Cascade Bicycle Club’s wish list for safer Seattle streets

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Ever since Seattle approved a Bicycle Master Plan in 2007, the Cascade Bicycle Club has issued occasional “report cards” on how well the city is doing in implementing the plan.

2012 Seattle Bicycle Report Card

The latest Seattle Bicycle Report Card issued last week found that the rate of bicycling in the city has increased as the city installs more bike lanes, sharrows and other facilities such as bike boxes and buffered bike lanes.

Still, the city is falling off the pace of its target of creating a total 155 miles of bike lanes, bike boulevards and multi-use trails by 2017. At the halfway point, the city has installed 60 miles of those three types of bike facilities.

The point of all these streets projects for bikes is to increase the rate of bicycling in the city. The 2007 master plan seeks to triple bike use by 2017. While the overall growth is a little off pace, according to the report card, maintaining the growth rate in the past two years would exceed the city’s goal.

Contrast and compare

Something new in this year’s report is a comparison of how Seattle compares with some other major bike-friendly cities — Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington DC and New York City — in promoting bicycling.

Cascade looked at the best practices in those other cities and found many examples that could help Seattle achieve bicycle stardom.

Here are 11 recommendations that Cascade suggests:

1. Commit to funding and building an ambitious network of world-class bicycle infrastructure, for example 200 miles in five years, that is safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all ages and abilities.

2. Commit to designing new bicycle facilities and upgrading existing bicycle facilities to encourage use by people of all ages and abilities.

3. Commit to improving bicycle safety and efficiency at intersections along bicycle corridors through the following types of treatments:
• dedicated bicycle signals and exclusive signal phasing
• bicycle boxes and two-stage left turn queue boxes
• bicycle conducive signal timing, or green wave corridors
• advanced, in-lane bicycle detection
• bicycle scramble intersections and diagonal crossings
• dedicated bicycle and pedestrian signals at arterial crossings along neighborhood greenway corridors

4. Adopt an ambitious and visionary bicycle mode split goal, such as 20 percent mode split by 2020.

5. Establish targets and an action plan for increasing bicycling among underrepresented populations.

6. Adopt an ambitious and visionary bicycle collision reduction goal, aiming to significantly reduce total bicycle collisions annually and eliminate all bicycle fatalities.

7. Evaluate and provide safety interventions at the 10 highest bicycle collision locations annually.

8. Reduce speed limits on residential streets to 20 mph in conjunction with traffic calming measures.

9. Install on-street bicycle parking corrals throughout Seattle’s urban villages contributing to the economic vibrancy of

10. Adopt a green transportation mode hierarchy policy – prioritizing people walking, biking and riding transit in transportation planning, design and implementation.

11. Commit to being innovative and bold when planning, designing and constructing world-class bicycle facilities.

Looking at this list, you’d have to agree that these things would make Seattle an awesome city for bicycle riding. I’m sure it would also serve to create huge gains in the number of people using bicycles for commuting and errands, as well as equalizing the ratio of men and women who bicycle here.

All the facts and figures from Seattle and the other seven cities are included in the report. There’s a lot of information that can apply to any town or city that is making an honest attempt to increase bicycle use.

More about the Bicycle Report Card at the Cascade Bicycle Club blog and Seattle Bike Blog (“Seattle is falling behind in bicycle infrastructure”).

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