Many cyclists who travel northbound on E. Marginal / S. Alaskan encounter this detour near S. Alaskan and S. Massachusetts, at the south end of the Coast Guard facility.
While the detour is not mandatory, there’s no signage indicating this and some cyclists, especially those more averse to riding in the roadway, use the detour. The detour notoriously routes northbound cyclists against southbound traffic, basically creating a sanctioned Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) ‘bike salmon’ situation.
Even worse, now that the rainy season is starting, this section of ‘detour’ floods deeply when it rains, not only hiding an uneven road surface but forcing the detour users out into the busy street.
This not only effects southbound cyclists and pedestrians, who have to sometimes enter into the stream of traffic suddenly – if they are unaware of the flooding up ahead, hoping that a driver will slow to let a cyclist merge ahead of them – but those northbound cyclists who have followed the detour now have to ride in the actual southbound lane the wrong direction. The morning I took the flood pictures there was a constant stream of traffic (trucks, cars, delivery vans, 18-wheelers, etc.) and pedestrians and cyclists had to just hope that drivers were paying attention. We shouldn’t have to hope. If the City of Seattle wants to get the Greenways idea sold, then the basic bicycling infrastructure, even if it’s in a construction zone, and links to/from the infrastructure must be considered just as important. There’s no way to get those Interested but Concerned cyclists to the Greenways or new bike paths with problems like this.
UPDATE 10/21/11: Just spoke with Broch Bender of the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and she let me know that this area has had the drainage system updated and there will be barriers installed between the bike “path” and the roadway. Please post about your experience here if you have any comments about the changes.