Over the last few years the city of Portland has been adding what are called “bike boulevards” throughout the city. According to Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw, Portland has about 50 miles of these pathways. “Their goal, and I love this,” Bagshaw told the Ballard District Council on Wednesday night, “Is that they would make a bike street or walking street so safe that you’d let your 8-year-old daughter be out riding her bike alone.”
An example of Portland’s bike boulevards
The bike boulevard is a tree-lined throughway that has traffic slowing infrastructure along the route. “People can still park their cars along in front of their houses, but then the street itself – every two or three blocks they’d put a large speed bump,” Bagshaw says of Portland’s bike boulevards. “It just slows down traffic so they’re not driving 30-35 miles per hours down the neighborhoods.” Stop signs are placed on cross streets, so the boulevard itself has the right-of-way.
“The neighbors love it because it slows down traffic so much. That again you can be outside, play in the street for the kids but you can ride many, many miles. And this is a street where you’re not competing with cars and trucks,” says Bagshaw.
Bagshaw says a group is forming in Seattle to explore bringing this idea to Seattle. The group will consist of the head of the Seattle Department of Transportation, public utilities, city light, Department of Planning and Development and Seattle Parks & Recreation. Their goal will be to look “at how and where we can take some advantage of these.” Bagshaw says she would like to see these boulevards connecting neighborhood parks together.
“It’s an exciting idea that’s not going to cost a lot of money but connect our parks and also provide safe places for school,” Bagshaw told the District Council. So far two neighborhoods have expressed interest in the park boulevards – Wallingford and Beacon Hill.