Quite literally, I made my mark this Summer with the long-awaited arrival of Tacoma’s new bike boulevard symbols — designed by yours truly.
Bike boulevards are meant to encourage urban cycling by offering a less intimidating alternativeto bike lanes on busy streets. Streets designated as “bike boulevards” are typically low-traffic, and often include traffic mediation such as roundabouts, speed bumps or signage instructing drivers to “Share the Road.”
When the City of Tacoma contacted me about the project, I was ecstatic. For those who don’t know, I am an avid bike commuter and had just finished my first STP (Seattle to Portland). Since then I’ve completed three centuries (100+ miles) and created a website called Benevelo which raises money for charity.
The design process itself was fascinating. The development team, headed by Diane Wiatr & Liz Kaster, challenged me to come up with a symbol that was unique to Tacoma. It should imply that the road be shared by cyclists & vehicles, and welcome new riders. At first, I presented several concepts which featured family imagery. Too complex, we opted for a single rider adorned with a cautionary flag.
The fact that the rider is female is no accident. Cycling is a predominantly male sport, typically a 4:1 ratio. Women often shy away from cycling due to its aggressive nature and perceived danger while riding with traffic. However,encouraging women to overcome their fears was one of our objectives, and a cause that I am proud to support.
Several months later, when there were finally 5 consecutive days of sun, the first symbols were painted. So far, they can be found along Park Avenue between 40th & 96th St. The City plans to expand the bike boulevard network as part of the Tacoma Mobility Master Plan.
Photography courtesy of Jon Post