But can bikes use it? Let's see...
|11th St. SE, looking north|
|"BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE"|
|EB narrowing shoulder|
|EB speed limit|
|EB widens again|
|EB off-ramp approach|
|EB closed lane|
This leg is all new pavement, by the way. It's four lanes wide, but only two are in use. If an actual bicycle and pedestrian facility had been included by design it would have added only the cost of the paint to make it so. Maybe we forgot to ask.
|EB Pennsylvania Ave underpass|
Time to head back...
Whee! With light traffic this is a fun ramp to ride down into the Pennsylvania Ave. underpass. In the morning I don't know if it would be safe as-is. There is no space to ride except in the general purpose lanes. (Not pictured: signs in the tunnel warn of a 25 MPH reduced speed work zone. If the limit was set and enforced at 25 MPH for the entire ramp cyclists could much more confidently ride here at any traffic load.)
This section of the eastbound leg is unchanged from the legacy freeway. There is much debris along the side of the roadway, and vegetation is overgrowing the wall. Still no other vehicles here so far.
|EB speed limit|
The eastbound speed limit is also 30 MPH. This sign includes the generic warning that speed is enforced by radar. It is not, and there are no speed sensors or cameras in evidence. Again, there's a wall to the left and I suspect there's unused pavement there as well.
|EB legacy sign|
The sign reads "DWIGHT D EISENHOWER FREEWAY". It should at least be amended to reflect the Boulevard designation, or people might mistakenly believe nothing has changed. The wall to the left has ended, revealing usable pavement as I expected - just in time, as the shoulder is narrowing here.
Those two vehicles are the first I've seen on this whole roadway. I'd estimate they were traveling at least 40 MPH. This could get dicey...
|EB shoulder ends|
...quickly. Once again, this could have been adjusted with paint, and the unused pavement to the left would have a purpose. With additional vehicles approaching at well above the posted limit, I think it's time to explore that a bit.
|EB closed lane|
As with the westbound leg, the unused portion of the roadway is well protected and in good condition. Next time I ride this way I'll move to these bicycle boulevards much sooner.
|EB closed lane ends|
This section of the leg is new pavement. The original pavement was demolished, and had to be rebuilt to reopen the roadway. I'm hopeful it continues after this gap...
|EB approach to 11th|
...but it doesn't. This wall also blocks off usable pavement for no obvious reason. With the stoplight at 11th ahead I'm not uncomfortable using the general purpose lane at this hour, but I'm aware that a vehicle approaching from behind might blame "sun blindness" for hitting me so I'm very cautious and aware.
|EB with turn lanes|
This car was the last to pass me, and the road behind was totally clear, so I moved back to the right lane. This view reveals that the left wall was indeed protecting usable pavement again, but the wall is terminated to create the turn lane.
|EB junction at 11th|
We're back up to four lanes here. It's not apparent from these video stills, but the eastbound and westbound legs of the boulevard have separate intersections with 11th St., with staggered traffic control cycles. The two turn-only lanes here serve the purpose of maximizing through traffic to 695/395.
Kinda hard not to think of the Southeast Boulevard as one long on-ramp.
I was tempted to continue my exploration on 695, but the sun was sinking low and I had to head home. Think I'll take the 11th St. SE bike lanes, since they're right here.