Does loving this idea make me a lazy person?
I don't think so. I think that Seattle could take a lesson from Trondheim, Norway, which built this bike lift (called the Trampe) in 1993. The motorized bike escalator carries a cyclist and bike to the top of a hill via a moving footplate, which the biker steps on with his or her right foot. Cyclists can access the lift using a keycard (available for rent or purchase). Not only does it offer some relief for tired or less athletic riders – it has also become one of the hilly town's biggest tourist attractions.
One thing I love about bicycling (besides the opportunity to view neighborhoods up-close, the chance to get my workout on the way to the office, and the sense of connecting to the air, wind and water that you just can't get in a car or on a bus) is the versatility of the activity. Cycling can certainly be an athletic sport, but it's also a perfectly viable leisure activity (as evidenced by Saturday's World Naked Bike Ride). And no one should be intimidated out of hopping on a bike by the local topography. So when talking local bike infrastructure, it would be worth considering the casual errand-runners, or those who simply cannot power up the hills.
Any other ideas out there?
Illustration credit: Trampe website
Photo credit: Flickr/kjd