Monday, October 04, 2010


"I don't see how creating road rage makes things safer."

Just a quick update for my Word Around the Net post last Friday, in which I noted the "bike box" concept Seattle is setting up. In brief these are sections in front of where cars stop at a light where bicycles can set up first.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (courtesy Tim Blair) has an article about how bike boxes with some useful information. Scott Gutierrez writes:
They're also expensive. Each bike box costs about $15,000 to install. The paint is actually an aggregate of crushed rock set in epoxy and costs about $10,000. It requires special skills to put down correctly, which results in $5,000 for labor, according to SDOT. The three bike boxes were listed among the city's top biking and pedestrian projects for 2010 under Mayor Mike McGinn's "Walk Bike Ride" initiative.

City officials say they're a worthy investment, despite the city's budget woes.
So far there's only one of these set up but I have no doubt many will be added over the years to come, making Seattle an even more awful place to drive in and increasing animosity between cyclists and drivers.

Fifteen grand isn't much in the big scheme of things, and the money supposedly is coming from a separate fund called Bridging the Gap which is basically an infrastructure and renovation plan for Seattle streets and bicycling lanes. Yet at the same time its hard to see why this is so important and tough to justify when the city is over $60 million in debt.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

I've been a bicycle commuter in Southern California for the last two years, and I can tell you that the "bike box" is a terrible, terrible idea.

[1] Drivers don't like even feeling the tiniest bit obliged to watch out for cyclists. The bike box will exacerbate that dislike. Watch for an upswing in on-purpose "accidents."

[2] Drivers have a hard enough time stopping in front of the lines at normal crosswalks. Since they're already not used to looking out for bikes anyway, look for an upswing in cyclists getting read-ended by accident. Expect fatalities.

[3] Any cyclist who actually uses the bike box as intended is risking his life even more then usual, period.