After some neighbors objected to (and some people completely ignored) an experimental traffic diverter running diagonally across the corner of NE Rodney and Ivy, the city is trying a different approach.
Instead, the two-way block of Rodney between Ivy and Fremont would be converted to a one-way street for cars, with a pair of planters and a car parking space blocking northbound auto traffic at the south end of the block.
Bike and foot traffic would be unaffected on the street, thanks to a contraflow bike lane to the right of the parking spaces.
The diagonal diverter in place today would be removed when the change is made later this summer.
These changes are part of a plan to build a new neighborhood greenway on Rodney as a lower-stress alternative to biking the Williams-Vancouver couplet just to the west.
Allan Rudwick, the transportation and land use chair for the Eliot Neighborhood Association, said he thinks the city’s new proposal is likely to address the main problem with cut-through traffic on Rodney: people using it during the evening rush hour to drive north to Fremont, avoiding traffic on Williams and cutting the line on Fremont.
“Fremont between MLK and Williams is jammed up the whole way,” Rudwick explained in an interview Tuesday. “It’s more a problem about Fremont being full of cars.”
The new plan shouldn’t affect emergency vehicles, he said, because they’re allowed to drive against traffic on one-way streets.
“I think the new proposal solves a number of problems with the old one,” he said. “This design has not been done in neighborhoods before, so it’s going to be different. but I’m optimistic that it will make more people happy.”
City project manager Rich Newlands said in an email that the most similar design in the city is on Northwest Marshall Street between 10th and 11th avenues. There, the contraflow bike lane doesn’t have to cross any driveways, because it runs adjacent to a city park, but the setup is otherwise similar.
Rudwick’s organization tentatively approved the new plan for Rodney in a letter to the city last week, “unless significant opposition materializes.”
Rudwick said he hasn’t yet heard from everyone who lives on the block between Ivy and Fremont, but he’s hopeful that they won’t find it a major annoyance.
“People live on one-way streets,” he said. “You can also park like a block away, at the end of the block, and not deal with it.”
If the new plan doesn’t successfully ensure that Rodney retains its feel as a neighborhood street, Rudwick said he expects more actions.
“The whole goal of this is to keep traffic on Rodney less than 1000 cars a day, and if that goal is not met by this new proposal, then the city should be on the hook to do something else in addition to this partial diversion,” Rudwick said. “The whole goal of this project is essentially to keep Rodney the way it’s always been.”