A Trip to Washington, the #1 Bicycle Friendly State in America

 

This weekend I was out of town for a school trip to Seattle, studying the impacts of de-industrialization and how a city chooses to embrace its industrial past in it’s current urban identity. Basically, a weekend full of nerdy urban planning research and discussion.

Seattle and Boise may not seem like comparable cities, but they face similar problems such as housing affordability, pollution, job mobility, homelessness, problems we are seeing in some caliber across the nation, across rural and urban cities. We might not be the same size, or geography, culture, but one similarity is for sure; we have a community full of people.

And with people come bike lanes!

With the city as our lab, we each got to explore it in our own lens during our down time, and I of course found the nearest Lime Bike and started pedaling. I was so excited to experience a slice of Seattle’s bicycle community, infrastructure, and daily street life on a bike.

A Bike lane so good you gotta get a pic with it!

A Bike lane so good you gotta get a pic with it!

A recent project in Seattle has been improving their 2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane (PBL) a 23-block two way lane protected by a built up buffer and parked cars and is separate from the sidewalk, giving space for all users as seen below!

The new and improved 2nd Avenue has helped increase Seattle’s ridership by 38%! Seeing the success of 2nd Avenue, Seattle continues to implement PBLs on other streets and plans bike lanes connecting to the network. Their efforts have shown that if you build it, the bicycling community will come.

Another example of a PBL in South Lake Union.

Another example of a PBL in South Lake Union.

Sneaking away from our school project for a bit, I visited Bike Works, Seattle’s local Bike Co-op. Bike Works is very similar to us, providing programs, classes and recycle centers for their community, as well as different ones that address their own community’s problems, such as an Adult Bike Giveaway to provide a mode of transportation for those over 18 who do not own bikes otherwise.
We have similarities, we have differences, but ultimately BBP and Bike Works believes that a resilient community does not happen without a strong, safe and inclusive bicycling community in our cities. We believe that the future depends on transforming our city’s transportation habits to serve bicycles, public transportation, pedestrians, and be accessible for all.

So how can we do better? How can we move Idaho from #23, to #1? From Silver to Gold?

One way is simple. Get on your bikes and ride. Bring your friends, share with them what you do to feel safe on the road, share what you do and why you love to ride.

Every time each of us ride, we are seen by drivers and may even influence someone to choose to ride the next day. Our individual ridership gives permission to others, gives others confidence and assurance that riding is accessible!

Ultimately, the more of us ride, the better infrastructure improvements we will see (while advocating for said bicycle infrastructure of course!). This is what we want to see on Idaho Gives!

One day of a 100% Pedal-Powered community isn’t a permanent solution, but when we all choose to go out May 2nd, rain or shine, we are all choosing to take a big next step together; to prove that Boise has the need for better bicycle improvement.

This is why we are asking YOU to sign our Bike-A-Thon Pledge! By signing it, you are committing to a 100% Pedal-Powered Idaho Gives, and to inspire 3 other people to get out and ride and to donate $10 to BBP on Idaho Gives that will directly fund our efforts in educating and activating our youth riders in the Treasure Valley.

So, help us become the Bicycling Capital of America and plan to get out and ride on Idaho Gives!

Need help getting your wheels rolling? Check out our Friday classes that will be FREE to the public for the month of April!

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