Due to the hard work of advocates, the City of Everett approved its first ever bicycle master plan. Now that there is a plan, it may be easier for Everett to get grants to fund more projects, and the projects they do complete will have a plan for connecting to existing and future routes.
Over time, it will create new routes and make connections where gaps exist, enabling more commuters and recreational riders to traverse the city on two wheels. Cost-effectiveness is a core theme of this impressive plan; many solutions can be realized simply by restriping existing roads or adding signs.
Others will require widening roads to add bike lanes, enabling bicyclists to co-exist safely with moving and parked cars. The idea is to chip away at such projects as funds become available. Having a detailed plan in place should give the city an edge in competing for grant dollars.
Adoption of the plan caps more than a decade of passionate lobbying by local bicyclists with a vision for a healthier, less congested and less polluted city. Several citizens were involved in the effort, but none deserve more credit than John Lindstrom, a retired Everett Community College instructor and longtime bike commuter whose good-natured persistence was impossible for city leaders to ignore. The role he and other citizens played in identifying key routes for improvements, along with obstacles to overcome, shows up abundantly in the finished document.
On the topic of walkable and bikeable urban areas in the region, there have been a couple interesting articles recently urging an end to the “city vs suburb” mentality. Instead, urbanists should be focusing on making more places walkable (and, of course, bikeable). Sarah Goodyear at Grist points to several reasons this old mantra is “worn-out and useless,” such as the rapidly rising rate of poverty in the nation’s suburbs.