Seattle Bicycle Master Plan
Last updated: December 15, 2015
Seattle Bicycle Master Plan
A bikeable city is one where people ride bicycles because it is a convenient, fun, safe, and healthy choice. It is a city in which people of all ages and abilities bicycle for any trip purpose. The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) aspires to encourage and accommodate more people to ride a bicycle. The BMP provides a blueprint to make it easier to decide to ride a bicycle. The vision of the BMP, which signifies an important shift in the way Seattle will accommodate people riding a bicycle, is:
“Riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.”
There are several important themes embedded in the vision statement. First, the idea that bicycling is “comfortable” suggests it is safe, convenient, and an attractive travel option for a large number of people. “Integral to daily life in Seattle” means that bicycling is not a niche activity only for the fast and fearless riders, but is desirable for a wide variety of people and trip purposes, especially shorter trips. Finally, “people of all ages and abilities” is a key theme for the entire plan, meaning that the emphasis is on planning, designing, and building bicycle facilities that will be used by a wide range of people throughout the city. A central focus of this plan is to design and implement bicycle facilities that are safe and appropriate for riders of all ages and abilities.
Over the next 20 years, Seattle will add 120,00 new people and 115,000 jobs within city limits. That is more growth than Seattle experienced over the last 20 years. Part of the strategy for accommodating this growth and its associated mobility needs will be bicycle investments and nurturing of the Seattle’s bicycle culture in a manner that purposefully benefits the city’s livability, affordability, public health, economic competitiveness, and natural environment.
There are many reasons for making the case for investing in bicycling. Examples of the reasons range from:
The plan’s bold vision is supported by five goals which articulate the plan’s future achievements. The goals set the basis for the plan’s performance measures and frame the prioritization criteria that help define which projects should be built first:
The bicycle network recommends a location and facility type of bicycle improvements throughout the city. A clearly defined “all ages and abilities” network, the Citywide Network, was proposed to help achieve the goals of the plan, especially as it relates to safety and connectivity, therefore increasing ridership. The Citywide network consists of bicycle facilities with comfortable separation from motor vehicles and focuses on intersection safety. These bicycle facilities are:
The secondary network, Local Connectors, provide access to the Citywide Network, parallels the Citywide Network for those riders who are comfortable riding in or near traffic, and serves destinations.
The plan recommends that 473.5 new or upgraded facilities are to be built. See the table below for a breakdown of the facility types.
As lines on the map become projects and get prioritized, then the project delivery and design process will begin and SDOT will work with surrounding community stakeholders (residents and businesses) and partner agencies to understand priorities for each mode using the corridor(s), review data collection and technical analysis, prepare conceptual design alternatives and, ultimately, a preferred design. A project may be implemented differently than originally envisioned and recommended by the BMP planning process. (refer to Chapter 7: Implementation Approach for more information)
Other Important Plan Elements:
Programs – Education, encouragement, enforcement, and promotional programs will help people of all ages and abilities realize the full potential of Seattle’s new and proposed bicycle infrastructure. The types of programs help people know how to use our roads safely, no matter what mode you choose to get around. The ideas in the plan will increase the visibility of people who ride bicycles, communicate that all road users are expected to look out for each other, create safer streets, and develop a common understanding of traffic safety.
End-of-trip facilities – Part of making it easier to decide to bicycle is the reassurance that there is someplace safe, convenient, and accessible to leave your bike at the end of a trip. The plan outlines strategies to support development of a range of bicycle parking accommodations for short- and long-term use. Better aligning bicycle parking with the types of destination, trip purpose, and length of stay at destinations is an important component of the plan.
Implementation approach – Creating a bicycle project delivery process ensures that SDOT will be consistent to provide the public with an understanding of how a project will be developed, designed, and implemented. This process includes extensive public engagement, data collection, technical analysis, identification and analysis of alternatives and a preferred design. The process also consists of education about and promotion of the bicycle improvements, ongoing maintenance, and further evaluation of the project and potential evolution of design. A prioritization framework was created to assist SDOT and elected officials with a data-driven process for selecting an equitable and realistic set of prioritized projects to be completed over time. SDOT will be producing a 3-5 year implementation plan so that the community knows when a project may enter into the project delivery process in the near-term in their neighborhood. A planning-level cost estimate was developed based on bicycle facility type – the cost of full build-out of the bicycle facility projects ranges from $390 - $524 million. Performance measures were also created to assess whether the implementation of the plan is meeting its goals over time. See the performance measure target and trends below.