Pate: Borrow-a-Bike helps riders fund cancer research, heal

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Leigh Pate for this story about Obliteride — a Fred Hutchinson fundraiser she supports — and a program to help folks borrow a bike for the fundraising ride. Note that the deadline to borrow a bike is today (my bad). Leigh is a Seattle-based writer, consultant, breast cancer survivor and second-year Obliteride rider. You can learn more about why Leigh rides here.

Claire and family

Claire Reinert, right, with her father Bill and mother Nori.

“Just six weeks ago my father rode a hundred miles. He was so strong — at age 67 his younger friends couldn’t keep up with him,” said Claire Reinert of Seattle.

“A few days ago he just got his second round of chemo for pancreatic cancer. It just came out of the blue. He was signed up to ride the hundred-mile Obliteride route. This ride meant a lot to him. Now I’m riding in his place.”

Claire is joining hundreds of other riders participating in Obliteride on August 9 to raise money for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Like most other riders who have asked their friends for donations and spent hours training, Claire is driven by the urgency to find a cure faster. It’s personal.

Claire is also one of the riders who signed up for Obliteride’s Borrow-a-Bike, a new project for riders who don’t have a bicycle or who are traveling and can’t afford the expense of transporting their own bike to Seattle.

Borrow-a-Bike is courtesy of Obliteride partner Bicycle Adventures of Redmond, a bike touring company offering fully supported multi-day cycling tours in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Taiwan. Continue reading

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Want safe streets in Rainier Valley? Get to this meeting tonight

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There have been more than 60 collisions on Rainier Ave since May 20, when a group of neighbors held an afternoon of protests calling for a safer Rainier Valley for everyone.

So far this year, the street is keeping its normal pace of one collision every day. Sometimes people involved get away with just property damage and higher insurance rates. But sometimes, people are seriously injured or killed. It’s a roll of the dice on Seattle’s most dangerous neighborhood street.

But the city is finally taking safe streets in Rainier Valley seriously, and they have a whole bunch of different projects in motion to address the problem both short-term and long-term:

You can learn more about all of them at an open house 7–9 p.m. today (July 30) at the Rainier Community Center. Continue reading

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Gov. Inslee saves bike/walk/transit funding, will create carbon cap rather than swallow ‘poison pill’

AboutJayIt was a weird day when biking, walking and (some) transit advocates were arguing against clean fuel standards, but that was the trap political opponents of Governor Jay Inslee set in the state’s new transportation funding laws.

A so-called “poison pill” inserted into the law said that if the Governor takes executive action to enact a clean fuels standard, about $2 billion in multimodal funding would go to the highway fund instead. That money includes an unprecedented $700 million for walking and biking safety and access projects like Safe Routes to School, funding for the Northgate Station Bridge, money to completely remake the Burke-Gilman Trial through UW and much more (see the full lists in these PDFs: Walk/bike and transit).

When Inslee announced he would sign a transportation package that included the poison pill so legislators could move forward in their late session, most assumed he was giving up the clean fuel standard. So it came as a surprise to safe streets and multimodal transportation advocates when he told the Seattle Times that he was considering swallowing the pill. After all, more biking, walking and transit are good for clean air, too.

Washington Bikes — with the support of Transportation Choices Coalition, Cascade Bicycle Club and this very blog — launched an all-out campaign to get Inslee to drop the clean fuels standard to save the funding they worked hard to staple onto the massive highway spending bill. $700 million might be unprecedented state funding for bike/walk projects, but it’s pennies compared to the total $16.1 billion price tag, most of it for new and expanded highways.

Inslee announced Tuesday that he’s going a different direction on reducing carbon emissions. Rather than a clean fuels standard (already in place in Oregon and California), he’s going to develop a regulatory carbon cap. Though it would not be a complete cap-and-trade system (that would take an act of law, not just executive action), it “would force a significant reduction in air pollution,” according to an official statement. Continue reading

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King 5: Seattle should follow Vancouver’s lead on downtown bike network

King 5’s Chris Daniels recently reported from our neighbor to the north on something Vancouver, BC, has to help people get around their downtown: A comfortable and protected network of bike lanes.

As Seattle finally kicks off work on a network of protected bike lanes downtown, it’s wise to look to Vancouver to get a glimpse a few years into the future. I wish all transportation reporters who will be covering Seattle’s bike network had the chance to go bike around Vancouver. It’s invaluable context for what Seattle is trying to do here.

So are the bike lanes increasing safety? Are more people biking? Did they make car traffic worse?

Yes! Yes! No!

In fact, as Daniels reports that collisions are down 17 percent. The CBC reports that bike traffic in June broke records in the city, with some Fremont-Bridge-style bike counters recording 200,000 trips monthly.

And since the bike lanes have gone in, traffic congestion downtown has dropped 20 percent. Though other factors are certainly at play in this reduction in congestion (like the city’s transit improvements), it should help allay fears that bike lanes will cause a traffic crunch here. Continue reading

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Bike to dinner Tuesday to help fund Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

11742744_847537768662817_66824173657927102_nIt’s time for the annual Spoke & Food bike-to-dinner fundraiser. All you have to do is bike to one of a select number of restaurants or breweries around the city Tuesday evening and 20 percent of your bill will go to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

The event benefits different organizations each year. Last year raised $6,200 for Outdoors For All. So go to dinner and help do even better for SNG. They work hard to make our streets safer, so the least you can do is go to dinner for them :-)

Past fundraising numbers, from Spoke & Food:

  • 2014 $6,200 was raised and donated to the Outdoors For All Foundation.
  • 2013 $6,080 was raised for the Bike Works non-profit
  • 2012 $4,450 was raised for the FamilyWorks Resource Center & Food Bank.
  • 2011 $3,200 was raised for the Children’s Garden Program at Seattle Tilth.
  • 2010 benefited the Lettuce Link program at Solid Ground.
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St. Louis has more miles of downtown protected bike lanes than Seattle

IMG_2373So, I’m my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, about to become godfather to my nephew Luke (yes, I will be insufferable with Don Corleone quotes for the next couple days), and I heard that there was a brand new protected bike lane downtown. So of course I had to check it out.

The bike lane goes 1.2 miles from Union Station to the Old Courthouse along the park side of Chestnut Street right through the heart of downtown. As you bike, you are flanked by a wonderful blend of magnificent historic buildings and popular modern additions like the City Garden.

It wasn’t even totally finished yet (signage was largely still missing), yet there already children biking with their families. If you had said a few weeks ago that kids would be biking comfortably on a downtown St. Louis street, people would have thought you were crazy. That’s the power of protected bike lanes, and the change can happen overnight. Continue reading

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Downtown traffic violence is a public health emergency we haven’t been treating

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It’s not news that downtown streets are the scene of a huge number of serious traffic injuries and deaths. But this map at a recent open house still caught me completely off-guard. At first, I thought it was a map of the past ten years. How awful, so many lives ended or dramatically altered.

Then I read the title more carefully: Three years.

This is a public health emergency, and it’s been left largely untreated for decades. Every little asterisk, walking outline and cross represents a real person, someone’s friend or sister or grandfather. And as soon as I posted this map on Twitter, people started telling me how close they came to being a point on the map: Continue reading

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