Work to begin on pedestrian bridge in Lynnwood

There’s good news for people who dare to use their bikes and feet to get through Lynnwood.

The state is planning to start work this week on a $3.9 million pedestrian overpass to finally fill in the missing link of the Interurban Trail across 44th Avenue W.

Currently, pedestrians and bicyclists traveling northbound must leave the trail at the Lynnwood park-and-ride lot, cross the busy intersection of 44th Avenue W. and 200th Street SW and continue down 200th to reconnect with the trail.

The bridge will shorten the trip for walkers and bike riders and allow them to transverse 44th Avenue W. without having to stop or watch for automobile traffic. The work is expected to be finished this summer.

For more information, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects and click on “Snohomish” under “Narrow it down…” and “County.”

Q&A

Frank Hagan of Everett writes: While traveling overseas I noticed that some countries use wide speed bumps (3 to 4 feet wide and maybe 4 to 8 inches high) to slow down traffic in some locations. On a major road as you approach a town or village, prior to the speed bump there is a sign indicating the upcoming bump along with a reduced speed. Then you cross the bump and there will be another sign indicating an increase in speed. Even on divided highways, they may also have the bumps every 40 or 50 miles or so to keep drivers awake. This seems to work very well to keep traffic moving without incident. Has it ever been considered in the United States?

Brian Walsh, traffic design and operations engineer for the state Department of Transportation, responds: In the United States, some cities and towns do use these wide speed bumps on low-speed roads. They are primarily used to discourage traffic that should remain on arterial roads, and where neighborhood streets become “cut-through” streets as motorists try to save time by getting off arterial roads. Where they are used, research and existing guidelines suggest that the speed bumps should not exceed 4 inches in height, and that the width of the bump be sufficient to achieve the desired effect of slowing a vehicle.

We would be reluctant to install these wide speed bumps on high-volume state highways because these are typically important freight routes. Additionally, these bumps can affect emergency response times as vehicles must slow to cross them. That being said, our engineers always look for new ways to be innovative when designing roads and road improvements. We would be interested to see a photo, if the writer has one available, of precisely what the bumps look like so our engineers can look into them more closely.

E-mail Street Smarts at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

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