Seattle is turning a five-lane arterial into a complete street with new streetcars and a protected two-way cycle track.
By Jason Leach
Published December 03, 2013
No matter how many years pass and how many experts tell us to fix our insane urban expressways, there are still politicians who think they're a great idea and want to protect them.
...Ferguson, a rumoured mayoral candidate, said he hopes the study supports keeping existing one-way sections of Main, King and Cannon.
"Major arteries belong to the city, not to a particular neighbourhood," he said. "A lot of cities are spending a lot of money trying to fix congestion and gridlock. We seem to be spending money doing things that will create congestion."
Meanwhile, on Broadway in downtown Seattle, they're busy transforming a wide arterial into a complete street with a new streetcar and a two-way physically separated cycle track.
New configuration for Broadway (Image Credit: Seattle Times)
The project transforms Broadway from an ugly five-lane thoroughfare into this:
Broadway Cycle Track (Image Credit: SDOT Photos/Flickr)
This is a "major artery" that carries 23,500 cars a day, and presumably it belongs to the entire city of Seattle, not just to the local neighbourhood.
For a traffic volume comparison, Main Street in Hamilton carries 28,000 cars a day at Bay and 21,000 cars a day at Wellington. King Street carries 24,900 cars a day at Bay and 14,400 cars a day at Catharine. Cannon Street carries just 16,700 cars a day at Mary.
Also, don't forget that Broadway in Seattle is a) in Seattle, a mid-sized city with 635,000 people; b) in a dense downtown neighbourhood; and c) on a major artery. Also, they ran new streetcar tracks down the middle of the street, which means streetcars are regularly stopping in the live traffic lane to pick up and drop off passengers.
Hamilton has ample lane capacity to convert every downtown street into a complete street and still allow for a safe flow of automobile traffic.
Downtown streets are not meant to be fast freeways for commuters. The sooner we fix them, the sooner our urban core will burst back to life.
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