This month's column looks at two key components of urbanism: bikes and mixed-use. And wonders, well, if they can actually mix.
Expanding bicycle infrastructure is a defining agenda item for new urbanists. And with the $1.2 million protected lane on 2nd Avenue up and running (along with plans for 10 new miles of lanes over the next two years), Seattle clearly got the memo about merging bikers into the policy fast lane.
But while the idea of re-working infrastructure for multi-modes (that's where the tenet of mixed use comes in) seems to cater to bikers, it's actually not clear that the expenditures are fully appreciated by longtime bikers themselves.
While bicyclists are gaining more right of way, they may be simultaneously losing the default right of way they've enjoyed for years to bushwhack through the streets, with righteous justification that they didn't have much of an alternative.
From this month's Urban Upgrade:
And yet some longtime bikers don’t want to be reined in. Take the alpha bike commuter who, at an SDOT meeting in August about bike infrastructure, stood up to say he still intends to bomb down main thoroughfares.
It’s true. Going with the flow of traffic and obeying bike-specific lights will inevitably slow down bikers.