Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seattle - ponying up the $ for bikes

An article on today's Seattle Times web edition: Seattle's big bike plan gets a green light. (Link to article here.)

Seattle - already one of the bike-friendliest big cities you'll find anywhere - has approved (and funded!) a plan to "raise the popularity of bicycles."

They plan to spend $27 million (of a $365 million transportation levy) for bike facilities, including 118 miles of new bike lanes and 19 miles of trails.

There will obviously be naysayers. In fact, I found a link to the article on a website that was criticizing such wasteful spending. (The thinking man obviously knows that all $365 million should be spent on more pavement for single-occupant motor vehicles, right?)

Would $365 million build 137 miles of new roads? I'm guessing the answer is no.

It is estimated that 2.5% of Seattle residents use bicycles for transportation (up from 2% in 2000).

My favorite part of the plan: "... a $300,000 safety-education program will begin, combined with tighter enforcement on motorists and cyclists ... The outreach may include posters, classroom materials and neighborhood meetings. Direction signs will be installed along bike routes, pointing the way to neighborhood shopping districts, trails and parks."

I wish our local leaders (and law-enforcers) would realize the importance of bicycle education and enforcement... my consistent opinion is that we are much more lacking in that, than in bike-friendly infrastructure.

In my opinion, Seattle's elected officials are showing leadership, boldness and vision. Perhaps in 5 years, when gas is $5 or $6 a gallon, and the roads are more crowded than ever, and bike ridership has crept up to maybe 5%, it will seem like they made a good move to start their project with 2007 dollars.

There is absolutely NO reason why Boise shouldn't be better-known as a "bike city" than Seattle. We have the geography. We have the infrastructure, and far fewer obstacles that are already built in. We have a better climate! Do we have the will?

I'll support politicians who are outspoken in their bike-friendliness. I voted today - and my "I voted" sticker is now proudly displayed on my bike helmet. I ride and I vote!

1 comment:

db said...

Absolutely. On a related note, I received a notice from the ACHD about their next Bikeways open house on Nov. 14 at Horizon Elementary. Perhaps an opportunity to point at Seattle's funding plan and say, "We want that"?