Bike News Roundup: A cool way to demo a street redesign

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup!

First up, here’s a pretty cool way to demo a street redesign. Keep this in mind for Park(ing) Day!

Pacific Northwest News

Halftime Show! It’s a long video, but here’s the excellent lunch session from the National Women’s Bicycling Forum starring WA Bikes’ own Barb Chamberlain:

National & Global News

This is an open thread.

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5 Responses to Bike News Roundup: A cool way to demo a street redesign

  1. Matthew Snyder says:

    I need to vent about the ridiculous detour on the Burke-Gilman trail where it crosses University Way NE. At that spot, the trail runs right next to Pacific St, and basically merges with the Pacific sidewalk, so the trail crosswalk and sidewalk crosswalk are the same.

    For the past couple of days, the crosswalk has been blocked by some kind of SDOT construction project. I get it, sometimes you have to do construction, even when you just recently did months of construction on the same spot.

    Once again, bikes and pedestrians get shafted. The reasonable thing to do would have been to take one lane of westbound Pacific, which is 5 lanes wide overall, and turn it into a bike and pedestrian detour around the construction. Or put a flagger there to help bikes and peds get across safely. Instead, the “detour” is to cross Pacific to the south side, then cross University, and then cross Pacific again to get back to the trail, which can take quite a while due to the way the lights are timed there.

    It’s just so damn frustrating. SDOT talks a big game about safety and improving the experience for pedestrians, and then they block the city’s major bike superhighway for days with no warning, poor signage, and virtually no inconvenience to the 5 lanes of car traffic immediately adjacent. How do we change this culture? And how can we prevent this same thing from happening in the near future when SDOT rejiggers the crosswalk a block west at Brooklyn?

  2. Al Dimond says:

    A one-note take on the news of the day:

    – Can coders fix Seattle’s traffic problems? Maybe, if they come up with a brilliant algorithm for land use.
    – Would enforcing unmarked crosswalks help people learn the law? Maybe it would help the handful that are ticketed! But it can’t help most people trying to cross most streets in most places at most times. Giving people of all ages meaningful mobility on foot requires more thoughtful design and comprehensive land use planning.
    – “Bikes vs. Cars” wages the wrong war. Let’s fight on land use instead.
    – Two key factors that can make or break a bike share network: land use and land use
    – How hard it is to get across U.S. cities using only bike lanes and the reason we care at all, which is land use patterns that make trips and sub-trips longer than they ought to be.

    Tangentially, but I love this post, so…
    – Maybe bike share just isn’t equitable… Not too long after Zipcar really expanded in Chicago the Trib had a front-page article with a map highlighting the insane degree of racial segregation that still exists in Chicago. I don’t know if this is still true, but at the time, if you overlaid the locations of Zipcars on this map (i.e. hold both at arm’s length and let your eyes go out of focus), you noticed that Zipcar density in a neighborhood was a damn good proxy for white-people density. Car-“sharing”, ride-“sharing”, and bike-“sharing” (even when the actual ownership model means they’re just high-tech/low-service rentals, and the whole “sharing economy” meme, promoted by tech- and auto-industry powerhouses that want to capture profits globally in industries that used to keep their profits local, is glib and disingenuous) can be very cost-effective for users in some cases but not if they aren’t available where you live! Differential opportunity based on location in a segregated city? That’s (institutionally) racist! Remember that cities and states and insurers cracked down on “outlaw” or “gypsy” cabs, in some cases operating in places licensed taxis wouldn’t? But then cut a deal with Lyft and Uber? That’s (individually) racist! That’s one reason to like Seattle’s encouragement of full-city coverage with Car2Go, despite concerns about vehicles being left for days in low-turnover areas. Coverage won’t extend to all of the real city, the interdependent region that crosses city lines, but the city limits here are pretty big and pretty arbitrary, so there’s probably some positive equity impact to the requirement. Anyway Seattle can require that for free and Car2Go makes enough money here, so everyone’s happy. It would cost lots of public money to expand most bike-“share” systems, so the system conservatively limits coverage to areas it can make a public case for. If there’s some blind spot in the officials’ thinking (stemming from where they live and work and who they hang out with) we just won’t know — and even if there isn’t, if bike share only works in certain inner city neighborhoods because of intrinsic land use characteristics, the gentrification of inner cities (the question of just who is using that land, not what is built there) throughout so much of the world and the tendency of rapid gentrification following infrastructure investments may render bike share inherently inequitable on that basis!

    And as a bonus unrelated to these headlines:
    – Can cars ever be affordable transportation? They can be and are whenever they allow someone to live in more affordable housing, and while public investments to provide less expensive forms of transportation to our whole civilization can help, truly reducing dependence on expensive cars while providing affordable housing will require generations of concerted effort in land use planning… just as the current situation of auto-dependence was built through a couple generations of concerted effort in land use planning…

  3. RossB says:

    The parking requirement is probably the simplest big change we can make to the zoning regulations. I would love to see a simple initiative (like the $15 an hour proposal) that simply remove all requirements for parking in the zoning ordinances. This would change the zoning laws for all types of development (including ADU and DADU) and lead to a lot more affordable housing. I don’t think we can assume that such a bill would lose. I think a lot of people are simply unaware that parking is required, and the way it pushes up rent. There would be a lot of opposition, but I think the arguments for parking requirements (that essentially make all renters pay for parking) are very weak and not nearly as strong as those who opposed an increase in the minimum wage.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I think it’s going to be hard to build a populist movement around a set of demands from developer groups, though. But maybe if affordable housing linkage fees or requirements for affordable units in every building or something like that would help create a more complete movement.

      Have you read the Community Housing Caucus report? It’s got a lot of ideas: http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2015/03/will-seattles-quest-for-affordable-housing-take-same-path-as-15-minimum-wage/

      Safe streets and affordable housing should work together. They’re not mutually exclusive causes. Everyone deserves to live in vibrant and safe places. So that means we need both: More affordable housing and more safe and vibrant streets.

  4. Gary says:

    It’s clear that there is a need for a bridge at 47th over I-5. but it’s a political problem not a cost benefit one. Sound transit has allocated funds, there is no funding for the Bike Master Plan to build the 47th street bridge. So no matter how much “sense” it makes to build the 47th one first, it won’t happen. Either we get the Northgate one, or nothing.

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