Locals ask the city to improve bike lanes on Ballard Bridge

A group of Ballardites is urging the city to make safety improvements to the Ballard Bridge. Spearheaded by Haley Woods from the Peddler Brewing Company, the group asks that the city use funds from a city transportation levy to widen the sidewalks, improve the barriers to reduce the risk of injury, and adjust the north and south exits to make the bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”As we all know the sidewalk is too narrow and dangerous, and therefore not many people can or do use the bridge as a crossing between Ballard and Interbay,” Woods says.

Woods recommends the following improvements:
1. Make the sidewalks wider. Woods recommends that the sidewalks be widened from 3.5 feet to 6-feet wide. She says this can be accomplished by taking one foot of lane width from the outside lane by removing the curb, and removing the current bulky outer railing and attaching a new railing on the outside of the bridge. Woods also recommends removing the cages around the stairwells in order to make space for cyclists.

2. Reduce the risk of injury. Woods recommends that the city install a higher railing to separate the outer lanes from the bike/pedestrian lane. She also says the speed limit should be reduced to 25 miles-per-hour, and painting designated lanes for bikes and pedestrians in each direction.

3. Make the north-end exit safer. Woods says the current 18-foot-wide exit lane off the bridge should be reduced to make more space for the bike lanes. She also recommends painting crossings on the roads directly after the exit lane, especially on NW 46th St. next to the Ballard Blocks.

4. Make the south-end exit safer. Woods recommends a number of changes to the south-end exit. Firstly, she suggests squaring up the interchange and adding a stop light to slow traffic. Additionally, she says the city should add protected bike lanes to Dravus Street and connect the bike path to the Ship Canal Trail. Lastly, she recommends removing the Emerson Street overpass because it poses a large safety hazard to trucks passing underneath, citing a 2014 accident that cost the city $5 million to repair. Recognizing the costs involved in the changes, Woods says the city could sell an adjacent parcel of land (shown in the video) in order to help pay for the safety improvements.

Woods says the improvements to the bridge could be made by using funds from the $900 million Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. “The levy needs to include investment to short-term improvements to the Ballard Bridge,” Woods says in her proposal. “Now that you know how to make it safer, let’s do it.”

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