West Seattle’s first ‘bike box’ now in place on Andover at Delridge

November 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 114 Comments

Thanks to Chris for the tip – he tweeted this morning that SDOT was out painting West Seattle’s first “bike box” along with the bicycle lane on eastbound Andover at Delridge, so we went over to get the photo. The “bike box” plan was mentioned during the September meeting of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (WSB coverage here), and may well come up when DNDC meets jointly with Highland Park Action Committee next Wednesday (November 28th), 7 pm, at HP Improvement Club (12th/Holden).

If you’re not familiar with bike boxes, here’s the SDOT explanation:

The bike box is an intersection safety design to prevent bicycle/car collisions. It is a painted green space on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside. In some locations it includes a green bicycle lane approaching the box. The box creates space between motor vehicles and the crosswalk that allows bicyclists to position themselves ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection.

That’s from this SDOT webpage, which has information for both drivers and bicyclists on how the bike box works – what to do, what not to do. One particularly important note – you must stop behind the bike box, whether there is a bicyclist using it at the time or not:

When the traffic signal is yellow or red, motorists mush stop behind the white stop line. Don’t stop on top of the green bike box. Keep it clear for cyclists to use. Typically at bike box locations, right turns on red will not be permitted .

114 Comments

  1. Yay! I ride through this intersection every morning, turning left onto northbound Delridge from Andover. The bike box will reduce the confusion of trying to make a left-hand turn from the right of a lane of cars.

    Comment by Ted Diamond — 3:52 pm November 25, 2012 #

  2. awesome. more safety for everyone involved.

    Comment by themightyrabbit — 4:06 pm November 25, 2012 #

  3. I don’t get it.

    So bikes can arrive “late” to an intersection and jump the que? Is that what this means?

    Comment by Joey — 4:09 pm November 25, 2012 #

  4. Who thought this one up? What happened to share the road? Now with or without a bike present,us cars cannot turn right at a red light. What a genius way to back up traffic. What’s next, no cars on the roads between 9am to 3 pm?

    Comment by Alki Resident — 4:24 pm November 25, 2012 #

  5. How Stupid!

    Comment by Nemobean — 4:43 pm November 25, 2012 #

  6. The city should be putting money first in fixing potholes and repaving horribly maintained busy streets, but are wasting money on this crap!? Look how nice the streets are over in Bellevue. When you come into to Seattle it looks like sht!

    Comment by wow — 4:57 pm November 25, 2012 #

  7. while i like the idea of these boxes and welcome the fact that people are becoming more bike conscious, i was hit at a dead standstill, back in the day when i used to bike commute, at an intersection as someone turned right and got to close to me.
    this city is not as bike friendly as you might think. be aware and be safe! and support efforts to help bicyclists get where they want to go! they have a much right to be on the roads as those in cars.

    Comment by kumalavula — 5:05 pm November 25, 2012 #

  8. Brilliant……NOT!

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 5:28 pm November 25, 2012 #

  9. The bike box is not necessary. It will create more hostility towards bikes. The problem is that there are too many cyclists who are not confident riding on the roads. The lack of confidence prevents them from joining the traffic. I ride often, and am quite confident riding in traffic and waiting my turn to proceed at a light. I know, first hand, how much drivers dislike the idea of bikes passing and moving to the front at each stop. This box encourages such behavior, and it is NOT safer. Cyclists should wait with the cars, and proceed at the light change, holding their position in the line of cars. It is much safer, and more in the spirit of sharing the road.

    Comment by VBD — 5:37 pm November 25, 2012 #

  10. I agree that bikes are supposed to be treated like cars in traffic laws. Bikes seem to constantly go through red lights and stop signs. In driving around West Seattle, this happens often. Now we have to let them get in front of us at the light? What happened to being on the side? I do not understand the thinking on this. I have no problem with the bikers, it is just the ones that do not obey the laws.

    Comment by Faith4 — 5:38 pm November 25, 2012 #

  11. The use of the road is not a right, it is a privilege and motorists pay for the privilege of using the road. Now bicyclists will be allowed to violate the law by passing stopped cars on the right and then failing to yield the right of way when they create a backup of cars. Both of which are things the motorists who pay for the use of the road could be ticketed for.

    Comment by Greg — 5:43 pm November 25, 2012 #

  12. This is awesome! Many cyclists come through here, including myself every weekday morning. Traffic volumes are typically low here in the mornings, and I have never seen anyone want to turn right to go south on Delridge.

    Yes, the green bike box means there is no right turn on red at this signal (read article). And keep in mind that more cyclists mean less motorized vehicles on the roadways!

    Comment by Jeff — 5:55 pm November 25, 2012 #

  13. I think this is a good idea and should help cyclists through the intersection. however, I think SDOT mucked it up when they reduced that area from 2 lanes to 1 (due to Nucor’s request for their large trucks). if you are not turning left there, you can get stuck in a lot of traffic waiting to go straight or turn right if there is traffic on the bridge. now no right turn on red? I have seen people short-cutting that by driving thru the office building’s parking lot. I imagine that will continue or increase in frequency.

    Comment by sam-c — 6:03 pm November 25, 2012 #

  14. WSB: I’ve looked on the web and can’t find information as to where bike boxes are being planned. Do you or anyone else know where this information is located? Does anyone know of any groups organized to fight against the installation of any more of these expensive atrocities? Citizens should unite to fight this war on cars!

    Comment by GetReal — 6:03 pm November 25, 2012 #

  15. A quick note before anyone else wastes their time writing a comment we will not approve for publication:
    .
    If you want to discuss the traffic logistics etc. of bike boxes, or of this particular location, great.
    .
    If you want to reopen the “bikes vs. cars” inflammatory discussion, sorry, not here, those comments will NOT be approved for publication. That includes fallacies such as “bicyclists don’t pay taxes, only drivers do” (we’ve had that discussion in comments before), let alone a few comments we’ve already declined to approve with harsh, false generalizations about people who ride bicycles.
    .
    We’re equal opportunity on this – bicyclists with blanket generalizations about drivers shouldn’t bother either.
    .
    Thanks for adhering to WSB’s stringent rules about civility, staying on topic, no trolling, etc. … Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 6:05 pm November 25, 2012 #

  16. Seems a little overkill and I am a regular bike rider. I often stop a few meters before the corner when turning right or proceeding forward to give motorist the option of by passing me and continuing safely away fom me.

    Comment by DF — 6:06 pm November 25, 2012 #

  17. I don’t know why my comment’s being blocked, it wasn’t particularly nasty towards bikes…. more like disappointment in SDOT for their understanding of traffic in that area
    (o, there it is, oops. before, I had refreshed the page and my comment had disappeared)
    and yes, traffic does get bad there in the morning. sometimes see it backed up all the way past All Star. I’ve seen school buses headed to Pathfinder wait through an extra light cycle or 2 because it was stuck behind people waiting to turn left.

    Comment by sam-c — 6:25 pm November 25, 2012 #

  18. Any idea if the city will be putting more traffic blocks -I mean bike boxes in WS?

    Comment by wsguy — 6:26 pm November 25, 2012 #

  19. The announcement says motorists must stop behind the white stop line. In these pictures I do not see such a line at least up stream of the green box. Sure, white line to the side, but not across either lane. Is the white stop line(s) coming, or is the statement in error?

    Comment by JayDee — 6:48 pm November 25, 2012 #

  20. WS Guy and GetReal – I plan to ask SDOT tomorrow about whether/where others are planned in WS. This is the only one we had previously heard about (as noted in the link inside our story).

    Comment by WSB — 6:51 pm November 25, 2012 #

  21. Mayor McShwinn strikes again.

    Comment by D — 7:11 pm November 25, 2012 #

  22. Madness. These traffic revisions are creating more congestion, more confusion. And all for a handful of bicyclists. Look at how Alaska St has been ruined – for WHAT?

    I grew up here when it was a commonsense city, but no more.

    Comment by G — 7:17 pm November 25, 2012 #

  23. Alaska’s rechannelization is about RapidRide. We reported on it repeatedly when it was announced, planned, etc. but it never engendered much of an outcry – until it kicked in. This is why we highly advise people to get involved with their neighborhood groups.

    Comment by WSB — 7:24 pm November 25, 2012 #

  24. I’ve been riding more and more — clients downtown, home on Gatewood Hill — and the easier and safer the city can make it, the better. I’ve been HUGELY impressed with what a great job the DOT (or whoever it is) has done keeping the route into downtown open what with the mess along Western. More bikes = fewer cars on the roads and I think that’s good for all of us.

    Comment by pam — 7:30 pm November 25, 2012 #

  25. I like to be aware.

    Comment by shed22 — 7:35 pm November 25, 2012 #

  26. Our family had a discussion about this tonight and wonder if it is time for bicyclists to pay for tabs for their bikes so they share in the cost of making the streets safe for bikes? The new green boxes must be costing something & the tabs would help. Just a thought.

    Comment by Faith4 — 7:36 pm November 25, 2012 #

  27. Really wish the city would spend the money making dedicated bike lanes rather than bike boxes. I think it’s quite interesting to see the bike boxes headed uphill in the Pike Pine Corridor–how illogical, even in a neighborhood with a lot of bikes. It appears these boxes cause congestion and confusion, rather than improve the safety of cyclists in the city.

    The city seems to have plenty of ideas on how to make the travel infrastructure “better” with wacky ideas, while missing the bigger points of road maintenance and safer biking. I’d rather have a fixed pothole and a bike lane rather than a sharrow or bike box anyday!

    Comment by Krystal — 7:36 pm November 25, 2012 #

  28. Rapid Ride, Bike Box, what could possibly be next? Otter Crosswalks?

    Comment by DTK — 7:52 pm November 25, 2012 #

  29. I agree, Pam. Getting downtown has been really pretty easy for the most part, though I still find where the path out of West Seattle meets up with Alaskan Way confusing. Admittedly I haven’t been there since they opened the new path and got rid of the detour, but from what I’ve heard it’s still tricky.
    .
    Faith4, that’s been considered before. It’s found to not be cost effective. Besides, most of us already own cars; I, in point of fact, own two.

    Comment by datamuse — 7:56 pm November 25, 2012 #

  30. Awesome! This is something the North Delridge Neighborhood Council has been advocating for a long time. I notice a lot of people in this comment thread are unhappy with these sorts of progressive traffic pattern changes. Complaining anonymously on the Internet may be cathartic, but if you’d like to influence the process of these sorts of changes, neighborhood and district council meetings are a great way to make your voice heard where it will actually count.

    Comment by Jake — 8:25 pm November 25, 2012 #

  31. faith4: you should consider including sdot’s budget in your family discussion. you’ll find that sales taxes, property taxes, and state and federal grants pay for road maintenance, car tabs don’t.

    Comment by rob — 8:26 pm November 25, 2012 #

  32. That’s a pretty funky intersection for bikes. I’ve seen a number of close calls between bikes and cars, so this should help. It’s very heavily trafficked by cyclists, which will probably increase even more once the delridge bike greenway is built and the bike entrance to the bridge is improved. This is a good investment – and I say that as somebody that hasn’t ridden a bike in years.

    Comment by Jay — 8:34 pm November 25, 2012 #

  33. Mush!

    Comment by LadyBusiness — 8:38 pm November 25, 2012 #

  34. Question: if a car stops behind the green line waiting *just in case* a bicyclist shows up, will the stoplight sensor pick up there’s a car waiting?

    I think it sounds silly. Letting bikes get in front of us? Yaay, so less cars will get through the light because we can only go as fast as those bikes do.

    Comment by SaraS — 8:46 pm November 25, 2012 #

  35. Something like 90 percent of bike riders also own cars and pay for roads. The idea that bikes should pay extra is crazy relative to the damage that cars do versus bikes.

    Comment by kgdlg — 8:46 pm November 25, 2012 #

  36. Good question, SaraS. I’ll add that to my SDOT inquiry if I can’t find the answer somewhere (authoritative) online.

    Comment by WSB — 8:46 pm November 25, 2012 #

  37. The question for me is why are we paying crews the ot/dt to do this type of work on sunday morning? Couldn’t we pay them straight time on a monday and have a few of the surrounding potholes fixed with the extra money? sdot never does “proper” traffic control anyways so the day of the week shouldnt matter.

    Comment by Jon — 8:50 pm November 25, 2012 #

  38. Jon, I believe they have some crews that regularly work Sundays. But we’ll check on that too – it was our first question when we got the tip that this was being done today.

    Comment by WSB — 8:56 pm November 25, 2012 #

  39. Addressing only the concept of the “bike box,” a tool that is in place in various parts of the city already, with success…note that this bike box changes nothing about how the street was being used in the first place.

    This street is part of a well used, vital link for a bike route to/from West Seattle via the lower bridge. This street used to have a left turn lane and a through/right turn only lane for all street traffic. Cyclists used to be able to queue up with automobiles in the left lane to make the left turn to Delridge northbound towards the bridge.

    When the intersection was reconfigured in the past year (or two?), the left turn only lane was removed and all traffic eastbound on Andover was squeezed into one fairly wide lane. This created a problem for those using a bike for transportation. Many cyclists don’t feel comfortable dealing with the new volume of traffic behind them (drivers pressuring cyclists to get out of the road even though they too need to make a safe left turn). So what has been happening is cyclists were (legally according to SMC 11.44.080 – overtaking and passing on right) passing stopped traffic to get to the light to take a left in front of traffic that may even have been traveling straight or taking a right – a dangerous situation.

    The bike box formalizes those movements. It looks like a bike lane has also been added along the right – reinforcing the fact that cyclists can pass stopped traffic on the right and creating a space for them to move ahead of the traffic to make a safer left turn.

    This is a similar idea to bus lanes.

    This is a little funky, but this video shows why and how bike boxes are important and how to use them: http://www.streetfilms.org/how-to-use-a-bike-box/

    Note that the bike counts conducted several times a year by SDOT and WADOT count, and recent count by West Seattle Bike Connections in October, count between 250-300 bikes using the low bridge between ~7:00 am – 9:00 am alone.

    Comment by West Seattle Bike Connections — 9:01 pm November 25, 2012 #

  40. I hope these “mike boxes” are placed at all signal light controlled intersections. Looks like a whole lot of fun. Almost guarantees mike mcginn will be re-elected next year. hehe

    Comment by GP38-2 — 9:05 pm November 25, 2012 #

  41. How would the bike tabs work? I have a bike in my garage. Maybe 2 times a year I ride it down the road for a quick stroll. But if tabs were required I would need them? Would a 13 year old riding a bike to his friends house need bike tabs too?

    Comment by resident3 — 9:13 pm November 25, 2012 #

  42. thanks! itll be interesting to see how it works out. it would seem that this would help cyclists get onto the trail that goes to lower spokane bridge. im wondering if they have a plan to help merge the cyclists from the same trail on to delridge heading north. i dont think theres anyway to do it right now other than forcing the cyclists to use the crosswalk between h&r block and the delridge deli mart. the light is timed funky because of the difference in traffic volumes (i think). pedestrians and cyclists walk/bike against the crosswalks all the time at this intersection.

    Comment by Jon — 9:13 pm November 25, 2012 #

  43. As the cyclists seem to understand and the non-cyclists don’t, this is a GREAT intersection for the bike box. Most cyclists are turning left here, and if they keep right, they run the risk of a driver turning right into them or plowing into them because they are going straight (off of Andover). It would help a lot if all drivers used turn signals, but they don’t. The box will NOT slow drivers, because the right lane has a shoulder, which cyclists get into immediately once they turn. Yes, they do. I’ve been cycling that intersection nearly every weekday morning for 12 years, and ALL cyclists use the shoulder once they complete the turn. Drivers would go ballistic if cyclists actually took the lane to turn left (as we legally can), so we are forced into the right lane (which is dangerous for the reasons I just listed).

    The tax/tabs argument does not hold water, as a little research will reveal. I’m not going to bother refuting it here, as it’s been done ad nauseum in the past. There was also some incorrect argument about cyclists not being permitted to pass on the right – that poster can do a little research too and find out why they are wrong.

    Comment by Amalia — 9:21 pm November 25, 2012 #

  44. Um…..one of a few reasons the Red Light is on top and Green on the bottom of a traffic light is to help those with red/green colourblindness tell the two apart.

    So, having the bike boxes green on a grey surface makes zero sense.

    Oh, I have a list of what could be improved…but, I shall refrain :)

    Comment by BrassyMomma — 9:23 pm November 25, 2012 #

  45. @WS Bike Connections, there are many of us cyclists who do not agree with this revision of traffic. I know activists, like yourself, feel as though you are representing cyclists, but you do not represent me. I have never had a problem riding with cars, and can go wherever I like with relative ease. That’s not to say there aren’t difficult areas, there are, but intersections such as the one addressed here was not one of them. The reality of cyclists not feeling “comfortable” or not having the fitness to adequately accelerate to traffic speed is not reason to revise intersections. The responsibility lies with the bicyclists to develop the skills necessary to ride on the road. Drivers of cars must demonstrate competence to be on the road. Bicycling is self-regulated (as it should be), but there is need to learn the skills and develop the fitness, to ride on the road, or at least be able to negotiate basic intersections. Also SMC 11.44.080 was meant to allow cyclists to ride by slower traffic while on the shoulder or in a bike lane. It was NOT meant to be used as a means to thwart basic intersection rules.

    Comment by VBD — 9:31 pm November 25, 2012 #

  46. For those that don’t read our awesome blog how do they know what to do with the bike boxes? It seems confusing. Letting the bikes get in front of the cars seems like a sure way to slow things up. I am so over McGinn. Fixing the potholes would keep the cyclists upright at least.

    Comment by Cclarue — 9:47 pm November 25, 2012 #

  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you SDOT. As a regular bike rider/commuter (who also drives that intersection, btw) I so appreciate the added measure of safety and awareness of bicycles on the road at this tricky intersection that the bike box will bring to all travelers. These small “calming” inconveniences help cyclists stay safe (which means more people might try riding) and keeps drivers from injuring their neighbors.
    If it doesn’t work we’ll try something else, but thanks for giving this a try!

    Comment by Stephen M — 9:54 pm November 25, 2012 #

  48. Have any of these genius road engineers rode on paint? I ride on two wheels, bike and motorbike. The last place I want to be is on a wet painted surface.

    Comment by Wendell — 10:14 pm November 25, 2012 #

  49. Now that this has been set in place, are they going to set the time for a bit longer on the traffic lights since clearly ,not being able to turn right on red will back up traffic.Also, having these bikers in front of us turning left isn’t going to be fast paced either. Before you know it,maybe four or five cars will have gone, or maybe one semi, and then it’s red again.
    Also, is this suppose to be a ploy for drivers to find other ways to the bridge. Abandoning this particular street so bikes can have full access?

    Comment by Alki Resident — 11:03 pm November 25, 2012 #

  50. Reading these comments is unbelievable! Do any of you ever leave WS? These green lanes are all over Seattle, issaquah, Los Angeles! – Around the world! This is not new and not an afront on cars. It’s part of organized road sharing, like sidewalks and crosswalks and street lights. It creates accessibility for the many different types of users. We try to provide services for all types of street users (sidewalks, bike lanes and handicap ramps are part of this as well).

    Comment by Colnago — 11:29 pm November 25, 2012 #

  51. How are visitors to the area supposed to understand all of this ?

    Comment by Martha — 12:58 am November 26, 2012 #

  52. If you are just joining this discussion, a repeat reminder since some apparently have not read the one higher up:
    .
    Further comments with the usual “drivers vs. bicyclists” antagonism are not welcome here and will not be approved, whether generalizing about bicyclists OR about drivers (we’ve already seen multiple attempts at both). Including any more repetitions of the fallacy that roads are paid for by license tabs and therefore bicyclists are using the roads without paying. Roads are funded by a variety of taxes and in this case, according to SDOT, bike boxes are paid for by Bridging the Gap, which is a property-tax levy, so it would make more sense to complain about renters not paying for the roads, if you wanted to use that line of logic.
    .
    The roads belong to everyone. The mix of who comprises “everyone” – drivers, bus riders, motorcycle riders, bicyclists – will continue to diversify. So the question is how we all stay safe and keep moving together. If anyone is interested in that discussion, and in the logistics of this intersection (especially once you’ve been through it), that’s on-topic. Thank you. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:29 am November 26, 2012 #

  53. I’ve read the entire thread here and see two questions remain:

    Where is the white line drivers are supposed to stop at? It’s not pictured in that photo of the Bike Box.

    Will the traffic light sensor pick up that vehicles are waiting if no bikes are in the box and we are to stop behind the invisible white line?

    Thank you, WSB.

    Comment by lox — 7:53 am November 26, 2012 #

  54. Lox – I have several questions in a note I’m drafting to SDOT as we speak. The sensor is one question. The “white line” is, as I understand it, the start of the green bike box. In other words, cars should stop without protruding into it. See the graphic on the right side of the page to which we linked (SDOT website):
    .
    http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/transportation/bikeboxes.htm
    .
    Also the “how to use one” video linked from that page (made in Portland):
    .
    http://www.streetfilms.org/portland-green-bike-box/
    .
    Looking at both that video and the graphic, I’m wondering if there is still a little work to do – painting a WAIT HERE on the lane perhaps – and that too is going onto my list. Will publish a followup when I get the info (and will link it to this story as well for anybody who checks back) … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:04 am November 26, 2012 #

  55. I think tabs for bikes would be a good idea. It creates a constituency of customers and a pressure group that SDOT and the state have then to contend with.

    Comment by David Kerlick — 8:09 am November 26, 2012 #

  56. Thank you, WSB, for the story including how these are used. Thank you for moderating the comments. I think that Seattle, like other towns and cities, is using these only at difficult intersections with high traffic at relatively high speed, so there will not be very many of these, but they are life savers. for a good example of one in use for a couple of years, you can see the busy intersection of N 34th & Fremont N near the Fremont Bridge. Much safer now, without slowing down cars.

    Comment by Don Brubeck — 8:55 am November 26, 2012 #

  57. Can’t wait for the light to go green while a bike is positioning itself in front of a vehicle. Just seems like an accident waiting to happen.

    Comment by Mike — 8:55 am November 26, 2012 #

  58. Regarding colorblind folks – my wife is red/green deficient (rare in women, common in men) and the bike boxes have been easy enough for her to see. It’s a contrast thing, and it’s obviously different from the pavement color.

    Regarding the sensors – the bike box is shorter than a car length, and I’ve never seen one that covered both sensors. (Yes, there are almost always more than one.) That way a bike can trip the forward sensor, and cars can trip one or more farther back. The fron one is usually right up at the original stop line, so anyone that doesn’t pull within 4 feet or so of the line would miss it anyway.

    Finally…
    For those that want to have tabs for bikes, fine. Let’s charge by vehicle weight… A penny a pound…

    Comment by StephenHJ — 9:14 am November 26, 2012 #

  59. just cycled through the intersection this morning, there were 3 bikes total when I pedaled through. We all just used the bike lane and turned left when the light turned green. Cars turned on the inside of us heading North and nobody lost any commute time. There were about 10 cars in line and not one had a signal on to turn right so I don’t think cars were blocking each other at the time. It felt safer with a dedicated bike lane and helped move everyone along.

    Comment by TL — 9:28 am November 26, 2012 #

  60. I used this bike box this morning – it looks like the painting is not completed yet, thus the lack of additional white lines. Likely the crosswalk will also be repainted (badly needed).

    This was a good improvement. I had no problem getting into the box to make sure I could take a left turn without worrying about a driver behind me going straight/right.

    The driver behind me was super great, waited patiently behind the bike box while we both waited for a green light. Once the light turned green, I moved off quickly (generally, for those who don’t ride bikes much, bikes tend to be quick off the line) and moved to the right as soon as I could so drivers could move around me safely. This all slowed down a driver by what, 2-3 seconds, which they can immediately make up by a little accelerator action after they pass me.

    The green paint was not at all slippery, even with a light layer of frost on it. This is different paint than what they generally use for striping.

    VBD, I agree with most velo cyclist theories, but they don’t work for everyone. Just as non-velo infrastructure doesn’t work for everyone either. We are lucky in Seattle that as cyclists, we are not required to use the bicycle-specific infrastructure if we don’t want to. Thus, you can ignore it.

    Comment by Al — 9:34 am November 26, 2012 #

  61. I’d just like to give shout out of Thank you and a BRAVO to the WSB team for their exceptional work keeping the WS community informed and provide a format for community discussion. I agree that generalized “hate speak” is unproductive, but encourage WSB to continue to inform then allow this community to speak out and publish opinions/comments critical of and in support of “politically correct” trends impacting West Seattle…especially those related to “Hot” issues” such as transportation and commercial/apartment developments planned. I also encourage all WS residents to frequently read the WSB, as, for instance, WSB warned us about the change in the building code to allow the the building of the curent 70+’ monstrocities currently planned, but I missed it, and WSB was surprised that noone seemed to care at the time. I was shocked to learn that the intent to place $10,000 each Bike Boxes has been discussed for almost two years, but I missed it, so my bad. I also did not know the DNDC held meetings to discuss the implementation of this box, but probably missed the WSB notice. I trust WSB to inform us about any additional boxes planned for WS so the community will have a better chance to chime in and state their opinion. We know we can’t have all growth/change decisions fall all our way, but it reduces hate and frustration not to feel sideswiped by DNDC or whomever by being forewarned. Thanks again for your work to this end, WSB. There is a PDF on the web authorizing the “Boxes” with names and phone numbers of those responsible. Is there a way to “Donate” to WSB other than supporting sponsors?

    Comment by GetReal — 9:41 am November 26, 2012 #

  62. GR, we do have a PayPal link on a light-blue box reading “Support WSB” toward the bottom of the sidebar. That’s mostly a holdover from just before this became a business five years ago (we had a one-day donation drive in August 2007 that resulted in a bit of seed money we used to buy our business licenses, a phone, a video camera …) and we don’t promote it, but it’s there. WSB is a for-profit business (LLC) but we keep reinvesting back into resources – staff, equipment, etc. – and the community (when we say something is co-sponsored by us, it means we have donated money and/or advertising space to the event/organization – being able to support the community in that way, like so many other small local businesses have done since time immemorial, is something we greatly enjoy). Anyway, thank you so much for your participation and kind words. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:58 am November 26, 2012 #

  63. Idiotic waste of money.

    Comment by OP — 9:59 am November 26, 2012 #

  64. And a note to AI – Patrick and I just went over to have a look, and there is a crew working on the other side of the intersection so I think the observations that it’s not complete there are correct. I have my list of questions out to SDOT but they appear to be still ramping back up after the holiday (two of three addressees bounced with Out of Office messages) so I don’t know if we’ll get answers before tomorrow – seems a fair amount of the business and government world is out today too, SDOT’s not the only place I’m getting O-o-O’s … TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:03 am November 26, 2012 #

  65. This is SO dumb. What is wrong with Seattle???

    Comment by A — 10:16 am November 26, 2012 #

  66. So if we get a new mayor can we change some of the streets back to working streets? I’m serious – can a Mayor with a different view of traffic change things to their liking?

    I think these boxes are dangerous because bikes often fly out of nowhere simply because they can (running red lights etc).

    What if the light is green and you attempt your (once free) right turn and a bicyclist comes out of nowhere at 60 mph in the green box and you hit them while turning?

    Are traffic laws are being affected by these things too? Or do bikes have the right of way no matter how they govern their bike?

    Personally I think its great people are commuting via bike. However, I have a problem with the tone of the changes. If the goal of ALL the citywide changes. We are in cars not because we want to create traffic and hurt the environment its just simple the cold weather and climate (darkness) don’t make it easy for everyone to hop on bikes especially mothers with children. It’s just not safe.

    Comment by 2cents — 10:32 am November 26, 2012 #

  67. VBD, please bear in mind that as an experienced vehicular cyclist, you are in a distinct minority among bike riders. The vast majority of riders do not have the skill or experience to comfortably take the lane and ride as if they were a motor vehicle, nor do they want to. Does that mean that we should ignore their needs, and allow them to be killed or forced to stop riding?

    As numerous studies have shown in recent years, cyclists are safer when effective infrastructure is in place, reducing collision and injury rates for all road users. Vehicular cycling — and yes, I know you did not use the term, but it is clearly what you are referring to — is an effective tool for confident cyclists where there is no cycling infrastructure, but it is no replacement for good bikeways and tools such as bike boxes that improve safety for all riders, rather than just the most confident.

    And for some of the more vehement anti-bike commenters, how exactly does trying to save the lives and protect the safety of bike riders equate to a “war on cars?” Everyone who uses the roadways has a right to return home safely, and no one group has a priority right to the road.

    We’re all just people trying to get back to our loved ones in one piece.

    Comment by bikinginla — 11:03 am November 26, 2012 #

  68. This is such a bad idea. This will really slow traffic at the light when it’s backed up, the light turns green, and the line starts moving out at a biker’s pace. If drivers don’t like bikers now, just wait! Also, is there an under-pavement electric loop here that activates a timer to change the light when a car is waiting? If so, a bike won’t trip that.

    Comment by JS — 11:11 am November 26, 2012 #

  69. @2cents – the presence of green paint does not change traffic laws. See Section 11.53.190 of the Seattle Municipal Code: drivers have always been required to yield to cyclists in bike lanes when turning right.

    I understand your frustration about feeling you have no alternative to driving. It’s true that not everybody is willing or able to ride a bike, take transit, or walk. But what if these sorts of improvements convince 5% or 10% of the OTHER people to use alternatives? That would make a huge difference for all of us, drivers included. That’s why I believe these sorts of improvements are in everybody’s best interest.

    Comment by Jake — 11:32 am November 26, 2012 #

  70. As noted a couple times earlier, that is one of the questions we have out to SDOT, on a long list of followups, as – aside from the linked-in-the-story briefing at DNDC two months ago – this appeared without specific advance notice. Lots of road work does, but this being the first of its kind, that was a little surprising, but since it’s apparently not entirely complete, perhaps some announcement or outreach is planned at a future date (that’s on my list of questions too).
    .
    And let me say it again for those who missed it a couple times earlier: This is NOT paid for by car tabs or gas tax. Most roads/road work is not. The Bridging the Gap Levy is listed as the funding for bike boxes (I am verifying THAT with SDOT too). That’s a property tax. Here is one breakdown of where road money comes from:
    .
    http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/we-all-pay-for-the-roads

    Comment by WSB — 11:36 am November 26, 2012 #

  71. Martha, I don’t think visitors will be confused at all–bike boxes are amazingly common and I’ve seen them in most major cities I’ve been to recently. If anything, Seattle’s behind the curve.
    .
    Also, wow. All this fuss over a few gallons of paint. If a bike going through an intersection marginally more slowly than a car is this aggravating, how on earth do you all manage the daily traffic cluster that is the West Seattle Bridge?

    Comment by datamuse — 11:42 am November 26, 2012 #

  72. as a follow up to the 10:03 comment.

    I think today’s SDOT work is actually to change the curb/sidewalk edge, in order to provide a better turning radius for Nucor’s trucks.

    Comment by sam-c — 12:02 pm November 26, 2012 #

  73. Thanks, WSB, for being so persistent in educating people on the source of road funds. I don’t have that kind of patience. And thanks for your moderation of this discussion.
    -
    Thanks to the other riders who pointed out how smoothly this actually works. No holdup for cars, because bikes simply move quickly to the shoulder, and reduced chance of a cyclist getting hit by someone in a car turning right or going straight. Why are some people so awful about things that keep cyclists safer? Why don’t you just imagine that that is your sister/brother/mother/friend on the bike? Are they worth an extra few second, if that?
    -
    I know we Americans are trained to think that we have the right to rule the road exclusively in our cars, but it ain’t true anymore. Now you have to share, like they do in other countries. Besides, you know who’s holding you up? The other 150,000 single-occupancy vehicles on the road. I’m nice to drivers; I wish they were more consistently considerate and safe toward me.

    Comment by Amalia — 12:03 pm November 26, 2012 #

  74. Datamuse – I just tried to ask the same question. I don’t get it either.

    Comment by Amalia — 12:04 pm November 26, 2012 #

  75. Are there any plans to change Avalon where it meets Fauntleroy (near Shakey’s and Groucho’s)? My heart goes out to the cyclists with the courtesy to get up on the sidewalk. It is NOT possible to give anyone three feet there. What can be done about this?

    Comment by WMF — 12:14 pm November 26, 2012 #

  76. Just got my tab renewal info in the mail.
    $3. Filing fee funds go to county in which fee is paid.
    $5. RTA tax
    $48. Gross Wt fee funds road, street highway maintenance and improvements.
    $20. Replacement plate fee for road, street and highway purposes.
    $4. Plate reflectivity fee funds road,street and highway maintenance and improvements.
    $20. Transportation Benefit District fee funds local transportation projects.
    $20. Congestion reduction charge funds King County Metro transit services.
    $5. Optional state park donation.

    So for my 1994 Mazda shortbed standard cab little pickup it cost $125.00 for tabs. Looks like there using some for road maintenance and improvements. Most work done on weekends by city workers is overtime.

    Comment by wetone — 12:25 pm November 26, 2012 #

  77. 2cents, cyclists do not always have the right of way. They have the right of way just like any other user of the road. If a cyclist is in the road (using any lane, including a bike lane) and they are in front of you, if you are coming up behind them in a vehicle (the definition of which includes a motorcycle, car, or even another bicycle), the right of way dictates that the overtaking vehicle must yield to the vehicle being overtaken (preventing people from ramming into slower vehicles from behind just because they are slower I presume). If you are driving a motor vehicle and are stopped at a light or a stop sign, then vehicles in the roadway that have the green or don’t have a stop sign, have the right of way, including cyclists. You have to wait for them to pass to make a safe intersection crossing or turn.

    It’s pretty simple really. For those of us that ride, it’s really not so scary. Sure, there are those people that don’t understand that slowing down for say 10-seconds or so before it’s safe to pass, pass too close, or ignore someone else’s right of way (I experience this driving too by the way, and many more people are killed or injured in their cars rather than on bikes per year in the good USofA); but the benefit is worth it. It’s only scary if you don’t understand it.

    Slowing down, exercising caution and patience benefits everyone.

    Comment by Al — 12:31 pm November 26, 2012 #

  78. JS — actually it was slower for cars before the change if bicycles lined up behind stopped vehicles during a red light. There is a slight hill there heading Eastbound, so bicycles would move slow with cars behind trying to get to the turn in time. Now cyclists have a lane so they’re not in the way of vehicles, and turning on the outside heading North gives cars plenty of room to turn on the inside right behind. This is much safer environment for cyclists and vehicles and allows better access for all.

    Comment by TL — 12:43 pm November 26, 2012 #

  79. Seattle has really gotten out of hand with their bike infrastructure. The real problem with bike safety is the lack of proper light/reflective devices biker carry. For example, Amsterdam will fine in excess of 50 euro if you do not have a working bike light lamp during dawn/dusk/night.

    I feel the best investment I have made is in a very bright LED bike lamp, and blinking small hanging blinking lights (the size of a key chain) I can hang on the top of my helmet and on the front of my jacket. How “lighted” I am as a biker has had a direct correlation with how many close calls I have had with cars.

    These green boxes are a horrible waste of money. I’ve lived in Amsterdam, Van BC, Portland etc and I think they have a much better idea of what really keeps bikers safe.

    These green boxes are a waste of money and should be spent on changing rider behavior and visibility first. More riders need to take responsibility for their and others safety.

    Invest $100 in some quality lights, it may save your life or someone else’s and we can use this money on something worthwhile.

    Comment by Alki561 — 1:13 pm November 26, 2012 #

  80. For those who love the boxes, great. But I still think they add as many problems as they solve. There are several cases where the addition of bike boxes have increased accidents. Some references:

    http://seattlebikeblog.com/2012/10/16/pdx-study-downhill-bike-boxes-may-increase-collisions/

    http://labreform.org/blunders/b5.html

    http://www.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2012/10/16/city-finds-bike-boxes-may-actually-increase-crashes

    Comment by VBD — 2:35 pm November 26, 2012 #

  81. It’s true that some bike riders don’t pay taxes to use the roads–the same ones who don’t pay taxes for schools, but go to school, because they’re children. Should we not have schools, because they don’t pay taxes for them? Pretty much any other bike rider you care to name pays plenty in taxes for the roads they use. Take a look at the transportation budget:

    http://www.seattle.gov/financedepartment/1217adoptedcip/documents/TRANSPORTATION.pdf

    The vehicle and gas taxes are included under “Other”, which includes non-vehicle-related taxes such as property taxes. Total, it comes to less than 1/3 of the funding–so, even the few bicycle riders who don’t own cars are paying quite a substantial chunk of the total. Considering the wear and tear a bicycle puts on the roads, it seems to me they’re the ones subsidizing those of us who only use cars.

    Perhaps someone can be more precise than I with the figures.

    Comment by J — 2:53 pm November 26, 2012 #

  82. @VBD – note that your first and third link show increased accidents in *downhill* bike boxes; flat and uphill boxes, like the one on Andover, had slightly decreased collision rates (though the statistical significance of those numbers is arguable). The second link is interesting, but doesn’t mention bike boxes at all.

    I think you’re right to question the folk-wisdom that these improvements necessarily lead to safer streets, but I don’t think any current studies call this particular infrastructure improvement into question.

    Comment by Jake — 3:00 pm November 26, 2012 #

  83. According to that SDOT webpage, one of the reasons for the “bike boxes” is “…to help cyclists avoid breathing vehicle fumes.” You have got to be kidding me.

    Comment by Nick — 3:00 pm November 26, 2012 #

  84. Thanks to WSB to moderating comments and keeping this a civil discussion.
    .
    Here’s a 1-minute video clip from this morning’s commute (11/26/2012, ~8:30 AM) showing how the green bike box works:
    .
    https://vimeo.com/54320173
    .
    My timing was perfect this morning for this video. I appreciate not having to wait behind (or next to) vehicles here and breathe exhaust fumes. I hope this bike box facility brings more awareness for everyone at this intersection.
    .
    In the video I show that there was less than a 30-second delay for the 2nd vehicle in getting through the light. Could have been due to 2 people on bikes (both turning left) and the 1st vehicle going straight. I completed my turn and was in the right-hand lane on Delridge within 6 seconds.
    .
    The West Seattle bicycling community is attending public meetings with SDOT on a regular basis and providing inputs for making it safe for cyclists. I certainly encourage every road user to attend these meetings and provide input. We want to work with everyone in the community to make it safe.
    .
    Upcoming SDOT meetings are posted online:
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster.htm
    .
    We look forward to seeing more people attend and provide inputs!

    Comment by Jeff — 3:29 pm November 26, 2012 #

  85. Thank you, Jeff. We had a conflict this morning and could not go take a look at the commute – by the time we got by (for some photos I am still holding while waiting for SDOT’s answers to our followup questions) there were no bicyclists in sight – too late in the commute. If your video is embeddable, I can use it in that forthcoming followup. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:37 pm November 26, 2012 #

  86. We’ve had these down in Portland for years. All the negative comments I see here are the same as those that were said about the first one in Portland.

    The reality is that they’ve made things safer and traffic flows smoother and faster. Right hooks of cars into bicyclists are the number one car/bike accident, and these have helped to reduce that issue.

    I would like to point out that forcing bicyclists to have separate tags, taxes, or licenses has been looked at and discarded by many cities around the US already. The reason? The potential money collected is less then what it would cost to collect it.

    Comment by Rick Hamell — 4:03 pm November 26, 2012 #

  87. I hope everyone watches Jeff’s video! It explains very clearly how to use the box as well as how quickly a bicyclist is now able to clear the intersection.

    Comment by Leah — 4:06 pm November 26, 2012 #

  88. 10 years of bike commuting downtown from West Seattle and that turn has always been the most awkward. When the trucks turning left loaded with steel are added, it gets more interesting. those things are SLLLOOWWW.The video posted by Jeff is great. Six seconds from green light to the bike being all the way to the right on Delridge. Six seconds.

    Comment by Blinkyjoe — 4:45 pm November 26, 2012 #

  89. I’m certainly glad I could show people this new bike box and the intent on how it gets used.
    .
    The embed code for the video is…
    .


    .
    I appreciate WSB’s continued coverage and support of things like this. I also appreciate the number of responses to this post, since it shows people are becoming more aware of those who choose to use a bike for transportation.
    .
    I encourage anyone wishing to know more about cycling around our great community to contact West Seattle Bike Connections and ask how we do it. Some of us would be excited to take you on a tour by bike and show you how to connect to various places, and also show how much safer these connections could be with different infrastructure in place.
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/WestSeattleBikeConnections

    Comment by Jeff — 4:57 pm November 26, 2012 #

  90. Jeff – the code didn’t come thru and I don’t see it in your comment. Just watched the video and I will have a story later tonight with the SDOT answers, would love to include it (either enable embedding or e-mail me the code at editor@westseattleblog.com ?). We often do dashcam with newly opened roads but absolutely could not have done this – I haven’t been on a bicycle in many years. Thanks!

    Comment by WSB — 5:03 pm November 26, 2012 #

  91. Thanks for the video, Jeff! Great demo of how it works in real life. Glad to see these bike boxes finally popping up.

    Comment by Yardvark — 5:28 pm November 26, 2012 #

  92. VBD, Thank you for the links to the ever increasing realization that the bike boxes often increase danger to bikers as well as the harm to traffic flow for motorists. There are many more similar articles from all over the world. Here’s what the SDOT page says about procedures for autos who want to turn right and why I think these boxes are super dangerous:
    “Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right, especially in the green bike lane in the intersection.” Ergo, an auto driver who wants to turn right initially has to wait in the auto lane until the light turns green. Then the auto has to move into the green bike box and hope that some biker isn’t entering the box as the auto suddenly moves right on a green light into the green box. Few bikers have proper lights as mentioned above by the former Amsterdam resident above. With our dark and rainy weather I forsee the increased probability of letahal collisions. I guess it will help the economy of the legal profession; but those who chirp about increased safety are not honest and/or are not thinking clearly.

    Comment by GetReal — 5:28 pm November 26, 2012 #

  93. Is there an SMC or RCW describing actions that each vehicle takes when there is a bike box at an intersection? Otherwise, I don’t see how the actions cars are being asked to do (stay behind the green box) are enforceable.

    Comment by Chris — 5:28 pm November 26, 2012 #

  94. Email sent to WSB editor with video embed code.
    .
    Seems like more signage is needed at the intersection letting automobiles know what they should do. Especially since this is new to a lot of people. Here’s the link with more info (again):
    .
    http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/transportation/bikeboxes.htm
    .
    The sign on Seattle’s website about bike boxes might just be perfect!

    Comment by Jeff — 5:41 pm November 26, 2012 #

  95. I wonder why a few people keep posting that “few” cyclists don’t wear proper lights when it’s clearly not true. Maybe because they lack any argument of substance. Non-cyclists are not in any position to judge bike facilities, particularly if they refuse to listen to the cyclists, who may actually know what they’re talking about.
    .
    Yeah, some people can’t bike for whatever reason, but it shouldn’t prevent them from learning why encouraging cycling is a good thing. Even if, god forbid, it doesn’t benefit THEM directly (although it really does, if they’re a car commuter).
    .
    Again, thanks to the blog for good reporting and being a voice of reason.

    Comment by Amalia — 6:43 pm November 26, 2012 #

  96. @Chris, good question about how the bike box can be legally enforceable – the enforcement hinges on the “stop line” at an intersection. Drivers must stop behind the big white stop line at intersections. This line will be installed at the rear of the bike box. It’s the same type of line that is installed behind crosswalks, over which a vehicle is not legally allowed to cross. The SMC lays it out pretty clearly.

    *

    SMC 11.50.140 Steady circular red signal.
    Vehicle operators facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a
    clearly marked stop line…

    *

    SMC 11.50.150 Steady red arrow signal.
    Vehicle operators facing a steady red arrow indication may not enter…shall stop at a clearly marked stop line…

    Comment by West Seattle Bike Connections — 7:31 pm November 26, 2012 #

  97. Great! another traffic creating invention by the worst city planners in the world

    Comment by trafficcentral — 7:35 pm November 26, 2012 #

  98. Apparently, I am in the minority by suggesting these boxes are unnecessary and in SOME cases can make things worse. I can accept the democratic process. In with the boxes!!

    But I still insist that the best safety plan is to get good at riding your bike. Nobody would approve an idea like letting just anybody drive a car with no skill or training. But apparently the lousy bike riders who can’t keep up with basic intersection rules are more than welcome to be on the road at rush hour.

    There are plenty of rider clinics around and fitness classes where you can develop the knowledge and fitness to negotiate nearly any traffic situation. If more riders learned HOW to ride on the road, we wouldn’t need to spend so much money for accommodation. Check out Cycle U.

    I’ve lived in Seattle 40 years and ride my bike everywhere. I have never had a problem finding safe routes around town- even in the days before bike lanes. In fact, I tend to avoid bike lanes, since so many around here have parking strips next to them. Opening car doors are my #1 concern (the routes that are separate, like the lane over the low bridge is great, though). I tend to select quieter routes without lanes, and ride with the flow of traffic when I’m able. I always hold my place behind cars at intersections and take my turn stopping. I rarely have problems, and find nearly all drivers courteous and appreciative. Following the same rules the cars follow, and riding confidently and quickly will alleviate most of the car/bike issues.

    Comment by VBD — 8:02 pm November 26, 2012 #

  99. this is a bike thoroughfare for commuters into downtown, generally a pretty competent bunch. I commute through here up the hill and watch for cyclists making a turn from the right side of the lane; its pretty dangerous (to bikers) for those drivers unfamiliar with the flow here. to add difficulty this is the truck route for the steel plant to the northwest; massive truck traffic moves throughout the day. Theres often a line to make a left here; its a big car commuter route too. Bikes wanna jump the line and I don’t blame them as it’s a wide lane. But to be safe, bikes need to take the entire lane with the cars and wait their turn. A fancy paint job is not going to help mend your broken bones (car collision) or console your family (truck collision). Do the right thing, take the lane!

    Comment by resident — 8:20 pm November 26, 2012 #

  100. VDB, are you purposely being obstinate? Do not you realize that not everyone can get as fit as you demand they be? Congratulations to you for being fit and brave enough, and gee, just all-round superfantastic, to practice vehicular riding. But you are not the only one out there. I hope you decide to stop lecturing and try to see the cycling reality from all points of view.

    Comment by Amalia — 8:20 pm November 26, 2012 #

  101. Don’t really understand what all the commotion is about. Yes, it’s a difficult turn for cyclists.But as with all others, if you take the correct precautions, not really an issue. Take the lane in front of the vehicle behind you, and signal to make your intentions known. I use it every day, and have yet to have a problem.

    Comment by Keith Zeller — 8:57 pm November 26, 2012 #

  102. Here is a video was created for SDOT by Max Hohlbein and Revolution Studios as part of The Art Institute of Seattle’s Winter Quarter 2012 Video Production Class, explaining how to use a green bicycle lane/box from the view of a bicycle rider and a driver. http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeprogram.htm – scroll to the bottom of the page to view it.

    Comment by sara — 9:56 pm November 26, 2012 #

  103. Three issues I had at this intersection when waiting behind traffic was: (1) that I’d sometimes miss the signal because of inattentive drivers if I was 5+ vehicles from the light, (2) that I’d make the vehicle behind me miss the light because I’m not fast enough to accelerate uphill and get through the intersection, and (3) that I wasn’t fond of sometimes inhaling exhaust fumes for 7+ minutes if I had to sit at the signal twice.
    .
    Riding up the sidewalk and using the cross walk was faster, since I could cross Delridge using the pedestrian signal and then cross Andover almost immediately.
    .
    Now this bike box brings awareness to the intersection and (hopefully) promotes “good samaritan” usage where “enforcement” is not needed. I would also argue that installing these types of facilities should encourage cycling for everyone who wants to.
    .
    One recommendation might be to paint a dashed turn-lane for bikes to follow when turning. This might be helpful for drivers to use as well so they can turn alongside with cyclists, rather than wait. I encourage more recommendations like this from non-cyclists at the Bike Master Plan meetings.

    Comment by Jeff — 10:40 pm November 26, 2012 #

  104. I guess I don’t understand why there are a separate set of rules for bicycles. Why don’t they have to get in line behind the other cars to turn left. When there are different rules for different vehicles how is anyone supposed to predict vehicular behavior and travel defensively?

    Comment by WSTroll — 12:47 am November 27, 2012 #

  105. Jeff, great idea on the line. Cars already turn alongside cyclists, but some cyclists (and drivers) might feel safer with a line there.

    Comment by Amalia — 6:27 am November 27, 2012 #

  106. Read several different studies from other parts of the country and world. From what I read was most areas that implemented the green box idea. Said it did not work as planed. They found that education was #1 of bike riders and vehicle drivers. For some reason Seattle does things different . Whether it is the people in charge or ? Hopefully this does not turn out to be a disaster.

    Comment by Wetone — 9:10 am November 27, 2012 #

  107. WSTroll, I do get in line behind other cars, and then drivers gripe about the extra five seconds it takes to get through the intersection, just as if they weren’t about to sit in traffic on the freeway. I mean geez, make up your minds.
    .
    The prevailing evidence so far shows that in point of fact, separate routes and infrastructures for cars, bicycles, and foot traffic is safest and most efficient for all concerned. But that costs money so people will never go for it.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:44 am November 27, 2012 #

  108. I’m happy that the licensing fees for cyclists paid for this. Oh wait, they don’t pay licensing fees to use the road? I pay fees every year for road repair and updates. It’s about time the cyclist do too. And yes, I do frequently ride my bike to work. Willingly I would pay to have my bike licensed, not only to SHARE the fee but for theft purposes as well.
    SHARE the road means SHARE the cost.

    Comment by Truth Hurts — 3:00 pm November 27, 2012 #

  109. That is an erroneous belief. This actually was paid for by the Bridging the Gap property-tax levy, which has paid for many of the past few years’ road projects. Please see information higher up in this comment thread. If you’re going to suggest anyone didn’t pay for this, given that it’s a property-tax levy, it would be renters. Although certainly part of what they pay goes to the property taxes for the home/apartment they rent … so that wouldn’t be exactly true, either. TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:05 pm November 27, 2012 #

  110. Most bicyclists are not solely bicyclists. I’m a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a bus and water taxi rider and my family owns two cars. How can you generalize that bicyclists don’t pay taxes? An “us vs them” point of view isn’t productive for making Seattle a safer place for everyone.

    Comment by raincity — 9:33 pm November 27, 2012 #

  111. This news shocked me…and yes, I am usually well informed, read the paper daily, etc. But like many others, I missed this story, if it’s been told before. So thank you to TRACY (and everyone at WSB) for bringing us stories like this, following up with important questions, and having goddess-like patience to moderate with grace and equity.

    I’m distressed by two things and wondering about a third one. I would appreciate some answers.

    1. First, the pedestrian card: Are upgrades & maintenance for “pedestrian boxes” (aka CROSSWALKS) being neglected in defference to these new bike lanes and boxes?

    After a very tragic pedestrian death by car occurred in the crosswalk near Admiral around 48th a few years ago, the city did what should have been done long ago at that site. They proceeded to restripe the crosswalk, add several prominent signs (both roadside and overhead), provide orange flags for pedestrians, install flashing lights and and paint additional stop lines.

    Sadly, there’s another crosswalk about two blocks west which as far as I can tell, has had no attention paid to it by the city. The state of it reminds me of how the previously mentioned crosswalk looked before the city committed resources to fix things to improve safety. The lines are long faded so as to nearly be invisible. There are no “flags” for pedestrians, no flashing lights, no extra signage, no white stop lines.

    I cringe often passing by this spot. I have seen too many near-misses of vehicles and pedestrians than I can count. This long unpainted, non-maintained crosswalk is also on a near- blind curve. It is at a junction where 5 streets converge and where Metro buses turn south from Admiral daily.

    Could the $10,000 spent per “bike box” times an unknown number of bike boxes be spread out more evenly to improve pedestrian safety as well?

    2. Safety is really my #1 concern – for everyone. But safety requires education. Perhaps obvious, but true. What is SDOT’s and the City’s plan for informing, educating, indicating (with signs), and enforcing the new bike box “rules” of the road for both cars and bikes? Is there to be a vigorous PUBLIC EDUCATION effort? Will people who live in Seattle be asked to take refresher driving tests? And what about cyclists? How will they be informed? Are there new laws that accompany these boxes?

    3. Finally, what about all the increasingly-sighted skateboarders, longboarders, in-line skaters, joggers…whatever has wheels I guess…who have taken to using the bike lanes in WS, where they think they’re safe, even in dark clothing, at dusk, without lights or reflectors? I’m not the only one who’s noticed this, am I? Are they pedestrians (with right of way) or wheeled participants (who should follow all rules of the road)? One last question to ponder: WILL CYCLISTS ONE DAY HAVE TO CONTEND WITH SKATE-BOXES WITHIN THEIR BIKE BOXES?

    How can we find common ground so that all residents feel they can safely ambulate and transverse our city streets? Are boxes and stripes the answer?

    Thanks for reading.

    Comment by alki_me2 — 12:00 am November 28, 2012 #

  112. #2 is addressed in the followup we published today. Basically … no. They’re putting up a sign sometime.
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/followup-your-questions-sdots-answers-about-west-seattles-first-bike-box

    Comment by WSB — 12:10 am November 28, 2012 #

  113. Wow, that’s troubling. Making a change of this magnitude to traffic patterns & rules w/o a broad public education campaign could lead to serious problems. I’ll look at your update – thanks!!

    Comment by alki_me2 — 9:44 am November 28, 2012 #

  114. I’m so glad this story is here. I drove by and noticed this “bike box” for the first time today. I have never seen such a thing anywhere and was completely confused as to what the heck it was and how it is supposed to be used, etc. I’ll keep my opinion to myself since it will get me nowhere here, but I’m just really glad to have the end use explained! Hope they’re adding this kind of stuff to the driver’s ed curriculum. Bicycles were never even mentioned when I took drivers ed and that really wasn’t that many years ago.

    Comment by The Original MB — 2:58 pm December 3, 2012 #

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