Clint Loper is a NE Seattle resident and father of two school-age children. His family bikes to school and work every day. And in the past six years or so, a lot of other families have joined the fun.
“When my oldest daughter started kindergarten, no one biked to Bryant Elementary and not many walked,” Loper recalled. “The school drop off zone was scary, noisy and hazardous due to the traffic patterns and the huge backup of cars with their engines idling.”
But over the past six years, that has begun to change. Loper says that there are now 80 or more kids who bike to Bryant Elemntary on a typical spring day, and Bike to School Day attracted as many as 170 kids on bikes.
“There’s a growing citywide movement to get kids out of cars and to school under their own power. But we haven’t yet made the investments necessary to keep our kids safe when they ride to school,” Loper said.
When Bryant Elementary held a group ride on Bike to School Day last spring, the turnout was great but the group needed police escorts in orders to safely navigate the one-mile ride with a challenging arterial crossings.
“The Seattle Police Department really helped. They sent several patrol cars and a supportive group of bike cops. The kids even enjoyed the thrill of riding along with the SPD,” said Loper. “But this is a school with an enrollment of about 600. Most students live within a mile of school. 100 kids riding bikes to Bryant under their own power shouldn’t require police support. It should be a normal neighborhood routine.”
Other schools have similar challenges: high speed roads, high traffic volumes and the madness of drop off zones. If we want our kids to have the freedom to safely ride to school, we need bikeways that protect them from traffic hazards and help them feel safer.
RSVP today to join Clint and dozens of your friends and neighbors at an SDOT open house on the Bicycle Master Plan update to speak up for a connected Seattle where kids don’t need a police escort to ride to school:
- Wednesday, Nov. 7, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Seattle City Hall
- Thursday, Nov. 8, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at New Holly Gathering Hall
- Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at University of Washington
Now is the time to make sure Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan Update provides a blueprint for our future healthy, safe bicycle transportation system. As you review the Bicycle Master Plan Update, please ask if this Plan will:
• Provide a network of safe and healthy streets for everyone, from an eight-year-old child to her eighty-year-old grandmother, so that they have the freedom to ride a bike where they need and want to go.
• Connect Seattle with 200 new miles of world-class bikeways that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities by the year 2020.
• Integrate well with existing Pedestrian and Transit Master Plans so that all people can safely and easily choose to travel in a way that works best for them.
• Ensure that 95 percent of Seattleites live within a quarter-mile of a world-class bikeway that is safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities by the year 2020.
• Support encouragement programs that will get more people of all ages and abilities riding their bike, with an emphasis on targeting currently under-represented populations.