Signs of improvement for safer cycling | Guest View

By Jan Ahlquist-Niemi and Peter Hallson | Dec 02, 2017
Peter Hallson and Jan Ahlquist-Niemi

Have you noticed the new Bike2Health green and white signs and wondered what that’s all about? The recently completed signage in Edmonds is part of a program to address the number one reason people give who would like to bike more, but don’t.

Safety concerns scare away many would-be cyclists, according to numerous surveys. In a survey conducted by Breakaway Research Group for People for Bikes, 54 percent said that the fear of getting hit by a car or truck holds them back from biking.

That’s why the Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group (EBAG) has supported Bike2Health since it was just an idea in October 2012.

Cyclists generally prefer less hilly, better-lighted routes that have less motor vehicular traffic, lower speed limits, bike lanes or some other way of separating bikes and motor vehicles. People feel safer, and are more likely to ride, when such biking infrastructure improvements are adopted.

Community bicycle ride audits in south Snohomish County, conducted in 2013 by Cascade Bicycle Club, validate these needs.

While we can’t do much about the hills around Edmonds, Bike2Health includes new bike lanes, shared lane markings, bike parking and community outreach, in addition to the signage. The end result will be safer and more convenient bike connections within Edmonds and will complete 11 critical missing links in the regional bicycle network.

The project is a cooperative effort by the Verdant Health Commission and the city governments of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. Verdant provided funding of $1.9 million. Community Transit, Cascade Bicycle Club and EBAG helped with planning, and Cascade is leading community outreach activities.

Within Edmonds, 40 wayfinding signs direct bicyclists to popular destinations such as the library, Interurban Trail, transit hubs, colleges, nearby communities, various parks, City Hall and more.

Additionally, bicycle lanes and bike sharing markings are being added along 76th Avenue West and 212th Street Southwest near Edmonds-Woodway High School, College Place Middle School, Edmonds Community College and Swedish Edmonds hospital.

Motorists and pedestrians also benefit because more people on bicycles means less motor vehicular traffic overall, less congestion at traffic signals and more available parking.

And, as city officials point out, businesses and homeowners also benefit financially from bike-friendly communities.

To see a map of the program area, go to bit.ly/2Bhd8I7.

Jan Ahlquist-Niemi and Peter Hallson are with the Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group.

 

Comments (3)
Posted by: Nathaniel R Brown | Dec 03, 2017 16:53

I'm all for improving biking routes and facilities in our area, and I look forward to getting back on my bike soon.  But I was astonished to see Olympic View Drive included!  The speed at which some drivers take OVD is terrifying when you're on a bike, there is no bike lane (and the sidewalks frequently are blocked by parking and by garbage containers on collection days), the road is narrow, and many of the drain gratings are oriented as bike traps: with narrow road tires you can sink into the lateral gratings.

I'd certainly welcome better biking, but OVD doesn't belong on the list!



Posted by: Jan Ahlquist-Niemi | Dec 05, 2017 14:09

Nathaniel, I'm wondering which section of OVD were you referring to?  OVD heading east and north from 76th Ave W (from Perrinville area) previously had improvements done to it awhile ago, which is the section that is marked in blue on the Bike2Health map.  Or were you referring to OVD heading north and east from the Edmonds Elementary area (Olympic View Deli) to Perrinville?  I will agree that the section of OVD heading from downtown Edmonds to Perrinville has a lot of barriers present that makes many cyclists find alternate routes, including myself.



Posted by: Nathaniel R Brown | Dec 06, 2017 13:09

Thanks for the questions!  The paft that most concerns me is from the bottom of 196th to Perrinville - too much traffic, too much speeding, no room for bikes, deadly drain covers, often-blocked sidewalk.  Add in the hidden driveways (mine is one) and it feels pretty lethal!  Like you, I try to find alternate routes, but in general, we live in a great biking area!



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