Lawmakers concerned about Nickerson ‘road diet’

The 36th District lawmakers are raising concerns about the proposed “road diet” for Nickerson St.

During this morning’s Seattle City Council Transportation Committee hearing, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, and Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles stopped short of calling for the project to be killed. Other groups, such as the Cascade Bicycle Club, showed up in favor of the project.

Our sister site attended the meeting and has the entire write-up here.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

25 thoughts to “Lawmakers concerned about Nickerson ‘road diet’”

  1. This is good news. While I appreciate and am proud the vibrant and active bicycle rider community in Seattle, the reality is that far more people still use the car to commute to work.

    Good to see lawmakers voice their opinion on this matter.

  2. I don’t know all the specifics(and I’m an occasional bike rider so not a hater) but I would tend to agree…at least it seems the times I’m on that road during anything close to rush hour its very congested. Putting the road on a diet would just choke it even more.

  3. Thank you for linking to the study completed on Nickerson. Unfortunately, the lawmakers seemed to have not read that study, which includes data that Mary Lou Dickerson said would not be available until September.

  4. This isn’t bikes vs. cars. Bikes vs. cars would be if the diet proposal was bike lanes in both directions and no center turn lane.

    Bike lane aside, the center turn lane is going to take away a big source of frustration for drivers on Nickerson.

  5. gurple,
    If they took away the westward bike lane and eastward bike sharrows, I think that would remove much of the controversy, as well as resulting in a much safer ride for bicyclists as they rode the South Ship Canal trail from 11th Ave east.

  6. How do you get from the North side of Nickerson at 12th to the Ship Canal Trail?

    I’ve looked at it and while I will ride almost anything, I will NOT attempt that crossing at 12th.

    The real issue here is pedestrian safety and access. After a study a few years ago on safety, SDOT removed crosswalks on 4 lane roads that weren’t at stop lights. With a 3 lane road, we can add crosswalks back in again.

    Representative Dickerson (in this meeting) said that she looked at the statistics and saw only a few pedestrian injuries in a few years and that didn’t seem too bad.

    How many pedestrians need to go to the hospital before we fix this road?

  7. I have it on very good authority that there are people actively contemplating and consulting attorneys on a lawsuit to challenge the choking off of Nickerson traffic lanes.

  8. MS – I think you mean that crossing from the *south* side of Nickerson to the north (trail) side is the problem. I agree and think that the solution is a stoplight at (e.g.) 12th with a crosswalk, rather than dangerous restriping of Nickerson.

  9. The image tells you everything you need to know about traffic on Nickerson between 13th Ave W. and Warren. I’ve been driving this road for almost a decade and there is no traffic. Don’t confuse being the 7th car in one of two turn lanes to get over the Fremont Bridge congestion.

  10. It’s kind of funny that they are worried about access to a tunnel that will not be completed for maybe 6-7 years… if at all. Seems like by then they could add a few more thousand dollars to the billion or so spent and re-stripe the lanes again.

  11. Mondo – yes, you are right, try crossing from the south to the north at 12th. :)

    The crazy thing is that for the cost of just one 4-way stoplight, we can implement the entire road diet. Paint is really cheap. Stoplights are around $200,000 per intersection.

  12. Anyone notice in the picture that the centerline paint is worn off right where the road bends. This is because cars cross over the centerline all the time trying to negotiate that bend. It is just out right dangerous. A center turn lane would make a huge difference by creating a buffer between cars traveling opposite directions.changed by this road diet.

  13. The recent report on Stone Way showed major advantages of the road diet on that stretch. The two major choke points on the Nickerson corridor are when you approach the bridges. Westbound it already is only one lane from 13th to the Ballard bridge. Traveling east to the Fremont bridge, there already is only one lane traveling to Dexter and Westlake, two left turn lanes going over the bridge.

    The center section doesn’t have the congestion problems that the ends do and the center would actually be improved with a center turn lane. No longer would people be merging from one lane to the other to avoid people turning left, which is dangerous, especially on the curvy section. I used to live on Nickerson and have seen numerous accidents that could have been avoided.

    Not even considering the needs of bicycles, these changes should happen for the safety of drivers. Do it now, continue to study it, we can always change it back before the tunnel opens if it doesn’t work. Paint is cheap compared to human life and it is definitely worth a try with the successes we have had in other parts of the city.

  14. So SDOT did a full traffic analysis and determined that they will be able to maintain traffic flow while improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. A study done by professional traffic engineers none the less.

    But no, all of these opponents know better, so lets just listen to them. All the opponents are for “more cars, less bikes” neglecting to mention pedestrian safety was the major motivation for SDOT. But of course, it would be a lot harder to make a “more cars, less pedestrians” argument.

  15. You know what groups have one thing in common? Both car drivers and pedestrians both hate folks on bikes.

    Why is that? Because bikers have the least amount of respect for others, including themselves.

  16. They converted 24th NW to 2 lanes and the other day I got stuck behind a grandma doing only 30 mph all the up to 80th, I tailgated her and flashed my brights at her and couldn’t get her to move any faster. I was so angry I was pounding on my steering wheel. When I got home I first I threw all my toys out of the crib and then I had a big tantrum. It was just like the other day when I had to wait a full 80 or 90 seconds a cross walk while a man with a walker held me up. I poped a wheely after that and burned rubber for two blocks to make up for lost time. Son-of-a-bitch how much longer do we have to stand for these kind of outrages. I think it’s about time for a tea party movement to get some action out of the council or replace all the crooks in government and get them off our backs.

  17. Folks, please read the engineering studies. No one here is proposing to lower the capacity of the road!! The rechannelization will carry more people (the same number of cars plus more bikes). The road will be safer for *all* users (not just bikes, but pedestrians and cars also). It will be easier and more inviting to patronize businesses on Nickerson (imagine parking on one side of the street and needing to cross four lanes of speeding traffic to patronize a business on the other side). This is win-win-win. The only losers are those who insist on driving 45-55 mph on the street. I say that it is about time those folks just slowed down.

  18. Most cyclists are also pedestrians and drivers. Most drivers are also pedestrians, and many are cyclists. Most pedestrians are also drivers, and many are cyclists. These aren’t 3 totally separate and unique groups, so please keep that in mind. And it’s not rock paper scissors, when it comes to accidents between these: cars mostly win over bikes & peds, and bikes win over peds — that’s why peds & bikers have legit concerns about avoiding accidents with cars, and why drivers want peds & bikers out of danger.

  19. Tony Gumbrell – I know what you mean. You only have a few more weeks to burn some rubber and drive like mad on Nickerson. Looks like the road diet is going to happen. No more indy type moves when the person in front of you has to turn left – they’ll be getting in a turn lane and you’ll just have to stay in that one lane going the speed limit. Outrageous.

  20. I ride on this road often and there’s no issue whatsoever. This is another mayor Mike the Moron issue that isn’t. There’s plenty of room and no reason at all to put in bike lanes.

    Maybe if he could just spend a little time on something that matters..

  21. good question Tony. It’s like your need for speed isn’t even addressed here. A lot of this silly plan is about pedestrian safety, but the pedestrians in this area are mostly students. They don’t even pay taxes!

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