Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not Dead! It's a Living End!

Some of the liveliest places for walking and biking in Seattle can be reached only by streets marked with big orange "Dead End" signs.  This is the entrance to the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail from the new Beacon Hill Greenway on 18th.  The paint on the street suggests there's something not so dead on that street, but the sign says "Dead End."

This elegant staircase connects Bellevue and Melrose on the west slope of Capitol Hill - poignant one-block reminder of the formerly grand East Harrison Hill Climb, which connected Capitol Hill with downtown.  How do you get there?  Ignore the "Dead End" sign at Bellevue and Republican.

Here's just one more example:  This is the entrance to the bike and pedestrian tunnel along I-90, part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway.  You can just make out the sign marking this major route for walking and biking; not nearly as obvious as the big "Dead End" sign as you enter the street.

One way to fix this would be to add little "except bicycles and pedestrians" signs; I've seen a few.

But I'd rather see something more positive.  A street isn't "dead" when people aren't allowed to drive cars on it.  Taking away car traffic makes the street come alive!  How about a big bright "Living End" sign, with a little warning for drivers saying "No Cars?"

1 comment:

  1. I love streets like this. I once thought about creating a map of exactly these kind of streets. I was going to call it "Street Ends" because that is the other sign you so often see. Fortunately (because I'm lazy) a lot of my work is unnecessary now. The website called Seattle Stairs ( has a great map of all stairways in Seattle. There is a very strong correlation between stairs like this and dead ends that are just fine for pedestrians. Google Maps by itself does a pretty good job of showing streets like this, which they display as a thin line (instead of a thick one, which is a regular road).