Why expanding Summer Streets could be the coolest thing Seattle does next year (video)

Remember that line item in the mayor’s budget to add more than $300,000 to the Summer Streets budget to expand the community street parties into bigger and likely much more popular open streets events? Well just in case you don’t already think it’s the coolest idea in the entire budget, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways put together this excellent video to seal the deal:

Basically, Seattle already has two big open streets programs: Summer Streets and Bicycle Sunday. By smashing those two concepts together, a revamped Summer Streets could feature a Sunday afternoon loop of car-free neighborhood streets connecting parks and other neighborhood destinations similar to Portland’s extremely popular Sunday Parkways.

In order to make it happen in 2015, the city will need to seek sponsorships to augment the mayor’s proposed budget additions. So really, the city investment would yield more than that amount in public benefit.

Oh, and if you happen to be the marketing director of a big Seattle business looking to promote community building, you should get in touch with the mayor’s office.

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After 4,000 rides and 1,450 members in first week, Pronto is throwing a party tonight

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.04.17 AMWhat do you do to celebrate the launch of an entirely new form of public transportation in Seattle? THROW A DANCE PARTY OF COURSE!

You are invited to the #peopleforpronto party tonight at Hotel Max. There will be Peddler Brewing beer, dance music and a bunch of cool people who are just now recovering from the exhausting couple months they just had permitting and installing 50 stations and building 500 bikes.

And the system appears to be a hit. The Seattle PI reports that people took 4,000 rides and bought 1,450 annual memberships in just the first week. Not too shabby!

I’ve been loving Pronto. Be looking out for my initial thoughts on the system and where it is headed next in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, be sure to RSVP for the Pronto party if you’re gonna go.

Details from Pronto: Continue reading

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Vote! Here’s who safe streets organizations are supporting

Have you voted yet? Don’t wait. Your ballot should be arriving any day if it hasn’t already.

Vote Yes on Seattle Transportation Benefit District Prop 1

More and better King County Metro transit service. Not sure I really need to say more than that.

It’s at the end of a long and confusing ballot, so be sure you make it all the way there.

Vote No on the Monorail

We all agree that an actually functional monorail would be super cool, but this measure won’t get us there. It has essentially no coalition of support and even its own board members don’t seem to think it’s not a good idea. Yikes.

Sound Transit is the way to get the high capacity transit service we need, so let’s focus on getting a bold ST3 package ready for a vote as soon as possible.

Cascade and Feet First candidate questionnaires

We here at Seattle Bike Blog are in no way prepared to endorse a slate of candidates, but we can point you to some resources to help you decide.

Cascade Bicycle Club has made a bunch of endorsements and has posted all candidate responses to their safe streets focused questionnaire.

They also sent fancy emails to people in their system personalized to their legislative district: Continue reading

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8 Stranger writers race to a bar during rush hour (Spoiler: Bike wins, duh)

Screenshot from The Stranger. Click to read the full story.

Screenshot from The Stranger. Click to read the full story.

Eight writers for The Stranger raced from their Capitol Hill office to a post-work drink in the U District, each taking a different mode of transportation (personal bike, Pronto bike, bus, Lyft, Car2Go, personal car, and feet). Oh, and it was rush hour.

It was a Stranger-style modal race, a fun way to compare travel times, experiences and costs in a real-world setting. Typically all users go at a normal pace and follow all traffic laws. It’s not the participant racing, it’s the mode itself.

Check out how everyone did. I also like how they reviewed their trips, an element that is often left out of modal races like these.

Of course, Ansel Herz won by taking his own bike on the mostly downhill route, cruising past lines of stopped traffic on the way. In fact, he won by a long shot (15 minutes, which makes me think he did sort of step on it).

But even if you don’t ride fast, bikes are often the fastest way to get around town, especially within a few miles of the city center. This fact seems to surprise a lot of people who have never tried biking as a means of transportation. Continue reading

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After 300 collisions in just 3 years, city meetings will discuss changes to ‘I-35′

Photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Gene Tagaban of the Tlingit RavenCoho tribe plays a song for paddlers facing an important but difficult challenge at the site where James St. Clair was hit

Photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Gene Tagaban of the Tlingit RavenCoho tribe plays a song for paddlers facing an important but difficult challenge at the site where James St. Clair was hit in early 2014

Every couple days, someone driving in a car on 35th Ave SW runs into another car, someone walking or someone biking. Since 2011, 128 people were injured in 294 collisions. Two people were killed.

One of those people was James St. Clair, whose death while walking across the street prompted community action to remember his life and to demand changes to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

Speeding is so rampant on the wide, highway-style four-lane street that locals commonly refer to it as I-35. But it’s not a highway, it’s a street through a neighborhood that provides a rare complete connection from the north end of the neighborhood to the city’s south border with White Center and beyond. Between Avalon and Roxbury, the street passes near two libraries, two parks and three schools. It is a barrier to people trying to cross from east to west or trying to get to and from King County Metro’s 21 bus.

People should be able to cross the street in safety and comfort, and nobody in a car should be put at risk by rampant speeding and the kinds of high-risk collisions the current street design makes all too easy.

You have two opportunities coming up to give the city feedback on what you think should happen on 35th. If you can’t make the meetings, email your thoughts to jim.curtin@seattle.gov. Continue reading

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KOMO: Police recover Australian couple’s touring bikes and equipment stolen in Mount Vernon

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.19.11 AM

Screenshot from KOMO. Click to read full story.

This is a wonderful outcome to a huge bummer of a story: Mount Vernon Police tracked down a married couple who stole a pair of fully-loaded touring bikes back in August.

The bikes belonged to Anna Suthers and Billy Barnetson, an Australian couple on a cross-country bike trip who had stopped at Skagit River Brewery to grab a meal and some local beer. Everything they had on this side of the pond was on those bikes, a sorry welcome to our region.

Police followed up on some tips and tracked some suspicious pawn shop sales (including a camera with the couple’s photos still saved in it) until they finally recovered a bunch of the camping equipment and the bikes themselves in early October. By that time, Suthers and Barnetson were already in California (you can follow their blog here), but the police have even offered to ship them what they need.

From KOMO: Continue reading

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Final Westlake Bikeway open house is Wednesday + A look at updated plans

From a September 30 presentation to the Design Advisory Committee (see all documents here)

From a September 30 presentation to the Design Advisory Committee (see all documents here)

The city is just about ready to show off its design for the Westlake Bikeway after many community meetings big and small and more than a year and a half of debates about the plan to provide a safe space for people to travel between South Lake Union and the Fremont Bridge through the giant, endless parking lot along the edge of the lake.

It’s been a long and messy road, and the city has brought a whole lot of people to the table to express concerns, propose alternative ideas and guide the design. The result is a safer, protected bikeway along the eastern edge of the parking lot and a redesigned and more efficient parking area tuned to the success of businesses rather than acting as free all-day parking for city center employees trying to get around paid parking at their workplaces.

You can check out the plans and give SDOT feedback during an open house from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Wednesday at Fremont Studios (35th and Phinney). The presentation starts at 6:15. There will be activities for kids, so bring ‘em with you.

And despite all the meetings the city has already held, people still need to show up and support a safer Westlake for everyone. The exact design the city plans to unveil Wednesday is not yet clear, but a recent presentation to the Design Advisory Committee gives a hint of what to expect: Continue reading

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