The Seattle City Council's Sustainability and Transportation Committee met yesterday to get the details on why SDOT is cutting the downtown bike network and bike lanes throughout Seattle (background here.)
As a daily bike rider who is directly affected by the lack of action by SDOT, I planned to testify about my experiences biking around town, but especially downtown. I thought I would have 2 minutes, but with such a big turnout, Mike O'Brien shortened public testimony to 1 minute each.
When my name was called, everything I planned to say got thrown out the window as a jumbled mess of something came tumbling out of my mouth. In truth, I think I invited the council members to go for a bike ride, told them it was unsafe, but other than that I'm not sure what else. King5 got a clip of me and surprsingly I don't sound too awful:
Thankfully, I also saved the text of my planned testimony. So, dear readers, here is what I planned to say to the City Council (and have since emailed them):
Good afternoon Council Members and Seattle Department of Transportation. My name is Marley Blonsky and I’m a daily bike rider. I ride my bike everywhere- to work, for errands, for fun, for volunteer commitments, camping trips- literally everywhere. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve taken 62 bike trips for over 300 miles.
This year, I’m also in charge of my company’s Bike to Work activities. I recruited 82 coworkers to join me this month in biking to work. 36 of those people are new to biking to work. When they ask me about safe route into work, I don’t have many options to give them. Sure, we’ve got 2nd Avenue, but have you ever tried to get there on a bicycle? Good luck.
Imagine building one mile of a freeway with no connections to it. That’s what our 2nd ave protected bike lane is like.
My daily bike commute takes me from Capitol Hill to 3rd and Madison in downtown. While I’m a confident bike rider, it is incredibly scary to transition from a bike lane on Pine to a wide open street with no bike lanes at Boren. Downtown is even scarier, with no connections to the bike lane on 2nd Avenue, constant construction, and daily construction hazards.
Going home in the afternoon is even worse. After I leave the 2nd Avenue protected bike lane, I jockey with taxis, buses, and trucks from 2nd to 8th avenue on Pike Street until there is a bike lane on Pine street again.
This isn’t right.
I had hope for more protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways.
I called voters for the Move Seattle Levy.
The current state of our streets is NOT SAFE.
If you think it’s good enough, I invite you to ride with me one day and see how close cars come to me. Seriously, let’s go for a ride.
Please, restore the 16 miles of bike lanes that were cut. We need a connected bike network. Thank you.
Something I said stuck with some reporter, as a friend screenshotted this quote from the Seattle Times: