South Snohomish County residents share their vision for bike-friendly streets on a community bicycle audit

As part of our work funded by the Verdant Health Commission to establish bicycling as a safe and attractive transportation and recreation option for people of all ages and abilities in South Snohomish Country, Cascade invited members of the community to join us on a rolling bicycle "audit" through areas of Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds on June 12.

The group enjoyed the break from busy streets and skinny bike lanes in a wide shoulder on 66th Ave. W.

Sixteen people came out on what turned out to be a sunny Wednesday evening to follow two certified ride leaders and a three Cascade staff on a ten-mile loop winding from the Lynnwood Transit Center west to Edmonds Community College and south to the Mountlake Terrace Park-and-Ride facility. From busy streets to the quiet Interurban with a few miles of skinny bike lanes and hairy highway crossings in between, participants had the chance to share how they felt riding on the mix of infrastructure covered by the route. The group stopped at five locations for a short discussion of those thoughts and recommendations, and the ride was followed by a longer discussion over pizza and beers.

Safe and comfortable connections to transit formed the topic of focus.

The bike audit group gathered at the Mountlake Terrace Park and Ride to discuss improved bicycle connections in Mountlake Terrace with Janet Hall, City of Mountlake Terrace Traffic Engineer

Both the Lynnwood Transit Center and the Mountlake Terrace Park-and-Ride are proposed stations along Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension. As the group voiced, currently bicycle and pedestrian access to these stations is difficult, auto-oriented and not well-signed. Minimal infrastructure and major network gaps throughout the study area make bicycling less attractive, especially for residents concerned with safety. We were able to hear from city staff representatives from Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds about some of the work these cities have planned to improve their networks. However, more intercity coordination could be done to ensure people of all ages and abilities can safely and conveniently travel by bike between transit stations, schools, parks, trails, business districts and neighborhood centers.

Thanks to all of the participants who brought their local knowledge to the ride. The feedback we received from participants will inform a report on opportunities for bicycling improvements in Snohomish County. We told everyone, “you are the expert in your neighborhood,” and we at Cascade definitely learned a thing or two from each participant's vision for what the bicycling environment could be. And, on a sunny evening bike ride surrounded by inspiring individuals who share the same mission you do--a better community through bicycling--what's not to enjoy?

Our next bicycle audit will occur in August in Edmonds, date TBD. Stay tuned!