Cheasty Greenspace mountain bike trail clears Council committee vote

A community plan to build sustainable mountain bike and hiking trails in Cheasty Greenspace has barely cleared a key City Council committee vote, bringing it one step closer to winning the Neighborhood Matching Funds it needs to become reality, Publicola reports.

The full City Council is scheduled to vote on the NMF list Monday, though more hurdles for the bike park project are likely.

“I anticipate that there will be an amendment by next Monday about how people want to proceed,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw during the committee meeting. You can watch the meeting and listen to testimony on the project via Seattle Channel.

The list of NMF projects was approved with only Bagshaw’s vote. Councilmember Bruce Harrell, the only other councilmember there, abstained due to concerns about the Cheasty process.

“With Cheasty, I think we could have gone about it a little better,” Harrell said. “For me, this was less than a perfect process.”

Specifically, he said he wished more of the concerns were spelled out in a proviso, and that some of the ideas suggested for handling difficult decisions had been codified in the plan for the pilot project. For example, one idea was to create a community committee with people for and against the project to help guide project design decisions.

To recap, project proponents have been organizing and developing this plan for years. Following the example set by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance in other parks around the region, the mountain bike trail will come with a commitment to activate volunteers to help restore the Cheasty Greenspace. The area has been overrun by invasive plants, and much of the space is not very accessible by neighbors. Continue reading

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Do neighborhood greenways increase cycling? Oh yes.

58th-Street-NW-Bike-Counts

From SDOT (see full graphs below)

If you were wondering whether the city’s investments in neighborhood greenways are effective, here’s your answer: A resounding yes.

The city wisely gathered bike use data on a couple proposed neighborhood greenway routes before work began. They then compared those numbers with bike counts after the street got the neighborhood greenway treatment, and the result is astounding.

On Ballard’s NW 58th Street, for example, average daily April bike counts increased 805 percent in just one year (from 64 in 2013 to 579 in 2014): Continue reading

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Pronto submits permits for bike share stations, is on schedule for September launch

Dragon Fest attendees test out a Pronto bike. Photo from Pronto.

Dragon Fest attendees test out a Pronto bike. Photo from Pronto.

Pronto Cycle Share is moving forward on schedule, and outreach has begun to finalize station locations. The bike share organization has applied for permits for what will be 50 stations, all operational by the end of September.

The Alaska Airlines-sponsored system will launch with 500 bikes in the center city neighborhoods and the University District. If all goes according to plan, the service boundary and density of stations will increase in future phases.

The organization has been getting in touch with nearby businesses to inform them of the station plans, especially for stations that could displace a parking space. As a rule, Pronto is only using on-street stations when there are no good off-street alternatives nearby. Many on-street stations will also be placed near street corners in space where it is illegal to park anyway. This is why a 55-foot station can take only one parking space, as Capitol Hill Seattle reported yesterday.

The station permits do not necessarily mean these are absolutely final, as Executive Director Holly Houser noted in an email: “Station locations shown have been submitted for permit approval where applicable and are not yet finalized.”

Below is a look at those permit locations: Continue reading

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Vote Yes for the Parks District + other bike-partisan election guidance

Screen-Shot-2014-06-04-at-10.01.37-PMSeattle votes yes for the parks levy every time. So why do we keep asking if Seattle voters want to renew it? Yes, of course we do.

The Parks District (Prop 1 on the Seattle August 5 primary ballot) creates a permanent funding mechanism for maintaining and improving parks, something we have made very clear we want as a city. With more funding, parks can do all kinds of great stuff, like keeping community centers open for full hours and in good repair, maintaining the park grounds better and expanding programs. But the need that catches this blog’s eye most is the chance to improve access to all park neighbors, regardless of age and ability.

Many Seattle parks are wonderful, safe and comfortable spaces one you get to them, but they are bounded by busy streets with few comfortable or safe crossings. If a child grows up near a park but cannot get to it due to a lack of safe crossings or routes, that is a huge shame and a waste of park resources. Every home near a park should have safe and comfortable walking and biking routes so kids and adults with mobility issues can enjoy and feel invited to be part of these vital public spaces.

Today, the Parks Department does not have the means to do much parks access work. They pretty much spend their funds on the areas inside park boundaries, but the Parks District measure is a chance to change that. If it passes, the district will have the means to collaborate with SDOT on improving access to — and sometimes within — parks for people walking and biking.

That’s why it has the support of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, whose Executive Director Cathy Tuttle praised the initiative in a letter: Continue reading

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I-90 ‘carpocalypse’ largely avoided on first morning commute

Screenshot from Seattle Times story than ran on the front page

Screenshot from Seattle Times story than ran on the front page

It’s becoming a pattern. Every time a major freeway work project closes all or most the lanes, a media firestorm compares the upcoming commute to the end of the world.

All but one westbound lane on I-90 is closed as the state replaces aging expansion joints in the bridge between Bellevue and Mercer Island. Ahead of the work, The Seattle Times ran a front page story that suggested people just stay home (partly smart, but also somewhat defeatist). One particularly spastic radio personality got so worked up that he declared the road work a conspiracy by the state to force “every single person” in the region to get a Good To Go pass for paying the 520 bridge toll.

But when the day arrives — likely thanks in part to these apocalyptic media reports — it’s really more like a traffic jam that’s a little worse than usual. Today, many commutes took a little longer during the peak morning rush, but nothing terrible. For example, here’s a tweet from just after 8 a.m.: Continue reading

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Fremont Bridge bike counts continue big year-over-year rise

fremont-chartBike counts over the Fremont Bridge continue to significantly outpace 2013, with June counts up more than 14 percent year-over-year.

In the first half of the year, people made 486,798 bike trips across the bridge. That puts us on pace to break one million bike trips over the bridge in 2014, since fall bike ridership is typically higher than winter.

Even with two very rainy winter months slightly below 2013 levels, overall year-over-year bike trip levels are up 11 percent.

For more in-depth analysis of the Fremont Bridge bike count data, make sure you read Mike Logsdon’s June statistical series. If you are even more technically-minded, Jake Vanderplas has a Python-powered analysis here (I assume it’s great, but I would be lying if I said I totally understand it … haha.)

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City working on northbound U Bridge bike lane late Friday

Image from SDOT

Image from SDOT

The city is making repairs to the University Bridge late Friday and early Saturday, and the northbound bike lane will be closed.

Workers will help people on bikes get across the bridge, so there’s no need to detour. The work will go from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Here’s the news release from SDOT:

Roadway Structures crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation plan to close the northbound bike lane at the northeastern corner of the University Bridge from 11 p.m. on Friday, July 18 until 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 19. The closure will allow the crews to safely perform maintenance work on the bridge.

In other U Bridge news, SDOT says they will start counting bikes there later this year, joining the growing number of bike counters around town.

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