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Ballard’s Bikeability: Could Portland’s lessons work well there?

In April, Adam Parast wrote a post for Seattle Transit Blog about a GIS project he had done to analyze a city’s bikeability. The project is full of fantastic information and pondering about what it means for a city or a neighborhood to be bikeable, and how Seattle’s challenges compare to a city that is already further into their infrastructure investments than we are, like Portland.

Of all the interesting concepts revealed by his map (the idea of Seattle having “islands of bikeability” is fascinating), one neighborhood that stands out is Ballard. It is the only part of Seattle that has similar street connectivity and geography to Portland. You wonder if the city should not pursue more Portland-style efforts in Ballard (like a network of bike boulevards, for example).

My friend Anne-Marije wrote about this project and what it could mean for Ballard over at the Ballard News Tribune:


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The report states that Seattle is spotty with “islands” of good bikeability surrounded by areas of low bikeability.

“It’s interesting to note that many of Seattle’s Urban Villages are in the center of these bikeable islands…and many Urban Villages are located either on the top of a hill or in the bottom of a valley,” Parast stated.

“This is where Ballard looks more like a Portland neighborhood than a Seattle neighborhood. From how I look at it, Ballard, more than any other Seattle neighborhood can learn from what Portland has done to create a strong, high quality biking community.”

Parast said Ballard has some major North-South arterials and while cars and Metro have competing interests for those roads, the side roads offer a potential for a network of bike boulevards.

“As the city updates its biking master plan, I think Ballard is a good place to start building bike boulevards,” he said.

Read Adam’s full report here (pdf).


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