Council Bike Caucus Reaching Out to Cycling Community

By Josh Cohen May 6, 2010

Council member Sally Bagshaw attended last night's Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meeting to give a briefing on the council's work on bicycle issues, which ultimately turned into a discussion of the new City Council Bike Caucus.

The Bike Caucus—which consists of council members Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, and Tom Rasmussen—was first publicly announced at Cascade Bicycle Club's Bike to Work Breakfast in April. According to Bagshaw, the Bike Caucus' main role will be to serve as the link between the bicycling public and the City Council. She joked that it really formed to make cycling easy for fair-weather riders like herself.

When bicycling issues arise, or someone has a complaint or concern about infrastructure or safety, the Bike Caucus will make sure it gets addressed in Council. Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation, but it's nice to see members of the Council making an active effort to make Seattle better for bicycles.

Council member Rasmussen is already working with the Advisory Board to respond to complaints about abandoned bicycles locked up around town. The Board is studying best practices and working to come up with suggestions to help the Council form a policy for removing bikes.

In addition to the abandoned bike issue, Bagshaw asked the Board to draft a list of priority streets in Seattle that, if improved in a practical and safe way (things like bike lanes added, street widened, parking removed, etc), would make a big impact on the quality of cycling Seattle. She said she was particularly interested in hearing suggestions for improving a few good north-south and east-west arterial routes for cyclists.

Blake Trask, chair of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, says the Caucus is a step in the right direction for bike policy leadership.

"SBAB is excited to be extending its advisory role to members of the Bike Caucus who are taking a leadership role in implementing the Bicycle Master Plan," said Trask. "This forum offers an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and identify issues that need to be brought to the Council more formally."

It's far too early to tell what kind of impact the Council's Bike Caucus will ultimately have. But, it's an encouraging sign to see four of the city's top politicians actively engaging with the cycling community and offering a bridge between the bicycling public and City Hall.
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