East Marginal Way – interim improvements 5

The West Seattle Blog reported this week on interim improvements for East Marginal Way S from S Spokane St to S Atlantic Street (at the Coast Guard’s Pier 46).

In addition to the improvements listed by SDOT, we have asked for
– removal of fire hydrants that are right in the middle of the path. These violate SDOT, SPU and ADA standards.
– widening of the path/sidewalk to make it safe and usable for high volume 2-way bike and low volume pedestrian traffic, with safe room for passing.
– improvements to sightlines at some of the terminal driveways where fencing, signs or other obstruction interfere with views.

It will be a tough sell to get the bike commuters currently using the northbound bike lane to switch to the sidewalk on the west side unless it is really improved to be a safe, smooth bike path with room to pass safely.

trees in "tree pits" and hydrant obstructions

trees in “tree pits” and hydrant obstructions

trees in "tree pits" and hydrant obstructions

trees in “tree pits” and hydrant obstructions

trees in "tree pits" and hydrant obstructions

trees in “tree pits” and hydrant obstructions

sign could be raised up to avoid obscuring sight triangle at drive.

sign could be raised up to avoid obscuring sight triangle at drive.

  • Guest

    Considering that there is both northbound and southbound traffic on this “sidewalk”, I still wouldn’t ride it on a bike unless it was wide enough to be considered a “trail”. There is not enough space, even if they remove the beautiful trees and replace them with cement, for a cyclist to pass a pedestrian/runner and allow for oncoming cyclists/pedestrians. The established bike path on the road is the best option.

    • Don Brubeck

      This is a good conversation to have. I’m not sure this will work but it is worth a try. If bike riders don’t like it and won’t use it, the long term solution could be a cycle track on the east, or buffered lanes each side, or going back to the way it is now.

      Southbound the bike lane works pretty well, assuming that the paving and maintenance can improved. Two areas it does not work well when it is rainy are at “Lake Marginal” by T30’s entry and at the big puddle near Spokane. This is dangerous especially in the dark. Widening the sidewalk and turning it into a true multi-use path would raise the bike lane above the water level. Due to poor soils and drainage, fixing the puddles has proved infeasible, SDOT says.

      Northbound, the City traffic engineers think that many more cyclists would feel and be safer if they could ride north on an improved shared west-side path, instead of making the sketchy crossing near Spokane and then having to do a vehicle lane / bike lane weave at Hanford, deal with lots of right-turning trucks at Handford, and then do another vehicle lane / bike lane weave near Atlantic St. mixing with heavy trucks. The opportunistic way that we have to cross now drives the truckers crazy because it appears so random that they don’t know where to look for us. I agree 100% with “Guest” 2 that there is not enough space even if they remove the trees. The path must be widened.

      If the path is sufficiently widened, the southbound bikes can be on the right instead of the left of northbound bikes, making for fewer conflicts like the recent bike-bike head on crash, and for riders coming across from SODO on Horton or Hanford. There is enough to focus on without having to ride British-Aus-NZ style.

      The young trees may be beautiful but they should not have been planted in a narrow sidewalk. New or transplanted ones outside the path will be just as beautiful.

      • The Bean

        I agree 100% that a well-designed west side path would be the best solution for bike/ped traffic in both directions. What a relief it would be never to have to voyage across Marginal Way again!

        My fear, however, is that they’ll create an inadequate two-way path on the west side and eliminate the lane on the east side, leaving us with a solution that’s little better than what we have now.

  • Guest

    Why do we want commuters to stop using the bike lane?

  • There is plenty of room for a 2-way cycletrack with pedestrian space (sidewalk) on the west side of the street. Removing/reconfiguring trees and hydrants is presumed, along with updates to the port entrances/exits. There’s no reason that new trees or other vegetation couldn’t be planted after a reconfiguration (how about on the west side where all that useless grass is?).

    SDOT, the Port, and Rail just need to work together on a solution, and West Seattle Bike Connections has provided plenty of input. We’re trying to be a liaison with all parties involved, and appreciate any constructive public suggestions. The ultimate solution might be a west side cycletrack with sidewalk, and a northbound bike lane on the east side of the street.

    The status quo is not good enough on East Marginal Way to get “all ages and abilities” or those who are “interested but concerned” to hop on a bike and ride to downtown from the south…especially after reading about the stories along this corridor. The goal would be to provide infrastructure for many more people so they at least have an option and would consider riding a bike on this corridor.

    Hopefully you all voted for a mayoral candidate who is support of these types of changes that provide safe transit options for everyone using the roads. 😉