City Council set to put a little muscle behind 2020 push for downtown bike plan

The City Council is set to put its support behind a plan for a Seattle Center City Bike Network and an 18-month implementation schedule to create “a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle by 2020.”

“With Wednesday’s committee meeting, we’re reaffirming our commitment to establishing a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle,” council member Mike O’Brien said Wednesday at a press conference before his committee meeting introducing the a resolution outlining the new push.

“We’re also committing Seattle to achieving zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030,” O’Brien said. “Given what’s at stake, it’s too expensive not to make more investments in completing the bike network for all to utilize and enjoy.”

Advocates have been pushing City Hall to put more effort behind the network concept based around a 2nd Avenue “spine” connected to bike lanes from surrounding Central Seattle neighborhoods. CHS reported last week on the Pike/Pine component of the plan that advocates are hoping to have in place starting in 2019 with $10 million in funding from the public benefits package attached to the expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

“Everyone who wants to bike should be able to because biking can make us happier, keep us healthier, save us money, and reduce climate pollution,” Clara Cantor, an organizer for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, said about the resolution in a City Council press release. “Approximately 60% of Seattleites want to bike more, and the lack of safe, connected, routes is the number one reason why they don’t. That’s why we are excited to see Seattle committing to this bold, yet achievable timeline for building out the Basic Bike Network downtown.”

The move also comes as Seattle is set to commit to even more bikes on its streets under an expansion of its floating bike share program that will double the number of available bicycles.


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13 thoughts on “City Council set to put a little muscle behind 2020 push for downtown bike plan

  1. I do not understand why a bikeway on 4th Avenue is being proposed, when there already is one in place on 2nd Avenue. It seems redundant, expensive, and totally un-necessary.

    • I don’t know why 4th Ave needs to be for cars, when they have Alaska Way, 99, 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, I-5, Boren, Broadway…

      Seems redundant, expensive, and totally unnecessary.

      • They’re also for buses, delivery trucks… there are many many more of them than bike riders. They also pay taxes that fund the roads through the gas tax. Bike riders pay no taxes that fund bike lanes unless they are a homeowner. Building another protected bike lane 2 blocks away from one that’s not anywhere near capacity in useage is a waste of tax payers money and would benefit few at the detriment of many.

      • They also pay taxes that fund the roads through the gas tax.

        I love when people make this claim for local roads. It means you have no idea what you’re talking about and you’ve lost the anti-bicycle argument!

        State highways and infrastructure are paid for by gas taxes. Local roads are almost solely by property taxes. So people on bikes pay just as much as people in cars.

        Good try though!

        Bike riders pay no taxes that fund bike lanes unless they are a homeowner.

        And there’s the icing on the cake! Renters pay property tax, just indirectly. There’s no landlords that don’t incorporate the property tax into the rent, especially not this economy.

        At least you wear your bias on your skin…

      • > Building another protected bike lane 2 blocks away from one that’s not anywhere near capacity in useage is a waste of tax payers money and would benefit few at the detriment of many.

        And if we fail to build streets that are safe and comfortable for people to ride bicycles on, what do you think those people are going to do, simply cease to exist? No, they will drive cars instead and consume ten times the street capacity and ten times as much parking space and gridlock gets worse and worse. Can you name one city on earth that ever solved its congestion by dedicating enough street space to cars? The more we try the more we get epic traffic jams like in Los Angeles and Bangkok. This zero-sum mentality that “giving street capacity to bikes means taking from cars” is honestly a narrow Trump-esque dystopian way of looking at things at a time when we need broader thinking and visionary solutions to our traffic challenges.

        And as many have said, the bike network is only as strong as its weakest link. 2nd Avenue not being at capacity is not much of an argument until it’s part of a connected network like the one laid out in the BMP.

      • > Bike riders pay no taxes that fund bike lanes unless they are a homeowner.

        >> And there’s the icing on the cake! Renters pay property tax, just indirectly. There’s no landlords that don’t incorporate the property tax into the rent, especially not this economy.

        It’s always a laugh when over-subsidized motorists complain about bicycles not paying enough. I would say, fine let’s get rid of all transportation subsidies and fund everything with user fees. A hard core cyclist might need to pay a few dollars a week to cover the cost of their infrastructure, while urban drivers would be paying on the order of $8 to $10 per gallon of gas, not to mention truly market rate parking costs. Sounds like a good idea to me, Eric! What do you say?

    • I don’t know the specific rationale of the planners, but I do know that there is a huge grade change between 4th and 2nd through much of downtown. It’s so steep that I don’t feel safe to signal a right turn by taking my left hand off my bike handle because I need it to steady the bike as I break. And biking up the steep hill from 2nd is enough to keep me from biking to work. If they had a bike lane on 4th, I believe that would make the difference on whether biking made sense as a commuting option for me, and probably many others. The 2nd Ave bike lane is great for going thru downtown on a bike, but you have to think about how would you get to it in the first place and how would you get to your ultimate destination if it’s on another street? A route is only as good as its weakest link, so more options like 4th and more east-west connections to make a network of protected bike lanes would create a much more usable system–a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

      • Thank you, Scott, for your reasonable response to my comment (as opposed to the sarcastic response by someone who just loves to take issue with me whenever possible).

      • Scott, appreciate the great response! Had the same question as Bob and your post cleared it up more me.

        Fairly Obivious, next time try to look past your own snarkiness and try to put a coherent thought down, you might be surprised by the results!

      • I would add that 2nd Avenue is very slow northbound since the stoplights are set up for southbound car traffic – you’re basically stopping at every intersection to wait for a light.

      • the lights are the same in both directions for the bike lane.

        That’s like saying when you sail around the world, the winds are the same no matter what direction you are going.

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