SDOT’s Bike Detours on 2nd Ave. Are Just One Joke After Another

Fool me once …

Before I begin: It is unequivocally great news that work is underway to turn the 2nd Avenue pilot bike lane into a permanent piece of infrastructure, which will incorporate more solid barriers between traffic and bikes and improve protection for bikers from cars turning into parking garages.

Seattle Bike Blog has a good rundown of what these improvements mean for Seattle.

Also, my story of woe could have been avoided had I been more on top of my bike route game and known to avoid the 2nd Avenue bike lanes all together. But I wasn’t, and I didn’t, which lead me today to think that the Seattle Department of Transportation hadn’t got memo that April Fool’s Day was over.

The issue was with the detours. In order to help bikers navigate the construction—which is extensive enough that no stretch of the path goes untouched but spotty enough that you can pick through it if you really want to—SDOT took some of its pedestrian detour signs and screwed a piece of wood reading “bike” over where the walking man silhouette usually is.

Nice gesture, but the so-called “detours” felt like a cruel joke.

At 2nd and Columbia, I was directed to take a detour east. Only Columbia is a one-way street going west.

I chose to ignore that advice and bike very slowly on the sidewalk in search of a better route. While I’m not sure I was supposed to, I was able to use the bike path for a few blocks until I hit another DO NOT ENTER sign, with another detour sign directing me up University.

Since that detour was with traffic, I went with it, hit another detour sign directing me to take a left on 3rd, and then another detour sign at 3rd and Union directing me back to 2nd.

This seemed to me like a classic one-block detour, and I figured that I’d be put back on a stretch of the bike path for its short remainder.

But no. It was just time for the punchline.

When I got to 2nd and Union:


I flipped it around and headed back Union, against traffic.

All I can say is at least I wasn’t riding a Pronto!

2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane. Photo by Daniel Person

2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane. Photo by Daniel Person

2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane. Photo by Daniel Person

2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane. Photo by Daniel Person