Don’t let the rainy forecast stop you from participating in one of the biggest cycling celebrations of the year.
Cascade Bicycle Club estimates that last year about 20,000 people across the Puget Sound region participated in their annual Bike Everywhere Day on May 17th. Despite this year’s gloomy forecast, Cascade hopes to beat that number and get even more people out on bikes and participating this year. Celebration stations across Seattle and in neighboring cities will be curbside with food and drinking, games, and opportunities to engage in bike advocacy.
Recent months haven’t been very kind to Seattle’s cyclists. News that the protected bike lanes planned for 35th Avenue Northeast had been cancelled was quickly followed by the revelation that Move Seattle Levy was running short on bike funds and that SDOT was going to have to make hard choices about what transportation safety projects to put on the shelf.
But not all is doom and gloom. The independent oversight committee that oversees the Move Seattle Levy has requested additional funding for implementing the Bicycle Master Plan. And last January, bike counts surged over previous records; more than 34,000 trips by bicycle were counted by Seattle’s three bike counters than had been counted in 2018, an increase of 27%.
The city is moving forward with plans to build protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine that will connect Capitol Hill with Downtown, which will open up an important east-west corridor cyclists of all ages and abilities. Additionally, SDOT is moving forward with plans to construct another protected bike lane on East Union Street, and currently has an E Union St protected bike lane community survey posted online for people to complete until May 31st. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) project team will also be hosting a community meeting at 20/20 Cycle in the Central District on Saturday, May 18th, from 1 to 4pm.
While advocates like The Urbanist’s own Ryan Packer have been frustrated at how the current plans create a critical gap near East Union and 23rd Avenue and don’t connect to rest of the protected bike network, it’s not too late for the community to demand that SDOT ensure the future plans include safety improvements to this busy and critical intersection.
The most recent Move Seattle Levy report shared that the NE 65th Street Vision Zero Project is almost complete. The project includes a variety of safety improvements that will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to access the future Sound Transit Roosevelt light rail station, opening in 2021. A parallel Neighborhood Greenway on NE 68th Street is currently in design.
Finally, local nonprofit Outdoors for All has partnered with SDOT to provide free adaptive bike rentals at Magnuson Park all summer. Outdoors for All will also be bringing the free adaptive bike rentals out to for people to enjoy at Seward Park and the White Center Bicycle Playground on selected dates.
Celebrations like Bike Everywhere Day build solidarity, which is something people need in both good and bad times. While things might not be perfect, there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic that active transportation, like walking and biking, will continue to increase in Seattle and beyond.
So this Friday put on some rain gear and go out in search of as many Bike Everywhere Day celebration stations as you can find. Most stations will be open in the morning, and some will be open during lunchtime and during the late afternoon as well. And if you find yourself craving more biking activities, sign up for one of the Bike Everywhere Month challenges.