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Comments

David Blaine

I know that John Speare has his plate full but I bet he would bite at this idea. Spokane's rideability from my point of view is fair. To a seasoned rider with a good understanding of alternate routes it isn't a problem to get around without trouble but to a new rider unsure of riding with traffic some parts of town are scary. I lived in Eugune OR and despite the rain and high rate of bike thefts it was the best city for biking I have riden in. Seattle is considered a great biking city but the weather, road conditions and terrain can make it a tough town to ride around. My Spokane cycling wish is a bike lane on Maple/Ash.

Jim

I have biked in Seattle. Our traffic and weather are better, BUT they have the safety of riders at the forefront with marked biked lanes throughout.

How do we get the attention of local traffic engineers in our city to accommodate this great and growing way to commute and recreate?

Barb

As the one who posted the question about a bike-oriented mashup, I'd better comment. I also vote for John Speare to take this on :D.
It's not just routes--it's also what they take you to, and what you pass along the way. I liked the walking-oriented map's use of business data to show how accessible needed services and amenities are on foot. I see this as being as much a promotion for a bike-oriented life than as a serious map resource. Bikely.com allows the entry of favorite routes, so that's an existing resource but it doesn't include the business data.
As for how we can get the city to be more biking friendly, organize and vote! The ballots for the city races will be in your mailbox within the week.
As far as I can tell, only one candidate in the district 2 city council race, Richard Rush (www.voterichardrush.com), is talking about the need to fulfill the comp plan and make this a walkable, bikeable city. Ask questions about this of all the council candidates in your district, and the candidates for city council president and mayor, and let them know you will weight their responses heavily when you decide. Write letters to the editor about your decision so others get the same information you have in time for it to make some difference in the races. That means NOW.

John Speare

Mr. Blaine is right -- I like the sound of this and I've thought of it a few times. But, you're also right in that my cup runneth over.
Some of the underlying data that would make for interesting, dynamic route generation exists (elevation data) or is in the process of being converted to useful formats (current/on street bike facilities). Mashing this kind of stuff up with the google maps/bus info/and general underlying google goo (restaurants/services/etc) would rule and I would love to be apart of it.
But I'm spending my civic-duty time with a longer term approach at the moment: helping the city build a master bike plan.
Jim: this is the method for getting the attention of the local traffic engineers. You codify the righteous vision that is expressed in our comp plan.
Anyone wanna help? More info here: http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com/2007/07/spokane-bicycle-master-planearly-days.html
(http://tinyurl.com/3277h2).
Barb is right: Richard Rush is a comp plan GOD! Who you vote for matters.
At the moment, Mary Verner is running hard to get the SE Blvd piece lined/signed for the construction that is going on there. This route is specified as a bike-laned route in the comp plan, yet the city street bond monies cannot be used for the paltry $50k it will take to make this a lined/signed route.
Oh and Mr Blaine: Maple/Ash is also a bike-laned route according to the comp plan; this massive corridore was just resurfaced and again, the relatively small incremental sum to line/sign it for bikes was not included in the huge project. Here's why: http://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com/2007/06/city-of-spokane-street-development.html

John Speare

apologies for using this forum as a paging service, but I can't find Barb's email -- barb, can you email me at johnspeareATgmailDOTcom?

thanks.

LukeB

I'm all for more people biking around town - I use my bike and the bus for my work commuting needs. I question the wisdom of bike lanes, however, since they give motorists the (false) impression that bicyclists should not be riding in the same lanes as automobiles. I always ride in the lane where a car's right wheels would travel because it's a very visible location. Of course by doing this around Spokane's ignorant drivers I've had my fair share of horns honked at me.

I would rather see more driver education, traffic enforcement (for cars AND bicyclists - people speeding through red lights and stop signs give law-abiding bicyclists a bad name), and slightly wider lanes in general.

LC

My pet peeve - downtown's one-way streets. Converting these back to two-way would improve access for bicylists, pedestrians, businesses, and even... motorists.

John Speare

Luke: I couldn't agree more. I compare bicycle education to seatbelt education: put the word out there via a huge public education campaign. Have a message for drivers: bikes are traffic; every bike you see is one less car on the road today. For cyclists: bikes are traffic, that means you follow the traffic laws.
For a while I was very anti-bike lane, as I believe they do create a false perception of safety and they double the number of intersections, which is overwhelmingly when cyclists are hit: when cars/cyclists change directions, which happens at intersections.
All that said, I believe we're all better off if we can get as many folks as possible riding their bikes. It's a cycle: the more drivers see more cyclists, the more they may be incented to give it a shot, which in turn puts more cyclists on the streets, etc, etc.
The reality, unfortunately, is that the vast majority of non-cyclist typically cite safety as the reason they don't do more utilitarian cycling. Folks that have been raised to "stay out of the way" of the cars as kids -- by riding on sidewalks, hugging the curbs, and generally being completely unpredictable as vehicles -- carry those habits into adulthood. These folks, and folks that haven't spent much time on bikes at all, want lanes. They simply will not ride any non-trivial distances without them.
For them, we build a network of lanes and bike blvds.
My hope/theory: once these folks get out there and start reaping the benefits of cycling for daily errands/runs to the store, they'll venture off the paths/lanes and into traffic.
There's a lot of guessing/hoping and perhaps unfounded optimism in this plan, but it's the evolution of my thinking over the last year of digging into the policy, advocacy, and planning aspects of thinking about master bike plan for Spokane.
But -- again, I agree that in many cases, education is a much better place to spend money than bike lanes. But we live in a bike lane world, so I think it's best to figure out how to build a plan that optimizes the use of bike lanes for a broader transportation network.

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