KPLU’s Paula Wissel has a fantastic story about cycle tracks this morning. You can catch it online here.
I met Paula next to the Linden Ave cycle track recently, and we chatted for a while, watching folks roll by.
Her story this morning reflects what she saw and heard: The protected bikeway (the first of its kind in Seattle) appeals to a wide array of people, and the new safe crosswalks and sidewalks have dramatically increased street activity in the neighborhood.
How about the stated goal of these new bikeways—to get the old and young, the less-than-fit, the people who don’t see themselves as cycling enthusiasts to view biking as a real transportation choice?
On a recent visit to the Linden Avenue cycle track in the mixed income Bitter Lake neighborhood in North Seattle, I saw a variety of users, not just speedsters, riding sleek bikes while decked out in Lycra.
There was a young man in baggy jeans and a baseball cap on backward. Another guy rode by, smoking a cigarette. A couple of older gentlemen appeared to be out on a leisurely ride. And, most surprising, a cyclist zipped by with three little children on his bike—a toddler and a baby in a bike trailer, and another kid on a handlebar seat. He rode back by some 15 minutes later, apparently having dropped off the children at daycare.
But this might be my favorite part:
Now, with a place for walkers and bikers, [neighbors Fred] Colby and [Barbara] Madden say they’ve noticed a change in people’s behavior.
“It’s marvelous how you see so many people you didn’t see before. They’re enjoying the sidewalks and the bike lanes,” Colby said.
“And it beautifies our city and it just makes it homey. And you get to meet all kinds of wonderful people who are your neighbors,” Madden added.
Complete streets don’t create great neighborhoods, they allow a great neighborhood to be itself.