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City of Seattle

December 11, 1:44 PM click here to comment > 0

A “New” Bicycle Master Plan for Seattle

More and more Seattle residents are choosing to get around on their bicycles. The number of people bicycling to work in Seattle increased 105% from 2000 to 2010. We’re seeing people of all ages, from children to seniors, choose to ride. They should be able to do so safely. In order to improve safety for people using our roads, I sent a newly updated Bicycle Master Plan to City Council on November 27. This was the product of nearly two years of planning and public comment.

This plan represents a significant change in how the City will go about implementing its future bicycle facilities – from a city that prioritized sharrows and bike lanes, to a city that prioritizes protected bike lanes (also known as cycle tracks) and neighborhood greenways, which are accommodating to a much larger segment of people. This “all ages and abilities” network will increase the safety of riders, increase the number of riders, and provide for greater connectivity, equity, and livability in our neighborhoods.

This evening there is a special transportation committee meeting scheduled, where the public can attend and give final comments to City Council. The final plan will likely be adopted early in the new year. If you would like to comment, the meeting begins at 5:30 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.

As I sent the plan to City Council, I also proposed that they set an annual funding goal of $20 million. This is the amount that would be required to implement the plan over the next 20 years, according to the planning-level cost estimate. In recent years, the City has invested between $7 million and $12 million. With potential opportunities for bicycle funding increases in a renewed Bridging the Gap Levy, renewal of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, a new local funding option approved by the legislature, continued availability of grant funding, as well as an improving economy, $20 million a year is certainly attainable.

Already, Seattle is #1 for West Coast cities for the number of people biking and walking to work. We are one of only five major cities in the nation that have fewer than fifty percent of its population driving alone to work. And, for bicycling, we tie with Washington DC for third in the nation for biking to work, with 4.1%. Seattle Bike Blog has called this plan “quite likely the best bike plan in the nation”. As our new Bicycle Master Plan is implemented, my hope is for Seattle to excel in building a city where it’s easy, safe, and convenient for people to travel by bike and that Seattleites will follow suit.

I’d like to thank all the staff at the Seattle Department of Transportation that worked on creating this plan, especially project manager Kevin O’Neill, the project team of Sara Zora, Chad Lynch, Dawn Schellenberg, Kyle Rowe, and Briana Lovell, as well as Peter Hahn. Thank you also to members of the public who have provided feedback, turned out for public meetings, and supported the plan process.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn