Follow us:

Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

May 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

‘Bike infrastructure’ means more than paint on the road

The death of a 53 year-old bike rider at a notoriously unsafe intersection, just hours into Bike to Work Month, is a reminder that bike safety requires more than just paint on a road.

The investigation is ongoing, but the SPDBlotter says cyclist was northbound on East Marginal Way, presumably in the painted bike lane. When I rode that bike lane a few weeks ago, I was terrified by trucks and cars bouncing and weaving way too close.

Bike lanes separated by elevation, curb, planter box, etc – aka cycle tracks – are about safety. That’s why I’m encouraged by movement toward a cycle track in downtown, probably the toughest bike infrastructure nut to crack in the city.

Seattle Department of Transportation director Peter Hahn said planning was underway, with work potentially starting in 2014. Hahn said Second Avenue is an options, although the SDOT preliminary draft of an updated Seattle bike master plan also suggests Fourth and Seventh Avenues.downtown bike lanes

The Downtown Seattle Association has joined with SDOT and King County Metro on Commute Seattle, which promotes better commute options into downtown, including a cycle track. Business support will be critical, because a cycle track will likely come at the cost of on-street parking.

“I think the business community is ready to have the conversation,” saidĀ Jamie Cheney of Commute Seattle. She frames it as a business-competitiveness issue: firms looking to hire and expand downtown seek to lure the creative-class workers most likely to bike.

Seattle bikes. About 3 percent regularly bike commute, and more polls (including thisĀ Cascade Bicycle Club one from January) have found that more would if it were a bit easier, and safer.

And it’s just not safe right now. Paint on the road, as yesterday’s accident shows, is cold comfort.

Comments | Topics: bike, Seattle Department of Transportation


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►