Do you travel along NE 65th St between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE? You’re safer after the redesign, says our new evaluation report.

Do you travel along NE 65th St between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE? You’re safer after the redesign, says our new evaluation report.

Riding and waiting for the bus along NE 65th St. Photo Credit: SDOT

People traveling along NE 65th St needed improvements to enhance safety, and we delivered. Read the full report here.

After our redesign along the 1.5 mile stretch between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE: 

NE 65th St is an arterial street in northeast Seattle carrying thousands of people walking, rolling, biking, riding the bus, and driving every day. 

In 2021, the Northgate Link Extension and Roosevelt Link Light Rail Station will open, bringing even more activity to the corridor.  

Recently, significant traffic safety issues emerged along this growing corridor. From 2014-2018, four people lost their lives and five people were seriously injured in crashes on NE 65th St. More than 200 other crashes occurred during that period. 

Change was needed rapidly to make NE 65th St safer, and we worked in partnership with the community and former Councilmember Rob Johnson to #Fix65th. 

Throughout 2017-2018, we held community forums and drop-in sessions for the NE 65th Street Vision Zero Project, which supports Seattle’s larger Vision Zero goals to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030. 

We redesigned NE 65th St in the 1.5 mile stretch between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE. This map also shows collision data from 2012-2018. 

Our goals for the NE 65th St Redesign: 

Enhance safety for everyone by reducing crashes and injuries

Improve access to the future Roosevelt Link Light Rail Station for people walking, rolling, and biking 

Improve transit service and connections to the future Roosevelt Link Light Rail Station 

Person biking in the bike lane along NE 65th St. Another person is seen walking on the sidewalk.
Riding along NE 65th St. Photo Credit: SDOT

Ultimately, our project included: 

  • Redesigning NE 65th St: We made changes on the west end (from NE Ravenna Blvd to 20th Ave NE), and on the east end (from 20th Ave NE to 39th Ave NE). 
  • Making safety improvements: We lowered posted speed limits from 30 MPH to 25 MPH, installed pedestrian countdown timers and protected left turn phases at intersections with signals, added a new hardened centerline at Roosevelt Way NE, and repainted marked crosswalks.  
  • Creating shared transit stops: We made four bus stops accessible to all ages and abilities while meeting the challenge of working on a constrained street.
  • Improving transit travel times: There was consolidation of bus stops along the street. 

Our redesign focused on reducing the width and number of traffic lanes to accommodate other improvements, like adding protected bike lanes and center turn lanes.  

Before the project, there were a total of four travel lanes during peak hours (where two lanes served as parking during off-peak hours).

Now, along the west segment of NE 65th St, there are two travel lanes, a protected bike lane in each direction, and a center turn lane.  

We worked with King County Metro on a new shared transit stop design informed by guidance from National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and what other cities have done.  

Graphic of NE 65th St. shared stop design features. These include: a 6-foot curb, marked "peds wait clear of bike lane", bus flag, "look left" pavement markings, ped crossing (door zones), bus stop, tactile strip, slow line markings per SDOT, transition from street grade to sidewalk grade, markings per SDOT, and a protected bike lane.
NE 65th St shared stop design features. Image Credit: Derek Holmer, King County Metro 

This balanced our need to make bus stops accessible to all ages and abilities with the challenge of working in a constrained street. The shared stops on NE 65th St were the first of their kind to be built in Seattle.  

The four shared stops are located along NE 65th St at Oswego Pl NE, 8th Ave NE, 14th Ave NE, and 16th Ave NE. Here are the key features making it safer for both passengers and bikes: 

  • Buses do not have to cross over the bike lane to make a stop
  • The bike lane is raised to sidewalk level and located between the vehicle travel lane and sidewalk  
  • Transit passengers board and depart (“alight”) the bus by crossing over the bike lane at designated places
  • Bikes must yield to passengers boarding and alighting the bus 

The design and safety changes to NE 65th St significantly reduced collisions and expanded access for people walking, biking, and riding the bus.  

Person is seen crossing NE 65th St along 8th Ave NE.
Crossing NE 65th St along 8th Ave NE. Photo Credit: SDOT 

We compared 2019 findings related to traffic, speed, collisions, and travel times to data from 2017 and earlier. 

There were fewer collisions and injuries, and no fatal or severe injury collisions, in 2019. 
Notably, on the west segment of the project, there were no left turn collisions due to the addition of left turn lanes and protected left turn phases. Crashes involving pedestrians decreased by 67%, from 3 to 1 – also a result of the redesign and safety improvements. 
People drove slower.   On the east segment of the project, average speeds were even below the new 25 MPH speed limit. Across segments, the proportion of people speeding (going over 30 MPH) was also lower.    
There were more people walking and riding bikes overall.   The West segment with the new protected bike lane saw large increases in biking volume. The East segment saw decreases, likely because there was no bike lane, and the in-progress Wedgwood to Roosevelt Neighborhood Greenway is nearby on NE 68th St. 
Travel times were slightly longer.   On NE 65th St between NE Ravenna Blvd to 25th Ave NE, travel times were about 1-2 minutes longer by transit and 0-1 minutes longer by car. Increased travel time for cars is anticipated and acceptable, as the improvements we made prioritized people walking, rolling and biking. Transit travel now takes slightly longer because buses and cars share fewer full-time lanes (from four to two during peak hours). There is also new full-time parking on the East segment, a revised Route 62 schedule, and protected left turn phases – all of which can slow things down a little.   
The shared transit stop operated as intended.   There were no reported operational or safety issues (thanks to people walking, biking, and King County Metro!). Pedestrians mainly used the marked crosswalks to board or alight the bus, and didn’t wait or walk in the bike lane. Almost all people biking rode in the bike lane – not the travel lane – through the stop. We didn’t see a bus ramp or accessible lift deployed on video during our observation period, but we’re keeping a close eye on video to make sure this design is working well for people of ages and abilities. 

This means we’re moving in the right direction. Not only have these improvements made people along NE 65th St safer, they’ll help support increased numbers of people walking, rolling, and biking when the Roosevelt Link Light Rail station opens next year. We’ll be watching closely to see how the redesign is working then!  

In the meantime, the success of these changes complement and helps inform other safety efforts in the community. 

  • There will be changes to and additional bike lanes to support travel across the Duwamish and mitigate the impact of the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure on people and communities. Recently, we refreshed bike lanes along East Marginal Way S


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