If we could only ask Seattle Department of Transportation to do one thing, it would be to kick their engineers and planners and project managers out of the office and make them go look at the streets that they are updating.
Last weekend, Seattle Likes Bikes was part of a bicycle ride to look at the International District – First Hill – Capitol Hill streetcar route proposals. For the folks who thought they knew the neighborhood, even folks who ride bikes regularly, it was a real eye-opener. One intersection that looked fine on paper turned out to be a spot where a new streetcar track would be a nightmare hazard for cyclists. Improperly designed, it would cause cyclists to regularly kiss the pavement at 30 mph and result in many new cyclist fatalities.
As we looked for options, we also started looking outside of the box. This streetcar is funded by Sound Transit so it will likely be built despite the bicycle hazards, but with some careful planning and on-the-street discussion of the problems, we should be able to avoid creating another class action lawsuit against the city like we face now because the city didn’t listen the first time.