Cascade launches campaign to promote city-wide bike network

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan identifies 474 miles of new or upgraded bike routes to be constructed by 2034. But Cascade Bicycle Club launched a campaign this week called Connect Seattle to encourage the city to follow through on a handful of major city-wide routes by 2021.

The hard work to make this citywide vision a reality will likely happen at the neighborhood level, as has been the case for nearly every bike lane project in the city. But perhaps it would be good to have a reminder of how each project fits into a citywide vision.

The campaign map is like a pared-down version of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ Urban Village Bike Map, which envisions safe and comfortable bike routes connecting all of the city’s designated and planned urban villages to create a city-wide bike network. SNG is not listed as a partner in the campaign as they were for the Basic Bike Network.

The goal of the campaign is to get to 10 percent mode share by completing these projects over the next three years. There are certainly many important projects and neighborhoods missing from this map. But if these routes were all completed by 2021, much of the city would be much easier and safer to navigate by bike.

More details from Cascade:

As more Seattleites look for fast, affordable transportation options, we envision a Seattle where 1 in 10 trips is made by bike.

Making that vision a reality isn’t about hitting a magic number. It’s about creating happier, healthier and more inclusive neighborhoods – connected by bike – all across Seattle. We envision a Seattle where everyone, regardless of how we look or where we live, has the choice to hop on a bike to get to the store, to commute to school or work, or to cross town to visit friends and family for dinner.

1 in 10 trips by bike isn’t just an aspirational goal.

A PATH TOWARDS 1 IN 10 TRIPS BY BIKE: CONNECT SEATTLE.

Here’s what it means: If Seattle follows through on a handful of projects that are already in the works – and completes them over the next three years  – we’ll have a basic network of bikeways across the city by 2021. When we Connect Seattle, we connect people to the places they need and want to go by bike. And that means more people, taking more trips by bike.

LET’S CONNECT THE DOTS…

  • 60% of Seattleites want to bike more – and say that they would, if there were safe places to do so (1).
  • When cities build protected, connected networks of bikeways, usage multiplies (3). We only need to look to comparable cities (with similar topography, weather, size, and density) to see that setting goals and methodically building connected bikeways create results. In 2009, Vancouver, BC, set goals to increase walking biking and transit. In less than 10 years, biking levels have gone from approximately what they are in Seattle to now over 10% of all trips (4).
  • The majority of people identify as “interested but concerned” – they will only ride on a bike with physical separation, or on low traffic, low stress streets (2).
  • Evolutions in bicycling, such as e-bikes, make bicycling accessible to more people for more trips. According to 2018 data, average e-bike trip length is 9.3 miles; top reason for e-bike trip was to replace a car trip; e-bike users find they overcome the biggest conventional bike barriers – hills (5).

LET’S CONNECT SEATTLE. 

CONNECT SEATTLE PROJECTS:

(download the map)

  • Northgate Bike/Ped Improvements
  • Roosevelt Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Greenlake Repaving
  • Fix 65th
  • Burke Gilman Missing Link
  • SR-520 Improvements at Montlake
  • Madison BRT/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • East Marginal Way Improvements
  • Rainier RR/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Duwamish Trail
  • Delridge RR/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Swift/Myrtle/Othello Repaving
  • Southpark to Georgetown Trail
  • Basic Bike Network

(1) 2014 telephone survey conducted by Cascade Bicycle Club, of a statistically significant sample of Seattle residents
(2) https://blog.altaplanning.com/understanding-the-four-types-of-cyclists-112e1d2e9a1b
(3) http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pdf/InfoBrief_PBIC_Networks.pdf

(4) https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/as-seattle-struggles-with-bike-lanes-vancouver-b-c-has-won-the-battle/
(5) https://nitc.trec.pdx.edu/news/fun-biking-ease-driving-e-bikes-offer-both

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9 Responses to Cascade launches campaign to promote city-wide bike network

  1. Law Abider says:

    Not to nitpick, but the overall map shows a “COMPLETE ALL AGES AND ABILITIES ROUTE” connecting what I assume are the 2nd Ave cycle track to the Elliot Bay Trail. Doing that connection currently requires nerves of steel.

    Also, why is the Fremont Greenway represented, but no others?

    • Nick vdH says:

      If you look at the zoomed in “Basic Bike Network” it shows the gaps between 2nd Ave and Elliot Bay Trail.

      I think it’s pretty hard to make a clear map like this that gets across what needs to be improved. The Fremont Ave Greenway is included as it is a nice connection from Green Lake to the Interurban Trail. The other greenways are somewhat disjointed and don’t really connect well to anything. The only other ones that would fit on this map is the Beacon Hill Greenway from the I-90 Trail to Beacon Hill and the Central District N-S Greenway from the I-90 Trail to the Central District.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yeah, I think Nick is right. This is not an exhaustive map of quality infrastructure (or needs), but only includes major cross-city connections. So Fremont Ave greenway is a major regional connection served fairly well by the greenway, but the other ones are more local (or poor high quality, like the Delridge greenway). That doesn’t mean local connections aren’t important or useful. Of course they are! That’s just not the point of this map.

      I think the SNG urban villages map is a great guiding force for city-wide bike network work because it builds on other planning and land use work in the city. If urban villages are where the housing growth (including affordable housing) is going, then that’s also where the bike network should connect.

      • Law Abider says:

        Good points (also to Nick). I think I’m focusing too much on the paper cuts (small, missing connections) rather than the bleeding wounds (incomplete regional backbones).

        However, I would have liked the overall map to show a clear missing gap for the 2nd to Elliot connection, which I feel is a very important major gap. I feel that gets lost or is not 100% clear in the detail, especially since the network gap line appears to go north along, 1st or Queen Anne and nothing to the west.

        And my main gripe with excluding the Greenways is pure selfishness. Currently the 17th Ave Greenway (a pretty major, well used facility) has an incomplete connection to the Missing Link, which is currently served by the better-than-what-was-there-before, two-way cycle track.

        While I don’t agree with the SDOT’s assumed direction of this connection, it is a glaring gap in the NW Seattle bike network that needs to get completed ASAP, one way or another.

        Regardless, I appreciate what this map and campaign are doing and will be doing what I can to support Cascade in getting these projects expedited.

  2. Matthew Snyder says:

    I find this map to be pretty baffling overall, even accounting for its deliberate sparsity. What’s the complete AAA connection between Columbia City and Rainier Beach? Does that refer to the Rainier Valley N-S Greenway? If so, why doesn’t the green line continue up to Mount Baker and I-90? Also kind of odd that Beacon Hill was left out.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I agree, Beacon Hill is one of the bigger missing pieces on this map.

      The (still under construction) Rainier Greenway does work better south of Columbia City, and there are bike lanes on Rainier Ave to the city limits. I’m not sure I consider that connection fully made, though. But north of Columbia City, the greenway is not an effective connection. It helps folks who live along the route, but it’s not a quality citywide connection. So I can see why they might have drawn it that way.

      • NickS says:

        As someone that lives south of Columbia City, I can tell you that the Rainier N-S Greenway does not work particularly well depending on where in the Rainier Valley you’re coming from (or going to). Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have it. But if you asked me if it worked well for me, I’d have to say not really.

        The problem is not so much the greenway itself (though there are acknowledged key gaps in the “all ages / abilities” claim, particularly around Columbia City with very steep hill climbs and awkward interfaces with vehicle traffic), it’s access to the greenway that’s the problem — there are few good, safe ways to get to it that are all ages / abilities. From where I am, the connecting route to the greenway that involves the highest percentage of bike lane is probably Seward Park Ave S. to S Othello St to 45th Ave S. Kids or new riders cannot ride this route.

        Seward Park Ave S, a bike-facility-free part of the Lake Washington Loop Trail, is a busy-at-rush-hour arterial with no traffic calming and a 30mph speed limit, and bike riders must take the traffic lane with parked cars between Kenyon and Othello. A sarcastic thanks to SDOT for eliminating parking restrictions on the east side of Seward and restriping the center line with no notice to the community.

        Othello has a bike lane, but none of it is protected, it involves a fairly steep hill climb heading west from Rainier Ave up to 48th, and it’s a very busy arterial linking I-5 to Seward Park (Swift, Myrtle, Othello).

        Further south, S Cloverdale Pl lacks any bike lanes, and S. Henderson St. lacks complete bike lanes, and where a lane is present, it’s unprotected.

        Bicyclists from other areas west of MLK or east of Rainier face similar challenges.

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