This past week we had the opportunity to sit down for a Green Line Series interview with Nicole Freedman, Chief of Active Transportation for the City of Seattle. Nicole is tasked with overseeing the expansion of the newly purchased Pronto bike share program, creation of Summer Parkways programs and a new TDM 2.0 program.
Prior to moving to Seattle, she worked as Director of Bicycle Programs for the City of Boston which was part of Mayor Menino’s vision for healthy, sustainable communities. During her tenure, she helped transform Boston from the worst cycling city in the country to a recognized leader in cycling. Under her leadership, the city created 92 miles of bike lanes and implemented a successful bikeshare system.
Nicole Freedman will moderate the GoGreen Seattle panel session: Technology + Innovation Changing the Transportation Landscape in 2016.
GoGreen: How is your team moving forward with the daily operations of Pronto? Will services still remain the same in the transition of ownership?
Nicole Freedman: Daily operations and services will remain the same. To better serve riders we plan to move several stations to make the bikes more accessible. The first of these decisions was relocating the Frye Art Museum (Terry & Columbia) Station to the new Capitol Hill U-Link Station at Broadway & Denny. Longer term, we will be looking at expansion in order to better serve current riders and appeal to new riders across the city.
GoGreen: Can you address the plan that will be laid out over the next six months to better serve low-income populations and communities of color?
NF: A plan is currently in the works. We hope to test out a reduced cost membership program similar to the ones in Chicago and Boston. Whether or not we can test this out before expansion is unknown, but we will certainly be making plans. The keys to success for such a program: great outreach and adding stations in low income neighborhoods.
GoGreen: From your experience, what does it take to transform a city into a bike friendly environment?
NF: There first must be a cultural shift within the city and with pedestrians. The department is working towards making Seattle a bike friendly city through the bike network of protected lanes and greenways with focus on the center city bike network. The further we are on pedestrian and bike issues the more that we need to work with drivers and expanding the public right of way. There will always be trade offs when developing more protected bike lanes either by removing parking or car travel lanes. We will need the public to be actively engaged and provide input. Drivers and pedestrians are instrumental in the success of the city’s bike share program.
To find out more about projects and programs that the City of Seattle Transportation Department will focus on until 2019 read the Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). The department’s vision is to make riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities. The actions and investments in the plan will advance this vision through new bicycle infrastructure, bicycle parking and other end-of-trip facilities, and programs to enhance safety, maintain facilities, and encourage more people to ride bicycles.
City of Seattle Department of Transportation will be exhibiting onsite during GoGreen Seattle on March 30. Check out TransitScreen and learn about new, innovative partnerships with Uber and Lyft to help people get home safely.
Event Details: GoGreen Seattle, brought to you by King County, will take place Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.