Seattle’s updated Bike Master Plan may have divided Mayor Ed Murray and the city’s bike community.
The previous version of Seattle’s Bike Master Plan was touted by cyclists when the city was pushing for the Levy to Move Seattle last year. Voters approved that levy. But now, bicycle projects are greatly reduced through downtown to the chagrin of Seattle cyclists.
The Seattle Bike Blog reports that the plan voters previously celebrated called for 36 miles of protected bike lanes — the new plan calls for 25 miles. Neighborhood greenways have been reduced from 52 miles to 32 miles.
The Bike Blog points out Rainier Valley is one region that has considerable changes. And it also points to the dramatic cuts to downtown’s bike plan. In the new plan, downtown Seattle projects barely compare to what was previously promoted.
Seattle’s explanation of this in the updated plan is filled with jargon and is difficult to decipher:
As mentioned earlier, the 2015-2019 and the 2016-2020 BMP Implementation Plan project lists differ in the number of downtown bicycle facilities due to the desire to develop a cohesive long-term multimodal transportation plan prior to building bicycle facilities that may not comply with overlapping modal needs.
If you’re blinking right now — yes — all of that was just one sentence.
It basically means that ever since voters approved the Levy to Move Seattle, which referenced much of the bicycle plan, the city removed a majority of all downtown bike projects. The reason is because the city is now engaging a Center City Mobility Plan aimed at gauging the use of each individual street. Until that is done, downtown likely won’t get any bike attention moving forward. The city says next year’s update to the plan may include more downtown projects.
Commenters on the bike blog call the move “a load of crap,” and wonder who could be held responsible. Many turned their ire to Mayor Ed Murray, saying he is “lot’s of talk, very little action,” and that he goes “AWOL” when it comes to getting stuff done — instead, offering “self-congratulatory rhetoric about our so-called progressive values.”
Tom Fuculoro, who runs the Seattle Bike Blog, recommends that disappointed cyclists start at the top and email the mayor along with the city council’s transportation committee, Mike O’Brien, Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant.