Open Space Seattle:2100

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thoughts on the Bicycle Master Plan


In our round-up of the Bicycle Master Plan post, we quickly linked to an old DJC op/ed about why Copenhagen was so successful in getting such high ridership numbers on bicycles. There are some amazing facts in that article. 32% of Copenhagen's residents bicycle to work. 32%. We have 1.8%. Weak.

The author, Patricia Chase, notes that there are three big carrots, as to why this is so, plus one big old stick.

First the carrots:
"bicycle planning has the same status as public transport in planning and funding. Bike paths and routes are either clearly marked or separated from vehicular traffic by curbs, bike lanes have their own traffic signals and bikes are prioritized over cars at places where they meet."

I want to linger on her second point for just a moment. When visiting Denmark, I have always thought that this was the single most brilliant thing there.
In the image above, look how there is, from left to right, a steady progression of speeds and mass--fast car, parked cars (providing a barrier and, since the car doors open into the road, less chance of cyclist/door collision) then a dedicated bike lane, then pedestrians. Can we do that in Seattle? I don't see why not.

Other great things include in our Master Plan: striping through intersections
Bicycle queuing and traffic signals (see that green light to the right of the red one?)
and babies!
All images in this post taken from International Sustainablity Solutions, which has great study trips to Copenhagen, Germany and Sweden.

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