SDOT Proposes Three Potential Options for Rainier Ave Safety Project

originally published in the Columbia City Source

Option 1b, showing protected bike lanes between Columbia and Hillman City

Last night’s packed meeting at the Columbia School was the current step in SDOT’s ongoing efforts to tackle Rainier Ave’s major safety problems. The meeting began by quickly establishing that Rainier has, without question, some alarming safety concerns and that the road is in dire need of some major rethinking and redesign.

In addition to some easy changes that can be made right away–lowering the speed limit through Columbia and Hillman city to 25mph (which got a big applause), re-timing pedestrian crosswalks (more applause), making sure lanes and signals are visible, etc.–SDOT proposed three different options for significant redesigns of Rainier Ave S:

Option 1A:

  • A road diet from S. Alaska to S. Henderson
  • Reduction from four lanes to two lanes…with a designated turning lane in the middle.

Option 1B:

  • Same as option 1A but with the addition of protected bike lanes between Columbia and Hillman City (the most involved and expensive option)

Option 2:

  • Essentially the same as option 1A but with designated transit lanes running intermittently the whole four-mile stretch. No bike lanes.

Although there are variations with separate benefits and limitations to each plan, all share essentially the same key features:

Reduce top collision types (left turns, sideswipe, parked car)

Lower vehicle speeds

Better conditions for people walking

Opportunities for new crossings

Improved efficiency

Easier turning movements – especially for large vehicles

The full presentation can be viewed here and, of course, SDOT’s slideshow goes into much more detail than the quick summaries provided above. To better understand the implications of each option, be sure to really explore the data provided and the ideas behind each proposal. Comments, questions, and concerns regarding each proposal were welcomed and addressed at the end of the meeting. Continued input from the community was encouraged.

The next meeting (addressing much of the same info that was provided tonight as well as some additional, specific information for areas of concern north of Hillman) will be:

Tuesday , March 3, 2015
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, The Ethiopian Community Center,
8323 Rainier Ave S

In the months to come, SDOT will continue to review and study the options, continue to seek out feedback and input from the community, and come back with a decision around May. From there, implementation will begin–which, depending on the decision, may be a very long process. Questions and comments about the proposals can be directed here:




2 thoughts on “SDOT Proposes Three Potential Options for Rainier Ave Safety Project”

  1. That area is a high crime area. We needs to have more patrol officers patrolling on Rainier Avenue. We live in a crime infessed neiborhood and like the patrol officiers to patrol more often. Their has been many burglaries, folks being afraid to leave their homes do to being harassed, purses being snatched, beaten down and robbed, as you see how many businesses are having to close the doors do to folks driving into their business. This needs to be addressed immediately. We have families to provide for and make a honest living. We strive so hard to make this community a better place and bring ethnic products into our neiborhoods. We serve not only African american we serve all ethnic cultures.