromise cyclists at the First Hill Streetcar line? If SDOT can make changes after a few minor bike/car collisions on the Second Ave bike corridor, it should take a long, hard look at that dangerous intersection where our cyclist client Daniel Ahrendt was run over by a bus.


Second Avenue Redux: Solving the mystery of those curved arrows…

In a previous post, I asked if anyone knew what those curved arrows at the Madison intersection signified. Bike Man Dan (our Dan Laurence, who is an experienced cyclist, when he’s not busy representing injured clients as an attorney) wondered too, when he rode his bike down the redone 2nd Ave corridor. Certainly, two arrows from opposite directions pointing to one spot was not self-explanatory to me, Dan or anyone else I asked.


Strange curved arrows befuddle and distract cyclists, pedestrians & drivers.

Strange curved arrows confuse rather than clarify.

So, I searched online and found the following:

Seattle DOT offers this postcard that says it's "What you need to know." Really?

Seattle DOT offers this postcard that says it’s “What you need to know.” Really?

Hmm… “What you need to know.” Really? More like, “What you need to know is not always clear and certainly not contained on this postcard.” At least the postcard (courtesy of Seattle taxpayers) gave me an important clue by including the term Bike Box*. Thank you for that much. (Really, I’m not a cranky person, but it amazes me how this important info is laid out in such an unorganized and cryptic way. Even after a tragic and needless death of a cyclist on this specific stretch of road.)

So, I searched SDOT’s site for info about “bike box.” Lo and behold, I found this:

A whole page is devoted on SDOT's website to Bike Boxes.

A whole page is devoted on SDOT’s website to Bike Boxes.

Look carefully at the Bike Box on the screen shot of the SDOT webpage. Does it resemble those curved arrows? I will go out on a limb here and say, “No!” Why make something so important to our safety perplexing and wildly inconsistent? Aren’t these based on some uniform codes?

From the patched together bits of information, I now understand the Bike Box as the designated area for cyclists to move ahead of cars at an intersection. A draft Final Report for the City of Portland regarding Bike Boxes at Signalized Intersections is included as a reference at this SDOT page.

Stay tuned. A future blog post will include excerpts from Bike Man Dan‘s trek on the new “Protected” Bike Lane on 2nd Avenue. Hint: Cyclists should not feel protected.

*Bike Box is only capitalized in this blog post to emphasize that this is a term that SDOT assumes we know all about.

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