The UW Burke-Gilman detour changes again next week

detour map 2.2.2015Anyone who bikes through UW campus regularly is familiar with changing Burke-Gilman Trail detours. So you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it’s changing again.

Just remember, it’s gonna be pretty awesome when the Montlake Triangle project is complete and the bike/walk bridge from Husky Stadium opens. The Montlake Triangle project is scheduled for completion in fall 2015. UW Station is scheduled to begin operation in early 2016.

Details on the detour change from UW: Continue reading

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Parks Board wants more MTB and walking trails in Cheasty

The current pilot trail proposal.

The current pilot trail proposal.

Developing plans to create new walking and mountain bike trails in the overgrown Cheasty Greenspace between Rainier Vista and Beacon Hill has run into a problem: The proposed plan may not include enough trails to meet the project’s goals.

That’s the essence of a recent letter (PDF) from the largely advisory Board of Parks Commissioners to members of the City Council and the Mayor asking for more guidance on the scope of the controversial pilot project approved over the summer. The pilot is designed to see whether building trails for walking and mountain biking through undeveloped green spaces could be a sustainable way to increase access to natural spaces, defend urban forests from destructive invasive species, provide safe routes to school and improve public safety.

That’s a lot of goals to accomplish with just a few trails, but the extremely active and engaged supporters and volunteers powering the project are determined to make it happen, including Eagle Scout candidate Chiem “Oou” Saeteurn as shown in this video: Continue reading

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State Senate Transportation Chair wants to toll people biking across 520 Bridge. Yes, really.

Sen. King. Screenshot from King 5 (click to watch)

Sen. King. Screenshot from King 5 (click to watch)

Usually when people throw out ideas this bad, we just ignore them. But this one comes from the Washington State Senate’s Transportation Committee Chair, so I guess we need to respond.

No, tolling people biking on the new 520 Bridge is not in any way a good idea.

It’s true, Senator Curtis King (R-Yakima) told King 5 that he wants to toll people biking across the still-underfunded 520 Bridge to “help us pay for it.” Sigh…

In a rational world, there are two good reasons to toll a bridge or road:

  1. To help pay for repairs or replacement.
  2. To reduce traffic congestion.

Tolling people on bikes would accomplish neither.

But, since this idea clearly comes from some other realm with no relation to reason, let’s break down some of King’s concerns. Continue reading

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Cascade Bicycle Club may drop endorsements and direct election advocacy

Kiker speaks at the opening of Cascade's new office

Kiker speaks at the opening of Cascade’s new office

Cascade Bicycle Club is currently considering major changes to their organizational structure that could end their ability to endorse political candidates or directly assist in their campaigns. This would be a significant change in the club’s advocacy goal to “educate and elect leaders, no matter their political stripe, who will prioritize passing laws and funding for improving bicycling in the Central Puget Sound Region,” as stated on their elections webpage.

“This doesn’t reflect a shift away from advocacy work, which is why we want to look at this carefully,” said Catherine Hennings, who just took on the role of Cascade Board President this month. “Our commitment to advocacy is as strong as ever.”

But the change, which we first reported back in November 2013, would definitely impact the kinds of election work the club does. Currently, most of the club operates as a 501(c)(4), though Cascade’s Education Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) with its own Board. Cascade’s (c)(4) also operates Bike PAC, a political action committee that “complements the election work of the Cascade Bicycle Club to help elect pro-bike candidates.”

But the Board could decide to switch to an entirely 501(c)(3) model, an idea they will discuss and potentially vote on during their March 18 meeting.

As a 501(c)(4), Cascade can openly endorse candidates and even help their campaigns. They can lobby members and the general public to vote for them or even organize hands-on campaign work, like phone banking or knocking on doors. They can help candidates craft strategy and share other resources to help them succeed.

Cascade is somewhat unique among bike organizations in the nation for having a successful 501(c)(4) that is funded in large part by extremely popular events (like the annual Seattle to Portland) and strong enough to actually influence elections. As we reported previously, Cascade is so much larger than any other local bike/walk advocacy in the nation that it puts Seattle in a league of its own: Continue reading

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Madison rapid bus project is chance to improve bike routes in central Seattle

One example of how a center-aligned BRT could look on Madison. Image from an SDOT presentation

One example of how a center-aligned BRT could look on Madison. Image from an SDOT presentation

The city is currently in the outreach and design phase for a significant rapid bus project along Madison Street from the waterfront to 23rd Ave (and possibly MLK). The rapidly-developing corridor is a rare direct route diagonal to the street grid, making it a prime candidate for faster, more consistent and more reliable transit service, and it was identified in the city’s Transit Master Plan as such.

Planners are currently conducting an online survey, which you should complete by February 5.

The basic elements of a Bus Rapid Transit project along the corridor is the creation of transit-only lanes, running buses more often and having fewer-but-better stops, allowing for much faster movement even during crunch commute times. Planners are considering options that either put the bus lanes and stops in the center lanes (as pictured above) or in the curb lanes. You can learn more from this recent presentation (large PDF).

But as this is the Seattle Bike Blog, let’s look at the biking elements in the area. To meet with the city’s Complete Streets Ordinance, planners are looking for how to make sure walking and biking elements are included in the project. Especially for biking, Madison Street’s sometimes ridiculously steep grades provide some pretty significant bike route challenges. Especially downtown, Madison is so steep even a streetcar could not make the trip (thus the BRT rather than rail). If you’re on a bike, you are likely going to seek out less-steep streets nearby to get up to First Hill and beyond.

How steep is it? Here’s a graphic: Continue reading

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After confusion over Burke-Gilman detour, City Light releases video

IMG_0691Almost immediately after the Seattle City Light Burke-Gilman Trail detour was put in place, readers started reporting confusion and concerns. Mostly, people were concerned about a multi-direction stop at 6th Ave NE where sightlines are limited.

City Light has since added some extra wayfinding signage to help people figure out the routing, but the 6th Ave NE intersection remains a bit stressful. This is especially problematic for the sometimes younger and/or less experienced users the trail attracts.

Work on the trail is scheduled to continue through mid-February, so trail users will need to get used to the detour. City Light released the following video explaining how the detour is supposed to work: Continue reading

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Seattle Police will auction bike Seahawks’ Bennett made famous

Bennett rides a bike again, this time during the team's sendoff celebration as they head to the Super Bowl

Bennett rides a bike again, this time during the team’s sendoff celebration as they head to the Super Bowl. Image from the Seahawks

Michael Bennett’s bike ride after the NFC Championship game quickly became an iconic image of the moment. And now the Seattle Police bike he used for his joyride around the field will be auctioned for charity.

The Puget Sound Business Journal has the details:

The Seattle PD bike is stuck in a bit of a bureaucratic mess for now, as a government agency isn’t allowed to just give away equipment. But all that should be cleared up in time for it to be auctioned at a charity event on Feb. 7, according to police spokesman Det. Drew Fowler.

Half of the proceeds will go to the Seattle Police Foundation, an independent nonprofit that supports the department, and half will go to a charity Bennett works closely with to fight childhood obesity, OCEAN.

The bike will be auctioned at the Evening of Hope February 7.

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