Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thoughts on the Greenway / 23rd Avenue issue

Hello All --

Guillaume, here. I wanted to post a few useful links with information and thoughts on the plans for a 23rd Ave redesign. In the next few days I'll also post a letter we're drafting, requesting a meeting with someone from the Mayor-elect's new team.

Here's the SDOT page on the 23rd Ave redesign, including slides from a presentation outlining the plan. There have been several public meetings to date on the redesign (e.g., here's one announcement), but since these applied to the redesign between Jackson and John streets, only Central District residents were specifically notified.

From what I can tell, it sounds like the original plan included a dedicated 2-way bike lane along 23rd Ave, but that this idea was scrapped in response to community pressure. The proposed Greenway(s) (see other descriptions here and here) are a compromise solution, in which 23rd is intended to remain dedicated to cars, with bike lanes along parallel residential streets.

In terms of traffic volume, the lights along 23rd will be timed to improve traffic (a big improvement from what we have today), including some mechanism for timing the lights for city buses. Also on the table are increases to bus service and there will eventually be a light rail station at I-90 and 23rd, connecting us to Bellevue and Sea-Tac.

There is precedent for all of these changes, which have been implemented elsewhere in the city, and my personal opinion is that this is an opportunity to make our neighborhood safer, more cohesive, and more pleasant. (I also think it's a good bet that reducing traffic volumes and adding greenways can improve property values -- maybe for the same reasons :).

Please feel free to add information or comments below.


p.s. -- here's a cool graphic a friend just sent me, illustrating the benefits of increased bus service.

p.p.s (from Andrew): The comments section of the Central District News version of the "What exactly will the 23rd Ave greenway be"  post has a long and very interesting discussion of the greenway, the 23rd Avenue street project and the implications of both. The Capitol Hill Seattle version also has an interesting discussion in the comments. And here's a Capitol Hill Times article about the Greenway open house: "Greenway rendered useless by changes to 23rd Ave"


  1. Great points, Guillaume. I think a greenway would add tremendous value to our neighborhood. In general, property values rise in more bikeable areas and on streets with more bike traffic. As a parent of a 3 year old in our neighborhood, I also appreciate that adding bike lanes tends to lead to slower car traffic, as drivers (including me!) tend to slow more to be more aware of their surroundings. Since the 23rd Ave freeway will still enable fast car traffic, I can't think of a good argument that creating safer neighborhood streets is a bad idea!

  2. As a neighborhood resident, I support the proposed greenways paralleling 23rd Avenue for the reasons you outline above.

  3. My only concern is that discouraging cut through traffic will in fact add more cut through traffic on another street.