Inspired by this GIF that has been making its way around the web, I took the images from the Commuter Toolkit poster i-Sustain made about seven years ago with sponsorships from Seattle, King County and a bunch of other transit agencies and private organizations. You can download the poster here.
This image answers the question of why Seattle should invest in protected bike lanes. In addition to making the street safer and more comfortable for people walking, biking and driving, protected bike lanes actually add capacity to the street. The image demonstrates how a bike lane can carry an entire traffic jam, but that will only happen if it is safe and comfortable enough for people of all ages and abilities to consider using it.
This is how protected bike lanes will revolutionize downtown Seattle and allow our state’s largest employment center to continue adding jobs.
The image also, of course, demonstrates the power of transit. Building a subway is like moving an entire traffic jam into a smoothly-running train underground. And without our buses, Seattle would have stopped growing a long time ago. Many of you would not even be here reading this blog. You would be in some other part of the country or world where you found work and a place to live.
Sitting in traffic is awful. Indeed, the first image in the GIF probably looks pretty familiar. And I understand that to people sick of sitting in traffic, it seems counter-intuitive to use any road space currently reserved for cars on transit, biking or walking instead. But it is the only way we will ever increase the ability for more people to move around our city and get where they’re going.