King 5 recently reported about the city’s shifting focus from bike lanes to cycle tracks. Linda Brill spoke with Cascade Bicycle Club’s policy staffers Craig Benjamin and Evan Manvel (hired recently) about why the shift is smart.
Unlike bike lanes, which still look too dangerous to use for most people, cycle tracks have a more broad appeal base. Basically, more people will look at a cycle track and think, “I would bike there.” Will that appeal be enough to dampen bikelash? We’ll see.
One small fact check on the otherwise good story: The city has not spent $35 million on bike lanes. That is the amount of money spent on all bicycle-related projects from 2007-2011. About $19 million of that went to projects that also serve people on foot, including projects like the new W Thomas St overpass and the Ship Canal Trail extension. That money also funds things like bike parking and bike signage.
In the end, SDOT says the total spent on bike lanes during that time was about $6.9 million. In transportation terms, that’s incredibly cheap (many road projects would cost that much just to study). And, as we have learned from some of the more poorly-designed bike lanes, we really should have spent a bit more to do it right. That’s exactly what cycle tracks aim to do.