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SDOT puts brakes on controversial 35th Ave NE bike lane project

The original plan for a 35th Ave NE bike lane (SDOT)

Plans for a controversial bike lane on 35th Avenue Northeast will no longer go forward, according to a recent blog post from the Seattle Department of Transportation.

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This comes after months of negative feedback from residents of the neighborhood, where roughly 70 percent of businesses along the 35th Avenue Northeast corridor wrote to complain about the proposed bike lanes.

“In response to the feedback we heard about the design, and based on industry best practices, data analysis, and continued conversations with the community, we’ve chosen to move forward with a new design,” SDOT announced Tuesday.

The original project would have reduced a 2.3-mile stretch of 35th Ave NE through Wedgwood, Ravenna, and Bryant to one lane of traffic in either direction. It also would have replaced parking on the west side of the street with bike lanes, with select areas protected by three feet of buffer space.

The new design will be functionally similar, sans the addition of bike lanes: Between Northeast 47th and Northeast 89th Streets, parking on the west side — one of the biggest complaints from local businesses — will still be eliminated.

West side parking is being eliminated in that stretch to create space for a center turn lane.

Parking on both sides of the street will remain between Northeast 85th and Northeast 89th Streets.

According to SDOT, the decision was made largely in consideration for ADA parking spaces on the east side of 35th Ave NE, as well as to preserve “several existing loading zones.” Complaints from residents of the neighborhood had noted that those spaces were “critical for people with limited mobility that are attending services at the religious institutions on 35th.”

Opponents of the bike lanes have been vocal since they were first proposed, citing a lack of public approval before plans were set in motion to begin construction.

“The problem here is the dishonesty and the lack of transparency associated with this project,” said Gabe Galanda last April, a 35th Ave NE business owner and member of the “Save 35th Avenue” advocacy group.

SDOT anticipates construction with the updated design for 35th Ave — including final paving and striping — to resume this spring.

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