Bike News Notes: Fund set up for kid hit on MLK + Seattle hiring Active Transportation Manager + Bike Expo is dead

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 3.34.21 PMA crowd-funding campaign has been set up for the child struck while crossing MLK near Genesee in late September. By the time of this posting, just under $22,000 had been raised.

You can contribute to the fund here.

SDOT searching for an Active Transportation Program Manager

Here’s a pretty awesome job listing from the City of Seattle. They’re looking for someone to help increase the number of people biking, walking and taking transit. Sounds like a good goal to me. Details:

The program manager will steer a matrix-managed team to deliver projects, programs and encouragement strategies that increase the number of trips accomplished by walking, biking and transit; increase safety and efficient mobility for non-motorized users; create active public spaces; and advance the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

This position will report to the Mobility Programs Manager within the Policy and Planning (P&P) Division. The division shapes Seattle’s present and future transportation system to create healthy communities, support a thriving economy, improve our environment, and empower people by offering safe, efficient, and equitable choices for how and when to travel. We’re a team of inquisitive and collaborative planning professionals dedicated to meeting the needs and expectations of the public we serve through creative, cost-effective and practical solutions.

The Seattle Bike Expo is dead

It’s true. From Cascade:

After 24 years, Cascade Bicycle Club has decided to not continue producing the Seattle Bike Expo.

Due to the decline in attendance over the last few years, we made the difficult decision to not continue with Expo as is and reinvest our time and resources in creating new opportunities for people to ride. We may revisit the Expo in a different format in the future.

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41 Responses to Bike News Notes: Fund set up for kid hit on MLK + Seattle hiring Active Transportation Manager + Bike Expo is dead

  1. dave says:

    Sounds like a perfect job for you, Tom!

  2. Doug Bostrom says:

    In other news, Cliff Mass is pissed-off because his trail isn’t smooth, and he doesn’t understand road diets and hasn’t bothered to look at the data regarding changes to 125th etc.: “…it has caused traffic jams on 125th. ”

    I wish Cliff would get educated before weighing in on any given subject outside of his particular (strong) expertise.

    • Cliff Mass says:

      Doug…you have often disagreed with me about global warming issues, but I wish you would not get personnel with your criticisms. What in the world do you mean about road diets? What does that have to do with heaving asphalt? And I have experienced the traffic jams on 125th DOZENS OF TIMES since I live near there.
      Lets stick to the facts, please…cliff

      • Cheif says:

        Traffic jams are the result of too many cars on the road, genius.

      • Alkibkr says:

        Cliff, I read your blog post, and I feel you don’t really understand the potential value of the new bike share system as an alternative carbon neutral form of transportation for Seattle. I read that 850 people have already purchased annual memberships, they are selling like hotcakes, and they expect 1,000 members to have signed up by launch time at 1 PM on Monday. With all those bikes added to the streets of the Central Business District, Seattle Center, Belltown, the U District, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, the International District, Pioneer Square and the Waterfront, SDOT will likely be forced to finally install new infrastructure in many of those areas that have not benefited from any kind of dedicated path like the Burke Gilman Trail. I just hope I will be able to find a Pronto bike when I need one. And I wish they would install some stations in transit-challenged West Seattle.

      • Allan says:

        While we are on heaving asphalt, maybe it is a problem if you just ride a road bike. No problem for me, if I am going that way I have a suspension fork and 28″x1.6″ tires that smooth those right out. I save road bikes for outside the city where the pavement is better.
        Road bikes are not really faster or safer over bumps and potholes and glass. I can cover a lot of ground while you are fixing a flat.

      • Doug Bostrom says:

        Cliff, I think we largely agree on GW but disagree about media hysteria, scientists grubbing for grant money etc. You have a tendency to use colorful and insulting language that isn’t flattering to a person in your position of authority and distracts from what you’re trying to convey.

        W/regard to 125th and other road diet projects, regardless of your anecdotes the data simply isn’t in agreement with your argument. 125th continues to have issues at the intersection w/Lake City but that’s a matter of tightly packed signals and short blocks; the road is four lanes there. Meanwhile, up at the intersection w/I-5 there are backups but again the roadway is four lanes at that location. The part that had two lanes removed simply doesn’t show problems in actual data and meanwhile left turns etc. are much safer than before, compliance with the speed limit is much better. 125th is much safer than it was before in the areas where it was modified, meaning the project is a success.

        I suspect (not in Cliff’s case!) objections to road diets frequently come from inappropriately-alpha drivers or drivers trying to repair broken schedules by speeding and who are angry they can no longer travel at 40mph on a street signed for 30mph by passing people with a better tendency to abide by the law.

    • dave says:

      I know this is way off topic, but I’ve never understood why Cliff Mass became such a local celebrity. He is very good at apologizing about incorrect predictions, despite NOAA having usually called it spot on. If you want accurate weather forecasts just get them from NOAA.

      • Cliff Mass says:

        Alkribkr,
        Perhaps I am wrong about the bike sharing….but here is my logic. You really need the infrastructure first, bikes second. We already have a dangerous situation in Seattle–many areas (including downtown) have proven to be dangerous for experienced cyclists. Now we add large numbers of cyclists with far less road “street smarts.” For me, this implies injuries or worse. Traffic and contention issues. So we are to flood the streets with cyclists and THEN SDOT is going to react? Perhaps…

        Regarding road diets. Seattle lacks enough east-west roadways that can handle volume (and yes speed). 125th/130th was one of the few fast conduits from NE Seattle to I5/Aurora. Now it is being put on a diet…and that IS slowing things down. A lot…cliff

      • bill says:

        If we wait for bike infrastructure first, nothing will be built, because there is no visible demand because so few people want to bike given the current road system.

        When I drive I prefer safety to speed. Give me a road-dieted street anytime over the four-lane quasi-freeways Mass wants to race around on.

      • Doug Bostrom says:

        Actually Cliff’s weather work and writings are unparalleled in skill and utility. For people with idle curiosity about local weather or important reasons to gain insight into weather in the PNW before it happens, Cliff is the cat’s pajamas. Between his own lab’s modeling and his synthesis of those models with other forecasting systems and ability to explain weather in clear language the public can understand, you won’t find a better crystal ball.

      • d.p. says:

        I am more than a little flabbergasted to see this Mass fellow, who seems to be treated with the respect and deference of a Public Intellectual around these parts, so readily reveal himself as yet another Seattleite who expresses profound fears that must be addressed/i> and whose deeply held misimpressions must be entered into the discussion, when both could be resoundingly obliterated with about 5 seconds of bona fide research!

        Wherever bikeshare has launched, some faction — usually a tiny minority; in dumber cities, a vocal plurality — has sturmed und dranged about the “implied injuries or worse” from adding “large numbers of cyclists with far less road ‘street smarts’.” Again, 5 seconds of research would reveal that injury involving bikeshare users, serious or otherwise, is almost non-existent, an outcome likely attributable both to the inherent safety of the upright bikes themselves, and to the relative caution and risk-aversion exercised by all those novice riders. Not to mention the safety-in-numbers effects.

        5 seconds of research would also lead to an understand of the one-way, quick-trip nature of the usage model, about which Mr. Mass clearly hasn’t the first clue in his comment further down the page. Yeesh.

        If Pronto underperforms, it will all about the helmet-law problem (again, because research!) and/or because its initial coverage area is arbitrary and a bit absurd (I certainly won’t be needing an annual membership with its present boundaries). It will not be because of novice riders acting recklessly, nor because of the fundamental, standardized bikeshare model that Mass is apparently too obstinate to comprehend.

  3. Allan says:

    The bike club should look at the location and date for Expo as the problem. It seems that the last few years there has been a lot of rain and the parking situation is rediculous. People don’t like to pay twice, once for parking and again to get into Expo. If you buy something you have to lug it around until you go home because it is such a nuisance to get to the car, especially with constant rain. This applies to the swap meet as well. The club can only blame themselves for poor choice of time and location. If they could bump the Expo up to May and find a location with easy parking I am sure that they could turn it around and attract a large crowd. Magnuson park is a much better venue if it is still possible to use it.

    • ChefJoe says:

      You could always ride a bike to the bike expo, which would help solve the parking problem.

      • Allan says:

        Except 10 miles in the cold rain hauling the new items you just bought is not that appealing, and you still have to lug the items around with you the whole time you are there. It does not encourage you to buy things like wheels and frames.

      • Josh says:

        10 miles? Try 30-50… this was a truly regional bike expo, it drew people from far outside Seattle, just like Cascade’s own membership extends far beyond city limits.

        When the Expo and Bike Swap were convenient to each other, that was worth spending an hour each way driving from Tacoma, Everett, etc.

    • asdf2 says:

      This is a “bike” expo, not a “car” expo. They have bike parking set up right in front of the venue, and a lot of people do use it. For this clientele, the usual 1.2% mode-share for biking, or whatever, it is, does not apply.

      I would like the idea of moving it to May, but I’m guessing that cruise ship operations would make it impractical. In fact, the primary reason they have it there in March is probably because the venue is available at that time and relatively cheap, compared to other, similar-sized Seattle venues.

      Magnusun Park is certainly bike-accessible and could work. Although, I’m not sure if there is a big enough indoor place within the park to host it. I suppose they could have it outdoors in one of the soccer fields, weather permitting.

      • Allan says:

        Do you want customers or not. Most people get there by car and many people live far away. Are you assuming people should bike from Kent and than bike home with a pile of bike parts. What about people who don’t bike that far, what about people who don’t have an entire day to spend on this expedition. No, you can’t see the forest for the trees. You will cut 90% of the clientele if you depend on bicyclists for customers. You will probably cut 95% of the spending. Plenty of people ride a $6,000 bike that is strapped to a $30,000 SUV until they get outside the city. Other people don’t want to ride across downtown Seattle to get there. Others like me just don’t like to be cold and wet. Now just what are you trying to say? Maybe that the bike expo should just be for the few year round cyclists that live within quick commuting distance of the terminal. Think again and use your brain this time.

      • Alkibkr says:

        I agree with Allan, I rode in tweed one handed carrying an umbrella to Bike Expo (and snagged a nifty rain cape at discount for the return trip), but most customers are going to be driving in order to take their purchases home.

      • Becky says:

        Also, May in Seattle is quite frequently also rainy and cold. The one time I went in March it was sunny and warm-ish! At least move it to July or August if you’re looking for reliably good weather – but then all the venues are hard to get, too.

      • SGG says:

        The whole point of the thing was to get people psyched about the upcoming bike “season”. Yeah, many of us don’t really have a “season” if you will, but in the retail world that’s how it works. People wake up in the spring and have goals and dreams and want to equip those goals and dreams with some new gear. Not to mention it was a great place to learn about organized rides, clubs, and training programs. Too bad they can’t make it work.

  4. Alistair says:

    Allan,

    I ride the section of the BG trail that Cliff is talking about, almost daily. My bikes are shod with 650b x 42mm tires, which I run at cushy (35psi) pressures. This set up gives a very comfortable ride, and is helpful in negotiating the rough streets of Seattle, but it still isn’t enough to mitigate the big hit bumps that are on the BG trail. Some of those are like riding over a small kerbside, and will launch you out of the saddle if you’re not paying attention.

    If you’re suggesting that a bike with suspension is what’s required to ride the trail in comfort, then I submit that you’re making Cliff’s point for him, which is to say, that in certain sections of the trail (I’d say south of 125th, down to the UW campus), the condition of the trail in places is a safety concern. I really hope the city can address this asap.

    • bill says:

      Cliff Mass makes a very good point about the lack of maintenance of existing bike facilities, as well as the poor job that is usually done when repairing them. Much of the Burke was repaved relatively recently — believe it or not the Burke used to be in far worse condition that it is now — but the trees were not dealt with adequately and root heaves reappeared dismaying quickly.

      Speaking of trees, am I the only person in the city who has noticed the trees growing out of the bridge over Sandpoint Way? One of them must be at least a decade old. Any tree threatening my house like that would have been converted to firewood long ago.

    • Allan says:

      Think of them as speed bumps for bicycles. People who ride unsafe speeds, endangering others on the BG, deserve broken wheels on their road bikes. Cracked Kysrium SL’s are the next best thing to a speeding ticket.

      • Alistair says:

        Allan,

        I hear you there. Some rampantly selfish riding going on by certain types on the Burke, no doubt about it.

        I don’t think that making the trail into an obstacle course for all is a solution though. Cyclists of lesser skill and experience will be disproportionately penalized by potentially dangerous surface discontinuities.

      • Alkibkr says:

        Yes, but I do have sympathy for the complaint when riding in dark rainy conditions. Unless you can invest in a super bright headlight it is very difficult to see those hazards. I practically had to ride home at a crawl from the Greenways meeting downtown on the Alki trail in a steady rain after dark. (Add to those conditions glasses that need windshield wipers and senior citizen challenged night vision). The trees along the trail have refused to drop their leaves, so the light from the street lights did not help to illuminate the trail. All the more reason for good citizen trail users to report hazards when they see them and insist on getting them fixed. Is there a Find It Fix It app for the trails?

      • bill says:

        Just use Find It Fix It even though it’s not perfect. There are jurisdictional problems. Various agencies own various parts of the trails — the cities, the county, the port. The people at Find It Fix It try to route reports to the correct agency even though Find It Fix It is a Seattle app.

      • Josh says:

        Alkibkr – you don’t need super-bright headlights for root heave on trails, just a second headlight mounted at hub height. Doesn’t have to be really bright, but it throws huge shadows from pavement faults.

        But good pavement is still a better solution.

  5. stardent says:

    Pronto – another feel-good project that is doomed to fail. It’s an imbecilic idea to let loose a bunch of tourist neophytes on 2 wheels in city’s dangerous streets with the hope that things will get fixed when a few of them get hurt.
    Seattle needs to get its act together and build a safe bicycle infrastructure for existing commuters before trying to ape Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Paris.

    • Allan says:

      Stardent, I could not agree with you more. This city is not safe for the pro’s, how can you send neophytes out there?

      • bill says:

        This city is not safe for the pro’s,

        Which pro, and what possession of his or hers is not safe in the city?

      • Allan says:

        For Bill’s comment, let’s say pros are those with more than 10 years and 20,000 miles of riding exerience. I would be in that group, and I don’t feel this city is safe enough to recommend to any new cyclists. Experienced cyclists that I know have been hit, a lot of them. For that matter, I was hit at a stop light and the bike was wrecked. You need to be really quick and awake here.

    • jay says:

      Oops, I used a word the forum blog software doesn’t like (even though it is used in comedy: “no soup for you”)
      Bill was nitpicking plural vs. possessive. i.e. “professional” riders (plural) who are unsafe riding on Seattle streets vs. pro’s (possessive) unnamed possession (say, a skinny tired track bike that is not really suitable for the BGT).
      Track racers don’t have to contend with automobiles while racing (yes, I’m exaggerating, but no more than you) , so it does not necessarily follow that their greater speed and aerodynamic posture really makes them more suited to city riding than the “tourist neophytes” who may be aware that they don’t know what they are doing and had therefore better be careful. Not to mention the motorist who may believe* it is not really so bad to run over a MAMIL, but that that “tourist neophyte” just might be someone the Press will care about (or, a bit far fetched, maybe a relative of the driver’s boss)

      “If you build it they will come” may well be true, but outside of movies (where I believe the builder was considered somewhat a kook), and massive, pointless highway projects, there generally needs to be some demand for a thing before it gets built.

      * I suppose I shouldn’t judge drivers by the comments on the Times’ blog, but still, there might be at least a few.

  6. Cliff Mass says:

    Folks… the pricing structure of Pronto will doom it to failure. Pronto is based on 30 minute trips. What if you want to take a longer trip? You will not believe the pricing to do so.. Say you don’t have a bicycle and want to ride up to Redhook and Woodinville, have a brew, take a tour, and come back to the UW. If your trip is more than 8 hr, you will be charged $ 77. dollars extra! Or you bike breaks down at the UW and you want a bike to get you home. You come back the next day….$ 77.00. Or you need a bicycle to have a nice ride on Bainbridge…you better have that $77.00 ready! Most tourists will want to have more than 30 minutes.

    And we are not even talking about the injuries to novice bikers downtown. These bikes don’t have lights. It is dark during the winter for 12hr. Does anyone see a problem here?

    • JesseMT says:

      Cliff,

      That’s not the target for a bike share system. Bike share systems are for people making short to mid-range and often spontaneous trips within the network area. If you want to bike to Woodinville and back, you probably already have a bike. If not, you can rent a bike from a bike rental shop and I think you can get one for something like $30/day.

      And, seriously, you would rip people for basing policy arguments on anecdotal data on your site. Saying that the “road diet” on 125th didn’t work because you get stuck in traffic at the intersection is like saying global warming isn’t real because it’s cold out today. Look at the data.

      I’m willing to concede you may have a point about the bike lights.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      The bikes do have lights, really bright ones. And they turn on automatically and are powered by the wheel turning (so no dead batteries to worry about)

  7. stardent says:

    I come here to learn about new initiatives and to hear from other cyclists and to complain. Attack ideas, not other participants, please!

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