Can Seattle deliver on promises made to city's cycling community?

Voters passed the $65 million "Move Seattle" levy in 2015, with the promise to build 60 miles of neighborhood greenways and 50 miles of protected bike lanes over a nine year period. But so far, only 5.5 miles of those projects are finished. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - When voters passed the levy to "Move Seattle" in 2015, big promises were made on what it would buy for cyclists. The $65 million levy over nine years, planned for the city to build 60 miles of neighborhood greenways and 50 miles of protected bike lanes.

In 2016, nine projects were checked off the list, though of the roughly 12 miles the city planned on completing, only five and a half are finished.

"I think so far we've made great strides in the right direction," said Jim Curtin, Traffic Safety Coordinator for the city of Seattle.

He said the weather delayed many projects, while ongoing construction downtown and the need for more public comment delayed others.

The Bicycle Advisory Board also reviewed proposed projects, and found four to wait list and 22 to defer altogether, despite that the city said taxpayers are still getting their money's worth.

"We're still spending the same amount of money, we’re just investing on other streets," said Curtin.

The group also talked about safety improvements,most notably - potentially eliminating right on red turns for cars in some parts of the city.

“Taking a location by location approach where we can restrict turns in certain trouble spots," said Curtin. "Or we could look at a larger swath of the city, and say, 'this part of the city has a problem with turning movements.'"

Beyond construction projects, they also discussed interest from private companies to bring in a new bike share program to replace the failed city-run Pronto.

“There's at least a few companies that are ready to be on the ground here," Seattle City councilmember Mike O'Brien said during a meeting on Friday.

The new bike shares are said to not have stands to lock them in place and could arrive by summer. Either way, but the ghost of Pronto will live on in the form of $1.3 million that will be carried over from the failed bike share program to more construction this year.

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