City Proposes Lane Reconfiguration for NE 125th Street

There’s quite a bit of info on the proposed reconfiguration of NE 125th St below.  They will be holding an open house on Monday at the Lake City Library to get feedback.  I’ve also been reminded (separately, not by the city) that this is not connected to the 115th sidewalk project.  This is prioritized as part of the Bicycle Master Plan and the funding comes from those specific sources.  Also, it is cheap in the grand scheme of things since it only involves paint.  It’s not an either-or scenario or something where we could decide to move the money elsewhere.  I just wanted to make sure that was clear before there was any confusion.  Oh, and there are some fun pictures at the end which should give a better idea of what this will look like.

Community open house to be held July 26

SEATTLE — To reduce vehicle speeds and enhance safety for all roadway users, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is proposing to alter the lane configuration on NE 125th Street between Roosevelt Way NE and 35th Ave NE. SDOT will hold an open house to brief the community on the proposal and receive feedback on Monday, July 26, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Lake City Library, located at 12501 28th Ave NE.

The improvements are designed to reduce speeds and benefit everyone who uses the street, including commuters, truck drivers, bus passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. SDOT is proposing the following for NE 125th St:

  • Reconfiguring the motor vehicle travel lanes to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane
  • Improving pedestrian crossings
  • Installing bicycle lanes on both sides of the street
  • Improving major signalized intersections by creating right turn only lanes for vehicles (excluding  transit and bikes)

As average speeds are in excess of posted limits, this proposal will help address the speeding problem on NE 125th St. It will also make the roadway more accommodating for vulnerable users like pedestrians and bicyclists.

SDOT is interested in hearing from the public about these recommended changes. Comments can be submitted by e-mail to or by calling 206-684-7583. This project is part of the voter-approved Bridging the Gap transportation initiative.




4 comments to City Proposes Lane Reconfiguration for NE 125th Street

  • Carol Garrett

    I really am opposed to these changes. All it is going to do is create more traffic and back ups. Also neighborhood areas will be impacted as people are going to be looking for a way around the back up. Also all the bus traffic will create a problem as where are cars going to go waiting for the passenger drop off. People will be trying to go into the suicde lane and create more problems. If you want to improve foot crossing add more lites but you are never going to stop people from jay walking. Totally bad idea.
    And bikes need to obey the law of the road. Lot of them do not do that now so what is going to change????

  • Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the open house so I don’t have any official responses… But in terms of traffic they’ve been measuring it for a while to see the impact of these changes. And they’ve done changes like this in the past and it’s my understanding that it didn’t negatively impact traffic. I would think the turn lane would more than make up for the missing lane because both inside lanes in both directions often end up as turn lanes with the added bonus of people swerving around them and affecting traffic in the outside lanes.

    Oh, and because it’s an arterial I’ve heard that there are federal rules which can make putting in more lights difficult. And as for bikes obeying the law, I don’t think anybody is arguing otherwise. What is changing is they will have a lane to keep them out of traffic, especially going up a steep hill.

  • Eric

    Carol, these are the things I experience when driving on 125th: heavy speeding, erratic turning and lane changes, and difficulty in making left turns because of the speeding and having no turn lane.

    I think this change does a good job at remedying those 3 problems. In addition, it adds bike lanes. It does not, however, change the configuration of intersections like 15th, 30th, Lake City Way, and 35th. Most of the congestion at these intersections, and this change will neither increase nor decrease the congestion.

    Let me propose this to you regarding bicycling behavior. Irresponsible people will be irresponsible driving a car, riding a bicycling, or walking. Please assign the irresponsibility and lawlessness where it belongs: to people, not to “bikes”.

  • Erik B

    Thanks for all who comment here in a civil manner. Four things about me: I commute by bike all year around, I race bicycles, I like bike lanes and I’m a resident just a half block south of 125th. The issue of altering 125th involves three main arguments: a reduction of speeding, increasing safe access to the residential areas north and south of 125th and increasing safe passage across 125th for residents, pedestrians and bicycles.

    Here’s my take on these issues: First, cars “speed” down 125th (east of 15th) because it’s a steep downhill. The only reason that restricting traffic to one lane eastbound (downhill) will slow traffic is because traffic is in front of other traffic. Read this as a congestion argument. I believe the more consistent and defensible argument is one of law enforcement.

    Second, left-turn lanes help those turning left, but only if the oncoming lanes are clear. Restricting the current two lanes to one will require the single lane to handle more traffic. Will this help the cars turning left? Maybe, but only if you can convince people transiting between Lake City Way and I-5 to take some other route. Good luck.

    Third, and dear to my heart, bicycle safety. Very few commuter cyclists will use 125th westbound (the uphill) as a commute preference. Why should they? If you travel four to five blocks north on, say, 25th NE, and then head west, you’ll get to NE 15th without having to peddle up the 7% to 10% grades (these are Tour de France race grades!). I see many cyclist using 25th NE to head north – none of them chooses 125th. Sure, their decision is affected by traffic and lack of bike lanes, but by far the most compelling reason is the very steep grade of 125th. Please, bike commuters moving through this area, ensure that bicycle lanes or routes are established by actual and reasonable standards. To note, Sand Point Way (a bicycle route established by the City of Seattle) and NE 15th (especially in Shoreline) need some “official” connection, but using NE 125th as that connector completely ignores the fact of current usage.

    Here’s the big picture into which fits our small but wonderful North Seattle area: Two major thoroughfares, I-5 and Lake City Way (aka 522, a state highway) run parallel roughly from Northgate Way to 145th. Users of both use Northgate Way, 125th and 145th to get from one to the other, with the worst case time-frames being morning and evening rush hours. Short of removing access to I-5 from any three of these streets, people commuting from there (Seattle, roughly) to the northern suburbs east of I-5 will continue to use “our” residential area. There are two ways to affect change: First, and in our case, remove the exit from I-5 onto Ravenna/130th/125th. Furthermore, remove the “frontage road” that connects Ravenna/130th to 145th where traffic exits and enters I-5. In short, remove 125th as an option for the Lake City Way and I-5 commuters to access their way home and to work and we have a classic NIMBY solution to a very real issue.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>