May 26th, 2016

Great bikeways only work if they connect to great bikeways

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Man on bike with helmet on country ride

It’s fun to take a photograph of a beautiful protected bike lane. But a photograph won’t get you safely to the store.

Only a network can do that.

In a guest post today on Seattle Bike Blog, Gordon Padelford of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways quotes Shirley Savel, a mother of two who lives in south Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

In SE Seattle nothing connects. How do I get to places like the library, doctor, grocery store, dentist? No routes connect me to anything. I live in a void.

When I bike home from North Seattle I follow the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway south but don’t bike to the end because I value my life. I choose the greenway because it has all the elements I love in a slow street: speed humps, flashing beacons, low grade roads and all around less cars.

SDOT has a way of ending this. It ends in a protected bike lane to Franklin High School and the Light Rail Station. Ha-ha, just kidding. It dumps you right into Rainier Ave. THE MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN SEATTLE. I made this 53 second video to show you.

The short video is priceless. Padelford’s post goes on to look at a map of Seattle’s bike network with only the family-friendly routes showing.

“What happens when you remove the red lines, and leave routes that are comfortable for families and people of all ages and abilities?” Padelford asks. “You’re left with stranded lines scattered throughout the city. You’re left with stranded families like Shirley’s.”

Unlike many cities, Seattle has already sold its voters on chipping in enough money to fix this problem. That’s step one.

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