Knowing and practicing traffic safety saves lives, and no time is it more ideal to learn than when young. Yes, the rules of the road are easy to set into memory, just as language is. Seattle is setting a standard for many things, not the least of which is protecting Seattle’s younger citizens via valuable knowledge. Seattle now has a “traffic garden” for that purpose.
Seattle is following safety education that has taken place in Utrecht for over 50 years. Copenhagen, Utrecht, and many other Danish and Dutch cities are ideal, safe, multimodal cities. The idea to imitate traffic and city streets in a safe environment is not only about safety — it is also about foresight and environmentally friendly transportation.
Bike Portland notes, “If we ever want bicycling to become mainstream, we must find a way to educate more people on the right way to ride in traffic. It can be tough, though, because our streets make most people so stressed out that they adopt bad habits just to stay alive.”
On October 1st in Seattle, the Cascade Bicycle Club offered free fun and a chance to acquire road skills for its younger members. The White Center Bike Playground opened, replacing two underused tennis courts. The courts transformed into a smartly designed streetscape. Riders found crosswalks, multi-lane roads, a roundabout, and more. It was free fun with bikes, helmets, and instructors.
Bike Portland interviewed the designer, Steve Durant. He included diverse traffic scenarios such as stop lines, crosswalks, lane merging, a roundabout, a one-way loop, and so on.
Here’s a Facebook video by the designer:
“The Bicycle Playground is open to the public. It is now part of Cascade’s educational programs — especially their Major Taylor program which teaches young people from underserved neighborhoods how to become confident bicycle riders.”
The total cost for this traffic garden was “just under $95,000.” I wonder how many lives it will go on to save and improve for such a low price.