Happy Park(ing) Day!

It’s Park(ing) Day! Hop on your bike, pull up the city’s online map of the day’s micro parks and have fun!

See our previous post for more info about the day. We’ll add photos throughout the day, so check back. And share your favorites in the comments below.

Here’s the Pronto Cycle Share park at 10th and Pike. Get a bike share glam shot and have Steve from Bike Works tune up your wheels for free.
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Kenmore residents call for an end to traffic deaths, remember Caleb Shoop

IMG_3315IMG_3319Carrying signs that say “Safe Streets Now” and “All Our Kids Are So Precious, Please Drive With Care” and wearing shirts that say “Caleb’s Got My Back,” friends, family and concerned community members gathered Wednesday to remember Caleb Shoop and call for safer streets in Kenmore.

Shoop was killed in March while biking in a crosswalk at NE 190th Street and 61st Ave NE. One car stopped to allow him to cross, as the law requires, but a second car in an adjacent lane did not. The person driving struck and killed Shoop.

Caleb was clearly a loving young man who touched a lot of lives. As his grandfather said to the crowd gathered, “He wasn’t done doing the things he wanted to do, and what he wanted to do was make a difference.” He asked those gathered to keep working to make a difference the way Caleb would have wanted.

Caleb was a volunteer for the Outdoors for All skiing program, showing that even at his young age of 19 he was generous with his time and efforts. He wanted to become a firefighter.

Unfortunately, Caleb is just one of several people who have been killed while walking or biking in Kenmore and the surrounding area in recent years. And the community has had enough. Continue reading

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DC, New Orleans blow past Seattle in latest Census bike commute data

From the League of American Bicyclists (download full report here)

From the League of American Bicyclists (download full report here)

Cities from the East Coast, the West Coast, the Midwest and even the Deep South all passed Seattle in bike commuting in 2013, according to Census survey data just released. Seattle fell all the way from number three to number six on the list of large US cities.

It was pretty clear last year when 2012 American Communities Survey data was released that Washington DC was on a fast bike commute rise as the nation’s capitol built comfortable protected bike lanes all around the city. DC was essentially tied with Seattle at 4 percent, but they were rising fast compared to Seattle’s slow rise. Since Seattle was much more sluggish in building any ground-shaking bike improvements between 2012 and 2013 (developing the Bike Master Plan took center stage), it was pretty clear DC was going to pass us. And they sure did, rising all the way to the number two spot behind sluggish Portland.

San Francisco, Seattle and Minneapolis have pretty much always jockeyed for the spot under Portland in these bike commute numbers in recent years, and both cities edged out Seattle in 2013 data. But the real shocker is New Orleans, which rose all the way from 2 percent to 3.6 percent to overtake Seattle for the number five spot. Continue reading

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Micro parks and temporary bike lanes will dot the city for Park(ing) Day Friday

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Cascade set up a protected bike lane on 2nd Ave last year.

Cascade set up a protected bike lane on 2nd Ave last year.

Park(ing) Day is not just for little parks anymore.

The day started in San Francisco in 2005 and quickly grew worldwide. In essence, people take over a parking space or two for one day and turn it into a tiny park sometimes while paying the meter. In many cities, it is not sanctioned and is maybe even illegal. It is a simple and bold statement about how valuable urban space is, and how much people can do in the space typically reserved for storing just one or two cars.

But the City of Seattle has fully embraced the day and even takes an organizational role helping people set up their little parks. And while that might take a bit of the rebellious edge off the event, it has also allowed it to grow into a one-day experimental kitchen for urban space ideas.

Last year’s Park(ing) Day was a turning point for both parklets and protected bike lanes in Seattle. The city’s first modern parklet in front of Montana opened shortly before the daylong parking-strip party, which sort of broke through the Park(ing) Day fourth wall by extending the concept of reclaiming a piece of parking strip for a small public space into the other 364 days of the year.

Last year also broke new ground for the event with Cascade Bicycle Club setting up one block of temporary protected bike lane on 2nd Ave downtown. By lining the bike lane with small flower pots, the club was making the point that some extra separation would go a long way for biking in busy downtown. Less than a year later, the city finished construction on a bike lane there, which opened earlier this month.

Park(ing) Day 2014 shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it could be the largest one yet with at least 50 small parks planned according to the city’s official map. Continue reading

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Bike traffic on 2nd Ave triples after city builds protected bike lane

UPDATE: Here’s a graph from SDOT:

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IMG_3237It was clear from day one that bike use on 2nd Ave was higher than normal. But new data collected by SDOT staff shows just how much a safe bike lane can draw people. Bike trips on the street tripled.

Part of this increase is certainly the fact that the new lane is bi-directional, where formerly the street only allowed southbound trips. So it might make sense if trips doubled due to people reversing their route for the return trip. But trips tripled, showing that the bike lane has attracted a lot of new users, either from nearby streets or new bike trips entirely.

And all this happened with minimal impact to traffic flow. Traffic studies show that motor vehicles took about a minute longer to get down the street that usual, but that was during a week with an abnormally busy sports event schedule. SDOT staff predicts the actual impact on travel times will end up being even lower.

SDOT data also shows that changes in signage and the excellent educational outreach efforts by Cascade Bicycle Club volunteers and SDOT staff has all but cleared up driver confusion that was a problem the first couple days. Of 52 people trying to turn left from 2nd onto Spring Street, only two made illegal turns while the red arrow was showing. This is a dramatic turnaround from the first couple days when illegal turns were rampant.  Continue reading

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Bike News Roundup: 8-year-old threatens to rip off bike thief’s ears

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some of the links that caught our eyes in recent weeks.

First up, this kid is not very happy with some awful person who stole his bike outside his Sedro-Woolly elementary school.


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North Beacon Hill getting much-needed safety upgrades, new trail connection

2014_NorthBeaconSafetyConnectionsMapRevisedWork is set to begin next month on a slate of road safety improvements in North Beacon Hill, mostly focused around Beacon Ave S between 14th Ave S and the Mountains to Sound Trail end point just east of I-5.

The project consists of two extremely-needed improvements and a bunch of smaller ones. The largest change will be the addition of a sidewalk to finally connect the neighborhood, the S College Street stairway and the Mountains to Sound Trail endpoint.

The city will also add a bike lane up the steep climb from the trail to the neighborhood center. While this won’t flatten the monster hill, at least people biking up from the trail (or Sodo via the Holgate overpass) will have some extra dedicated space to take their time.

This could be built in 2015, pending funding

This could be built in 2015, pending funding

The city also notes that a future project could build a continuous sidewalk ramp down to Holgate in place of the current staircase. That project could be built in conjunction with a Seattle Public Utilities waterline project next year if funding is found to make it happen. See this post for more about the Holgate overpass stairway problem.

But perhaps the best part of the whole project will be the changes to the huge intersection at 14th Ave S. Today, it looks like this: Continue reading

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