Mike McGinn, Mayor
12/15/2009 10:35:00 AM
Richard Sheridan (206) 684-8540
More People Commuting by Bicycle in Seattle
Comprehensive 2009 count shows impact of Bicycle Master Plan work
SEATTLE – The number of bicyclists entering downtown during the morning commute jumped by 15 percent since 2007, according to a count conducted by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). As recorded by volunteers at 30 locations, 2,609 bicyclists commuted into the downtown core on the day of the count, many using new bike infrastructure created through the Bicycle Master Plan.
“This significant increase in bike commuters is great news for Seattle,” said Grace Crunican, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “We have always said that if we built it, they would come. SDOT will bring even more riders to city streets and trails next year as we accelerate our Bike Master Plan work.”
Since its release in 2007, Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan has served as a guide for expanding bicycling across the city. It has enabled SDOT to significantly expand the city’s network of bike facilities, make it easier and safer to ride, and reduce greenhouse gases. These counts are a vital measurement tool as the city strives to reach its goal of tripling the number of bicyclists by 2017.
“The Cascade Bicycle Club advocates for more livable communities through cycling,” said Chuck Ayers, executive director of the Cascade Bicycle Club. “Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan serves as a model for how to grow the facilities needed to promote healthy, safe bicycle activities in major cities.”
Construction of new bicycle facilities is a key strategy identified by the plan for increasing the number of cyclists. In the master plan’s first three years, Seattle has installed more than 90 miles of bike lanes and sharrows; nearly 35 miles of signed routes; over 800 bike racks; and roughly 5.5 miles of multi-use trails, including the first segment of the Chief Sealth Trail and the Burke-Gilman Trail extension from Golden Gardens Park to 60th Ave NW. In 2010, SDOT is committed to installing 20 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows, more than 30 miles of signed routes, and several new trail segments.
“One of the Downtown Seattle Association’s key goals is to improve access, mobility and transit in Downtown ... because we can’t have a healthy, vibrant urban core if people can’t get to, from and around our Center City,” said Dale Sperling, a member of the DSA and Commute Seattle boards. “Clearly, growing commute alternatives such as cycling is an important component to achieving that goal.”
The 2009 Downtown Bicycle Counts took place from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on September 16. SDOT’s data analysis also reveals an increase in helmet usage, now at 92 percent up from 89 percent in 2007. Additionally, the number of female bike commuters has increased with 2009 counts showing 23 percent of riders were female, up from 21 percent in 2007. The top five locations for bicyclists to enter the Center City are, in order: Dexter Avenue N, Colman Dock, the Elliott Bay Trail, the Alaskan Way Path and Pine Street. The complete results of the 2009 Downtown Bicycle Counts can be viewed at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikeinfo.htm.
The Seattle Department of Transportation builds, maintains and operates Seattle's $12 billion transportation infrastructure. To further Mayor Nickels’ goal to get Seattle moving, the department manages short- and long-term investments in streets, bridges, pavement and trees, that better connect the city with the region.