On a mission, but to where?
I don’t know about you, but I ride my bike because it reliably gets me where I need to go. Sure, sometimes the journey is the destination. But when you’re on a mission, if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know if you’ve arrived?
That’s why we set clear goals when we make plans. We do it all the time, from tasks as simple as making a grocery list, to undertakings as complex as updating a city-wide plan for bicycling.
The City of Seattle is on a mission to update Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, but has yet to decide exactly where this mission is going to take the future of bicycling in our city.
For example, the current draft plan has a goal of building a “high quality bicycle network that connects to places people want to go and provides a time-competitive travel option”. That’s a good intention, but unless we know how many miles we’re going to build by when, how do we know if we’ve accomplished our mission? And unless those goals are ambitious, Seattle is never going to be the great city for bicycling we know it can become.
In order for Seattle to accomplish our shared vision of becoming a city where everyone, from an eight-year-old child to her eighty-year-old grandmother, has the freedom to safely bike to where they need to go, we need an updated bike plan that calls for 200 new miles of world-class bikeways by the year 2020. By "world-class", we're referring to neighborhood greenways, cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, and trails. The plan should also include the goals of:
- Increasing the number of trips made by bicycle in Seattle to 20 percent;
- Reducing the number of crash-related deaths to zero;
- Installing functional and high-capacity bike parking in Seattle’s urban villages and neighborhood business districts that exceeds current demand, not just meets it; and
- Bringing safe and comfortable bikeways to within a quarter-mile of 95 percent of Seattleites by the time the plan is completed.
Sure, these are ambitious goals, but based on what cities across the nation are doing right now,we know they are achievable. And if we are ever going to rise to the level of cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, or Portland, we need to set goals like this today.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is hosting three open houses next month on the Bicycle Master Plan Update. Please save Nov. 7, Nov. 8 and Nov. 13 for a chance to review some of the draft plan content and weigh in on where the City is taking the future of bicycling in Seattle.