Aken picked as Cascade’s new Advocacy Director, more staff changes coming

Jeff Aken. Image from Cascade.

Jeff Aken. Image from Cascade.

Jeff Aken has been promoted from his job as Principal Planner at Cascade Bicycle Club to fill the Advocacy Director position vacated recently by Thomas Goldstein.

Aken said his advocacy style is all about collaboration, and his goal is to focus on “all-ages and abilities bike infrastructure and increasing funding, obviously, to get those things built.”

He praised the work of Washington Bikes and hopes to work with them and area politicians to keep progress moving not just in Seattle, but all around the region.

“Both Seattle and the region are at a tipping point with [Seattle's] Bike Master Plan, things like the East Lake Sammamish Trail and how we are starting to string together regional trails,” he said.

But one of Aken’s first tasks will be to fill a hole left by Emily Kathrein, the club’s Field Programs Manager who announced recently that she will be leaving to work for the UW’s Commute Options Program. Among other projects, Kathrein ran the club’s innovative and effective Advocacy Leadership Institute, which empowers people with the tools they need to start building a grassroots movement for safe streets and bike access where they live or work. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Man on bike tour struck near Shelton + Touring couple’s bikes stolen in Mount Vernon

Image from their tour website.

Image from their tour website.

Bike touring is an amazing way to see a place, and touring in Washington State is among the best in the country. But two international groups on long bike trips ran into some terrible situations in the Puget Sound region in recent weeks.

A man from England who was on day number one of what should have been a bike tour down the west coast was struck and seriously inured near Shelton August 10. He was airlifted to Harborview after a pickup allegedly swerved to avoid another car and struck him on the highway shoulder.

According to a friend he was riding with who was tracking their travels on his blog, Steven Prime was left with a lot of broken bones but “nothing that will be long term.” Still, it’s a terrible and quick end to their tour. We wish Steven a speedy and full recovery.

From Dayle Walker’s blog:

After insulting my digestive system with a “breakfast sub” that contained steak and cheese the next ferry was arriving an hour and a half later and we boarded en route to Bremerton. The ferry ride was awesome.. as we sailed away we could see the Seattle Skyline and it was a beautiful sight.. with fresh sea air, jellyfish and a dog on the boat trying to sniff my leg it had it all… but an hour later we arrived into port and it was time to get back on the bikes. Hour and a half behind schedule Steve and I got a good start on the day and soon smashed out the first 37 miles.. to a town called Shelton. Here was our meeting point with Nathan and we were 40 mins early! We really got a great start on the day… We insulted our digestive system again this time with a “meatball sub” and refilled our bottles with ice… Steve was keen to get going to make up for the time we lost at the ferry port and so headed off on his own, while I waited on Nathan to turn up and would catch him up. Nathan arrives and shortly after we headed down the route to catch up with Steve… but we couldn’t find him… Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pierce County passes complete streets ordinance

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.49.11 AMFrom now on, whenever Pierce County plans major road work the planners will need to consider the needs of all road users.

Earlier this month, the Pierce County Council adopted a complete streets ordinance that “promotes roadways that are safe and convenient for those of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motor vehicle drivers.”

Washington Bikes praised the ordinance, which has been at least half a decade in the making. Pierce County joins many other communities in the Puget Sound region and across the nation in officially requiring that future transportation investments do not repeat the same street design mistakes of the past when the mobility and safety of people outside motor vehicles was not always considered.

From BikeWA: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

City finally planning road safety project on Dexter between Denny and Mercer

From the SDOT mailer

From the SDOT mailer

Dexter Ave may never go back to being the dangerous, super wide street it was before major construction began a few months ago between Mercer and Denny in South Lake Union.

The city is planning a road safety redesign for the street, which is a major bike route and the scene of several serious collisions including the 2011 hit and run at Dexter and Thomas that killed Mike Wang.

You can learn more and provide your thoughts on what needs to happen on Dexter at a morning-time open house from 7 to 10 a.m. August 20 at the intersection of Dexter and John.

Wang’s death on his normal bike ride home from work at PATH shook the city and ignited a movement that changed the conversation about safe streets in Seattle. Shortly after the tragedy — a hit and run that would not be solved until a year later — most the city’s conversations about bikes finally shifted away from “bikes vs cars” or the city waging a “war on cars,” and people started talking seriously about solutions. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Clean Air Agency expands picture of Seattle air quality using devices mounted on bikes

City Map

Heather McAuliffe with her pollution-sniffing instruments mounted on her bike. Photo from McAuliffe.

Heather McAuliffe with her pollution-sniffing instruments mounted on her bike. Photo from McAuliffe.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has been experimenting with a new way to gather a more complete picture of Seattle’s air quality conditions: Attaching measuring instruments to their bicycles.

In a February report for Seattle Bike Blog by Ryann Child, we told you about a UW study where researchers biked a black carbon measuring device in a loop around the city. The results were somewhat stunning because it showed big spikes in pollution levels in sometimes surprising locations. And it raised more questions than it answered. Specifically: What about the rest of the city?

Heather McAuliffe is a Fremont resident who rides a bike to get around and is passionate about air quality issues.

“I grew up here, and when I took my first airplane trip when I was seven I remember flying in and out of Seattle and I could see the pollution,” she said. “People’s health depends on clean air.”

So McAuliffe researched and purchased a particle monitor, GPS and GoPro camera set up, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency offered to analyze her data. McAuliffe works for Seattle’s Departments of Neighborhoods, but took on these efforts in her free time. Several PSCAA employees also bought the bike-mountable air quality devices and used them to collect data during May’s Bike Month.

The PSCAA has “robust” air quality information from some stationary devices and industry data sources, but they do not have anything the gets granular down to the block-by-block level.

“As the science has been growing and evolving, there continues to be new tech and new instruments that let us see more,” said PSCAA Air Resources Specialist Phil Swartzendruber. So while they have good data on a handful of fixed locations around the region, “What happens on each block and each neighborhood where people walk and people bike and people kayak?” Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Bellingham’s new bike plan could make it the most bike-friendly city in the state

From the most recent draft of Bellingham's bike plan. See the full plan here.

From the most recent draft of Bellingham’s bike plan. Click map for larger image of check out the full plan here.

We don’t often cover Bellingham news, since it’s just a bit outside our traditional coverage zone, but this is awesome. City leaders appear poised to approve a Bicycle Master Plan with a clear goal: Become the most bike-friendly city in Washington.

But on another level, leaders want to stay ahead of Seattle in biking levels, and they are going to rely heavily on cost-effective projects like 42 miles of painted bike lanes and 52 miles of bicycle boulevards to get there. From The Bellingham Herald:

“Bellingham already has one of the highest bicycling and walking rates in the entire state,” consultant Peter Lagerwey told the council on Monday, Aug. 11. “So when you implement this plan, you’re just going to blow everybody off the charts and be No. 1.”

The majority of the network improvements will be bicycle boulevards on residential streets (similar to Seattle’s neighborhood greenways) and more painted bike lanes, though there will be some buffered bike lanes and very few cycle tracks (AKA protected bike lanes).

A Bellingham Herald politics reporter tweeted the details from a recent briefing to the council: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged | 8 Comments

Hempfest is this weekend, so expect big delays on Elliott Bay Trail (or give in and join them)

Your Hempfest bike route detour: Ellott Ave W. Yikes.

Your Hempfest bike route detour: Ellott Ave W. Yikes. Image from Google Street View

Hempfest is back for its annual bike-trail-closing pro-marijuana fest in Myrtle Edwards Park. The good news is that, if you are headed to Hempfest, bike access is excellent. Hempfest even recommends arriving by bike and will have racks set up at the north entrance.

But if you are just trying to bike through the area and utilize the vital bike connection provided by the Elliott Bay Trail, you are on your own to either try to walk your bike through the crowds (and through security) or to find a way around it all.

You should also be prepared for delays for days before and after the festival as planners set-up and break-down. In fact, you may have already noticed vehicles driving on the trail, since set-up began this week. Try to give yourself extra time in case you have to walk your bike, and save your frustrating rants for emails to the city leadership urging them to create an actual bike detour next year.

The only detour option anywhere close to the trail is via the car-crazy Elliott/15th Ave. There are bus lanes you can bike in for some of it, and the west sidewalk is not awful since there are few cross-streets (though it will probably be packed because of Hempfest). But if you can, it might be best to reroute all the way to the Fremont Bridge and bike the extra miles (though then you’ll have to deal with the awful Dexter/Mercer construction).

One thing you don’t want to do is get justifiably frustrated and then yell at Hempfest volunteers. They’re volunteers, they didn’t cause this mess. But if you see something dangerous (like dangerous cable routing across or near a bike path, which was a problem in previous years), be sure to report it to the Hempfest folks. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments