Makeover time is here: New NE 75th St lanes taking shape (PHOTOS)

With a goal of getting the new road configuration for NE 75th Street in by the first day of school (two weeks from today), it’s no surprise that the Seattle Department of Transportation has started preparing the Northeast Seattle arterial so quickly.

Some pictures from today (Wednesday):

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View down NE 75th Street, looking west towards the signaled intersection with 20th Avenue NE. Truck with moving lighted arrow signage telling motorists to move to the right.

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View from the west side of the SDOT crew’s spot in the middle of NE 75th Street, as they stop to look at the plans for a moment.

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Worker on the right watches the NE 75th Street plans, while the worker on the left paints the lane plans onto the road surface.

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Above picture taken a few seconds after the previous one, showing the lane painting occurring.

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A look down the hill towards 20th Avenue NE. As the crew worked in the center of the arterial, vehicles parted around them, already driving in the new configuration.

We’ll add more photos here when we have them!

Driven the new NE 75th Street configuration yet? What do you think so far? Tell us in the comments.

Comments

  1. Ulysses Hillard says:

    Interesting. I drove it, pre-stripe, this morning, and I’ll drive it post-stripe, this evening.

    • Ulysses Hillard says:

      Conclusion: too soon to tell. Folks were not really heeding the spray paint – especially east bound. There might be some issues with the transition at 15th is one thing I noticed.

  2. I can’t help but feel bad for the folks living on or adjacent to 75th. I don’t, so this works for me, but I Honestly feel sorry that there wasn’t a parking b/t intersections + parking prohibited w/ turn lane at intersections option. If you had to move your car 2 hours each day or get ticketed, you’d avoid parking there. Hence the sense that people didn’t ‘need’ that parking. It’s like you said at the onset Rebecca: we shouldn’t have to be pitting bike lanes against parking. This is where people live. There was no clamor for bike lanes, just traffic calming. It would have been more honest to include that 5th option. If no parking won in that fair playing field, fine. But I don’t’ think the mayor’s office is doing themselves any favors in light of the current “anti-car” campaign to set themselves up for such easy criticism that they’re suppressing options. As when I see fellow cyclists blow through red lights, I wince at adding fuel to the anti-bike fire. And Nickerson? Has parking. I fear the blow back.

    • Ulysses Hillard says:

      Just to be clear, this wasn’t bike lanes against parking, this was traffic calming vs parking with bike lanes as a side effect. They needed something in the remaining eight feet on either side of the central traffic lanes. It could have been (or could still be) planter boxes or even dancing clowns in cages. Bike lanes make a little more sense than either of those, no – even if they won’t be used as often as some other bike lanes. I don’t know about you, but clowns scare me.

      • Whether it was or whether it wasn’t, my point is that it would have been more transparent w/ all available options on the table. Looking at proposal 4, there’s 10′ allocated to the bike lanes. In proposal 3, the all-day parking lanes are allocated 8′. So. There *could* have been an option similar to 4 w/ parking on one side of the street only (say, the south/Eckstein side) and no bike lanes. Among other negatives for that plan, there would be no buffer b/t traffic and the sidewalk on the side w/ no parking (north in my example), so it wouldn’t have met all the concerns for pedestrian safety. All I’m saying is that not all options were presented for review.

        • Ulysses Hillard says:

          So I asked Jim Curtin, the project contact, about this. I might have misunderstood him so I will just apologize in advance if got him wrong. There was no suppressed option. Removing the parking lanes on both sides was actually the objective based on the comments they received. The inclusion of a parking lane without enough parked cars – even on just one side of the street – invites drivers to use that parking lane to pass cars on the right. They also did specifically reach out to the people living on 75th about the parking and he said the overwhelming majority, though clearly not all, were not concerned about losing parking. A handful of them are furious.
          I’m kind of wishing they had gone with the dancing clowns, though. Then maybe nobody would imagine a bicycle agenda in all of this.

  3. Thank you, Rebecca, for keeping up on this. I am surprised that they started the work already so this is a good heads-up to watch out for the ongoing work.

  4. I live a block off 75th and drive it nearly daily. I never see many cars parked on it so I don’t feel too bad about losing parking. The blocks are so short that parking on the side street is not going to be very far for people who live on it. Of course I am not one of those people, so it’s easy for me to say that. It would be annoying if you live there and rely on street parking, but in this case I think we have to do what works best for the safety of the community. We often cross the street at 75th and 25th Ave on foot and it is scary because so many drivers fly through there. I hope it gets better with the traffic revision and I’m glad they are doing it so quickly!

  5. I live on 75th near 20th and I’ve lived here for almost three years. The traffic speeds are ridiculously fast, vehicles do not slow down. I’ve never felt safe parking on 75th and pulling my kids out of their car seats. It doesn’t bother me one bit that we’re losing that parking. Maybe it’s different at other intersections, but for us it’s not worth the risk to park on 75th. I think we will definitely hear a lot more horns honking and see long traffic lines during rush hour now, but at least cars will be forced to slow down.

    • Living just one block off of 65th, there can be a big issue when cars are ‘forced to slow down’ or as another commenter suggested, waiting in long lines during rush hour, and that is: cut through traffic. It remains to be seen (wait until late September when all schools/activities back in session), but I worry that cut throughs will increase and, as a result, safety will decrease and traffic increase on the blocks to the north and south of 75th. This is what happened when work was being done on 65th and traffic speeds were slowed, and delays increased. The speeds of cut through traffic on side streets were very high and dangerous.

      • Per Johnson says:

        I expect the opposite since those driving the corridor daily (e.g., me) are generally waiting for people turnning at lights and aren’t usually just waiting behind slow pokes. So, while there may be more cars in a single line, they’ll be organized and traffic will be more efficient.

        (Geez, sounds like I’ve been listening to some Dongho Chang with that “organized” and “efficient” jargon.)

  6. Just passed thru this “pre-striped” section this afternoon and noticed the quickly produced “STOP S.DOT” yard signs on the 2 blocks of 75th immediately west of 15th. From my near-daily passage along 75th, it seems to me that on-street parking on 75th has occurred almost entirely in the blocks between 15th and 20th…there seldom are many, if any, cars parked on 75th between 20th and 25th, and very few between 25th and 35th. I have also seen very few cyclists anywhere on 75th in the past. It will be interesting to see how the new traffic patterns work out, and especially what impacts occur on the side streets. Thank you, Rebecca, for your excellent coverage of all the land-use and traffic-pattern situations in our neighborhood!

    • Andres Salomon says:

      As a side note (again, this is not a bike project, but..) – got a ride on 75th today around 10:30am. I was surprised to see 3 cyclists on the hill. One was riding up the west side of the hill, on the sidewalk (this was pre-SDOT work). The other two were walking their bikes up the east side of the hill (on the sidewalk).

      All 3 looked to be about middle school or high school age. Since I’m rarely over there, that’s about 3 more cyclists than I expected to see on 75th given all of the comments here. It may be worth pushing SDOT for an *actual* bike project near there sometime in the future (whether that’s a greenway or something else). I too am interested to see how the new traffic patterns end up working once SDOT is done painting.

      • I saw three as well, between 5:30 and 6 PM. And I tried a small stretch of it between about 17th and 20th Avenues NE. Making that right turn onto 20th at the bottom of the hill was a bit harrowing, though! Hard to signal, brake, AND turn, and not go splat.

        • Andres Salomon says:

          Undoubtably the same three cyclists, working for McSchwinn’s shadowy Bike Lobby to pad the bike count numbers. Be careful when driving by, as they’ve been known to stalk, kill, and eat SUVs.

        • Hey Rebecca, just a heads up that you don’t have to signal if it is unsafe per section 11.44.140 of the Seattle Traffic Code.

          “Such hand signals shall be given continuously during the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle before initiation of a turn, unless during the last one hundred feet both hands are needed to control or operate the bicycle.”

  7. Roosevelt Dad says:

    I was pleased to see the preliminary striping work Wednesday pm, and dismayed to see home-made “STOP SDOT” signs along the street just east of 15th Avenue. I am wondering how the owners of the brick house at the SE corner of 75th and 15th Avenue feel about the change – their spot sees crashed cars driving through their front yard it seems once or twice a year.

    I am a bit concerned at the possibility of drive-throughs, as people try to drive around backed up traffic. On our block, we get occasional drive-throughs at rush hour from LCW; the drivers are angry, frustrated, and they drive FASTafter they execute their illegal U-turn onto our street. Overall, I am hopeful, and I see this as an improvement, and certainly no worse that what we had before.

    • BrickHouse says:

      We, the owners of the brick house at the SE corner of 75th and 15th, welcome the change. Although it has been several years, knock on wood, since a car has actually run into our brick wall, we do think the changes SDOT is putting in place will be an improvement for safety along the corridor. We only ask that you, our neighbors, provide us with patience and the occassional thumbs up, as we try to navigate in and out of our driveway. And on the occassions that we need to use the public right of way to park our vehicles in the surrounding neighborhood, we ask that you recognize our shared rights and if there are concerns with parking during a certain time that you talk with us to work out an amicable way to share our space in the neighborhood. My biggest concern about this issue is that somehow it will pit 75th street neighbors against non-75th street dwellers in a struggle for parking. We love this neighborhood and our neighbors and will find ways to work with everyone including SDOT should concerns arise. Community bike ride anyone?

      • Thanks for chiming in, BrickHouse!

        • Per Johnson says:

          She’s a brick house, she’s mighty mighty
          And just lettin’ it all hang out and she’s a brick house

          Shack it down, shack it down, shack it, yeah
          She’s a brick house.

          (had to be done)

          • Per Johnson says:

            She’s a brick house, she’s mighty mighty
            And just lettin’ it all hang out and she’s a brick house

            Shake it down, shake it down, shake it, yeah
            She’s a brick house.

            (had to be done)

          • Per Johnson says:

            She’s a brick house, she’s mighty mighty
            And just lettin’ it all hang out and she’s a brick house

            Shake it down, shake it down, shake it down, yeah
            She’s a brick house.

            (had to be done)

          • BrickHouse says:

            Per you must be stopped. But I loved it!

      • Dear BrickHouse

        Thank you for a) communicating and b) civility and c) helping us have clarity on the implications of our practices in the area. Bravo! I love the idea of a community bike ride. Maybe you’d like to join one of our semi-irregular Last Sunday Potluck Happy Hours (which I cannot host this month due to a conflict, but maybe we do it Sept 1!!)

        Nancy in Ravenna

  8. Brock Howell says:

    I just biked 75th this morning! I mostly rode to the left of the new bike lane, but I’ll be very happy to ride in the bike lane with traffic going a little slower & better channeled. Thanks SDOT!

  9. I haven’t seen coments from frustrated drivers here, but every time I read about their agitation and frustration dealing with change I am reminded how little some people think “outside the car.” Bus options abound for people, particularly commuters, going too and from almost every part of 75th. All the cursing of SDOT is not valid. The roadways of Seattle have been given over almost exclusively to cars for a century. Any messes are not attributable to cyclistshe, but to the one person per two ton conveyance model that 80-odd percent of people think is inevitable or absolutely necessary to their mobility. Please, folks, don’t blame the three to five percent of us who ride bikes and want to be safe doing it, decide you can live without one car per person and CHANGE.

  10. Just a sort of randomly related comment. I was crossing 65th today from N to S at the intersection just north of the Herbalist. An eastbound driver coming down the hill from 20th stopped, flagged me to walk. Another car came zooming up behind her, pulled to the right (is that a lane or not??) and nearly mowed me down. We made eye contact. She looked angry or frustrated (that may be my projection – I’ll own that). The first driver looked over to the almost-passer. It was this moment when I think we all realized that we need to think beyond our own destinations…

    • Andres Salomon says:

      65th is in dire need of a road diet as well. We can argue about what it might look like, but the safety of that road is seriously lacking.

      • SDOT may want to reframe the NE 65th St question in safety terms, period. I think everybody in the area, business owners included, would say that that arterial is unsafe.

        As much as I’d like to see pedestrian crossing flags up where I live near NE 75th St, I think that the NE 65th St business district is in sore need of them. Maybe we could pass the hat down there, and/or get a few from SDOT?

  11. John Anthony says:

    It’s great to be able to hear the thoughts of the affected residents. We’ve lived in this area (Wedgwood/Sand Point) for over 35 years and it will be interesting to see how the reconfiguration of 75th works out. Even though our daughters are now grown adults, I’m glad to see permanent radar cameras going in near Ekstein. Long overdue in my book.

  12. Laila Barr says:

    Too bad it took a major tragedy to make these street improvements happen!

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