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CM Mosqueda delivers must-watch speech as Council approves downtown bike lane resolution

Map of routes included in the City Council resolution.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday calling on SDOT to complete a connected bike network downtown by the end of 2019.

As we reported previously, the network includes sections of 8th Ave, 9th Ave N, Pike and/or Pine St, 12th Ave S, King St, and a south downtown pathway between 2nd Ave and the International District. The resolution is non-binding, but a unanimous Council vote should mean something.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda took the opportunity Monday to not just support the resolution, but to give a wide-ranging speech framing a safe bike network as a necessity. Mosqueda’s speech is a master class in how safe streets and access to biking is about public health and about environmental, racial and gender justice. It’s seven and a half minutes of some of the best safe streets leadership I’ve seen from my years covering transportation at Seattle City Hall. Enjoy and be inspired (watch the full meeting here):

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Mosqueda’s speech was in support of a unanimously-approved amendment (PDF) she proposed that bolstered the equity focus of the resolution. But it felt like the groundwork for a much further reaching effort to get SDOT to invest in underserved neighborhoods the department continues to neglect as it builds out sections of the Bicycle Master Plan.

The ideas in her speech would also be a valuable framework for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s SDOT Director search.

While Mosqueda may have stolen the show, the resolution came out of hard work by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club and Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s office. They worked with SDOT to come up with a list of projects and a timeline that, while a little ambitious, is absolutely achievable so long as the department and Mayor’s Office give the projects the energy and political backing they need.

Back in 2014, SDOT successfully took the 2nd Ave bike lane from idea to constructed in six months, which is pretty much light speed for such a significant downtown transportation project. That bike lane tripled ridership on 2nd Ave and formed the backbone of what was supposed to be a soon-to-follow downtown bike network. SDOT has triple that amount of time to complete these sections by the resolution’s deadline. So yes, it will certainly be hard work, but we know SDOT can do it.

The success of private bike share opens the downtown bike lanes to vastly more users because now people across the region don’t need to bike their personal bikes from their homes in order to take advantage of the new investments. As new connections are completed, more and more destinations will be within an easy and comfortable bike ride from major transit hubs. Bike share and bike lanes work together to improve access to transit and take stress off downtown streets. The bike network cannot come fast enough.

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14 responses to “CM Mosqueda delivers must-watch speech as Council approves downtown bike lane resolution”

  1. Here here. Councilmember Mosqueda’s speech and leadership yesterday was phenomenal.

    Thanks are also due in particular to Councilmember Mike O’Brien for his leadership in working out a solution that SDOT said it could deliver, and to Councilmember Bagshaw for her promise to help with outreach in her district (where these projects are located).

    Thanks also to all the volunteers and supporters who helped us reach this milestone, and our partners at Cascade.

    Together, we can build a safe, convenient, and equitable bike network. For folks looking to get involved to help keep the momentum going to make the Basic Bike Network a reality, check out: http://seattlegreenways.org/basicbikenetwork/

    Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

  2. Dylan

    Great speech! Finally someone gets it

  3. Les Bois

    Seattle needs to reduce or eliminate bike lanes and make streets more compatible for cars and drivers, who pay for the roads through gas taxes and vehicle licensing fees. I am a bike rider, but the current endeavor to increase bike lanes goes too far and illustrates why most Seattle residents believe that the city government has gone awry.

    1. Law Abider

      Seattle needs to reduce or eliminate bike lanes and make streets more compatible for cars and drivers, who pay for the roads through gas taxes and vehicle licensing fees.

      And here’s where your argument begins and ends with but a whimper, due to a 100%, completely false statement.

      I understand you probably just a lost troll from MyNorthwest, but bike lanes, streets, sidewalks, pretty much any transportation surface or facility in the City, not owned by WSDOT, is paid for by property taxes. Everyone pays for property taxes, from the guy driving the $250,000 sports car, to the bus riders, to the cyclists and pedestrians. And yes, that includes renters too.

    2. Tan

      Cut the deception! The bike that you’ve ridden last in the 90s that is now hanging in your garage rafter does not make you a “bike rider.” If you’ve ridden more than a mile anywhere in this city, you’d know that bike facilities are inadequate.

    3. Andres Salomon

      Why stop there? Seattle needs to reduce or eliminate sidewalks and make streets more compatible for car parking. The sidewalks downtown are ridiculously large; imagine how many more cars we could fit if we got rid of them? As a matter of fact, why even have a downtown at all? If we replaced downtown with some highway interchanges, cars and drivers could completely avoid traffic. Get rid of a bunch of those annoying houses to create highway bypasses for all of our urban villages, too. It’s all paid for with gas taxes, anyways. Motoring from Tukwila to Lynnwood could be as smooth and easy as our forefathers intended.

    4. Southeasterner

      Wow it’s sad you have no clue how your streets are funded.

      Proof that we need a representative Democracy where people who understand how things work represent the population and general clueless masses aren’t directly involved in decision making.

  4. Law Abider

    Got the Cascade email last night, this is excellent news and I hope Seattle actually follows through!

    Though, it’s kind of strange thinking we’ll have a downtown bike network before the Missing Link gets built.

    1. Dylan Oldenburg

      What’s the deal with the missing link? I thought they were going to start construction in the autumn, but now the sdot website says it won’t start until next year.

  5. […] Urbanist, Seattle Bike Blog, and Erica Barnett report on the Council’s resolution setting a timeline for building out the […]

  6. […] excellent speech from Teresa Mosqueda on bike […]

  7. Safe Streets? What about the acute risk millions of used heroin and meth syringes littering the streets, green spaces, and private property pose to everybody especially children? People like Mosqueda are focused on enabling heroin and meth abuse, and letting addicts run amok committing assault, rape, property crime, etc and discarding needles everywhere. Mosqueda has no problem with addicts bums defecting and urinating in our streets. Soon we’re going to rival San Francisco for the most human feces on sidewalks. But she is for bike lanes so that makes her a proponent of safe streets? The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

    1. Law Abider

      You’re right, Seattle is a terrible, horrible, dystopian place to live. Between getting assaulted, raped and stepping on streets paved with heroin needles, how do you even get time to post such a well thought out comment? You should sell your house, for a ton of profit, and move to one of the middle America paradises, like Idaho, Missouri or Alabama!

      Sensationalist much? I do recognize you from the Capitol Hill Blog, where your post are typically pretty much on par with this.

      1. Shaniqua Jackson Washington

        Sensationalist much?

        What the hell does that mean?

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