Biking San Juan Island: Creating a Resilient & Livable Community Through Bike Infrastructure



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My thesis targets the rural and urban planning of San Juan Island and strives to provide a set of design strategies and proposals to equip the island with bike infrastructure. San Juan Island is nestled in the northwestern corner of Washington State and is only accessible by ferry from the mainland and is a major tourist attraction. The island is home to approximately 8,000 year-round residents. The summer population spikes to 20,000 with seasonal residents and visitors. Of these visitors, a significant amount travel via bicycle to tour the island and take in the scenery. However, San Juan Island has virtually no bike lanes which means drivers and riders are forced to share rural roads. I grew up on San Juan Island, and I have always been complacent to the fact that the island and our town, Friday Harbor, do not accommodate bikes. This is the model I have seen all across the United States. However, after studying abroad in Copenhagen and spending six months riding around an urban setting designed from its core for bikers, my perspective on what a community can and should provide for all non-car-users has shifted drastically. Bike lanes can be integrated seamlessly into an urban fabric. This makes biking enjoyable and accessible for all community members. My goal is to take the strategies and design practices I have experienced in Denmark and use them to shift my town’s emphasis from cars to walkers and bikers. These two modes of transportation create human experiences that connect us with our surroundings in an intimate and environmentally conscious manner.



Architecture, Urban Design, Sustainability, Bike Infrastructure, Urban Planning