Bike News Roundup: NIMBYs hit the late night circuit

We are waaaay overdue for a Bike News Roundup. So I hope you’re ready to sink the rest of your day into a couple weeks of interesting transportation news from around the region and the world.

First up! The Late Late Show’s James Corden takes on some amazing NIMBY opposition to bike lanes in Coronado, California. Maybe he could visit Mercer Island next?

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How Seattle plans to fuel its grassroots walk-and-bike-to-school revolution

A small part of a giant bike train to Bryant Elementary

A small part of a giant bike train to Bryant Elementary

With parents and students leading the way, supported by city staff, elected officials and safe streets organizations, Seattle just dropped an astounding plan to take the city’s walk-and-bike-to-school revolution to the next level.

The plan has been a long time in the making and includes extensive research into best practices for cities, parents, students, schools and police to all work together to increase the number of students getting to class under their own power safely. It outlines how to improve safety today, but also outlines how to invest in infrastructure and youth education to increase safety for a generation.

For example, every Seattle Public Schools 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade class will receive in-class biking and walking education starting next school year thanks to a partnership between the city, SPS and Cascade Bicycle Club. This is a huge increase in youth biking and walking education, which currently only reaches 32 of 71 elementary schools.

The city will also invest in safe streets changes like better crosswalks, speed humps and sidewalks. And funding to power these changes will come from a wide variety of sources including more of the city’s brilliant speed cameras and, of course, from Move Seattle if voters approve Seattle’s Prop 1 this month.

“Our city is growing rapidly and the population of school age children grows with it,” Mayor Ed Murray wrote in the intro to the plan.

A huge amount of peak-hour traffic is just for school drop-off and pick-up. Meanwhile, 83 percent of public school students live within their school’s walk zone and nearly all live within the bike zone.

Walking and biking to school is good for student health and is proven to help kids stay focused during class. But it’s also vital for helping the whole city keep moving as it grows. Even people without kids have a stake in this plan.

And the good news is that efforts in recent years are working, so we’re on the right track.

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The UW Burke-Gilman Detour Strikes Back! Section will close Monday until summer 2016

It’s back.

bgt-detour-map-v3I know you just started enjoying a fully open Burke-Gilman Trail, but it goes back under the knife Monday.

The good news is that the UW is breaking ground on significant safety and capacity upgrades for one of the busiest stretches of trail you will find anywhere in the US. The bad news is that the construction will require significant detours until next summer.

The upcoming detour route is similar to the route in place last year, except a little shorter and with fewer twists and turns. Some sections of trail will remain open for local access, but won’t work for through-travel. The city also installed new bike lanes on Campus Parkway and Brooklyn that could help better connect the detour route to the University Bridge.  Continue reading

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SNG: Imagining a truly bike-friendly Uptown and South Lake Union


Lyle Bicknell from Seattle’s Dept. of Planning and Development helped lead a bike tour of South Lake Union and Uptown in July.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The only thing worse than biking in South Lake Union is driving in South Lake Union. But unlike driving, there are some relatively easy and quickly-achievable ways to dramatically improve bike routes to and through our city’s fastest-growing neighborhood.

Over the summer, I joined Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, local residents, city staff and City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw for a bike tour of South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne/Uptown. It was eye-opening mostly because of how clear the solutions are. SNG has compiled the feedback from the ride into a report with specific suggestions the city, developers and major employers should take seriously.

Below is the report from the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways blog, republished here with permission. Thanks especially to Gordon Padelford and Cathy Tuttle for their work and offering us this post.

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

In July 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought together a group of stakeholders to scout and recommend better east‐west connections between the Cascade and Uptown neighborhoods for families and people of all ages and abilities to navigate the fastest growing part of Seattle by bike.

The scouting ride had representatives from the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Parks, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Lake to Bay Loop Coalition, Seattle Bike Blog, Queen Anne Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club, Lake Union Greenways, Central Seattle Greenways, and the Seattle City Council.

Top Four Recommendations

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Last day to register online to vote for Move Seattle

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 12.00.34 PMWe have to pass Move Seattle.

Not only would it make powerful investments in the bike network, safe streets and efficient transit, but it would also prevent devastating cuts to our growing city’s transportation system.

But it can only pass if supporters are registered to vote. So pass this link around to everyone you know who recently moved to the city or changed their address? They may not know that today is the deadline to register or update their address online and receive a ballot in the mail.

People can still register in person up to October 26, but that’s a hassle that many people may not go through when the time comes. If the vote count is close, it may come down to how many people registered today.

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We need walking and biking improvements to N 145th St

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am still coming down from the most amazing wedding anyone could ever ask for this weekend. Forrest Baum, knowing I wouldn’t have much time to write, got in touch saying he went to this interesting meeting about 145th Street and asked if I wanted a write-up about it. Turns out, this could be one of the cooler complete streets projects in the area. But Shoreline and Seattle residents both need to get involved to make it happen right. So thanks for the report, Forrest!

I’ve recently moved to the NW corner of Seattle, just a few blocks from the city limits. I have a brand new baby, and to prepare, my sweetie Aimee and I were able to buy a house up here! (I was as surprised as you, believe me.) After biking as long as possible, even while pregnant, we’d resigned to commuting, mostly carpooling, and attempting to avoid the freeway as much as possible.

On occasion, however, we drive. In traffic. And It Sucks.

So when I heard that Shoreline was having a 145th Street Corridor Open House, I headed on down to talk about plans to make things better.

145th St Project Extent

145th is the direct route connecting to I-5, and it’s a quick drive.
(Unless, of course, you’re trying to get anywhere during rush hour…)
At other hours, it’s almost too quick… 145th is half owned by the city of Seattle, half by the state (it’s really confusing, see below), and so it’s also known as State Route 523. Continue reading

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Seattle begins bike share takeover, budgets for system expansion

A plan to expand Pronto aims to reach "vulnerable" populations. Map from Seattle's pending TIGER grant application.

A plan to expand Pronto aims to reach “vulnerable” populations. Map from Seattle’s pending TIGER grant application.

With a big plan for expanding Pronto Cycle Share, including a one-time budget expense to make it happen, the city has begun taking a more central role in the bike share system.

“Bike share really expands the reach of the transit system, particularly when you add e-bikes in there,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. And as other cities have learned, the bigger the system gets, the “network effect” makes the system both more useful and more financially stable.

That’s why Mayor Ed Murray included $5 million in his proposed 2016 city budget to help expand Pronto. If the city receives the funding to build the full plan outlined in a pending federal grant proposal, bike share could be within an easy walk of 62 percent of Seattle residents.

But with that much city skin in the game, leaders understandably want to have a more direct role in the system operations and ownership.

“We are working with Puget Sound Bike Share on having the city take over operations of pronto bike share,” said Kubly.

At the moment, the PSBS Board is still in charge. But as we reported in August, PSBS Executive Director Holly Houser has stepped down, leaving the organization unstaffed. SDOT’s Chief of Active Transportation and Partnerships Nicole Freedman is going to work with PSBS to help keep things moving in Houser’s absence, Kubly said. Continue reading

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