Seattle has been chosen to be part of the second round of Green Lane Project cities, PeopleForBikes announced Monday.
A project of the national non-profit bike advocacy organization, the Green Lane Project provides financial and technical assistance to cities to help speed up the installation and adaptation of protected bike lanes on city streets. Cities included in the first round — including Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco — have made huge strides in the past two years, and now it is Seattle’s chance.
UPDATE: Mayor Ed Murray made the following statement Monday morning:
The City of Seattle is proud to have been selected by PeopleForBikes to participate in their Green Lane Project, which has helped cities across the nation develop and implement protected bicycle lanes … These lanes are an important part of Seattle’s transportation infrastructure and at the heart of our Bicycle Master Plan. The Green Lane Project will help us make progress on our goals of making Seattle more interconnected, safe and environmentally sustainable.
We will have more soon on what this means for Seattle (I’m currently on vacation in Denver, but will return Tuesday). In the meantime, here are details from PeopleForBikes:
The PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project has selected six new U.S. cities to become the second class in an intensive two-year program to build protected bike lanes. Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Denver, CO, Indianapolis, IN, Pittsburgh, PA and Seattle, WA will receive financial, strategic and technical assistance to create low-stress streets and increase vitality in urban centers through the installation of protected bike lanes. The six cities were chosen from more than 100 U.S. cities that submitted letters of interest for the program.
Launched in 2012, the Green Lane Project works with U.S. cities to speed the installation of protected bike lanes around the country. Protected bike lanes are on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts that help organize the street and make riding a bike an appealing option for more people.
“It was extremely difficult to narrow down our selection to just six cities; we are seeing an upsurge of interest in making bicycling stress-free on busy city streets,” said Martha Roskowski, PeopleForBikes Vice President of Local Innovation. “The selected cities have ambitious goals and a vision for bicycling supported by their elected officials and communities. They are poised to get projects on the ground quickly and will serve as excellent examples for other interested cities.”
In the first two years of the program, the Green Lane Project worked closely with other major U.S. cities – Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Memphis, TN, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC – to build protected bike lanes. Since then, the number of protected bike lanes on city streets nationwide has nearly doubled from 80 to 142 – with more than half of all growth coming from the Project’s six focus cities. The founding cities will continue as mentors to the new class while continuing to build their protected bike lane networks with the momentum driven by the Project.
Protected bike lanes bring predictability to busy streets: drivers like knowing where to expect riders, and pedestrians report fewer bikes on the sidewalk. The lanes make roads safer for all users, reducing bike, auto and pedestrian injuries by up to 50%.
Protected lanes also add vitality and energy to the street, attracting new businesses and helping create a community people want to be in, not just move through. In New York City, local businesses saw a 49 percent increase in retail sales after the construction of protected bike lanes, compared to only a 3 percent increase citywide.
The Green Lane Project will officially begin collaboration with the new cities following a kickoff event and press conference in Indianapolis, IN in late April.