The Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, a project of Beacon BIKES and the City of Seattle, has won a 2012 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Vision 2040 Awards honor real-life examples of sustainable growth and improvements to quality of life in Puget Sound communities.
Beacon BIKES! is excited about our upcoming community-wide biking and walking information event on Saturday, November 20 (at Beacon International School, 2021 14th Avenue South, from 10:00 am until noon)! To celebrate biking as a viable option on Beacon Hill and in Seattle in general, I thought I would show how safe and easy biking can be in and around our neighborhood.
Many years ago I lived in Davis, California, which is known as the biking capital of the U.S. (Their city logo is even a bike!). In Davis, biking is just the easiest way to get around, not only because it is a dense city and flat as a pancake, but because there is an amazing bicycle infrastructure to keep biking safe for everyone. As a result, 17 percent of the population commutes by bike (compared with the less than 3 percent in Seattle). I bring up Davis because what is interesting to see is that when that many people are biking, they stop identifying as cyclists—they are just people who happen to get around town in the easiest manner available, by bike. So that is our goal at Beacon BIKES!, to make biking so safe and easy that even your grandma will want to hop on a bike to head to MacPherson’s for her afternoon errands.
“If we get out of our cars more often, we become more neighborhood-oriented.”
We are not a bunch of spandex-clad aggro bike advocates, but rather neighbors who want to see you on the streets walking or biking to your local destinations. If we get out of our cars (and yes, we all have cars too) more often, our options for what are viable trips change and we become more neighborhood-oriented. We go to Red Apple instead of Safeway, The Station instead of Starbucks, and we see our neighbors along the way!
Part of what we will be doing on the 20th is providing maps for safe routes to schools (and other destinations) for you and your children on Beacon Hill. We will have a bunch of blank maps; you show us where you live, and we draw you a safe route to your destination of choice. In the spirit of this, I have begun to compile a series of virtual tours of routes that I use to safely get around and off of Beacon Hill, both by myself and with my family. All the routes I map either start or end at the library or light rail station.
I use the program Everytrail to map all the routes. Here are my preferred routes to MacPherson’s (family-friendly) and Lowe’s (mostly safe, but involves biking on South College Street for a couple blocks). Clicking on these links will take you to the Everytrail website (click on the “View Full Screen” button on the bottom right of the map to get the best view of the route). For all the routes I use the following criteria:
Whenever it makes sense, use non-arterial streets or multi-use trails
Whenever it makes sense, take the least steep street possible
Try to make all arterial crossings at signalized intersections
I also frequently take advantage of the light rail to get back up the hill after biking off the hill. I have more routes already mapped and more planned for future posts. In the meantime, let me know the destinations you would like mapped in the comments section. Happy Biking! See you on Saturday!
“Beacon Hill kids, families and adults, riding bikes to schools, parks, the library and the urban village using a complete circulation system of designated, safe, bicycle routes, including bike boulevards” is the vision of a new group forming on Beacon Hill. The Beacon Family Bike and Pedestrian Circulation Plan Committee invites all interested neighbors to an organizing meeting tomorrow, January 27, from 5:00 – 5:45 pm at the Beacon Hill Library. Organizer Frederica Merrell writes,
“Join neighbors at a meeting to create a safe bike circulation plan that will also benefit walking in our community. We are borrowing great ideas from our neighbors to the south in Portland who have been doing family bike planning since 1990 through the Bike Transportation Alliance.
“We want to get kids and adults on their bikes for those short trips on the hill from home to school, the store, McPherson’s, Jefferson Park and the library. We don’t want to battle with dangerous arterial traffic. We want to create bike boulevards on less busy streets, improve arterial crossings, add signage, and have fun doing it!”
The group’s draft mission is currently “To design, plan and steward the creation of a family bike and pedestrian circulation system for Beacon Hill based on the work of innovative Portland neighbors, PDOT planners, and the Bike Transportation Alliance in coordination with SDOT and components of the SE Transportation Plan, the Bicycle Master Plan and the Pedestrian Master Plan.”
A new paving project is planned for South Columbian Way between Beacon Ave S and 15th Ave S in 2010. The project will benefit the multiple users of the street by:
Repaving the street
Installing new curbs
Constructing new curb ramps at intersections to improve pedestrian access
In addition to the above, this portion of Columbian Way S will be restriped as part of this project. Restriping would help improve motor vehicle safety and access, pedestrian access, and bicycle usage. Proposed changes include:
one lane of motor vehicle traffic in each direction
a new two-way center turn lane
new bike lanes
a new dedicated right-turn lane at VA Hospital Drive to improve access to the medical center
This project is a part of the voter approved “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy. Click here for more information on the project.
These improvements will tie in with improvements slated for 15th Ave S.