40% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions are from road transportation, and 41% of trips are under 3 miles

1517604_612553912161205_2575425194520475295_n10153988_612556208827642_6050182324643513913_nOne problem with Earth Day and many conversations about climate change is that by putting the issue on a global scale, the problem can become overwhelming. You read about ever-increasing global temperatures and our still-increasing global carbon emissions, and your personal impact feels so insignificant that hopelessness sets in.

There are lots and lots of causes of climate change that are beyond my expertise and the scope of this blog. But transportation makes up a huge percentage of greenhouse gas emissions. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways posted two graphs today that help to shrink the scale of the problem to a still-large, but more manageable level.

In Seattle, 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from road transportation (“non-road transportation” emits another 22 percent). Walking and biking can’t reasonably offset the entire 40 percent, but it can easily and quickly reduce it.

For example, 41 percent of all trips made in Seattle are three miles or less. Most people are physically able to bike three miles with ease, and many of the trips are an easy walk. Half of trips in Seattle are fewer than five miles. These trips are the lowest-hanging fruit in reducing carbon-emitting transportation choices.

Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Traffic violence is not a war, it’s a horrifying disease

Screenshot from a Q13 report on a memorial for Lincoln Person (click to watch)

Screenshot from a Q13 report on a memorial for Lincoln Person (click to watch)

Sometimes, the immense scale of traffic violence overwhelms me. Every single death or life-long injury that happens on our streets happens to somebody’s neighbor, somebody’s friend, somebody’s family member. And every once in a while, it strikes close to our own homes.

During a well-attended community workshop during the early stages of the city’s Road Safety Summit a few years ago, somebody asked the packed room of people in City Hall to raise their hand if they, a close friend or family member had ever been in a serious traffic collision. Nearly every hand in the room went up.

The death and destruction wrought by traffic violence comes in many forms, but most of it is preventable. Poor decisions made by reasonable and mostly responsible people are amplified through the roof by dangerous streets that encourage casual speeding and a lack of concern and awareness of others, whether they are driving, biking or walking. What was a simple drive to the grocery store or to work can turn into a gory, terrifying scene. The result can devastate an entire family and community.

More than 32,000 people die every year in traffic collisions in the United States. This makes traffic violence a leading cause of death. Serious, often life-long injuries are much more common than deaths. If there really were a “war” on the roads, as sensationalizing reporters love to phrase it, the number of annual US casualties would be measured in the hundreds of thousands.

But there is no war. A war requires opposing sides and at least some kind of endgame. Traffic violence is much more like a disease than a war. Though it does affect elderly, young and low-income populations disproportionately, nobody is immune.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Like many diseases, we have treatments and cures. We have an obligation as a society to implement known solutions and to continue researching and trying new treatments. What could be more important than protecting the lives of our neighbors? Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Times: Seattle is second safest big US city for walking and biking

As you sprint across a highway-style four-lane street through the heart of your neighborhood, it’s probably hard to believe that Seattle may be the second safest big city in the US for people walking and biking. But that’s what the data suggests, according to the 2014 Alliance for Biking & Walking Benchmarking report and the Seattle Times’ Gene Balk.

When walking and biking commute rates per capita are compared to reported fatalities, Seattle places second in walking safety and eighth in biking safety. In fact, Seattle is one of only four cities that makes the top-ten list for both biking and walking safety. When Balk combined the two measures, he determined that Seattle places second overall. Only Boston is safer.

First, some caveats to the data: Because the walking and biking rate information comes from Census surveys, people who mix walking or biking with public transit are likely not counted in the walking and biking columns. Neither are people who walk or bike to work some days, but not always. And, of course, only work trips are counted. So a retired person walking to the grocery store would not be counted, either. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

KOMO: Police seek assailant who attacked man with car in Wallingford

Screenshot from KOMO report. Watch below.

Screenshot from KOMO report. Watch below.

Police are seeking a man who they say assaulted Neal DeWitt in Wallingford Monday.

DeWitt was biking to work on Wallingford Ave near N 40th Street when a person driving a Subaru Impreza struck him on purpose and fled the scene, DeWitt told KOMO.

He was left with a broken arm and intense bruises on his face.

Police say the suspect is wanted for investigation of hit and run and felony vehicular assault. He and his family urge the person responsible to turn himself in.

Watch the KOMO report: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments

Report: When it comes to bike/walk advocacy groups, Seattle is in a league of its own

2014AllianceBenchmarkingReport_Web2(1)-advgraphWhen it comes to advocacy organizations in the United States, Seattle and Portland have no peers. And even Portland is a distant second compared to the advocacy muscle in Seattle and the Puget Sound region.

The data comes from the national Alliance for Biking and Walking’s annual Benchmarking Report, which was released Wednesday. The report is packed with tons of data about how our nation, its states and its major cities are doing with regards to biking and walking safety and promotion.

But it’s the section on advocacy organizations where Seattle really stands out. If there really is an All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby conspiring to submit the United States to United Nations control (I wish I were making this up, but this is a claim made by an actual major party candidate for Governor of Colorado), then Seattle is the training camp for this shadowy army.

Joking aside, Seattle really is in a unique position to put private dollars to work trying out new ideas and encouraging more bicycling and walking. Cascade Bicycle Club claims to have more than 15,000 members, and its budget is fueled by a series of bike events that have become nationally-known classics. The annual Seattle-to-Portland ride draws 10,000 participants and sells out nearly six months in advance every year. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Vigil tonight for 17-year-old killed walking to bus on her way to class

Sandhya Khadka. Image from the vigil flier (see below)

Sandhya Khadka. Image from the vigil flier (see below)

Sandhya Khadka was walking to the bus she takes to class at North Seattle Community College Monday morning when a person driving a pickup truck struck and killed her. She was 17.

Khadka, a native of Nepal, was in Seattle to study. She wanted to be an accountant, the Seattle PI reports. Her father lives in Seattle, but her mother lives in Nepal. She was their only child.

The Pinehurst Community Council, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, family and friends are holding a candlelight vigil for her at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the location where she died, NE 115th Street and 5th Ave NE.

Family and friends “hope to honor Sandhya and to create awareness so that no other young person should die like this,” according to the PI:

Her father, Sahadev Khadka, lives in Seattle and her mother lives in Nepal. She was staying with a friend of her parents, Shraddha Kakshapati, who lives here. Kakshapati said that she is organizing a fundraiser to help the father after the death of his only child.

The family will provide some candles, but encourage those who join to bring candles with them. They hope to honor Sandhya and to create awareness so that no other young person should die like this. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

County will start paving north section of East Lake Sammamish Trail next week

ELST_ConstMailer_North_030414_spreads-mapKing County Parks is ready to start work to reconstruct and pave the north section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail. During construction, the existing soft surface trail will be closed.

Work begins April 21 and is expected to last a year.

When fully complete, the trail will create a paved and separated bike route all the way from the Burke-Gilman Trial in Seattle to Isaaquah.

Details from King County Parks: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged | 12 Comments