Last week we were meeting some friends at Pump it Up, one of those play places with lots of inflatables for kids to jump on. It’s in the north part of Kirkland, on the other side of I-405. It’s only 3.5 miles away, but I’ve been automatically driving for (our infrequent) trips to this part of town. On our way over there, I was thinking too myself, “it couldn’t be that much worse than Old Redmond Road, could it?”
hoo, boy, yes it could be.
Old Redmond Road doesn’t cross a freeway.
I pulled off the freeway at NE 116th St, and as soon as I saw the intersection, I knew that I wouldn’t be coming this way by bike. There are three intersections in a short span – both sides of the freeway, and then an intersection with 120th Ave NE. Traffic is heavy, the intersections themselves feel chaotic, and then there’s a right turn lane that crosses the bike lane. In the chaos of this intersection, that’s a dealbreaker right there.
This is even only half of an interchange – the ramps are only to the south (southbound onramp, northbound offramp). Sadly this intersection was rebuilt only a year or so ago. I’m not sure there’s a way to do it right. Freeways are inhospitable places for people, and yet we’ve chosen to build them in our cities.
Will I ever be able to bike here? The Cross Kirkland Corridor approaches very near. It looks like there is access through the parking lots and truck lanes of the nearby industrial areas. So maybe – but parking lots aren’t really places for people either.