Portland has been experimenting with Greenways and get ready, because they’re about to come to Seattle. A lot of people in Seattle make fun of Portland for being a little too “granola.” Yet, the similarities between the inhabitants of Seattle and Portland are far more distinct than perhaps both cities would like to admit. One of those glaring similarities is the activity levels of the inhabitants.
Both Seattleites and Portlanders love to be outside walking, running, biking, hiking and doing pretty much anything that gets them exposed to nature. That’s why many people move here. This means that both cities also enjoy a robust biking and pedestrian community. Unfortunately, this also means that bicycle and pedestrian safety becomes a major concern for city leaders and civic planners.
Greenways and Safety
For the past 5 years the Greenway plan has been underway in Portland and according to many planners and advocates, including Portland Mayor Sam Adams, they have been very successful in keeping bicyclists and pedestrians safe.
What is a Greenway?
A Greenway is not just about bikes and pedestrians. It also includes structural, environmental, and attitude changes. They are designated routes that are well marked through low traffic residential street to divert bike and foot traffic away from busy arterials and towards commercial destinations through parks and other green spaces. This is intended to lower accidents and increase use of parks and paths.
- Structural changes – Curbs are extended in order to make green natural drainage points, widened access points, and forced slowing when taking curves. Speed bumps are added to slow traffic. Though-ways are cut off along routes to discourage speeding through residential areas. Speed limits are lowered to 20 mph.
- Environmental changes – Drainage points are made into gravel, sand, and dirt green spaces with low ground plants in order to not obstruct view. This cleans the water before it goes into the city drainage system because currently, thousands of gallons of untreated chemicals and oil are spilling into Puget Sound on a daily basis.
- Attitude changes – This will take bike lanes off of main arterials and set them into safer side streets, thus lessening the amount of bike traffic and changing attitudes and awareness amongst drivers.
According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the goal of Greenways is to:
- Reduce auto cut-through – Taking residential streets in order to avoid traffic will be harder along designated Greenways.
- Provide safer bicycling and pedestrian connections – Pavement markings and signage are a big part of the program in order to alert drivers that they are on a Greenway.
- Improved crossings and curb ramps- These make bicycle and pedestrian mobility easier and safer.
- Reduce auto speeds – Speed bumps and amended speed limits in certain residential streets.
- Improved signals – Improved crossings at main streets, longer crossing, clearer crosswalks.
- Provide more “eyes on the street” – They also speculate that more people out on the street bicycling and walking leads to safer streets!
Effects On Traffic and Safety
City officials are going to run into some automatic objections due to some bad blood over past projects. Some bike lanes in the city have garnered some objections as some drivers have complained that they obstruct or slow the flow of traffic. Officials say Greenways directly address this issue by taking bikes off of the road.
“Well, they’re non-arterial streets with low traffic volume and low speeds that we improve for bicycle and pedestrian travel,” said Sandra Woods of the Bike Master Plan told KOMO news.
The first Greenway is expected to start on 43rd and Stone Way. Other projects are expected to start later this year in the Central District to the University District. These will connect on and off with the Burke Gilman Trail already there. However, many people will notice some changes and increased foot and bike traffic on their street with a bill of $150,000 per mile, money already earmarked in 2006 from the “bridge the gap” fund.
Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident anywhere in Washington State then it is important that they find an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call the Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Phillips Law for a free consultation.
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When you properly prepare your vehicle and use extra caution, your chances of avoiding an accident are much better. Unfortunately accidents occur at the negligence of other people, causing devastation to you and your loved ones. If you have been injured in a car accident call our personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Firm at (800) 708-6000. We offer a FREE case consultation 24/7 and offer a no fee promise. Our no free promise means that you do not have to pay an attorney fee if we do not recover compensation for you.