Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Broadway Bikeway is Open - But Broadway is Still Closed to Bikes

The first section of the Broadway Bikeway (or Cycle Track, or Protected Bike Lane) opened for bicycles over one month ago.  My friend and colleague Tom Fucoloro documented the opening with this video.  I rode up and down the Bikeway a few times myself, just to convince myself it was real.

One month later, this lovely facility remains pretty much devoid of bikes.  When I rode it yesterday, I saw just two other people in the Bikeway.  One person was riding a bike; the other was a woman in an SUV who had pulled over into the Bikeway to make a phone call.

Why is the Broadway Bikeway so underutilized?  I can think of a number of reasons:  it doesn't really go anywhere; it ends to the north before it reaches the most active commercial section of Broadway, and to the south it ends before it reaches Pill Hill.

But there's another deterrent to using the Bikeway:  nobody has bothered to take down all the signs that say Broadway is closed to bikes.

This sign is posted a couple blocks west of Broadway on the main bike route from downtown:

One block closer to Broadway, I'm instructed to use the sidewalk:

And when I finally get to Broadway, I'm given this confusing message:

The Broadway Bikeway is the most highly visible protected bike lane in Seattle.
Most people who walk, drive cars, ride buses or ride bikes on Capitol Hill have never seen a two-way protected bike path.  How are people supposed to know how to behave in this unfamiliar landscape?

In the world that I imagine, from the minute construction began, there would have been signs announcing that a new, world-class facility for bikes was soon to appear.  Bright banners on the construction wall along the Bikeway would have shown people how to drive, park, walk and ride bikes along the new Broadway. Instead, we just got detour notices, which nobody bothered to take down after the Bikeway opened.  

Please, somebody, take down those signs.  Or is it time for the Reasonably Polite Seattleites to take matters into their own hands?

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