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Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
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City of Seattle

What is Walk Bike Ride?

Walk Bike Ride is a multi-year initiative that will support projects and programs that make walking, biking, and riding transit the easiest ways to get around in Seattle. It will serve all people, regardless of age, income, ethnicity, or ability. It will use transportation investments to create quality places. And it will reclaim our streets for communities. Our long term goal is an interconnected network of walkways, bike paths, and transit routes that allow all residents to easily get around Seattle without a car. Click here to view the full informational packet on Walk Bike Ride.

We know that many will still use cars as their first choice for years to come, and that we need to ensure freight mobility for the success of our maritime, commercial and industrial sectors. We also believe that we can transition with a balanced approach that accommodates all users and enhances our economic competitiveness.

We have already made progress toward this goal. We have adopted pedestrian and bicycle master plans. The first Link light rail line is up and running, with plans to extend the system north and east.

But we also have a long way to go. We have not yet demonstrated the ability to make tough choices. We are currently planning for over $8 billion in major highway projects in Seattle. That’s a lot of money. It would go a long way toward building out a citywide light rail system. It could buy a lot of bus hours.

And that’s important – because right now, we have to fight just to keep what we have. Metro transit is facing a looming budget crisis that could cut 600,000 annual hours of service by 2015. Revenue shortfalls may lead Sound Transit to delay projects or push a future transit measure further into the future.

The City’s budget is also severely constrained, with a long backlog of basic maintenance needs. We have to live within our means and focus on the basics. Even so, we will work hard wherever possible to make the choices to prioritize our limited resources to fund bicycle, pedestrian and transit improvements.

Here’s what we’ll do right now to begin realizing these long term goals:

1. Update the Transit Master Plan: We will start this summer to update our Transit Master Plan. This Plan will set a long term vision for expanded transit service in Seattle. It will look at transit corridors and prioritize different modes for each corridor, including local bus service, bus rapid transit, electric trolleys, light rail and streetcars. It will also study the feasibility of expanding light rail to Ballard and West Seattle.

2. Early Implementation Projects: We will use existing resources to focus aggressively on early implementation of projects that will improve walking, biking, and neighborhoods. Rechannelization, pedestrian improvements, and bicycle improvements along Nickerson Street are a good example of this.

3. Public Engagement: We will engage with the public. Elected officials have an important role to play, but they can only do so much. This kind of change must come from the bottom up. It will take a major grassroots effort to convince elected officials in the city and the region that we need a real emphasis on walking, biking and transit as the backbone of our transportation system. We have scheduled five initial community meetings, beginning with a Health, Equity, & Transportation Forum Wednesday, May 26.

4. Future Funding: We will work to develop a budget for 2011-12 that will focus on maintaining local streets, which are key for walkers, bikers and transit and will look to live up to the City’s commitment to expand opportunities for funding the bicycle and pedestrian master plans.

5. Protecting and Expanding Transit: We will work with other regional leaders on expansion of funding opportunities at the federal, state and county levels – to protect Metro service, improve the quality of bus service and fund faster implementation of light rail.

6. Focus on Places: We will integrate Walk Bike Ride principles into neighborhood planning in the Bitter Lake/Broadview and Rainier Beach Neighborhoods, as well as future neighborhood planning efforts. We will promote sustainable and transit-oriented communities with thriving business districts through other means.

Posted by: Aaron Pickus, Spokesperson


Comment from Paul
Time May 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I rode my bike home from Microsoft to Magnuson Park this past Friday — and I ain’t thin! :). Because of the wondrous Sammamish River & Burke-Gilman trails, the 22 mile roundtrip was energizing and possible!

Comment from andrew woods
Time May 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I’m glad to hear this. I’d love to hear more about specific plans on how to implement these objectives.
New York is a city that does transit right. Everyone rides the subway. They’ve built a culture where you’re crazy to have a car in the city. Los Angeles is on the opposite end of the scale, and do everything wrong. It’s a car culture. Cars and their owners are glamorized, where as bus and transit riders are misfits. I’d love to see Seattle be more like New York on this matter. I think the key is urban density. I think if you replaced numerous 2-story buildings with taller buildings, it’d be easier to create bus and light rail routes to serve more people. It’d also allow the city to designate new green space areas. If I were in charge, I wouldn’t allow a new building to be built unless it was at least 10 stories tall.

Comment from Julie
Time May 11, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I’d love to ride my bike! I live at the top of a hill, but I know I can deal with that by using a hybrid electric bike. But I won’t spend the money to do that, because there’s no safe way for me to get anywhere I want to go from here. We NEED segregated bike paths ALL OVER the city! Yes, it will cost money. But lots less than roads!

Comment from Mike Weisman
Time May 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Andrew has it exactly wrong. New York built transit BEFORE there was dense urban building. The transit, in the form of street railways and subways, was built to direct and encourage develop. Same in all the major cities that built transit in the 19th century, Chicago, Boston, Paris, London, Berlin, etc.
All these cities acheived a decent level of density and a high quality of living by keeping buildings low to the ground. There were two reasons for this: 1) skyscrapers weren’t invented until the late 19th century, and 2) there were no elevators. So building heights were limited to 5 or 6 stories. This low profile density also was necessary to meet fire codes, since there was no way to fight a fire in a 10 story building. And on that last point, there still isn’t.
Where does that leave us? We don’t need 10 story buildings to have a city that supports transit, including walking and bikes. Lower building keep the city open to air and light, creating the beautiful cityscapes everyone has come to love. Wide streets and wide sidewalks are critical to that beautiful and healthy environment. Tall buildings destroy it, as we have seen in Bellevue, Seattle, New York, and Chicago. No one wants to walk on a narrow sidewalk, in the dark, fighting an artificial headwind caused by a venturi of skyscrapers. And that is why no one does walk in those neighborhoods in large cities.
So we have to build the transportation network before we invite density. That has been the key to success through the last 2000 years, and especially the last 200. We put in the walking paths and bike paths first, not after the buildings are in. The buildings are then made to use the existing amenities.
Don’t thank me for this. It is just basic knowledge. But basic knowledge is in short supply in this town.

Comment from Denise Sharify
Time May 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

About two or three years ago, the City of Seattle staff conducted surveys from community residnets about walkabilty in their neighborhoods. What became of that? You should share their report before asking for more information. it seems like community information doesn’t go anywhere or doesn’t produce results.

Comment from Automotive SEO
Time September 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

The bottom line here is that more REAL urban planning needs to be done – We must see far into the future and anticipate the needs for the next 50 – 60 years.

Comment from License Plate Guy
Time October 6, 2010 at 9:49 am

Other cities in the US should partake in this kind of planning. A bike ride or a short walk daily can increase one’s health situation and decrease their personal weight situation. It’s just overall a good idea.

Comment from Pete at Electric Bike Report
Time October 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

I am glad to see that Seattle is working on making walking, biking, and riding transit very accessible to everyone. There are so many cities in the US that are so car focused. Walking, biking, and riding transit really allows people to connect more with the city they live in and with the people around them.

I like Julie’s comment about her hybrid electric bike. Electric bikes are a great way to ditch the car and enjoy a nice bike ride to work or run errands around town without getting to sweaty. I agree with her that it would be great to have bike lanes everywhere, but that may take a while. In the meantime, Google has added recommended bike routes to their maps. The routes show the less traveled streets that make bike commuting safer and more fun!

Great work Seattle!

Comment from israel tours
Time March 14, 2011 at 1:06 am

Thanks for taking the time to write that. Good info to know.

Comment from schizandrol a
Time May 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Electric bikes are a great way to ditch the car and enjoy a nice bike ride to work or run errands around town without getting to sweaty. I agree with her that it would be great to have bike lanes eve

Comment from Gorkem CAN
Time May 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

Turkish police demand driving licence for electric bikes since 2 months 🙁

Comment from Locksmith Fremont
Time August 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

High class help; I ll most certainly come back to your blog for more information and facts.

Comment from Erika Silver
Time August 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

I LOVE the “Walk Bike Ride” initiative. I much prefer to use public transport to travel across the city than drive and have to stress about parking my vehicle.

Comment from Erica
Time March 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Walk. Bike. Ride. This is the way life should when it comes to transportation. In this way, we all can help save our Mother Earth! Keep up the good work guys!

Pingback from Spokespeople » SPOKESPEOPLE RIDES November 6 to Green Lake
Time December 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

[…] Walk-Bike-Ride is Seattle Mayor McGinn’s proposal to improve our public streets for people who choose to get around by bicycle, walking, or using public transportation. While there are some folks who prefer or need a car to get around, most of us want and need safe streets for all sorts of uses. Sometimes we can’t afford a car, sometimes we choose to walk, bike, or take the bus for health reasons. We all have complex ways of moving and we need streets that support many safe travel options.  […]