For years, the folks who aren’t crazy about bike commuters have complained about Seattle spending too much money, space and resources to its Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). The BMP has served as the main reference for SDOT to plan and design bike projects in the City. The goals were great and lofty. Let’s reduce greenhouse emissions, make it safer for people to get around on their bikes, and make the City more livable.
SDOT has not executed its plan perfectly. Alarm bells go off when the same problems leading to serious bicyclist and pedestrian accidents persist. However, my friends at Seattle Greenway, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Bike Blog, and I (among many other concerned advocates) are now sounding alarms in a big way. This is because the new Seattle Transportation Plan (STP) is developing with lightening speed (hard to imagine, I know) without prioritizing bicyclist safety as follows:*
- No real transparency – public engagement/outreach should have occurred at the earliest stages. Now, as it’s poised for final approval, we still don’t know enough details.
- Priority is given to freight, transit, and pedestrians – Hey, these are all important. We are all pedestrians. But walking isn’t practical to get from Magnolia to Capitol Hill for a meeting (especially on a super soggy day). But what about all the years SDOT has devoted to its BMP?
- This means –>STP does NOT include planning to move more people on bikes through the City, leaving gaps between bike paths so that people must find their way to the next bike path.–> Not safe and not consistent with the City’s promise and goal of Vision Zero and Safer Streets.
- Drivers. STP is all about the drivers. Again, I get it! I drive a lot too. But that’s because my work involves representing injured bicyclists and pedestrians along with injured drivers. So, I have a keen awareness of how unsafe many spots are in the City for bicyclists.
- What about the two E’s…Emissions and Equity? As it stands today, the STP sidesteps multimodal conflict by removing the BMP! Say what? People from less well off communities in the City and their transportation needs are not figured into the equation. And Seattle now wants to whistle by the graveyard and avoid the issue of how freight, transit and drivers will contribute to great emissions for all.
The above is the reality right now and are precisely why advocates like Clara Cantor and Gordon Padelford (and me) are very concerned. Recall that SDOT has talked about its vision for a safe, connected, more bike-friendly roads. But with its new STP, SDOT’s silence to the BMP is deafening. This matters, especially now as companies are opening up their offices and workers are hitting the road in droves. Seattle Bike Blog‘s latest post beautifully explains why this matters…now.
What can you do? Speak up! Tomorrow’s Seattle City Council Transportation Committee begins at 9:30 am\ Sign Up to give a verbal public comment here. Sign-up opens at 7:30 am.