10 mph design speed for Westlake cycletrack in Seattle
"Bicycle-friendly" Seattle has reportedly established a 10 mph design speed for its latest "protected bike lane" project, a sidepath along Westlake Avenue, a busy freight and commuter route.
That means sight lines, stopping distances, and corners will be designed to be safe at 10 mph. That's lower than the design speeds allowed in *any* of the city's adopted design standards for bicycle facilities. According to AASHTO, ordinary non-cyclist adults ride 15 mph on level ground. AASHTO calls for an 18 mph design speed, CROW calls for 18.5 mph, WSDOT would call for a design speed of 20 mph for an urban sidepath.
While marketing the facility as a "protected bike lane," the city appears to be planning a sidepath as narrow and unsuited to cycling as most sidewalks. And they're bragging about how bicycle-friendly they're being in the process.
It was just a couple of months ago the City Council passed a resolution mandating that the city's new bicycle facilities would meet state and national design standards. Guess SDOT doesn't have much respect for the City Council's authority on transportation safety standards....
I'm not some militant anti-facilities VC fundamentalist, half my commute is on properly-executed separated paths that have good sight lines and competent intersection designs. But 10 mph design speed isn't suitable for casual adults on cruiser bikes, let alone commuters.