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We’re excited about tomorrow’s Brown Bag Lunch to hear from Cascade Bicycle Club about the opportunities they see for Seattle in the ongoing update process for the Bicycle Master Plan. Across the country and right here at home, smart folks are creating those opportunities, and measuring the economic value of cyclists.

Bikenomics

This is geared more towards rural America, but from Utility Cycling comes a great video on the economic development potential of Bike Tourism.

And, from Mother Nature Network we learn that recent data shows that even though consumers who bicycle to a local store may spend the same, per visit (as those who arrived via public transportation or a car), the bicycling consumer visits the same store more often, thus increasing overall receipts.

Post-sharrow Seattle

It is encouraging, then, to see some great investments coming online here at home.

  • Via the Daily Journal of Commerce’s SeattleScape Blog we learn the West Thomas Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Overpass is now open and has been host to a steady stream of users in both directions, “despite the wet streets and ominous clouds, looking very pleased. It’s a good bet that nearby office workers will do the same on work days.”
  • Up in North Seattle, there’s the new Linden Avenue Complete Street, which features a separated cycle track. According to the Cascade Bike Blog, one of the first people to see it (a member of the “hesitant majority”) exclaimed: “I would actually bike on that!”
  • Jumping off that news, Seattle Bike Blog reports that construction is well underway on the main structure of the UW Station biking and walking bridge over Montlake Boulevard. (SBB has more on that Linden cycle track, too, including photos, as well as an update on something called a “Bike Sneak,” intended as a safer way to cross the Streetcar tracks going into the ground through Little Saigon.)

It stands to reason that asking cyclists to chart their own course through busy city streets won’t translate into a huge share of folks choosing to get out of their car. As we’ve discussed here, research proves its not the safest way to include cycling in a city’s transportation mix, either.

What women want

The Atlantic Cities has a nice summary of “research that lays out some of the reasons why women stay off bikes.”

Women want things like more, better cycling infrastructure, supportive communities of cyclists that look like them, and for cycling for transportation overall to be a safer, more convenient experience.

Certainly relevant here in Seattle, where we want more gender diversity among cyclists. Recent research shows that women make up less than 30 percent of the riders on Seattle’s streets. And we’ve noted on this blog before that “Both women and men are using separated bicycle lanes at more equal rates, whereas roads without separation (even the same road before redesign) are used predominately by men.”

Some argue, however, that we have farther to go towards gender equality in a world where women are laden, more so than men, by obligations of both work and family, necessitating the multipurpose trips ill-served by bike.

What do you think? “Build it and they will come,” or “break the glass ceiling.” What needs to happen before cycling becomes a reasonable option for more women?

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For Nate it was a summer in New York City that sparked a passion for urban planning, livability, development and transportation issues. He has worked for housing and health care non-profits, mortgage and commercial real estate companies, hospitality and aviation brands as well as transit lines and other government agencies. Nate is a Great City board member.

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