Bicycle infrastructure

Here are some of the types of bicycle infrastructure used in Seattle:

Contraflow lanes:

Contraflow lanes provide bicycle lanes headed in the opposite direction of motor vehicles on a one-way street where there is no parking. Usually separated by delineators and marked with signage.

Example: N 34th Street in Fremont (Courtesy of SDOT)


Green bike lanes:

Bike lanes in conflict-prone areas are painted green to alert bicyclists and motorists to expect their paths to cross. Motor vehicles should yield to bicyclists in green bike lanes; bicyclists should be alert and look for motor vehicles crossing green lanes.

Example: NE Ravenna Boulevard in Ravenna


Cycle tracks: 

Cycle tracks are bikeways that are physically separated from both motor vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Often, these cycletracks are bidirectional. Amazon has proposed a cycletrack for 7th Avenue in downtown Seattle, which will separate people on bikes from vehicles and pedestrians, and have bicycle-friendly furnishing and wayfinding signage.

Example: Linden Avenue North in Seattle

Shared-use trail:

Burke Gilman TrailShared-use trails, also known as mixed-use paths, are off-street paths for walking, bicycling and rollerblading. These trails are often built on former railroad corridors and in addition to recreational use, also serve as a safe alternative transportation option.

Example: the Burke-Gilman Trail


SharrowAlso known as shared lane markings, sharrows are on-street legends that tell motorists that they should expect to see and share the space with bicyclists. They also indicate to bicyclists where the best place to ride in the lane. Sharrows are typically used in locations where the roadway width is not adequate to provide dedicated bike facilities or on downhill lanes where bicyclists might travel similar speed as motor vehicles.

Example: NW/NE 45th Street in the University District

Bike boxes: 

Bike boxThe bike box is an intersection safety design to prevent bicycle/car collisions. It is a painted green space at the front of an intersection with a white bicycle symbol inside. In some locations it includes a green bicycle lane approaching the box. The box creates space between motor vehicles and the crosswalk that allows bicyclists to position themselves ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection.

The main goal of the bike box is to improve safety by 1- increasing awareness and visibility of people on bikes; 2- helping bicyclists make safer intersection crossings - especially when drivers are turning right and bicyclists are going straight; 3 – encouraging bicyclists to make more predictable approaches to and through an intersection; and 4 – providing space at the front of an intersection to help bicyclists avoid breathing vehicle fumes.

Example: NW 34th St. and Fremont Avenue in Fremont

Loop detectors: 

Loop detector

Embedded in the pavement at intersections, loop detectors magnetically detect when vehicles are waiting at a traffic light. Some detectors are calibrated for bicycles and are marked with a white T to indicate where bicyclists should position themselves to trigger the detector.

Example: NE 65th St. and Sand Point Way in Sand Point

Bicycle WayfindingBicycle wayfinding:

Bicycle wayfinding includes signage and pavement markings that direct bicyclists along common or preferable bicycle routes between popular destinations.


Bike dots:

Bike Dot WayfindingBike dots are pavement markings for signed bicycle routes. Unlike sharrows, bicycle dots are not intended to provide guidance on bicycle positioning but are a tool to provide wayfinding.

Example: West Seattle Bridge (courtesy of SDOT)


Neighborhood greenways: 

neighborhood greenwaysNeighborhood greenways are slow-speed, low-traffic residential streets near major arterials which provide a safe option for people to bike or walk. By adding new park-like amenities and limiting traffic volumes and speed, greenways create family-friendly bicycle routes, safe pedestrian corridors with environmental enhancements. Seattle built their first greenway in 2012 in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Example: N 44th St. in Wallingford (courtesy of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)