Salomon: Why construction can’t just close a neighborhood greenway without a safe detour

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andres is a family-biking father dedicated to safe streets. He’s the leader of NE Seattle Greenways and sometimes contributes to Seattle Bike Blog. I encountered this closure the other day on a ride with several people, including Madi Carlson and her two kids, who were riding a tandem with a trail-a-bike on the back. This closure was a serious obstacle for them (she’s a well-documented bad ass, so obviously they powered through it). If neighborhood greenways are really supposed to be important people-focused transportation routes, closures like this give users the impression the city doesn’t actually take that goal seriously.

greenwayclosure2-1Recently, Sound Transit closed the 12th Ave NE Greenway for tunnel-related construction. This closure will last at least three months, and was done without providing a safe, welcoming, or even ADA-compliant detour.

Not only do we need to fix this, but we also need to ensure that any future neighborhood greenway closures provide a detour that accommodates All-Ages-and-Abilities (“AAA”) users.

The 12th Ave NE Greenway runs through the heart of the University District, two blocks west of The Ave. The northern part of it meets up with the buffered (and soon to be protected) bike lanes on NE Ravenna Blvd. This is a very desirable connection for families, as it provides a separated bike route connecting to Green Lake, Cowen Park, and Ravenna Park. Unfortunately, the street closure is just south of that connection, between NE 56th St and NE 58th St.

This closure includes the full street, as well as at least one sidewalk. On the north side of construction, there are confusing, and not very visible detour signs to direct cars and people walking in opposite directions. Following the wrong sign takes you to a parallel arterial street, which is exactly what someone using the greenway would be trying to avoid.  Continue reading

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Bike route bridge in Montlake will close until early 2016

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If you bike through Montlake via the Lake Washington Loop route, then you have a rough detour ahead of you for the next six months.

Starting “as soon as Monday,” the 24th Ave E bridge (otherwise known as the only bridge in Montlake that’s NOT constantly clogged with cars) will be closed until the early months of 2016.

And despite this being a major regional bike route, everyone walking and biking will share the same ten-foot sidewalk on the east side of Montlake Boulevard. That’s skinnier than modern standards for a two-way shared-use path. The path will also cross SR-520 ramps, so you’ll need to be especially careful.

For bike routes near the Montlake Bridge, it’s one step forward, one step back.

The state just funded completion of the 520 bridge project in Seattle, which means its time to make sure the completed project fully embraces biking and walking connections. That includes an improved bike/walk ship canal crossing and protected bike lanes on Montlake Boulevard connecting into the Montlake business district (and beyond).

Details from WSDOT: Continue reading

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Houser stepping down as bike share Director

Photo from Pronto

Photo from Pronto

As Pronto Cycle Share nears its first birthday, the Holly Houser is handing over the helm.

Houser has been Executive Director of Puget Sound Bike Share, the non-profit behind Pronto, since late 2012. From selecting an operating company (Alta Bicycle Share, which was bought by Motivate) to finding major sponsors to uniting the city government behind the system, Houser has had a busy couple years (oh, and did I mention she’s also in the rock band Gibraltar?).

Now that the system approaches one year of operations, there are big plans from inside the City of Seattle to take over and dramatically expand the system (see our previous story).

“We’ve been working collaboratively with the City of Seattle to make steps toward our vision to weave bike share into the region’s public transportation network,” Houser said in an email to users, “and we’re pleased to have them take on a more prominent role in leading those efforts.

“This is a natural progression for our program, and one that we believe best positions Pronto for a bright and vibrant future.”

Next month, Houser will step down as Pronto ED to “tak[e] on new challenges outside of the transportation sector.”

Here’s the full email: Continue reading

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Summer Blockbuster Alert: Watch Feds analyze bike/truck interactions in SODO

Watch your back Jurassic World, because USDOT just dropped a pair of videos analyzing truck and bike interactions in SODO that will make your box office numbers look like that goat in the T-Rex habitat.

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As we reported in May, people from USDOT, SDOT, King County Metro, freight companies and bicycle advocacy groups got together in SODO for a day of learning from each other and figuring out how large vehicles and people walking and biking can use the same streets more safely.

The day included presentations, rides in large trucks and a bike ride around SODO. Look for cameos from Cascade Bicycle Club and West Seattle Bike Connections (oh hey, Seattle Bike Blog advertiser Bob Anderton!).

The first video gives an overview of the event: Continue reading

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Join Rainier Riders for all-ages bike fun to raise money for UNCF Saturday

Learn more or register at the event website.

Learn more or register at the event website.

There’s still time to register for Saturday’s 22K bike ride or 5K family bike ride to raise money for UNCF.

Rainier Riders have partnered to help organize bike fun for people of all ages, including a kids bike rodeo at Pratt Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Registration is free, but obviously you are urged to raise funds for the college fund focused on helping more students of color access higher education. You need to raise at least $50 to be eligible for prizes.

More details from UNCF: Continue reading

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5th Ave has a new protected bike lane … for one block

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Merlin Rainwater rides the new one-block bike lane on 5th Ave with Madi Carlson and kids following.

The city recently completed and opened a one-block section of protected bike lane on 5th Ave just south of Mercer.

Like the Mercer bike lane, the lane is glorious where it exists. It’s bright green and separated from the street, sidewalk and bus stop. Not only is the bike lane raised above street level (but below sidewalk level), but a railing protects the lane from busy 5th Avenue traffic and buses pulling to the stop.

In fact, that railing is the reason for the delay, according to SDOT Spokesperson Norm Mah:

A delay in the delivery of the Safety Railing unrelated to this project at the fabricators meant  SDOT received the railing just a few days before it was installed last week.

Continue reading

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One year after Kung was killed, join a vigil and call for Vision Zero Friday

Traffic injuries and deaths are preventable, and we have the cure.

We’ve already planned Seattle’s safe streets upgrades corridor-by-corridor and neighborhood-by-neighborhood. The city’s traffic engineers have studied proven best practices from in town and around the world. The city is essentially holding the traffic violence vaccine in its hands, but we’re still scared to take it.

Join family members of traffic victims, city leaders and safe streets advocates Friday for a Vision Zero Vigil & Procession to remember those who have died in traffic and to raise the call for safe streets for everyone. Meet at 5 p.m. at 2nd and University (invite your friends via Facebook, more event details from Cascade Bicycle Club below).

When Sher Kung rode her bike to her office downtown one year ago this week, the final block of her commute required navigating what was commonly referred to as the city’s worst bike lane: A skinny paint-only lane in the door zone of parked cars and to the left of turning cars and trucks. Many people had been hit over the years, and people had been calling for a safer bike lane for a long time. Plans were in the works to finally fix it, but the city was ten days too late.

Kung died when someone driving a truck turned in front of her at University Street.

She was a new mother when she was killed. Her daughter has not yet turned two years old. Continue reading

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