People who live and work in Seattle want choices about how they get around the city. They think about safety, convenience and cost when deciding how to travel. Increasingly, people also look for forms of transportation which improve their health and let them see more, experience more, and appreciate the natural beauty of the city. Biking is one tool to meet Seattleites’ travel needs.
For the last two years SDOT staff has been working with members of the community to update the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, with the overall theme of increasing the number and types of people who would be willing and interested in riding a bicycle in the city. SDOT learned throughout the planning process that one of the main factors keeping more people from bicycling is a concern about safety; many people do not feel safe riding a bicycle on busy streets. With that in mind, the updated plan was developed with a vision that riding a bicycle would be a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities. The updated plan focuses on bicycle facility types that would feel safe and comfortable for a larger number of people: either neighborhood greenways, which are safer, calmer streets for people walking, biking and driving; and protected bike lanes (also called cycle tracks), which are on busier streets with a buffer between people driving. Broadway’s Protected Bike Lane in Capitol Hill is opening in May. Be sure to check it out! The plan also includes expanding upon Seattle’s great system of off-street paths (such as the Burke-Gilman Trail). In addition, the plan also identifies a number of other actions to make bicycling (and all travel) safer, including education on the rules of the road.
Earlier this week, the City Council unanimously adopted the updated Bicycle Master Plan, and indicated their strong support for achieving this vision over time. The final plan can be found on our web site. SDOT is already taking action to turn lines on a map into projects. Planning, design and construction for several neighborhood greenway projects is underway. And SDOT is preparing a 3-5 year implementation plan which will be reviewed by City Council this summer. This effort will inform all community stakeholders about what the priorities for implementation are in the near term. For more information on bicycle projects that SDOT is working on now, and other actions that the City is doing to promote safe cycling, visit our bike program web page.