What are Chicanes?

chicane-defChicanes–or slow points–are horizontal deflections designed to slow traffic speeds and can potentially discourage cut-through traffic.  They interrupt a normally straight roadway forcing drivers to reduce their speed and navigate the chicane before continuing down the roadway.  Chicanes are just one tool the City of Bellevue utilizes to address neighborhood traffic concerns.

Still not sure what a chicane is? This animated video will paint a clearer picture.

You might have noticed a chicane in the Wilburton neighborhood on the crest of 128th Ave NE just south of NE 5th St (below) or on NE 5th St between 120th Ave NE and 124th Ave NE.  Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services is exploring installing a double chicane in the Enatai neighborhood along SE 8th St.  Depending on their application, chicanes are either stop-controlled (like on NE 5th St) or simply instruct motorists to yield to oncoming traffic (like on 128th Ave NE).

The roadways narrows allowing for only one motorist to pass through at a time. While it seems obvious that you simply drive through the delfection when you encounter a chicane, driving through when there are multiple vehicles waiting becomes trickier. Driving chicanes when there are muliples cars queing is like driving a one-way bridge: wait for all the opposing traffic to clear, then carefully proceed through the chicane. Once your vehicle and the motorists behind you are through the opposing traffic will pass and continue the cycle.

Think parking is bad in Bellevue? It’s nothing compared to New York where chicanes naturally form when cars are double-parked.

Safe driving!

More information:

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