2012 Seattle Bicycle Report Card: Cities across America outpace Seattle in bikeability

Today, we released our 2012 Seattle Bicycle Report Card evaluating Seattle’s progress at implementing the goals of the 2007 Seattle Bicycle Master Plan, while surveying cities across America that are leading the pack in providing their citizens with the freedom to safely ride to get where they need to go.

Building on our 2009 Report Card on Bicycling in Seattle, the new report strives to help the City of Seattle update its Bicycle Master Plan in a manner that will help Seattle chart a visionary path toward a future city where bicycling is safe, comfortable and convenient for everyone who wants to ride.

“While we applaud the City of Seattle for the incremental progress it has made toward the vision and goals of the Bicycle Master Plan over the past five years, when we look across America, it’s clear that Seattle is being outpaced,” said Chuck Ayers, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club.  “Instead of marginally improving the status quo, other cities – Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Portland and New York – have shown bold, innovative leadership.  And in doing so, they’re providing Seattle with inspiration for how to become a city with truly outstanding biking opportunities so that everyone – adults, kids, new and more seasoned – has the freedom to safely ride their bicycle to get where they need to go.”

In an effort to inspire Seattle to become what we hope will be a world-leader in bicycle transportation and innovation, we looked at cities like Chicago, where 100 miles of protected bikeways will be implemented by 2015; Portland, where the City is on track to complete a 962-mile bikeway network by 2030; and San Francisco, where the City aims for a 20 percent bicycle mode split by 2020.

“If Seattle wants to catch up to other cities across America, it should commit to developing a connected network of world-class bicycle infrastructure that is designed to make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to use,” said Tessa Greegor, Cascade’s Principal Planner and the lead author of the Report Card.  “If the City commits to building a 200-mile network of world-class bikeways over the next five years, Seattle would be transformed into a city where bicycling is normal, convenient and safe for everyone who wants to ride.”

The Report Card evaluates Seattle’s progress toward bikeability over the past five years, compares Seattle to seven bike-friendly American cities, provides a set of recommendations for Seattle as it updates its Bicycle Master Plan based on lessons learned from these cities, and presents a vision of what Seattle could look like if it adopted these recommendations.

From page 19 of the 2012 Seattle Bicycle Report Card:

We’ve distilled the inspiration and leadership we uncovered in the seven cities surveyed for this report into eleven recommendations for Seattle as the City strengthens its commitments to bicycling, and more immediately, in its update to the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  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 Seattle.
  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.

Cascade Bicycle Club’s 2012 Seattle Bicycle Report Card is available online at: http://www.cascade.org/pdf/Seattle_Bicycle_Report_Card_2012_web.pdf