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This Way to Seattle’s Bicycle Future—Cycle Tracks


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There are many reasons to ride a bike. One is that it can save you time. About 41 percent of the trips Americans make every day are less than three miles and could be traveled in 18 minutes by bike. Health is also a big factor. Physical activity improves your thinking and learning skills, helps control your weight and reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure—SDOT wants to build a citywide network where people of all ages and abilities can safely and comfortably ride a bicycle.

One way to do that is to build cycle tracks. A cycle track combines the user experience of a separated path with a conventional bike lane. A cycle track is physically separated (by grade or barrier) from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. Cycle tracks have different forms, but all share common elements—they provide space that is primarily used for bicycles and are separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes and sidewalks.

Seattle has a few cycle tracks in place already. The Alki Trail looks like a standard multi-use trail for the majority of its length. However, there are three very distinct sections one being a cycle track. In 2011, SDOT installed a small cycle track in along Sixth Avenue S from S Dearborn Street to Seattle Boulevard S and in 2013, we installed one on NE 65th Street near the Burke-Gilman Trail; one on Linden connecting to the Interurban Trail and  others on Cherry Street, 7th Avenue and Sand Point Way NE.

The First Hill Streetcar project is constructing a cycle track along Broadway to enhance safety and mobility and the Mercer Street Program is constructing cycle tracks on Mercer Street between Dexter and Fifth Avenue N and along Fifth Avenue between Mercer and Harrison.

The draft Bicycle Master Plan currently recommends 102 miles of cycle tracks throughout the city. This would be combined with 245 miles of Neighborhood Greenways, 78 miles of multi-use trails, 129 miles of bike lanes and 30 miles of sharrows. The implementation of our Pedestrian Master Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, Transit Master Plan and soon Freight Master Plan, will keep people and goods moving for a long time to come.