Today, the City of Seattle enlisted local volunteers to conduct official bicycle counts in 25 locations around downtown. Volunteers stood at their assigned posts from 6:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. to record the number of people biking during the commuter rush. The numbers will be used to track the progress made by the City's Bicycle Master Plan, and to help inform developments in the plan for the future. In 2007, the City counted 2,273 cyclists downtown, showing a 31 percent increase since the 2000 counts. You can download the City's graph of the 2007 count results here.
The P-I published a great article by reporter Jennifer Langston on Sunday, covering several improvements made in the master plan's first year of progress. These include, as the article states, "more than 50 miles of new bicycle lanes, shared-lane markings, directional signs and other improvements."
Langston goes on to discuss further plans and opportunities for making Seattle's various roads – gentler neighborhood streets as well as main commuter routes – welcoming for cyclists of all levels of experience. Fremont Avenue North in Greenwood, for example, is the site of Seattle's first "bike boulevard," a transportation concept popular in Portland where neighborhoods streets are modified with traffic circles, signage and other additions meant to slow down or even discourage car traffic altogether, making the routes safe and pleasant for bike travel.
We're happy to see the progress and dedication thus far in improving Seattle's capacity to handle bike traffic in a way that’s safe for cyclists and drivers alike. We also welcome more solutions that make our road space less car-centric. With a little creativity, this valuable urban acreage could host so many other public activities. To all the cyclists, drivers and pedestrians reading Worldchanging: What's on your wish list these days? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo credit: flickr/Rob_, Creative Commons license.