Post Mortem on NE 125th St. Restriping

It’s been a couple of months since NE 125th St. was restriped to make a center turn lane and bike lanes. What do you think about it now?

Has it made it easier or harder to turn left? Easier or harder to cross as a pedestrian? Safer or not as a cyclist?

And has the traffic slowed to a safer speed? Is it more congested?

Give us your thoughts and observations.

23 comments to Post Mortem on NE 125th St. Restriping

  • Thomas Mercer

    I haven’t noticed any slow down at all. And it has been much easier to turn left. My impression is that it has been a success. The only issue I have is just west of Lake City Way where the transition goes from 2 lanes westbound to 1 is a little abrupt. Otherwise it seems like the road is working well and as it was designed to.

  • cindyri

    As a driver, the first time I drove the new configuration, I didn’t understand the transition Thomas Mercer mentioned–westbound on NE 125th, just west of Lake City Way. It should be much-better marked.

    As a cyclist, I’ve *really* appreciated having the bike lane and, especially, a turn lane for the hill climb.

    I’ve tried NE 115th and nearby alternatives. They’re knee-breakers.

    Thanks to those who supported the project!

  • Matt W

    Traffic is fine, much easier as a pedestrian to cross the street, seems calmer, no detectable problems driving it… Easier to take a left coming from 23rd on to 12th with the center lanes there. Nice work SDOT !

  • Calen K

    I’d call it a success, turning is much easier and traffic moves as smoothly as it ever did.

  • Rebecca Chan

    I’m just glad there is a bus only lane going east at 15th Avenue; the cars really line up around 5pm all the way down to almost Roosevelt Way. Still a problem with people driving down the middle turn lane too early to make a left on 15th. Some of them go too fast and have a shock when someone is trying to turn left on to 14th.

  • Nancy

    The change to the crosswalk light at 25th N.E. is unacceptable. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to get a green light to cross the street that many people are running across on the red light and are missing buses because they cannot get across. I even witnessed an extremely pregnant woman hustling across the street because she felt the light wasn’t working at all. (Which is also the case many times.) The traffic is so backed-up on 125th now that they have adjusted the lights to compensate and it is a problem for pedestrians.

  • As a bicyclist, I do not feel any safer than before. Some stripes painted on the street do not preclude my need to be vigilant and to ride defensively. The amount of bike traffic will never justify turning a 4-lane street into a 2-lane street and all the problems thus created.

    As a driver, I feel that the street is now more dangerous. The merging of the two lanes just east of Roosevelt is a potential accident-maker. Drivers will not slow down for those making right turns. Entering NE 125th during busy times is now almost impossible, since drivers are now waiting for light changes in long lines and are feeling less charitable when it comes to letting others enter the roadway. The center turning lane is an inefficient use of space and an accident producer. Some drivers drive slowly (5 mph under the limit) and some faster (5 mph over the limit) and everyone else at the limit on major arterials, and whenever possible, it is best to have separate lanes.

    The Mayor’s plan is (in my opinion) a “feel-good” waste of money and mismanagement of a densely-populated city’s roadways. I voted for him; I am a cyclist and an environmentalist. Sorry to disagree with all my fellow progressives here, but this SDOT program is a big mistake and I will work to reverse it when the Mayor is out of office.

  • Nancy, I could be remembering wrong but I think that light has always taken a long time. I don’t think they changed it based on this. Though it is something we could follow up with SDOT on.

    And Eric, the amount of bike traffic had nothing to do with the lane changes. It was a “bonus” of having extra space after adding the turn lane. It was not the point of the project. The problem was that a sizable amount of traffic wasn’t just going 5 mph over the limit. They were going well over that. And other methods of slowing down traffic were temporary, expensive, or ineffective. The car traffic is what SDOT used to justify the lane change.

    Personally, I think this has done a fantastic job of slowing down traffic to more reasonable speeds and making me feel safer in the area in whatever transportation I’m using. And it hasn’t created any massive slowdowns (below the speed limit at least) that I’ve noticed. I also think it handles left turns a LOT better, virtually eliminating the high level of swerving around stopped cars that was the norm before. I have seen times when the more steady stream of traffic can make turning ONTO 125th more difficult but I don’t think it’s a big problem compared to the benefits.

    I do agree with Thomas that the transition by Lake City Way could use some improvement though. It seems like it needs to be longer to handle the fact that there are two lanes of traffic piling up at the light beforehand.

  • I’m not a cyclist but have friends who are and am sympathetic to their safety. However,I’d have to agree with Eric, that for the most part, these changes have created only a false sense of safety. They have caused more congestion in the driving lanes, longer lines waiting for lights, which lead to driver impatience that may ultimately compromise biker safety. Instead of going to the left turn lane on 125th at 15th coming west and having to wait through a couple of lights, I now make left turns across traffic a few streets before the main intersection. That is less safe for me, other drivers, and bikers.

  • UrbanFarmerJosh

    My main beef is the amount of time it now takes to turn left (heading north)from 15th NE to NE 125th. I sat through two cycles of the left-turn light (only about 4 cars made it through the first cycle)and had to wait another 4 minutes before the light cycled through. I can understand if this was the case during rush hour, but this was at 11am on a Friday morning. Perhaps the east/west lights on NE 125th & 15th need to be tweaked?

  • Mark

    The light at 25th Ave definitely takes longer now. It used to be almost instantaneous. When I have my son in the car at busy times of the day, I’ve had him jump out to hit the crosswalk button because of the seemingly endless line of cars in one direction or other.
    I was, and still am, ambivalent about the change. It appears to have been a waste of time and money. Although if the sole goal was to slow traffic down, I suppose it was a success.

  • I should add that I’m sure that wasn’t the sole goal. But it was stressed many times that the primary goal was safety and that they weren’t doing this for the bike lanes.

  • Amy Wimmer

    I find it WAY more difficult to turn right onto 125th from side streets, probably for the reasons Eric stated. I’m glad there’s a left turn lane on 125th. Now I don’t feel guilty stopping cars behind me to get back on my side street (turning left).

    My big beef: why didn’t they take the opportunity to fix the pavement? With the lines in their current configuration I now am forced to drive (east) either partially IN the bike lane (I never see cyclists there) or on top of the incredibly bad pavement seam, with lo-o-o-o-ong potholes. It’s very frustrating.

  • Jilda

    Yes I agree the transitions from 2 to 1 lanes is confusing. Especially the one near Roosevelt where the main road bends. I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the time it takes to travel along 125th to and from Lake City. The backup is always at 30th and at Lake City where you have two sets of lights. But it was like that before and I haven’t noticed a big change either way.

    Turning left onto a side street is definitely easier and I no longer worry about getting rear-ended.I have to agree with Amy that turning right can take longer. (and about the pavement!!!!)

    The left had turn lights from 15th onto 125th seem to have always been ridiculously short.

  • Garth Ferber

    I like the changes. Traffic on 125th is closer to the speed limit hence safer, I can ride my bike up or down 125th which I do typically a couple or few times a week, and the left turn also generally increases the safety. The potholes in the previous curb lane going down 125th toward Lake City used to be dangerous to bicyclists but are now smooth.

  • Elly

    As a biker, I appreciated the bike lane on 125th, especially west of 15th, but the lane vanishes west of Roosevelt, and I’m usually going west in order to cross I-5 on the overpass.

    As a driver I don’t see much difference–traffic doesn’t seem greater, but cars don’t really go slower as far as I can tell. It would help if the road surface could be smoother (especially for bikes) and the lane markings weren’t muddled by the old lane divisions still showing.

    I don’t use the roads at rush hour, generally, so perhaps things are worse then, but the road doesn’t seem at all crowded.

  • Margaret

    The left-turn lane is wonderful! When I bike, I have never, ever felt safe making a left turn from 125th onto any side street. Now I do.

    I view the bike lanes as a step towards real road-sharing. We’re not there yet, and bikers must stay vigilant to keep safe, but the painted lanes are nudging everyone’s consciousness in the right direction.

    I’ve not noticed any difference in traffic flow when driving.

  • Renee

    I spoke with a neighbor over the weekend who had been very opposed to the re-striping. She had been concerned about increased cut through traffic. To her good surprise, she now sees far less cut through traffic on her street.

  • Rachel

    The light on 15th NE at NE 125th going north and south is much longer on red than it has been for 25 years. This is the product of keeping the east/west light green for a much longer period of time. Don’t care for it much, sure backs up northbound traffic on 15th during rush hour.

  • Rachel

    May I also add, I rarely, and I mean RARELY if ever, see a cyclist on NE 125th and we have been in the neighborhood for 25 years.

  • Joe

    I do appreciate the center lane for turning. However, i think the side streets now need speed bumps to slow down the traffic avoiding the lights. 14th ave south of 125th routinely has traffic running in excess of 30mph and nearly triple the traffic. There are roughly half a dozen kids that play in the stress between 125th and 123rd.

    Does the city of seattle plan to complete a post change assessment of the revision? How much gas is being burned by the cars now lined up at the lights?

  • Eric

    Joe, someone from your block should get in contact with the neighborhood traffic calming program. It may be a long process, so you should start now.

  • Tim

    This has caused nothing but congestion in an already crowded and growing neighborhood. Haven’t seen any bike traffic along 125th yet but a lot of cars going nowhere and burning up gas. We didn’t need a center turning lane. The street is wide enough for 2 lanes of traffic each way WITH a center turn lane of 8 ft wide. Now they are putting in bike lanes on 15th ave? What for? So we can sit in traffic or avoid the congestion by speeding down the sidestreets and running over peoples cats. (yes- this happened because someone couldn’t stand the slow down). P.S. I’ve been a Pinehurst resident for 15 years and these lane restrictions only make a bad situation worse.

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