[UPDATE (Friday, July 19): We've added a poll! Read about the design options below, vote for your preferred design, and then discuss in the comments.
And one more thing: Tom Fucoloro over at Seattle Bike Blog showed us this nifty online tool that lets you play around at redesigning a road for yourself: Streetmix. Choose a road width of 40 feet for NE 75th St, and give it a shot!]
At a press conference this morning at 33rd Avenue NE and NE 75th Street, Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang announced four different design proposals for a safer NE 75th St for all users.
[More information about this morning's press conference to come -- check back here later.]
ALL four proposed designs include marking the lanes off distinctly (“defining channelization”). Speaking prior to the press conference this morning, Chang said that this feature of a future NE 75th St was very strongly desired by residents, according to the community feedback the Seattle Department of Transportation had collected prior to the design phase.
Here is the full NE 75th ST design proposal (500 KB PDF) for you to read. But we’ve also taken the liberty to talk about the changes below ourselves.
The above graphic shows existing conditions along NE 75th ST, between 15th Ave NE and 35th Ave NE: Two undefined lanes in each direction, with off-peak parking in the outside lanes.
And now, the four different proposals, combining various new roadway configurations to reduce speeds and improve safety, and in order of increasing changes and safety features.
Proposal 1 is exactly what we have now, but with the painted white lines clearly indicating travel/parking lanes (“defining channelization”). Parking along both sides of NE 75th St would not be affected.
Some of the safety limitations SDOT sees in this design are that roadway crossing distances for pedestrians are not reduced, the efficiency of the roadway is not improved, cyclists are still mixed in with motor vehicle traffic, and little to no change to vehicle speed is expected.
Proposal 2 sees one lane only in each direction of NE 75th St, but in wider travel lanes. Parking on both sides of the street would have no restrictions, and would be well marked with white lines (again, “defining channelization”).
Pluses for safety with Proposal 2 includes a reduced crossing distance for pedestrians and a likely reduction in vehicle speed.
Limitations with this proposal include no separation between cyclists and motor vehicles, again, and no designated left turn lanes (decreasing the efficiency of the roadway).
Proposal 3 continues the defining channelization theme, and includes separated lanes for cyclists. As in Proposal one, there is one travel lane in each direction (again, slightly wider than lanes are currently), with permanent parking on one side of NE 75th St only*.
Safety improvements in Proposal 3 include reduced crossing distance for pedestrians, separated cycling lanes, and a likely reduction in vehicle speed.
Left turns are once again going to decrease the efficiency of the street.
Proposal 4 combines all of the safety improvements we’ve seen so far — defining channelization, one lane travel each way (reducing pedestrian crossing distance), separate lanes for cyclists, a likely reduction in vehicle speed — and adds a designated left turn lane down the center. Roadway efficiency is said to be improved as left turning vehicles are removed from moving traffic.
Downside? Well, what is missing from the graphic above?
The goal for the NE 75th Street Road Safety Corridor Project is, yes, safety. But what vehicular amenities will Northest Seattle residents be willing to surrender in the name of safety? Find out by attending one of the two community meetings next week to discuss these proposed changes to NE 75th St. If you are unable to attend either of those meetings, Ravenna Blog will have live coverage of the meeting on Wednesday, July 24 (available here the day of the meeting).
UPDATES: Of course, we weren’t the only ones at the press conference this morning.
9:03 PM: Here’s Q13FOX’s coverage which, of the evening newscasts below, was the most on message about the proposed changes to NE 75th St. [Video removed for now, due to auto play.]
6:58 PM: Here’s KOMO 4′s coverage, which included some thoughts from Marilyn Schulte, daughter of Judy and Dennis Schulte:
Here’s KIRO 7′s evening coverage of the Mayor/SDOT press conference this morning:
*The SDOT PDF lists the south side of NE 75th St as the side of this proposed all day parking; however, it is our feeling that with Eckstein Middle School’s location also on the south side of NE 75th St, this may be in error. We will attempt to clarify this point prior to the meeting on July 27 (or bring it up there).