Multi-city Bike2Health Project gears up for better-connected bicycle lanes

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City of Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Deputy Director Sarah Olson discusses the plan with open house attendees. One of the project elements is wayfinding signs, like those behind Olson, which will help bicyclists find their way along the connected bike network.
City of Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Deputy Director Sarah Olson discusses the plan with open house attendees. The project will include city-specific wayfinding signs, like those behind Olson, to help bicyclists find their way to various destinations along the connected bike network.

Planners and engineers from the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace gathered in the College Place Elementary School gym Thursday night to unveil a plan to add 11 missing links to the region’s bicycle network, along with new or improved lane markings and signage — all with the goal of making it easier and safer for people to bicycle through the three cities.

The project, known as Bike2Health, is being funded through a $1.9 million grant from the Verdant Health Commission, although the hope is that the municipalities will be able to expand the bicycle network with other sources of funding over time, said Verdant Health Deputy Superintendent George Kosovich.

Collectively, the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace have completed 23 miles of bicycle network over the past decade; however, much of this construction has been done separately by each city, which has resulted in a segmented bicycle network. This segmentation is one reason cited by residents for choosing to use other methods of travel.

Bike 2 Health map

Visitors to Thursday night’s open house, including some who appropriately bicycled to the event, had an opportunity to talk with planners from each city, view bicycle corridor maps and see photo simulations of what streets will look like once construction is complete.

Dave Van Horn, who lives in unincorporated Snohomish County just north of Edmonds, discusses the Olympic View Drive route with Edmonds City Engineer Rob English, left, and Transportation Engineer Bertrand Haus.
Bicyclist Dave Van Horn, center, who lives in unincorporated Snohomish County just north of Edmonds, discusses the Olympic View Drive corridor bike route with Edmonds City Engineer Rob English, left, and Transportation Engineer Bertrand Haus.

Two City of Lynnwood employees — Planner David Mach and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Deputy Director Sarah Olson — initiated the three-city partnership and both were there to speak with attendees Thursday. According to Mach, project planning is now underway, with bike lane construction scheduled to begin in 2016 in Edmonds, followed by work in Lynnwood in 2017.

Mountlake Terrace Traffic Engineer Janet Hall points to the Mountlake Terrace location where bicycle wayfinding signs will be added.
Mountlake Terrace Traffic Engineer Janet Hall points to theĀ  location on 56th Avenue West where bicycle wayfinding signs will be added.

Mountlake Terrace is waiting for further development of its Main Street Revitalization Project before adding bicycle lanes on the 56th Street Southwest corridor, but will place wayfinding signs there once the Bike2Health project is close to complete, said Janet Hall, Mountlake Terrace Traffic Engineer.

(Mountlake Terrace did recently complete a major project that benefits bicycle riders: the Lakeview Trail from the Edmonds/Mountlake Terrace border along Lake Ballinger to I-5, which includes a 12-foot-wide path for both bicyclists and pedestrians.)

Collectively, the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace have completed 23 miles of bicycle network over the past decade; however, much of this construction has been done separately by each city, which has resulted in a segmented bicycle network. This segmentation is one reason cited by residents for choosing to use other methods of travel.

Bike 2 Health map
Connections planned for the Bike2Health Project.

Once complete, Bike2Health will create a regional bicycle network establishing several key north/south and east/west corridors and connecting major destinations (e.g. colleges, civic centers, employment centers, the Interurban Trail, etc.) and transit locations such as Swift bus rapid transit stations, transit centers and the Edmonds Ferry. In total, roughly 10 miles of bicycle network will be completed or connected by installing shared lane markings, bicycle route signage and about six miles of new bicycle lanes.

Photographic simulations show what various corridors would look like once bike lanes are added.
Photographic simulations show what various corridors would look like once bike lanes are added. This one is on 76th Avenue West in Edmonds, looking north, with Swedish Edmonds hospital on the right.

A Cascade Bicycle Club survey conducted earlier this year found that only 13 percent of respondents bicycled as their regular form of transportation, although 70 percent indicated they would like to bike more.

The Cascade Bicycle Club will also be involved in conducting surveys of riders at 10 to 15 locations along the regional network route, both before and after the project is complete, to measure the effectiveness of the project, Mach said.

Once the bike lanes and signage are complete, project partners — led by the City of Lynnwood — will begin community outreach and education on bicycle safety, and will also offer a variety of family-friendly activities, such as organized bike rides, classes and bicycle rodeos.

You can learn more at verdanthealth.org/bike2health. To get regular updates on the project, you can subscribe to the Bike2Health Project eNews list.

 

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