Huge loss for Cascade Bicycle Club: Ed Ewing is leaving

Ewing (9th from left) with Major Taylor riders

Ewing (9th from left) with Major Taylor riders. Photo from Ewing’s farewell note on Facebook.

Simply put, Cascade Bicycle Club will not be able to replace Ed Ewing.

“We’re not going to be the same without him,” said Cascade’s Executive Director Elizabeth Kiker. And it’s true.

Ewing is best known for starting the club’s Major Taylor Project, a small idea that was just supposed to be an after-school activity but turned into a youth-empowering, community-building institution reaching 450 students in 14 schools in the south end of Seattle, south King County and Tacoma.

“I’ve been having a really honest gut check with myself and where I am in my life,” Ewing said.

And with the Major Taylor Project cruising, perhaps it’s time to move on to new challenges. His last day will be November 4.

“The Project is in really, really good shape,” he said. “What do great leaders do? They know when it’s time to go,” he said. “You make sure members of the team and the work are held in equal importance … and can stand alone without you.”

In the near term, Major Taylor Project Coordinator Rich Brown will be moving up to take on more responsibility. And the project is at the point now where it is hiring former students, which Ewing is very excited about.

Major Taylor is itself an impressive feat, but it’s Ewing’s leadership within Cascade that has made him such a powerful guiding light for an organization striving to be a better community partner beyond the mostly-white audience it draws with many of its major events. Through Major Taylor, Ewing developed a community-building theory where an organization like Cascade can be a meaningful partner in communities of color where they had limited presence before.

“[Major Taylor] is an opportunity to partner authentically with and within communities of color,” he said. It never felt helpful for while-led organizations to come into communities of color with a program the organization decided was the solution to that communities problems, he said. Instead, he urged the club to “build relationships in the community authentically … then ask them, ‘What are the goals of your community, and how can we support those goals?’” Continue reading

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Recycled Cycles will close Fremont location at end of October

After five years operating a second location in Fremont, Recycled Cycles will return to being a one-shop bike mecca.

KOMO’s Lindsay Cohen noticed the telltale sign in the shop’s window: The Fremont location will close October 31.

But fear not, the flagship U District shop isn’t going anywhere.

The Fremont expansion was part of a 2012 bike shop boom in Seattle that further solidified Fremont’s status as a hub of bike-related and bike-friendly businesses.

Recycled Cycles has put incalculable butts in saddles in the past 22 years. Whether you’re looking for a new bike or for a used part to keep your aging wheels rolling, Recycled Cycles is a valuable resource. It’s used bike part bins are the stuff of legends among do-it-yourself folks.

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#BikeTheVote: Your guide to bike-friendly voting in the 2016 general election

Click for King County's interactive ballot drop box map

Click for King County’s interactive ballot drop box map. Or find drop boxes in Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties.

The sooner you vote, the sooner you can switch the station at the first mention of the word “Trump.” But while the long nightmare of this 2016 Presidential election draws to a close, you also have a chance to vote on many important local races and ballot measures that could have a huge impact on our region for the next generation.

While Seattle Bike Blog is not in a place to give you a full set of endorsements for your ballot, I will organize endorsements and voters guides for you in this post. It’s a long ballot, but don’t procrastinate! Vote early and get it off your to-do list.

Your November 8 ballot should already have arrived in your mailbox. If you are out of the area or if your ballot went to an old address, you can print one and mail it in. You can also vote in person. If you have not yet registered, you have until October 31 to register in person.

We’ve already endorsed regional Prop 1 to fund the Sound Transit 3 expansion. But if you live in Bellevue, Issaquah or Kenmore, you also have street improvement measures on the ballot. Washington Bikes has endorsed them: Continue reading

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10/25-28 Trail Alert: Burke-Gilman detour and changes at Log Boom Park

image006-1Details from the SR 522 project outreach team:

As part of the City of Kenmore’s SR 522 Improvements Project work, the Burke-Gilman Trail is scheduled to be realigned starting Tuesday, 10/25 through Friday, 10/28. The trail will remain open though it will be temporarily narrowed, and trail users may intermittently be detoured through Log Boom Park driveway. Please see the map below and visit the project website at to learn more.

Continue reading

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Judkins Park Station is a golden opportunity to improve Rainier Ave, I-90 Trail transit access

Concept image facing west from the I-90 Trail at 23rd Ave. The bike cage is located behind the station name.

Concept image facing west from the I-90 Trail at 23rd Ave. The bike cage is located behind the station name.

The design for Judkins Park Station is getting closer to final, and Sound Transit wants feedback from people who bike.

So get to their open house 5 – 7 p.m. Tuesday (tomorrow) at the nearby Northwest African American Museum.

With the I-90 Trail essentially leading straight into the station, biking will be one of the easiest ways to get to Judkins Park Station when it opens in 2023. The location is set up to work well, but the devil is in the details. Will there be enough secure bike parking? Will the west sidewalk design keep trail users separate from people coming to and from the station or waiting for the 48 bus? Will it be easy and direct for people to bring their bikes on the train?

And those issues are just about 23rd Ave. There will also be an entrance under I-90 on Rainier Ave where the current freeway bus stops are. As much potential as the I-90 Trail holds for bike access to the station, safer bike connections on Rainier Ave could be even more important.

Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2017-18 budget includes funding for a multimodal corridor project on Rainer Ave and Jackson St in coming years (and the Council is looking into speeding up the Accessible Mt Baker project, which could be a vital part of a safer Rainer). Coupled with Sound Transit investments to improve access to Judkins Park Station, the potential here is enormous. But it will take partnerships and cooperation between SDOT, WSDOT, Sound Transit and King County Metro to make it happen.

But these agencies don’t really have a choice. Today, walking and biking to the freeway bus stops is pretty miserable and dangerous: Continue reading

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Sound Transit 3 is not about light rail, it’s about bringing our region closer together

st3-mass-transit-guide_mailer-2016_090216-mapSo much of the debating over the Sound Transit 3 vote has been about taxes or traffic or whether buses are better than trains or whether the size of the package is too ambitious. These points are all missing what’s really are the core of this decision: Loving our neighboring communities and wanting to be closer together.

Major investments in 20th Century freeways fueled sprawling growth across the region, encompassing old cities and towns while creating new ones on farm land and wilderness. In a literal sense, those freeways connected these homes to Seattle and to each other.

But those freeways also divide us. They physically cut through communities, creating barriers for everyone trying to get around by walking, biking and taking the bus. This need to buy, fuel, insure, park and maintain a car levies a de facto toll on access to these parts of our region.

The need to own a personal car to get around in so many communities also creates miserable traffic. And traffic makes neighbors hate each other. Road rage is socially acceptable and almost routine. It’s a seemingly natural result of people hopelessly trapped in their cars with no other option for getting around. If that asshole in front of me would just drive five mph faster or if that bike lane weren’t there or if that kid in the crosswalk would stop lollygagging, I’d be there by now.

If it is miserable to get to another part of the region, you won’t want to go there. This creates even more divisions between us.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Voting YES on Sound Transit 3 is about creating a very different future for our region. Continue reading

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Council faces a choice: Kill Pronto now or make lemonade out of the existing stations?

IMG_3237-1Pronto Cycle Share turned two years old last week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of celebration.

At this point, the system has spent more time operating in a state of uncertainty and controversy than it has operating normally. And that uncertainty has had a huge impact on membership and ridership. After all, few people are going to invest $85 for a year pass if they are not even sure the system will exist for that year.

We’ve already reported on the series of unfortunate political and bureaucratic missteps and unforced errors that led the system to this point. Without corrective action, there’s no reason to expect this downward spiral of bad press and declining membership to fix itself.

While the city negotiates and plans for an all-new expanded and electrified system, there seem to be three options for the existing system: Shut it down in January, continue operate at a loss, or reimagine the existing system to try out new ideas. The Council needs to choose which option to pursue in coming weeks before voting on the 2017-18 budget.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold — with the strong support of Councilmember Tim Burgess — took a big step towards killing the current system Wednesday, proposing a change that would redirect the $600,000 for 2017-18 Pronto operating funds to go to biking, walking and school safety projects instead (see the discussion starting at 23:20 in this video).

“The replacement bid that has come in does not include funding for operations,” Herbold said, referring to the leading bike share expansion proposal by the Quebec-based Bewegen. So her redirect of funds would not necessarily impact a relaunched system.

But the existing Pronto system does need those funds. The new system is aiming for a spring/summer 2017 launch, but that timeline may prove too tight. If the launch slips too far into summer, the city will (wisely) hold the launch until spring 2018. Pronto was supposed to stay in operation until a new system is ready to launch. Continue reading

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