Seattle, Washington is stepping up its bicycle culture with major improvements and more ridership in 2014. May 16th of 2014 is Seattle’s annual ‘bike to work day’ and the event is expected to see a record number of bicyclists. The city is also working to improve bicycling capacity for many years to come with the installation of a bike share program throughout heavily used areas of the city. Seattle is home to great bicycle infrastructure, despite its many hills, and is on track to improving its bicycle culture tremendously.
Bike to work day, scheduled for May 16th, is expecting 20,000 bicyclists riding to work which is a 4,000 rider increase from the past two years. Seattle has adequate bicycles lanes on most of its roads, even catering to riders who wish to go from Seattle to the neighboring island to the east, Mercer Island, and on to Bellevue, a city to the north-east. The city plans on improving its bicycle infrastructure, with obvious renovations already in the works.
The major metropolis is expecting to launch its bike share program in September of 2014. Station locations throughout the city are still in planning, though the city is hosting numerous meetings leading up to the launch with opportunity for cyclists to weigh in on where they prefer to see stations. The bike share program will start relatively small, with 500 bicycles and 50 stations with concentrations on the more heavily biker areas of the city. The city already has successful car share programs in place with users very interested in different modes of shared transportation, so the bike share program is expected to survive its initial user test and extend to other part within the city. This program alone will greatly improve the Seattle bicycle culture, making it much more accessible and reliable.
2012 was a big year for Seattle’s bicycle infrastructure. The improvements made landed Seattle the number ten spot on America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly City list by Bicycling magazine. A main street in Seattle, Broadway, gained a two-way bike lane and green-ways sprouted up all over the city. Bicycle magazine has monitored the city’s bicycle improvements and awarded Seattle the number four spot in its most recent accolade of the country’s best bicycling cities. This spot was also well deserved due to a ten-year hefty bike plan that is visibly in the works now.
With a failed tax initiative for Seattle’s bus transportation system, which cut hundreds of routes throughout the city, bicycle transportation is becoming more necessary every year. Seattle commuters need a reliable bicycle infrastructure and community in order for plans in order to work positively. The city has seen remarkable improvements in bicycle funding and progress and does not seem to be slowing down its efforts.
Seattle is seeing an increase in bicycle clubs as well, some of which started as early as the 1970’s- the Cascade Bicycle Club- and growing larger every year. There are some delivery services which utilize bicyclist as well with great success. Seattle is improving its bicycle infrastructure and in turn its culture at an impressive rate, striving to be the number one bicycling city in the nation. With remarkable improvements under way and many already completed the goal does not seem too out of reach.
By Courtney Heitter