Seattle’s belated entry into protected bike lanes has definitely made a splash. In fact, the national Green Lane Project recently created a list of the top ten protected bike lanes of 2013, and Seattle made the list … twice.
Linden Ave clocked in at 5th, and Cherry Street made the list in the 9th spot. And, notably, Portland made the list zero times.
The Linden Ave Complete Streets project was definitely innovative for a US protected bike lane project. Seattle held no punches, utilizing a wide variety of design elements to create seamless and easy-to-understand bike lanes that feel safe and inviting to more people.
The protected lanes were part of a project aimed at increasing walking safety and ADA accessibility in the growing neighborhood with a large senior population. So Linden is not only a great place to bike, but it is also an excellent demonstration of how protected bike lanes can help make a street more comfortable and safe for everyone whether they bike or not.
The Green Lane Project cites Linden as a world class design inspired by Vancouver, BC. While other cities are building fast and cheap, Seattle is showing what happens when you “do them up nice the first time.”
See video and coverage in our previous post.
The Cherry Street protected bike lanes are short and on a steep hill. They are not flashy or high-budget like the Linden lanes. Indeed, the primary reason they made list is not due to the design: It’s how they came to be.
From the Green Lane Project:
Any other one-block uphill stretch of protected bike lane beneath a highway viaduct, one block from the second-tallest building on the West Coast, would be nothing more than a pretty good idea. But Cherry Street’s protected bike lane makes our list because of who suggested it: a pair of anonymous safety-minded community members calling themselves the “Reasonably Polite Seattlites” who spent $350 of their own money to install these bollards in the dead of night, then sent the city an email to explain why. The coolest thing of all: after removing the temporary installation, city planners realized the activists were right and installed a proper version themselves.
Let’s keep this momentum going. With the complete opening of the Broadway Bikeway coming early next year and plans on the way for miles of protected bike lanes through the downtown core, Seattle is positioned well to keep turning heads and grow its reputation as a top US city for innovative, people-focused streets.