Fear of Commitment

By Danielle Zorn October 1, 2012

Bike advocates were disappointed by what they heard at the city council’s transportation committee meeting late last month. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff presented an update on the city's Bike Master Plan.

SDOT, staffers told committee chair Tom Rasmussen, would like to keep the BMP goals general for now. In contrast, bike advocacy groups want specific performance metrics, including progress on things like greenways and cycle tracks, to be specified in the plan.

SDOT says they want to remain realistic about their plans to improve the city's bike infrastructure. This would give them the flexibility, they say, to address the areas that specifically need more attention than others, such as dangerous intersections or high traffic neighborhood roads. They don’t want to lock themselves into spending a portion of the city's two-year, $1.2 million BMP budget on projects that might not be critical.

The bike advocates, however, say specific goals will hold the city accountable to the BMP. Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Campaigns Manager Max Hepp-Buchanan says that without “ambitious and measurable goals …  it will be difficult to know how much progress we have made towards our vision for Seattle.”

Cathy Tuttle, executive director of Neighborhood Greenways, says the BMP should be proactive, not reactive, and should include specific goals. Maybe the city isn’t setting high enough goals to make a big enough difference in safety for bikers in Seattle.

Rasmussen sidestepped this debate and simply encouraged SDOT to continue speaking with Alta Planning and Design, the consultants on the project.

The council, SDOT, and bike advocates will have to figure all of this out before the final BMP  update next spring.

Read the meeting agenda and SDOT’s outline of the BMP update process with details on the roadmap, proposed vision statement, goals, objectives, and policy framework here.

And more BikeNerd here.
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