— Advertisement —

Survey Says: Without my car lanes I’ll die!

Seattle does want bike lanes … but not if they take lanes away from cars. This is according to a survey by Survey USA. Only 46 percent of respondents said the city needs more bikes lanes (43 percent say the city has enough). However, if you mention taking out car lanes, people knee jerk and respond like the sky’s falling. From Publicola:

Once the questions start getting in to the issue of bikes vs. cars, people—predictably—were less bike-friendly. In general, a fair number of people support more bike lanes, but when you ask them whether they’d support the kind of changes that would make more bike lanes possible, they’re less generous. Just 28 percent said they’d support replacing car lanes with bike lanes, with 63 percent opposed; and just 38 percent said they’d support replacing parking lanes with bike lanes, with 54 percent opposed.

This, of course, is a reaction without seeing individual facts and studies. Once people read things like the Stone Way study and realize that many four-lane streets can be changed into streets with one lane in each direction and a turn lane without losing vehicle capacity, most of them calm down. I know it doesn’t make sense at first that often you can lose one net vehicle traffic lane and still maintain capacity, but that’s how it works.

— Advertisement —

On top of that, the study shows that cars start traveling closer to the speed limit and pedestrian and bicycle safety improves greatly. The number of people who choose to ride a bike also goes up, some of whom may have chosen to ride instead of driving, taking one more car out of the traffic congestion.

With each so-called “road diet” case so far, this seems how things have gone. People hear a vehicle lane will be removed to improve pedestrian and bike (and vehicle!) safety and they freak out. They imagine giant traffic jams and ten minutes added to their commute. But that does not happen. Most logical and understanding people can see the value in making a change that dramatically increases safety for everyone without decreasing vehicle capacity.

We need to ditch the term “road diet” because it is not exactly accurate. People hear diet, and they imagine painful starvation. I like “complete streets,” but it’s a little clumsy to use in a sentence. “SDOT has proposed plans to complete Nickerson…” doesn’t really work.

The idea we need to get across is that the road is currently overbuilt. The city is making the street layout a better fit for the kinds of users who are already using it. Right now, Nickerson’s pants are three sizes too large, so SDOT is going to tailor it so it fits properly.

“Road tailoring!” Could it catch on? Any ideas out there for a better term?

About the author:

Related posts:


2 responses to “Survey Says: Without my car lanes I’ll die!”

  1. misha

    I like simply “adding separated bike lanes” – the city is “adding separated bike lanes to Nickerson.” Bike users get their own lanes, and cars get bikes out of their lanes. It’s a win-win. Some people are against any and all change, so any change to terminology won’t placate them.

  2. Alex

    I am still sad that they did nothing to “tailor” MLK when they had the whole thing torn completely up. I really hope they do something to Rainier at some point. South end bicycle infrastructure needs some major work.

— Advertisement —

Join the Seattle Bike Blog Supporters

As a supporter, you help power independent bike news in the Seattle area. Please consider supporting the site financially starting at $5 per month:

Latest stories

Bike Events Calendar

6:30 pm West Seattle Bike Connections mo… @ Online
West Seattle Bike Connections mo… @ Online
Dec 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
7:30 pm NW Greenways Meeting @ Virtual via Zoom
NW Greenways Meeting @ Virtual via Zoom
Dec 5 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Our regularly scheduled meeting, happens every other month. Please check NW Greenways Twitter account – https://twitter.com/NWGreenways, our Google Group – https://goo.gl/W9jmzW or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NWGreenways/) to confirm the meeting. ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
6:00 pm Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board M…
Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board M…
Dec 6 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Monthly agendas can be found at: http://www.seattle.gov/seattle-bicycle-advisory-board/meetings/meeting-agendas The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) advises the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments and Divisions on projects, policies, and programs that improve and/or affect bicycling conditions in[…]
7:15 pm Point83 @ Westlake Park
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Dec 7 @ 7:15 pm
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Meet up in the center of the park at 7ish. Leave at 730. Every Thursday from now until forever rain or shine. Bikes, beers, illegal firepits, nachos, bottlerockets, timetraveling, lollygagging, mechanicals, good times.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
10:00 am Little Brook Neighborhood Cleanup
Little Brook Neighborhood Cleanup
Dec 9 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Monthly 2nd Saturday Neighborhood Cleanup. If you want to help with cutting vegetation, bring your own good gloves and tools.  We have yard waste bags, grabbers, yellow bags for trash,  light weight gloves and vests.And, as[…]
— Advertisements —

Latest on Mastodon

Loading Mastodon feed…