If You Build It, They Will Ride (400% More)

A more than 400 percent increase in bike ridership following the opening of a protected bike lane on Second Avenue proves that Seattleites are more inclined to ride with safe facilities.

Read Time: 1 minute

May 1, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Broadway Bike Lane

Seattle Bike Lane | nickfalbo / Flickr

Part of an ongoing project to improve bikeability in Seattle, WA, a "project began with a pilot in 2014 to convert a regular painted bike lane on Second Avenue into a curb-and-landscape-protected bike lane," reports Angie Schmitt. The now protected lane extends through hilly downtown Seattle and features a physical barrier in the form of planter boxes and barricades separating bikes and cars.

The increased ridership is a great success for proponents of bike safety in Seattle. During her tenure to date, Mayor Jenny Durkan has cut plans for many similar projects including, "a bike lane on 35th Avenue NE, a dangerous thoroughfare which has been proposed for bike lanes for a decade." While the Second Avenue Bike Lane cost about $12 million (the most expensive bike lane in Seattle history) and required significant utility movement, hope remains that proof of the "game-changing power of a protected lane versus a painted lane" won’t end with this project.

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