Slow Rolling on Seattle’s Bike Network is Not Acceptable: Let’s Build With Urgency, and for Connectivity
This Tuesday the community showed up to city hall in droves, rallying to demand action from city leaders in the face of delays and cancellations to parts of the bike network. As a month of public comment on the proposed Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan (BMP IP) for 2019-2024 kicks off, Tuesday was just the beginning. Say you'll attend BMP IP open houses this April.
On the heels of the announcement the city would not build the long-planned protected bike lane on 35th Ave NE, SDOT released late Friday it’s draft plan for protected bike lanes, greenways and trails it will build between now and the end of the Move Seattle Levy, in 2024 – via an updated BMP Implementation Plan.
The one-two punch of killing an all-but-complete and cost-effective bike lane, and rolling out a plan to build few disparate bike lanes across the city drew attention from media and community members alike. Residents across Seattle, who’ve waited years for the city to build the bike network, are frustrated. The result Tuesday: From ages 8 to 80, and from Rainier Valley to Northgate, over a hundred caring neighbors converged on city hall to voice displeasure, and to let city leaders know that we’re tired of broken promises.
Our Safety Matters Too
Many of the 50+ people signed up to testify to council Tuesday shared harrowing experiences of the day-to-day reality of trying to get around on foot and by bike in Seattle, where we have a few disconnected bikeways, and people on bike frequently share lanes with fast moving vehicles.
Stepping Up and Demonstrating Leadership
Ahead of the council meeting, a smaller group gathered in the city hall lobby, including council members Mike O’Brien, and Teresa Mosqueda. O’Brien shared frustration at the pace of building the bike network, and befuddlement at the mayor’s decision on 35th Ave NE and around her vision for transportation in the city. Mosqueda pushed back against the old tropes about bike lanes, underscoring their importance to women and people of color – both growing demographics in biking, but whom today do not feel safe biking on Seattle’s streets; and that in reality bikes and thriving local economies work together, hand in glove – instead of at-odds.
Where to from here?
Tuesday was just the beginning of a whirlwind public engagement process for the draft BMP Implementation Plan. During April SDOT is holding several open houses, across the city, to take community feedback. Say you'll attend one of the four SDOT open houses, to voice support for acting with urgency, not slow rolling on safe places to bike.
The larger question, exemplified Tuesday by two community members literally shredding pages of the Bike Master Plan, Complete Streets Ordinance, Vision Zero Action Plan and Climate Action Plan, cannot be lost either. And in the coming weeks we will be working with council to identify policies and actions to strengthen plans so they result in action, and real changes to our streets.