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Mayor Murray: ‘Protected bicycle lanes are a crucial component of our transportation infrastructure’

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 11.00.17 AMIn a recent letter, Mayor Ed Murray did not mince words about how strongly he supports building protected bike lanes in Seattle. In support of Seattle’s application to be part of the national Green Lane Project — a program of PeopleForBikes — Murray called protected bike lanes “a crucial component of our transportation infrastructure and at the heart of our Bicycle Master Plan.

“I believe this project could help Seattle reclaim its place as one of the best bicycling cities in the United States,” he wrote. He also embraces the Bike Master Plan and supports the central role that protected bike lanes play in it.

Here’s the mayor’s letter to the Green Lane Project:


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As Mayor of Seattle, I am submitting this letter in enthusiastic support of Seattle’s Green Lane Project application.  I believe this project could help Seattle reclaim its place as one of the best bicycling cities in the United States.

Protected bicycle lanes are a crucial component of our transportation infrastructure and at the heart of our Bicycle Master Plan. Of course, these lanes are critical for the improved safety of cyclists; they help get bikes and cars out of each other’s way.  But they also provide significant benefits for the livability of our city, the mobility and health of our residents, and contribute to our ongoing pursuit of environmental sustainability.

I am excited about the potential to expand our network of protected bicycle lanes in Seattle, and one of the reasons I am supporting this application is because I believe the Green Lane Project can help us as we work to build consensus towards this goal.  I am especially interested in the potential for connecting Seattle’s stakeholders with their counterparts in cities that have successfully built protected bicycle lanes in thriving urban centers.   The Green Lane Project is an important tool, and one we can use to generate broader public support for protected bicycle lanes in our neighborhoods.

On a personal note, I have cycled on protected bicycle lanes in Europe and have seen how they transform the bicycle riding experience and the urban streetscape, encourage active and healthy activity, and contribute to a sense of community.  One of my priorities as Mayor is to foster a coherent, connected, multi-modal transportation network.  The planning and development of protected bicycle lanes are central to this effort.

Thank you for this opportunity, and please contact me directly if I can provide additional information.

Sincerely,

Mayor Ed Murray

Murray’s support for protected bike lanes could also prove to be a boon to Seattle businesses, according to a report released this week by the Alliance for Biking & Walking and PeopleForBikes.

From increases in retail sales and workforce productivity to decreases in transportation system costs and workforce sick days, better bike lanes are good for all kinds of businesses. Cities that are not building safe bike lanes are falling behind, and Mayor Murray’s letter suggests he is not going to let that happen to Seattle.

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9 responses to “Mayor Murray: ‘Protected bicycle lanes are a crucial component of our transportation infrastructure’”

  1. SashaBikes

    Nice! I had serious concerns about Murray during the election, and regardless of his motivation behind this, I’m glad that he’s looking to support the biking movement in Seattle. Safer streets for everyone will be an all-around win.

  2. Merlin

    This was the anti-bike candidate?

  3. […] has come out early as a strong proponent of adding more protected bicycle lanes in the city and putting the needs of cyclists front-and-center in transit development. In a recent letter to […]

  4. Chuck Ayers

    The candidate who had to – and still likely needs to – come up to speed on some of the specific bike infrastructure issues. I believe he has some good people advising him. Ultimately the proof of Mayor Murray’s position will be in the (unfortunate) battles that will take place at ground level.

  5. Andres Salomon

    I’m happy to see him using the phrase ‘protected bicycle lanes’ instead of ‘cycletracks’.

  6. Bruce Nourish

    It’s good to hear, but honestly I think Murray tells every constituency what he thinks they want to hear. I’ll start believing what his values might be once I see some projects run to completion and see how he and his entourage influence them.

    Also, I wish people would stop using pictures of SF’s Market St lane — it would be a great idea if someone enforced it, but my experience has been that in SF, bike lanes are for parking, bus lanes are for cars, mandatory or prohibited turns are for the birds, and nobody gives a s***. NY, Chicago would be much better examples in that respect.

    1. RTK

      I’m also waiting until I see his actions. He has tried to place himself on both side of many issues. I’d like to see him come out and publicly state that he backs the BMP and wants it to move forward. He should use his political influence to try to broker some sort of compromise with the Westlake Group.

  7. another mother on a bike

    I’m glad to read this strong support for protected bike lanes, but I don’t like pushing the thinking that we are in each other’s way. Yes, I want a dedicated space, but I am not an inconvenience and “in the way” of a car driver when I’m cycling on a street that doesn’t have dedicated bike space. That offends me.

    @Bruce Nourish: I had a completely different experience. The take-over of the bike lanes in New York by cars depressed me. (The rider behavior was pretty poor, too.) SF was better in my experience. But Vancouver was the best. IMO, Seattle can be as good as Vancouver. As far as length of network on a map, yes, New York is awesome but I, personally, wouldn’t hold the city as any kind of gold standard for respecting bike lanes. That was Manhattan though. Maybe it’s better in Brooklyn?

    I hope Seattle gets picked for a Green Lane Project. Glad Murray supported our application.

  8. Emily

    Thank you, Mayor Murray! Can’t wait to see the great things you’re going to do for bicycling.

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