Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, but a lot of things aggravate me when I’m bicycling. Near the top of the list are the abrupt dead-ends of perfectly good bike lanes at intersections where the road continues, sans bike lane, on the other side.Call them “gaps” or “missing links”, but they’re more than an inconvenience. It can create a dangerous situation for bicyclists who are new to an area. The bike lane offers a certain level of protection for a trusting bicyclist, then cuts them loose and lets them fend for themselves on what can be a busy road with no shoulders.
This happens everywhere, but Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrance in Snohomish County have a plan to link together some of their orphaned bike lanes to create a more seamless network for bicycle transportation.
The cities have built 23 miles of detached bike lanes here and there in their jurisdictions in recent years. How does this happen? The project engineer for Lynnwood, WA, explained to KIRO-TV News:
“Well, the projects have been built over the last 10 or 15 years, and we get funding for a road project through various means, and we build it and then another one comes up, and we build it somewhere else on the other side of town.”
The cities hope to remedy this problem in the Bike2Health program, funded by a $2 million grant from the Verdant Health Commission, a health and wellness program provider in south Snohomish County. They’ll use the money to connect these bike lanes in several north-south and east-west bicycling corridors that connect existing bike lanes and the Interurban Trail with transportation, education, shopping and employment centers.
The program is in the final design stages now and construction will run from March 2016 until September 2017. During that time, crews will improve or upgrade 10 miles of the bike network by laying 6 miles of new bike lanes, as well as installing wayfaring signs and sharrows.
The folks at Verdant reason that more people will take to bicycling, and gain the healthy benefits, if the bicycle network is complete.
Now, if Seattle could just fix the Burke-Gilman Trail “missing link” in the Ballard neighborhood …