The City of Mill Creek has received a number of requests over the years to provide additional bike lanes on city streets, especially along “the loop” of Village Green Drive and Mill Creek Boulevard. Because of budget constraints, this road project has not had a high enough priority to get funded.
At the request of a number of city councilmembers, Tom Gathmann, Mill Creek Public Works Director, presented a number of bike friendly road striping options at the March 11, 2014, city council meeting.
Gathmann said that a good time to add bike friendly striping to a number of Mill Creek’s streets would be after the upcoming overlay project in the late spring or early summer of this year.
The streets that will be resurfaced this year that could be restriped to be bike friendly are:
- Mill Creek Boulevard SE from Bothell-Everett Highway to Trillium Boulevard SE.
- Village Green Drive from Trillium Boulevard SE to the Fairwood Greens Condominium entrance near 21st Court SE.
- 148th Street SE from Village Green Drive to 35th Avenue SE.
Gathmann recommended that the bike lanes extend beyond the end of the overlay on Village Green Drive to 148th Street SE to provide continuity to Mill Creek Elementary.
The estimate Gathmann gave to the city council for this portion of restriping is "between $20,000 and $30,000."
According to Gathmann there are a number of other collector streets to which the bike friendly striping could be added. His suggestions include:
- Mill Creek Boulevard SE from 164th Street SE to Bothell Everett Highway to connect to the bike lanes on Bothell Everett Highway.
- 153rd Street SE from the Bothell-Everett Highway to Mill Creek Boulevard to connect the Town Center to "the loop."
- North Creek Drive from Dumas Road to Bothell-Everett Highway to connect the Dumas road bike lanes with a route to Trillium Boulevard.
- Trillium Boulevard from Bothell-Everett Highway to Village Green Drive to connect Heatherwood Middle School and Jackson High School to the bike lanes on Bothell-Everett Highway and "the loop."
- 136th Street SE from Bothell-Everett Highway past Jackson High School, then along Heatherwood Road to 25th Avenue SE, then along 25th Avenue SE to 132nd Street SE to connect Jackson High School to the bike lanes on Bothell-Everett Highway and 132nd Street SE.
- Village Green Drive from Seattle Hill Road to the 148th Street SE to connect "the loop" to 148th Street SE and Mill Creek Elementary School.
- Mill Creek Road from Village Green Drive to Bothell-Everett Highway, to connect "the loop" to Bothell-Everett Highway.
Gathmann presented the following advantages and disadvantages of adding bike friendly striping to Mill Creek roads:
Advantages of adding striped bike lanes to these roads include:
- Reduced vehicle speeds. A widely used traffic calming technique is to stripe streets in a manner that creates the visual perception that the motor vehicle travel lanes are narrow. Before and after studies conducted by the Federal Highway Administration have documented a small reduction in 85th percentile speeds when lane striping is used in this manner. Mill Creek’s Traffic Calming Program has used this approach to reduce vehicle speeds in residential neighborhoods.
- Increased driver awareness of bicycles on the streets. The lane striping and bike symbols are a constant reminder to motorists, even when bicycles are not in the bike lanes, that the street is designated for use by bicyclists as well as motor vehicles.
- Increased perceived safety by bicyclists. Although bicycles are legally permitted on these streets now, and the lanes are wide enough to accommodate both motor vehicles and bicycles, the physical presence of the lane striping and bike symbols heightens the feeling of security by cyclists and generally encourages greater use of the streets by cyclists.
- Reduced pedestrian/bicycle conflicts on the sidewalks. The sidewalks along these streets are five-feet wide and this is insufficient to safely accommodate both pedestrians and bicycles. This is especially true for parents pulling bike trailers with young children.
- Increased cost. Initial cost of adding bike lane striping as proposed in 2014 is in the range of $20,000 to $30,000, which would be absorbed in Road Capital Construction Fund (318).
- Increased annual restriping costs, expected to be about $3,000 a year.
- Loss of parking on some of these streets (although the areas discussed are rarely used for parking).
At the March 11th city council meeting a number of councilmembers expressed interest in going forward with this project, so city staff will bring more detailed scope and cost information to a future city council meeting for further discussion.