Councilmember Sally Bagshaw told the Ballard District Council that a group is forming to look into bike boulevards in Seattle, according to My Ballard:
“The neighbors love it because it slows down traffic so much. That again you can be outside, play in the street for the kids but you can ride many, many miles. And this is a street where you’re not competing with cars and trucks,” says Bagshaw.
Bagshaw says a group is forming in Seattle to explore bringing this idea to Seattle. The group will consist of the head of the Seattle Department of Transportation, public utilities, city light, Department of Planning and Development and Seattle Parks & Recreation. Their goal will be to look “at how and where we can take some advantage of these.” Bagshaw says she would like to see these boulevards connecting neighborhood parks together.
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“It’s an exciting idea that’s not going to cost a lot of money but connect our parks and also provide safe places for school,” Bagshaw told the District Council. So far two neighborhoods have expressed interest in the park boulevards – Beacon Hill and Wallingford.
As Anne-Marije Rook at the Ballard News Tribune reported a couple months ago, Ballard’s roads and geography are quite similar to those in Portland. Looking at GIS data created by Adam Parast to help assess bikeability, Ballard stands out as ripe for a Portland-style bike network.
Portland’s network of neighborhood greenways (formerly called bike boulevards) is remarkable and getting better all the time. Sometimes, the changes are very cheap. Other times, the costs might be more than you would imagine. For example, the public process involved in a proposal that diverts traffic can get expensive. For neighborhood greenways to work their best, car through-traffic must be prevented or at least discouraged. So while the return on investment on these projects is huge, it’s best not to cut corners.
It is exciting to see this new group forming. I am also interested in the idea of these boulevards connecting parks, but only if those parks are bikeable (which many are not) and if the route will adequately serve other transportation needs, too.