FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cascade Bicycle Club releases statement about City of Seattle’s decision on 35th Ave. NE

Cascade asks “What’s the vision?”

Cascade Bicycle Club released a statement about the City of Seattle’s decision to not include a protected bike lane on 35th Ave NE:

Today the City of Seattle announced that 35th Ave NE safety and repaving project will move ahead without sufficiently accommodating the needs of those who bike, walk, and roll in and around this important arterial. A protected bike lane will not be included, even though protected bike lanes are proven to make streets more safe and accessible for everyone – regardless of how we get around.

“What is the city’s vision for multi-modal transportation in Seattle?” asks Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Richard Smith. “Are we going to follow the lead of cities like Portland to the south and Vancouver to the north, who have raised the percentage of trips by bike through investment in safer infrastructure? Or is Seattle going to continue with outdated policies that prioritize fast-moving cars over community safety, health, and accessibility?”

The City of Seattle has repeatedly adopted policies, and asked residents to fund projects, that would redesign our streets – especially arterials just like 35th Ave NE – away from the outdated paradigm of just moving cars as quickly as possible. That paradigm has failed us: it ignores the transportation needs of countless Seattleites, and it means deaths and serious injuries on our streets are all too commonplace. That’s why the city adopted Vision Zero. And that’s why Seattle has a Complete Streets policy. Projects like 35th Ave NE are a chance to turn city plans into actions that will measurably improve people’s lives and help make sure we all get home safely.

Instead of a protected bikeway that would enable people to bike to local stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, SDOT has announced that it will instead fund a handful of spot improvements on the existing 39th Ave NE greenway, downhill of the commercial thoroughfare. Cascade supports these changes to the greenway though it is clear that compared to a dedicated bikeway on 35th Ave NE, improvements to the existing greenway will not have the same impact.

Cities across North America, from Vancouver BC to Washington DC, have demonstrated leadership by building connected networks of bikeways. The results speak for themselves: 1 in 10 trips in Vancouver are now by bike. DC saw an 175% increase in ridership as the city added 100 miles of bikeways. With complete, connected networks, dangerous streets become safer, more women bike, illegal bicycle behavior decreases, and traffic improves. These successes can be replicated in Seattle.

The city has repeatedly adopted Vision Zero and Complete Streets policies and we expect leadership to follow-through on these commitments. Though this project is intended to reduce vehicle speeds, today’s announcement makes the city’s commitment to create safe places for people to bike, via the connected network of bikeways envisioned in the Bike Master Plan, less clear.

Smith concludes, “Cascade is calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe to articulate the city’s vision, and near-term actions, for how it plans to evolve our transportation system to one that works for everyone – including people on bikes.”


Media Contacts:

Vicky Clarke
Seattle Policy Manager
Cascade Bicycle Club
(360) 731-4467 (mobile)

Brent Tongco
Senior Director of Communications & Marketing
Cascade Bicycle Club
(303) 828-7794 (mobile)

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Brent Tongco