Edge lane roads

Rendering of the edge lane road on Elk Hill Drive

Image of Elk Hill Drive with green bike lane on right side of road and future signage

Edge lane roads, also known as advisory bike lanes or advisory shoulders, are an area on the edge of a roadway that offers prioritized space for bicyclists. While the edge lane road on Elk Hill Drive (a part of the Fleming Bicycle Corridor project) will be a first for Everett, these are used across North America and around the world on roadways that are too narrow for dedicated bike lanes. 

Since these are new for Everett, this page provides additional background on edge lane roads, and answers common questions about their use.

  1. Elk Hill Drive
  2. Usage and safety
  3. Videos of edge lane roads

How do drivers and cyclists use the edge lane roads (advisory bike lanes) on Elk Hill Drive? 

The edge lane road will be a green pavement marking and a broken white line in the southbound direction to indicate that motorists may cross the line when necessary. When vehicles approach from opposite directions, the southbound motorist may need to enter the edge lane for clear passage. Motorists must enter the edge lane with caution and only when no bicyclists are present.  This video from the City of Ottawa explains how an edge lane road works (referred to in this video as an advisory bike lane).

How is Elk Hill Drive different from the configuration shown in the Ottawa video? 

The video shows edge lanes in both directions. There will only be one edge lane on Elk Hill Drive, in the southbound direction. Motorists in the southbound lane are expected to move to the right when there is a vehicle approaching from the other direction. Unlike the lanes shown in the video, the southbound edge lane will be green, and not the same color as the rest of the pavement. Motorists in both directions are expected to be courteous of all road users and drive at the posted speed limit. Although this is a new type of lane configuration for Everett, there are many streets in Everett where motorists are expected to share a single lane in both directions. Most often, this occurs where on-street parking effectively reduces the road to a single lane. When vehicles approach from different directions, motorists are expected to yield to oncoming traffic. 

How will drivers know about the traffic revision?

To alert motorists and bicyclists on Elk Hill Drive of the upcoming change, portable message signs will be installed on Mukilteo Boulevard and Federal Avenue, alerting drivers to the change in lane configuration, as well as permanent road signs indicating that vehicles are expected to share the travel lane when bicyclists are present. Those signs will be installed as the project finishes the construction of the bike lane.

Why was an edge lane road installed on Elk Hill Drive?

Elk Hill Drive is too narrow for dedicated bike lanes. As bicyclists slow on the climb up Elk Hill Drive, the edge lane provides a prioritized space for biking while still allowing motorists traveling in opposite directions to pass each other. Installing the edge lane is also expected to provide traffic calming for all road users.

Why not make Elk Hill Drive one-way? 

One of the options considered during design was to make Elk Hill Drive one-way, but the decision was made that this would require a longer detour than was acceptable for many households wanting to access arterials like Mukilteo Boulevard, 41st Street and Evergreen Way.