Bicycles are great—in theory. You can skip traffic, savor fresh air, get some free exercise, and save the planet one pedal at a time.
But then there’s the matter of hills. Especially here in Seattle. No one likes riding up hills and showing up for work drenched in sweat, barely able to walk. Especially not when you’re also fearing for your life as cars whip past you and drivers yell at you for taking up “their” lane. There’s a reason few people bike.
But lately, things are getting better. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is adding bike lanes and greenways throughout the city, creating a network of bicycle-friendly passages throughout Seattle. And best of all, most of those passages avoid hills. Here’s a map of the current network.
The latest in SDOT’s bicycling improvements means good things for our clients and friends in Magnolia and Interbay. The Interbay Trail Connections Project added a large swath of new bike lanes, and more importantly, it added them in the perfect spot.
The project links up the Burke-Gilman Trail with the Ship Canal Trail and the Elliott Bay Trail. You can now go to or from Ballard, Magnolia, downtown, and Westlake worry-free and mostly sweat-free.
This creates all sorts of new commuting options for people in Magnolia and Ballard, and it also makes recreation more convenient, too. Want to get to Discovery Park? You can bike there. Want to see the Ballard Locks? Grab a bicycle.
SDOT will continue to add more bicycle lanes in the coming years. It envisions bicycling as “a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.” SDOT unpacks that vision statement a little more:
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.
You can see their full master plan below.