Council approves lower speed limits, but the work isn’t done

presentationThe City Council approved new default speed limits across Seattle Monday, likely clearing the final major hurdle for the changes.

“It’s been something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who wrote about the issue on her blog over the weekend. Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien lead the effort on the Council in conjunction with SDOT’s Vision Zero leaders.

Safe streets advocates — especially Seattle Neighborhood Greenways — have been pushing for this change since a 2013 state law (passed with heavy support from Washington Bikes) allowed municipalities to lower speed limits to 20 mph on non-arterial (mostly residential) streets without conducting expensive and time-consuming traffic studies.

Seattle’s 30 mph default limit for busier arterial streets makes the city an outlier among other King County communities, so lowering that to 25 really just puts the city in line with the rest of the region. Streets with posted speed limits (nearly all busy streets outside the city center) will not be affected by this change. Continue reading

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9/26-10/15 Bike Route Alert: Arboretum Drive closed at south end for trail construction

Bike Route Alerts are official notices about bike route closures and detours that Seattle Bike Blog receives. Some will be a significant hassle, some will be no big deal. But the hope is to keep them organized in one place as best we can to help keep people informed. You can easily find the alerts by clicking “Bike Route Alerts” in the navigation bar above.

arboretumconstructionupdateWork on the new Arboretum Trail is making a big step as construction work closes the south end of Arboretum Drive to build part of the new biking and walking connection.

This closure — today through October 15 — means people who depend on Arboretum Drive to get through the park will either need to make a wide detour to the Lake Washington Loop bike route or ride with often heavy traffic on Lake Washington Boulevard.

But the result will be well worth the inconvenience. Scheduled to open in December 2017, the new Arboretum Trail will open more of the park to visitors and create a biking and walking option separate from traffic on Lake Washington Boulevard.

Coupled with Arboretum Drive, the new trail will also create a complete loop through the park, likely to be even more popular for jogging, strolling and cruising.

The $7.8 million trail is funded as part of the mitigation plan for the SR 520 bridge replacement project.

Details from Seattle Parks: Continue reading

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Many people get flats from tacks on new Westlake bikeway, could it be intentional?

I have received at least a dozen emails and notes on social media in the past two days from people who say they got flat tires from tacks on the new Westlake bikeway. Evan Bush at the Seattle Times called some area bike shops, who said they’ve been pulling a lot of these tacks from flat tires in recent days.

Seattle Police are aware of the issue, and SDOT staff were out today picking them up with magnetic rollers.

tacks

Photo courtesy of reader Chris

We have yet to receive any information confirming that the tacks were set intentionally by some awful asshole assaulting strangers completely at random, but both such intentional acts have occurred in Seattle in recent years (though it’s been a while).

In 2013, someone set tacks on the then-new Alaskan Way Trail. That one was almost certainly intentional since the tacks were all carefully set pointing up.

In 2011, tacks caused all kinds of problems on the I-90 Bridge Trail. That one sure seemed intentional, since it’s not clear how else they would get to a car-free part of the bridge.

In this case, the tacks are on a brand new bikeway that recently opened after years of debate and legal wrangling. I hope this was a mistake by some clumsy carpet installer. Because if it was intentional, that’s very disturbing.

A flat tire is annoying, but if someone has a blowout they could fall and get seriously hurt. Attacking people at random is a sign of a seriously disturbed person. If anyone has information, contact the police.

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Lander Street overpass plan needs better biking and walking access

The plan includes a trail on the north side, but what about people heading east?

The plan includes a trail on the north side, but what about people heading east? This looks like a dinosaur design from the 1950s, not a modern urban bridge.

doc_slanderst_ohboards_final-mapThe $140 million Lander Street Overpass in Sodo could be a big improvement for biking and walking in Sodo, but only if it done right.

The city has compiled $100 million in grants, partnerships and city funds to put the project on track after many years of pushing by freight interests in the city’s biggest industrial area. And while changes in bridge scale have helped put the price tag a little closer to within reach, those savings came largely by eliminating the bike lanes and moving all biking and walking access to one side.

We can do better.

There is an open house today (sorry for the late notice) 4 – 6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:15) at Metropolist. You can also visit this online open house or send comments to lander_bridge@seattle.gov. Continue reading

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SPD: Man driving pickup kills man biking near Northgate Mall

Approximate location of the collision. Image from Google Maps.

Approximate location of the collision. Image from Google Maps.

A man biking on 1st Ave NE near NE 95th Street was struck and killed by a man driving a pickup yesterday around 4:20 p.m., according to Seattle Police.

Both men were headed southbound in the area, which is adjacent to the construction site for the Northgate Link Station. We will update when we learn more.

Our condolences to this man’s loved ones.

He is the second man to die while biking in NE Seattle this week. On average, two people die while biking in Seattle in a year.

More details from SPD: Continue reading

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Man dies after mysterious crash in NE Seattle. RIP RC Rogers

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Photo courtesy of his sister Lisa.

Rollin “RC” Rogers has passed away days after a mysterious crash near his NE Seattle home Saturday, his sister Lisa tells Seattle Bike Blog. He was 55.

Our deepest condolences go to his wife Lisa, sons Andy and Mark, and the many other loved ones in his life.

Although KOMO reported the crash as a hit-and-run, Seattle Police say they have yet to find a clear sign of another vehicle being involved in the incident on NE 98th Street near 27th Ave NE.

It’s not clear how he suffered such significant and ultimately fatal injuries due to a fall. The official cause of death is “blunt force injury of the head.” The investigation is ongoing.

His sister (also named Lisa) described him as “a man of few words, the ones that count, he was the kind of guy who went above and beyond, doing what needed to be done. With his dry sense of humor, and contagious laugh he was a tireless  mentor and friend, devoted husband and dad, loving brother and son. He will be missed more than words can say.”

Here’s her full note about him: Continue reading

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9/27 Trail Alert: Cross-Kirkland Corridor

Details from the City of Kirkland:

What:        Temporary partial closure of the CKC

Why:         Crews will be performing preventative tree maintenance

When:       Tuesday September 27, 2016 from 8:00a.m. to 11:00a.m.

Where:      Between the Northeast 68th Street bridge and Terrace Park

Detour: Northbound detour: signs will be posted directing pedestrians and bicycles down the steps at Terrace Park and north along 104th Avenue Northeast to Northeast 68th Street leading to the new stairs to the CKC.

Southbound detour: signs will be posted directing pedestrians and bicycles down the Northeast 68th Street stairs and west along Northeast 68th Street to 104th Avenue Northeast leading to the steps to the CKC at Terrace Park.

Thank you: Please use extreme caution and observe all signs and traffic controller directions.  Should you require any further assistance, please contact Kari Page, at KPage@kirklandwa.gov or call 425-587-3011.

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