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Author Topic: Washington  (Read 18654 times)

nexus73

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Re: Washington
« Reply #175 on: June 30, 2017, 09:44:19 PM »

Yep, lived in Tacoma or Bellevue or someplace in between my whole life (almost 50 years). Pick away all you'd like. :-)

Alright, I like it!

Did you ever get to drive in downtown Tacoma pre-I-705? I have family in the area, but no one remembers what it was like before the freeway. I'm more curious to know if it was hellish trying to get into the city proper from I-5.

   Back in the mid '80's ('83 to '87 in particular) me and my dad were going to Spanaway Speedway pretty frequently and on MANY of those trips, especially the Sunday afternoon races, we would come up (from the PDX metro area, we lived in Oak Grove at the time) early in the morning and we drove all over the Seattle - Tacoma area. And we frequently drove into downtown Tacoma and would then follow Pacific Ave. all the way back out to Spanaway.

   Downtown Tacoma was a TOTAL third world Hell hole back then. It has recovered about 1,000,000% from how it was in those dark days. The SR 7 freeway was open between I-5 and So. 38th but north of I-5 there was nothing at all. The '60's era structures just dead ended into nothingness. Pacific Ave. from the south and Pacific Highway from Fife to Pacific Ave. were the main ways into downtown. As I recall SR 509 came in on the 11th St. Bridge. And no, it was not "Hellish" to try to get into downtown for the simple reason that almost nobody really had a reason to go there. It really was like a bombed out ghost town. That is probably why nobody in your family remembers it. Though there was a Salvation Army thrift store that used to have a LOTS of cool old maps that was on the side of the hill a few blocks west of Pacific in a particularly depressing neighborhood. (Among the gems I found in that particular store were a '50's era map of Europe that showed "Super Highways" and an Official 1959 Oregon State Centennial map that showed what is now I-5 through Salem as a "Super 2" called US 99 Bypass, the US 99 Baldock Freeway between Salem and Tigard and the US 30 Banfield Expressway between downtown and Fairview. Oh, how I wish I still had those!)

   I remember when they started building I-705. It was super exciting. Once in the late '80's when it was really beginning to take shape but not open yet, I even got to see it from the train tracks. (Me and my dad had ridden Amtrak up to Tacoma to pick up a car.) I also remember when they started converting SR 16 between the Nally Valley Viaduct and the Narrows Bridge to freeway. They did it in sections. And at first built just half of the freeway and crowded 4 lanes onto it. I remember that for what seemed like a long time after construction had begun there was still a signal near the stadium by the curve. The way I remember it, Highway 16 ran between the bridge and 6th Ave. by way of what Google Maps now calls Scott Pierson Trail. My memory is pretty foggy about the specific routing beyond 6th Ave. but I want to say that Pearl Street may have been used at least part way. (I would have to look at a map from back then though to know for sure.)

   One other thing I remember was how SR 167 was 2 lanes between SR 410 and SR 18. There were extra large Botts Dotts down the center with a solid yellow line on each side and passing was strictly prohibited.

   I could tell you a lot more stories about driving around the Puget Sound area in the '80's if you ever want to hear them. (But I got a LOT going on between now and the 4th so I probably will not be back online until the 5th, at least for any length of time.)

You can still find older maps online through eBay.  I have picked up a few at reasonable cost on that site.

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compdude787

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Re: Washington
« Reply #176 on: July 01, 2017, 12:16:40 AM »


   Downtown Tacoma was a TOTAL third world Hell hole back then. It has recovered about 1,000,000% from how it was in those dark days. The SR 7 freeway was open between I-5 and So. 38th but north of I-5 there was nothing at all. The '60's era structures just dead ended into nothingness. Pacific Ave. from the south and Pacific Highway from Fife to Pacific Ave. were the main ways into downtown. As I recall SR 509 came in on the 11th St. Bridge. And no, it was not "Hellish" to try to get into downtown for the simple reason that almost nobody really had a reason to go there. It really was like a bombed out ghost town. That is probably why nobody in your family remembers it.

Wow, I didn't know downtown Tacoma was such a hellhole back then. I do know that there used to be an Asarco smelter that really made the place smell terrible. Downtown Tacoma seems like a much more desirable place to go to now, simply because of things like the Tacoma Dome, the Chihuly Museum of Glass, and the LeMay car museum.

jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #177 on: July 01, 2017, 01:09:57 AM »

No, I don't recall it being particular difficult. Pacific Avenue was the main route into downtown from the freeway.
The SR 7 freeway was open between I-5 and So. 38th but north of I-5 there was nothing at all. The '60's era structures just dead ended into nothingness. Pacific Ave. from the south and Pacific Highway from Fife to Pacific Ave. were the main ways into downtown.

That was the impression I got from the various satellite images I could find online. It also looked like there was some one-way tomfoolery happening at the confluence of Pac Ave, S Tacoma Way, and S 26 St (with what appears to be either a triple or quadruple left turn):



I remember when they started building I-705. It was super exciting. Once in the late '80's when it was really beginning to take shape but not open yet, I even got to see it from the train tracks. (Me and my dad had ridden Amtrak up to Tacoma to pick up a car.)

You can actually see the construction of the 705 progressing on this new Google Earth time-lapse engine here: https://goo.gl/GE64Uk. Formerly, there was a gigantic aerial gap between 1980 and 1990. Only now can I actually see how and when work progressed (I get most of my info from aerial imagery).

It looks like clearing was finished by 1984, and construction started in 1985. The roadway appears to be mostly finished by 1988, though I don't believe the freeway actually opened until 1990. I can't even begin to imagine how imposing it must have looked, compared to what used to be there (nothing except hillside and train tracks, I believe). Nonetheless, I do believe the freeway has been a boon for the city (particularly parts north), and I'm glad the money for its construction was eventually secured.

I do know that there used to be an Asarco smelter that really made the place smell terrible.

You still get a smell from time to time, but it originates at the pulp mill in the port. I'm not sure that the smelter had much of a smell (though it certainly left its mark in other ways (ground and water pollution chiefly)).

As far as SR-16 goes, the diagonal part between Cheney Stadium and 6th Avenue was called Bantz Blvd. There were stoplights at Center Street, South 19th Street and South 12th Street. From Bantz, 6th Avenue was SR-16 until it turned toward the bridge on what was then called Olympic Blvd. During the mid to late 80's, Bantz was upgraded to a freeway and the new freeway alignment north of 6th on Highland Hill was built. The last stoplight was removed with the opening of the 19th/Orchard interchange in 1991.

There's some pretty good imagery of that routing on Historic Aerials: https://goo.gl/mVQhDJ

Until the freeway alignment, it looks like there was quite a few odd intersections. A couple of five-way intersections, a couple wye's...doesn't look like fun trying to get to the bridge.

Any idea how did that intersection at 19th/Orchard operated? The images from later years seem to indicate that lefts were permitted off of 16, but not 19th.

Here's an image from 1959 (courtesy Tacoma Public Library) of Olympic Blvd from the Narrows to 6th Ave. Looks like the major movement was definitely between the bridge and 6th Ave:



One other thing I remember was how SR 167 was 2 lanes between SR 410 and SR 18. There were extra large Botts Dotts down the center with a solid yellow line on each side and passing was strictly prohibited.

That's a stretch I drive with alarming regularity, and it's also a stretch that I can't imagine ever being two lanes. It's crazy how busy it is now. It must have been wicked busy for WSDOT not to allow passing. What was the speed limit?

I can tell from old images that an at-grade intersection existed at 32 St E (north of Sumner), which connected 167 to West Valley Hwy (old pavement still exists). Looks like it was quickly closed off when traffic become a burden. Surely, it was the last at-grade intersection, short of some odd movements in the 167/410/512 interchange area until the late 80s.

I could tell you a lot more stories about driving around the Puget Sound area in the '80's if you ever want to hear them. (But I got a LOT going on between now and the 4th so I probably will not be back online until the 5th, at least for any length of time.)

Do tell! But take your time. :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:15:15 AM by jakeroot »
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duaneu2

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Re: Washington
« Reply #178 on: July 01, 2017, 12:46:55 PM »



Any idea how did that intersection at 19th/Orchard operated? The images from later years seem to indicate that lefts were permitted off of 16, but not 19th.


[/quote]


Coming from the west, 19th turned to the right and continued south as Orchard Street. To continue east on 19th, you had to make a left turn onto a short segment between Orchard and Bantz. Left turns were allowed in all directions at the 19th & Bantz intersection. Orchard Street north of that intersection was only accessible from the highway westbound.



I can tell from old images that an at-grade intersection existed at 32 St E (north of Sumner), which connected 167 to West Valley Hwy (old pavement still exists). Looks like it was quickly closed off when traffic become a burden. Surely, it was the last at-grade intersection, short of some odd movements in the 167/410/512 interchange area until the late 80s.
[/quote]

In the 1970s, that was the end of the freeway coming north from Puyallup. The road suddenly made a 90 degree turn to the left and headed over to West Valley Highway. You then continued north on West Valley Highway and the freeway picked up again when you got to Auburn.
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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #179 on: July 02, 2017, 01:35:20 AM »

Any idea how did that intersection at 19th/Orchard operated? The images from later years seem to indicate that lefts were permitted off of 16, but not 19th.

Coming from the west, 19th turned to the right and continued south as Orchard Street. To continue east on 19th, you had to make a left turn onto a short segment between Orchard and Bantz. Left turns were allowed in all directions at the 19th & Bantz intersection. Orchard Street north of that intersection was only accessible from the highway westbound.

I'm sure that signal operated well... :-D WSDOT can't signalize a busy junction to save their lives. I'm glad I was born after the interchange was built.

I can tell from old images that an at-grade intersection existed at 32 St E (north of Sumner), which connected 167 to West Valley Hwy (old pavement still exists). Looks like it was quickly closed off when traffic become a burden. Surely, it was the last at-grade intersection, short of some odd movements in the 167/410/512 interchange area until the late 80s.

In the 1970s, that was the end of the freeway coming north from Puyallup. The road suddenly made a 90 degree turn to the left and headed over to West Valley Highway. You then continued north on West Valley Highway and the freeway picked up again when you got to Auburn.

End of the freeway, or end of the highway? From looking at historic aerials (unless the dates are wrong), the freeway segment only existed from the 512 interchange to the 410 interchange, even by 1980. On either side of those two interchanges, 167 was a two lane highway. Looking at the dirt in the 1980 aerials, it looks like the highway curved to the left at 32 St, where it would have connected into West Valley Highway (as you suggest).

By 1985, the freeway was built (from the north) all the way to just north of the Ellingson interchange (again, at least from what I can tell, assuming the aerial photos are correctly dated).

By 1990, the entire route from 512 to the 405 was freeway (the section west of 512 remained two lane until the late 90s, AFAICT).
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duaneu2

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Re: Washington
« Reply #180 on: July 02, 2017, 12:47:12 PM »




I can tell from old images that an at-grade intersection existed at 32 St E (north of Sumner), which connected 167 to West Valley Hwy (old pavement still exists). Looks like it was quickly closed off when traffic become a burden. Surely, it was the last at-grade intersection, short of some odd movements in the 167/410/512 interchange area until the late 80s.

In the 1970s, that was the end of the freeway coming north from Puyallup. The road suddenly made a 90 degree turn to the left and headed over to West Valley Highway. You then continued north on West Valley Highway and the freeway picked up again when you got to Auburn.

End of the freeway, or end of the highway? From looking at historic aerials (unless the dates are wrong), the freeway segment only existed from the 512 interchange to the 410 interchange, even by 1980. On either side of those two interchanges, 167 was a two lane highway. Looking at the dirt in the 1980 aerials, it looks like the highway curved to the left at 32 St, where it would have connected into West Valley Highway (as you suggest).

By 1985, the freeway was built (from the north) all the way to just north of the Ellingson interchange (again, at least from what I can tell, assuming the aerial photos are correctly dated).

By 1990, the entire route from 512 to the 405 was freeway (the section west of 512 remained two lane until the late 90s, AFAICT).

Not just suggesting, we drove it every week traveling from our home in Puyallup to my grandparents' in Bellevue. I believe it was just two lanes at the time.

We moved from Puyallup to Tacoma in 1977, so we didn't travel that section of road regularly after that.
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Bruce

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Re: Washington
« Reply #181 on: July 03, 2017, 02:46:14 AM »

To help with research, I suggest using a Seattle Public Library card and accessing the Seattle Times Archive, which includes articles from 1895 to 2017 (including full pages until 1985; and full text without images after that). The Times covered a lot of highway planning and construction, so if you can narrow down the year it's quite easy to get an exact result.

For example, this 1967 map of South Sound freeway proposals.

jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #182 on: July 03, 2017, 01:01:50 PM »

^^ thanks for the tip, Bruce. With the card, does that then allow you to access the Times archive online, or do you use the card to access the physical copies somewhere IRL? I assume the former, but I want to make sure.

It's funny to look at that map. It doesn't even seem like half of those routes make any sense. That E/W freeway through Kent seems to go straight up a hill, and the 99 Freeway seems to run right through an area that I recall being extremely hilly.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:14:43 PM by jakeroot »
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Bruce

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Re: Washington
« Reply #183 on: July 03, 2017, 04:07:10 PM »

^^ thanks for the tip, Bruce. With the card, does that then allow you to access the Times archive online, or do you use the card to access the physical copies somewhere IRL? I assume the former, but I want to make sure.

With the card, you can access it online. The physical copies are also at the library in microfilm format, but I've never bothered to check on them because the online archive is really good.

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Re: Washington
« Reply #184 on: July 11, 2017, 08:30:37 PM »

Part of the SR 520 West Approach Bridge North will open on Monday, mostly for traffic exiting at Lake Washington Blvd and Montlake Blvd. http://q13fox.com/2017/07/11/big-changes-to-520-bridge-arrive-monday/

New sign on SR 520, featuring the UW logo:

kkt

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Re: Washington
« Reply #185 on: July 12, 2017, 01:52:21 AM »

I hate that UW Logo.  Fine for the intercollegiate sports teams, but it just doesn't say "college" to me.  And it's ambiguous.  There are any number of colleges that begin with W.
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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #186 on: July 12, 2017, 10:09:45 AM »

I hate that UW Logo.  Fine for the intercollegiate sports teams, but it just doesn't say "college" to me.  And it's ambiguous.  There are any number of colleges that begin with W.

I had the same thought. If they just put up the husky logo, it would be too ambiguous. But, if they combined the husky logo with the W, it would look good.
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KEK Inc.

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Re: Washington
« Reply #187 on: July 21, 2017, 02:40:24 PM »

lol I haven't taken the 520 bridge since they raised the toll so it's no longer free between 11PM and 5AM. 
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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #188 on: July 21, 2017, 08:22:38 PM »

lol I haven't taken the 520 bridge since they raised the toll so it's no longer free between 11PM and 5AM.

It does surprise me that it was ever free at night. AFAIK, it's not a congestion charge/toll (although it seems work like that sometimes). It's a "bridge payoff" toll.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: Washington
« Reply #189 on: July 25, 2017, 09:25:26 PM »



What is with WSDOT's fascination with ending lanes after an exit - why not an exit only lane?
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Bickendan

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Re: Washington
« Reply #190 on: July 25, 2017, 10:09:02 PM »

Supposedly they cause congestion as drivers merge left sooner than needed.
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mrsman

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Re: Washington
« Reply #191 on: July 26, 2017, 12:39:15 AM »

Supposedly they cause congestion as drivers merge left sooner than needed.

But I would think that doing this would cause more problems because people who can move over early will not do so and wait till later.  I would think that it will also make it harder for incoming traffic.  Presumably, right after an exit comes an entrance and then that lane ends.  So entering traffic will have to merge into a lane that ends and then merge again into the narrower freeway.  2 quick lane changes are more difficult than one.
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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #192 on: July 26, 2017, 02:04:22 PM »

Supposedly they cause congestion as drivers merge left sooner than needed.

But I would think that doing this would cause more problems because people who can move over early will not do so and wait till later.  I would think that it will also make it harder for incoming traffic.  Presumably, right after an exit comes an entrance and then that lane ends.  So entering traffic will have to merge into a lane that ends and then merge again into the narrower freeway.  2 quick lane changes are more difficult than one.

In my experience, exit-only lanes work best when there's two closely spaced entrance and exit ramps. Drivers use the lane to weave. This is not the case here. The right lane that would become an exit-only for Montlake (in the above image) has been a lane for many, many miles. Drivers would naturally avoid driving in the right lane if they are not exiting, in order to avoid getting stuck if through traffic suddenly slowed down. This is why merge lanes work so great. Traffic that does not merge early won't need to stop in the exit-only lane in order to merge in, if traffic is moving slowly. With a merge lane, they can just wait until the lane ends.

FWIW, regardless if it's a merge lane or an exit-only lane, drivers are free to merge as long as there's dashed lines. Merge lanes, however, allow more space to merge, and they prevent through traffic from flooding the non-exit-only lane.
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Alps

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Re: Washington
« Reply #193 on: July 26, 2017, 09:57:10 PM »

Prevailing traffic theory is that ending the lane after the exit is always better than a lane drop, if you can help it. I'm honestly fuzzy as to why, but I know that for example, they are doing that with I-280 WB at NJ 21 in the reconstruction. By moving the lane drop a few hundred feet downstream, they gained somewhere from 50-100 vehicles in capacity.
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nexus73

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Re: Washington
« Reply #194 on: July 27, 2017, 12:28:18 AM »

Prevailing traffic theory is that ending the lane after the exit is always better than a lane drop, if you can help it. I'm honestly fuzzy as to why, but I know that for example, they are doing that with I-280 WB at NJ 21 in the reconstruction. By moving the lane drop a few hundred feet downstream, they gained somewhere from 50-100 vehicles in capacity.

You'll see the same thing in Eugene on I-5 when the short 3-lane section drops to 2 lanes in each direction.  It's a good idea.

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Re: Washington
« Reply #195 on: August 08, 2017, 01:36:23 AM »

On a recent trip up to Tacoma, I noticed the concurrency of I-5 and US-12 has interesting signage I haven't seen elsewhere.  The shields are together on a large white sign (didn't get pictures).  The interstate shield is on the white background, not cut out.

Those signs replaced even more interesting signs, that had both the Interstate 5 and U.S. 12 shields against a BLUE (!!!) background.

Question: did the composite white-background sign feature the US 12 shield as a "cutout", with the shield outline as a black line, or did it employ a black background around the shield like a standard WA US stand-alone reassurance shield?  I don't recall seeing one of that particular type of "combos" the last time I was up there about 4 years ago -- the only ones I recall used a basic black background on which both the shields were located.
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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #196 on: August 10, 2017, 03:07:31 AM »

Some cool things going on at the Lynch Road/101 junction south of Shelton. Current intersection allows one car to wait in middle at a time, and there's quite a few conflicting movements. So WSDOT, finally, isn't ruining the intersection by installing a bunch of protected lefts or something. They actually have some cool stuff planned (see video below).

- SB turns onto Lynch Road will now occur earlier, merging onto the parallel Brewer Road several hundred yards north of the junction
- there will be a NB and SB acceleration lane
- traffic turning onto SB 101 need only look left now, since there will be an acceleration lane to merge onto SB 101, plus there won't be that SB left turn off 101.

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jakeroot

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Re: Washington
« Reply #197 on: August 10, 2017, 04:28:52 AM »

On a recent trip up to Tacoma, I noticed the concurrency of I-5 and US-12 has interesting signage I haven't seen elsewhere.  The shields are together on a large white sign (didn't get pictures).  The interstate shield is on the white background, not cut out.

Those signs replaced even more interesting signs, that had both the Interstate 5 and U.S. 12 shields against a BLUE (!!!) background.

Question: did the composite white-background sign feature the US 12 shield as a "cutout", with the shield outline as a black line, or did it employ a black background around the shield like a standard WA US stand-alone reassurance shield?  I don't recall seeing one of that particular type of "combos" the last time I was up there about 4 years ago -- the only ones I recall used a basic black background on which both the shields were located.

I can't seem to find any evidence of this combo both-on-blue reassurance assembly, but the SW region has had a couple variations of the now-common half white, half black unisign:

- blue-on-blue and white-on-white assembly (replaced, probably due to conflicting background colours): https://goo.gl/6zYkso
- blue-on-white and white-on-black assembly -- mostly standard [but with a gigantic border] (same location as above): https://goo.gl/Lxzpuz

Both of these signs are gone. Neither lasted very long for whatever reason.

If I can find an example of the sign that sp_redelectric describes, I will let you know.
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Re: Washington
« Reply #198 on: August 15, 2017, 08:14:20 PM »

Bothell's new "Multiway Boulevard" (Bothell Way, formerly SR 527) opens on August 24.

11 lanes, with double parking and tons of medians. Also sharrows. Truly a masterful torture device.

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Re: Washington
« Reply #199 on: August 15, 2017, 08:51:27 PM »

That is one of the most overdesigned road ways I have ever seen. That wide of ROW yet there's sharrows?! 🖕 Bothell.

I'd have put a two-way protected bike path up one side of the street, and maybe some back-in-only angle parking on the other. One of the phases would be a bike/ped scramble, where peds and bikes can go and cross in all directions. Keep turn lanes where necessary, but eliminate the center lane/median at intersections without left turns (narrow ROW).
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