The Seattle City Council Monday approved legislation that will double the amount of shared bicycles on city streets to 20,000 and approved an 18-month timetable for creating “a connected, protected bicycle lane network” downtown that will include a Pike/Pine route to connect with Broadway.
“Ensuring that we are making our public right-of-way safe for pedestrians, for cyclists, and prioritizing transit, is an issue of environmental justice, economic justice, racial justice, and gender justice!,” Council member Teresa Mosqueda said about the vote Monday for the resolution to put a timetable behind the downtown bike plan.
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 earlier this month 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.
The newly passed resolution will require SDOT to make quarterly reports to the council on progress in creating the new protected bike lanes.
In a second vote Monday, the council also approved a plan that will help keep those new lanes busy. Monday’s expansion of Seattle’s floating bike share program will open the way for a doubling of the fleet to 20,000 bikes and allow up to four providers to operate in the city. The expansion comes with new rules including a requirement for SDOT to document parking requirements the providers must follow. The expansion also includes a big jump in fees the providers must pay to $250,000 per permit.
Following the vote, one Seattle provider already on the way to shutting down its operations in the city said the fee would be the final straw while another said it was eager to be part of the expansion. So, goodbye, yellow bikes and it looks like the green bikes are here to stay.