Vote! Here’s who safe streets organizations are supporting

Have you voted yet? Don’t wait. Your ballot should be arriving any day if it hasn’t already.

Vote Yes on Seattle Transportation Benefit District Prop 1

More and better King County Metro transit service. Not sure I really need to say more than that.

It’s at the end of a long and confusing ballot, so be sure you make it all the way there.

Vote No on the Monorail

We all agree that an actually functional monorail would be super cool, but this measure won’t get us there. It has essentially no coalition of support and even its own board members don’t seem to think it’s not a good idea. Yikes.

Sound Transit is the way to get the high capacity transit service we need, so let’s focus on getting a bold ST3 package ready for a vote as soon as possible.

Cascade and Feet First candidate questionnaires

We here at Seattle Bike Blog are in no way prepared to endorse a slate of candidates, but we can point you to some resources to help you decide.

Cascade Bicycle Club has made a bunch of endorsements and has posted all candidate responses to their safe streets focused questionnaire.

They also sent fancy emails to people in their system personalized to their legislative district: Continue reading

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8 Stranger writers race to a bar during rush hour (Spoiler: Bike wins, duh)

Screenshot from The Stranger. Click to read the full story.

Screenshot from The Stranger. Click to read the full story.

Eight writers for The Stranger raced from their Capitol Hill office to a post-work drink in the U District, each taking a different mode of transportation (personal bike, Pronto bike, bus, Lyft, Car2Go, personal car, and feet). Oh, and it was rush hour.

It was a Stranger-style modal race, a fun way to compare travel times, experiences and costs in a real-world setting. Typically all users go at a normal pace and follow all traffic laws. It’s not the participant racing, it’s the mode itself.

Check out how everyone did. I also like how they reviewed their trips, an element that is often left out of modal races like these.

Of course, Ansel Herz won by taking his own bike on the mostly downhill route, cruising past lines of stopped traffic on the way. In fact, he won by a long shot (15 minutes, which makes me think he did sort of step on it).

But even if you don’t ride fast, bikes are often the fastest way to get around town, especially within a few miles of the city center. This fact seems to surprise a lot of people who have never tried biking as a means of transportation. Continue reading

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After 300 collisions in just 3 years, city meetings will discuss changes to ‘I-35′

Photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Gene Tagaban of the Tlingit RavenCoho tribe plays a song for paddlers facing an important but difficult challenge at the site where James St. Clair was hit

Photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Gene Tagaban of the Tlingit RavenCoho tribe plays a song for paddlers facing an important but difficult challenge at the site where James St. Clair was hit in early 2014

Every couple days, someone driving in a car on 35th Ave SW runs into another car, someone walking or someone biking. Since 2011, 128 people were injured in 294 collisions. Two people were killed.

One of those people was James St. Clair, whose death while walking across the street prompted community action to remember his life and to demand changes to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

Speeding is so rampant on the wide, highway-style four-lane street that locals commonly refer to it as I-35. But it’s not a highway, it’s a street through a neighborhood that provides a rare complete connection from the north end of the neighborhood to the city’s south border with White Center and beyond. Between Avalon and Roxbury, the street passes near two libraries, two parks and three schools. It is a barrier to people trying to cross from east to west or trying to get to and from King County Metro’s 21 bus.

People should be able to cross the street in safety and comfort, and nobody in a car should be put at risk by rampant speeding and the kinds of high-risk collisions the current street design makes all too easy.

You have two opportunities coming up to give the city feedback on what you think should happen on 35th. If you can’t make the meetings, email your thoughts to jim.curtin@seattle.gov. Continue reading

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KOMO: Police recover Australian couple’s touring bikes and equipment stolen in Mount Vernon

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.19.11 AM

Screenshot from KOMO. Click to read full story.

This is a wonderful outcome to a huge bummer of a story: Mount Vernon Police tracked down a married couple who stole a pair of fully-loaded touring bikes back in August.

The bikes belonged to Anna Suthers and Billy Barnetson, an Australian couple on a cross-country bike trip who had stopped at Skagit River Brewery to grab a meal and some local beer. Everything they had on this side of the pond was on those bikes, a sorry welcome to our region.

Police followed up on some tips and tracked some suspicious pawn shop sales (including a camera with the couple’s photos still saved in it) until they finally recovered a bunch of the camping equipment and the bikes themselves in early October. By that time, Suthers and Barnetson were already in California (you can follow their blog here), but the police have even offered to ship them what they need.

From KOMO: Continue reading

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Final Westlake Bikeway open house is Wednesday + A look at updated plans

From a September 30 presentation to the Design Advisory Committee (see all documents here)

From a September 30 presentation to the Design Advisory Committee (see all documents here)

The city is just about ready to show off its design for the Westlake Bikeway after many community meetings big and small and more than a year and a half of debates about the plan to provide a safe space for people to travel between South Lake Union and the Fremont Bridge through the giant, endless parking lot along the edge of the lake.

It’s been a long and messy road, and the city has brought a whole lot of people to the table to express concerns, propose alternative ideas and guide the design. The result is a safer, protected bikeway along the eastern edge of the parking lot and a redesigned and more efficient parking area tuned to the success of businesses rather than acting as free all-day parking for city center employees trying to get around paid parking at their workplaces.

You can check out the plans and give SDOT feedback during an open house from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Wednesday at Fremont Studios (35th and Phinney). The presentation starts at 6:15. There will be activities for kids, so bring ‘em with you.

And despite all the meetings the city has already held, people still need to show up and support a safer Westlake for everyone. The exact design the city plans to unveil Wednesday is not yet clear, but a recent presentation to the Design Advisory Committee gives a hint of what to expect: Continue reading

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Here are the projects at the top of the city’s Bike Plan to-do list

BMP Implementation Plan 2015-mapSo, Seattle passed a 20-year Bike Master Plan. Now what?

Well, SDOT planners need to figure out which projects rise to the top of the priority list. The city has released its delayed Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan (AKA the Bike Plan Plan). This document runs the Master Plan through a prioritization framework that weighs segments based on these criteria:

  • Safety – 40 points
  • Connectivity – 25 points
  • Equity – 20 points
  • Ridership – 10 points
  • Livability – 5 points

The result is a list mostly made up of protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways. For example, the plan includes 7.1 miles of protected bike lanes and 12.1 miles of neighborhood greenways in 2015.

However, the biggest limit to implementing the plan is, of course, funding. And with the Bridging the Gap property tax levy scheduled to expire at the end of 2015, the Bike Plan Plan has to assume that there will not be a new source of transportation funding to replace or expand on it. So the budget lines (and, therefore, bike facility miles) for 2016 through 2019 are very underwhelming. Continue reading

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Chicago’s streets feel less mean when you’re on a Divvy bike

IMG_0170I have been out of town since Seattle’s bike share system launched, so to deal with my intense Pronto jealousy I had to check out some Divvy bikes while in Chicago.

I grew up in St. Louis and went to college in Illinois, so I have been to Chicago a fair number of times. But I have never had this much fun getting around town, and I have definitely never had this clear of a picture of the city’s geography. For the first time, I actually think I know where I am most the time, and it’s all thanks to bike share.

Biking around also had a very unexpected side-effect: The city feels a lot less mean. At first I was a bit intimidated by the idea of biking in this sprawling car-filled metropolis, but once I got on the bike the city softened. Quality bike lanes like the ones on Dearborn through the heart of the Loop and the fantastic Lakefront trail definitely helped, but somehow I feel even more comfortable biking around Chicago than I do trying to navigate on foot and transit (and way more comfortable than driving a car here, which is terrifying).

Unlike in Seattle, Chicago does not have helmets available at bike share stations. Like most of you, I am so accustomed to wearing a helmet when I bike that I feel a little naked if I don’t have one. In fact, I drive so rarely that I have even started to feel a bit naked when I get in a car without a helmet.

But for the most part, it did not feel dangerous to ride a Divvy without a helmet, especially in the city center and on streets with good or decent bike lanes. The bikes are so upright, heavy and slow that I just didn’t feel threatened. And people who drive (except for one jerk) sure give Divvy riders a lot of space, something I was not expecting in a city where people drive so aggressively it can feel like you’re playing chicken every time you try to merge onto the freeway. Continue reading

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