Bike Happy: Vote for your favorite Happy Bike Lane Person

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

1. Vote for the winners of the #HappyBikeLanePeople Contest >>

2. SDOT is making progress on designing RapidRide Corridors from the Delridge and Roosevelt neighborhoods into downtown, which could mean new protected bike lanes along those routes.

3. The wickedly fun “Shortest Day / Longest Night Get Dowwn” Race is this Saturday.

4. Cyclocross season comes to a close this weekend at Fort Nugent Park on Whidbey Island.

5. Queen Anne Greenways is hosting a discussion with Robin Mazumder on Monday.

6. The bike path on the SR520 floating bridge opens Wednesday 3pm, forever transforming our region’s commute and recreation rides.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BIKE LANE PEOPLE!

More than 50 ideas were submitted for the #HappyBikeLanePeople contest.

Now, help choose the winners by voting in an online poll.

Vote >>  Winners will be announced in next week’s email. Continue reading

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Bike News Roundup: Ghost Bikes

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Actually, it’s well past time. I’ve apparently totally forgotten to do this since early October, so I’ve got what might be the biggest Roundup in Seattle Bike Blog history. Oops! I hope you weren’t planning to get much more work done today.

First up, Ethan Brooks emailed me this short film he made that broke my heart:

Pacific Northwest News: Continue reading

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As NE 65th Street safety changes develop, tell SDOT to keep sidewalks wide and bike lanes protected

Councilmember Rob Johnson addresses a neighborhood march demanding a safer NE 65th Street in June 2016.

NE 65th Street needs a safer design. People keep getting seriously injured and killed on this street, and that won’t stop until something changes. This point has been well established, with neighbors even leading a community memorial and march to protest the dangerous conditions and demand action from the city.

Councilmember Rob Johnson, whose District includes this street, joined the march and made funding a safety project there a priority. And he backed his words up with budget action.

NE 65th is set to get a lot safer and more comfortable in summer 2018, and that’s very exciting.

So now, the question isn’t whether the street needs safety changes, including protected bike lanes. If you want to know more about that, read our previous posts on the subject. Now the question is what those changes should look like, and judging by in-development design documents, the project needs some reworking to make sure sidewalks remain wide enough and the bike lanes get enough protection at intersections.

You can get an updated look at the design and provide feedback in person at two public drop-in sessions 5–7 p.m. today (Tuesday) and 7–9 a.m. Thursday at Broadcast Coffee. You can also send comments to NE65VisionZero@seattle.gov. Continue reading

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Support bike lanes along the Roosevelt RapidRide line (including Eastlake Ave)

An effort to build a faster and more reliable bus route along the Roosevelt Way/Eastlake Ave corridor is also an incredible opportunity to improve biking and walking conditions along the way.

The project — now called Roosevelt RapidRide — is going through a Federal Environmental Assessment, and public comment is open now until January 12 on the scope of that assessment. You know what that means. Let them know that biking and walking connectivity and safety should be top priorities, and that the protected bike lanes included in the plan will be huge improvements. There is a drop-in style open house TODAY (Monday) from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at the Silver Cloud on Fairview Ave N (apologies for the very late notice).

You can also submit your comments in writing to RapidRide@seattle.gov.

The project’s preferred alternative includes many of the most important bike connections for this project, such as upgraded bike lanes on 11th/12th Ave from Roosevelt to the U Bridge and protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E and Fairview Ave N. Unfortunately, very exciting bike lane concepts on Fairview Ave N in the heart of South Lake Union and on Stewart St have been cut. The bus improvements north of Roosevelt Station, including improvements going as far as Northgate, have also been scaled back since earlier versions.

For biking, Stewart St is a particularly important and promising route for protected bike lanes, so it’s sad to see that left off the preferred alternative.

Eastlake Ave E is one of the most important bike route improvements in the whole city, since it connects our state’s largest employment center to one of the only bikeable bridges across the Ship Canal. It’s hard to overstate how exciting it is to see those bike lanes in the preferred alternative.

Here’s the planned project route and improvements under the preferred alternative: Continue reading

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Goldberg: Find a peaceful, relaxing ride on South King County and Pierce County trails

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Eli Goldberg and Bob Edmiston for this ride report. Their guide was written before the opening of the South Prairie to Buckley connection that wrapped up construction last week. So if you want to be one of the first people to ride that new trail section, here’s a guide for how to get there without a car.

Photo by Bob Edmiston

By Eli Goldberg and Bob Edmiston

It’s the Seattle conundrum: you want to enjoy some natural beauty and exercise on your bike. But you dread the chaotic congestion of the Burke-Gilman trail, with spandex-clad bike racers, dogwalkers and rollerbladers all jockeying for a sliver of space.

You feel a twinge of envy for Vancouver and Portland, with their extensive networks of traffic-calmed, tree-lined streets ideal for casual leisure biking.

But you don’t have to go far for a peaceful, relaxing seasonal ride.

Did you know that in just 15 minutes by public transit from downtown Seattle you can find a connected network of roughly 55 miles of well-maintained, scenic, and fully paved trails? No car or hill climbing required.

You’ll ride through a half-dozen cute and historic downtowns in King and Pierce counties, and enjoy diverse and scenic terrain, with stunning views of Mt. Rainier. In the summer, you can even fill your panniers with fresh blueberries and strawberries with farmstand and U-Pick stops right on the trail. And you’ll be far from the craziness of the Burke.

We’ve put together the below map and route guide, offering up to 55 miles of relaxed trail riding, with about 1.5 miles of less-comfortable on-street riding.

Continue reading

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Imagine a ‘postcarbon Seattle’ at symposium and ‘Futurama’ exhibit

Does Seattle even need cars?

That’s the question at the heart of a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture & Design now through February 17. The Center is open 10–6 Tuesday through Thursday, 10–5 Friday, 1–5 Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Futurama Redux comes from the international group Smarter Than Car and “follows a best-case thought experiment that moves the present-day to 2050, when Vienna has become a leading city in post-carbon transition.”

Many of those ideas about cities also apply to Seattle.

“We are interested in how to think about an alternative use of space in cities,” said Florian Lorenz of Smarter Than Car, an exhibit curator. “The whole exhibition questions the car.”

What other mobility options do we have?” he asked. “Why do we need cars in the city?”

I’m all ears.

The exhibit runs through February 17, but there will also be a symposium tomorrow (Saturday) called Imagineering a Postcarbon Seattle:

The future might not be motorized: Over the coming decades the challenges of Postcarbon Transition and Climate Change Adaptation will demand a paradigm shift for the organisation of human settlements. This symposium questions the position of the city of Seattle in the global challenge of complete decarbonization until 2050. It will explore the opportunities and challenges that decision makers, creatives and civil society is faced with when taking up this responsibility and will explore first stepping stones to further such a transition.

 

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Bike Happy: By Air Land Sea, tandem the Alps & race across Vashon

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

1. Design your own bike lane person.

2. Read about the 333fab Air Land Sea bicycle.

3. Watch Jan Heine bomb down unknown French Alps roads on a very old, unrestored René Herse tandem.

4. Attend a panel discussion about the future of transportation policy with some very smart people.

5. “Race” from the Vashon ferry to the Tacoma Dome, catch an ST Express Bus to SoDo, then first person to order a drink at 9lb Hammer in Georgetown wins.

6. Checkout all the great artists and builders at the Equinox Studios’ “Very Open House.”

7. Read the Seattle Times front page article about our chief traffic engineer, Dongho Chang. Continue reading

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Q13: Man killed in Sodo was biking to job where he worked his way out of homelessness. RIP Celso Diaz

Screenshot from Q13 News.

Celso Diaz was biking to his job at iClick’s Sodo warehouse November 21 when someone driving twice the speed limit struck and killed him while he crossed 1st Ave S at S Andover Street.

The suspect, driving a light-colored Toyota Prius, never stopped and is still on the run.

Diaz, who co-workers and friends told Q13 News went by Pete, died at the scene. He was 61.

Our deepest condolences to his loved ones.

Edward Cozarg, a friend and one of Pete’s co-workers at iClick, told Q13 that he met Pete a half decade ago. At that time, Pete was living in an encampment along I-5 between Beacon Hill and Sodo commonly referred to as “The Jungle.” Working at iClick, Pete was able to move into his own place.

From Q13: Continue reading

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Aviva Stephens: But it’s raining outside

EDITOR’S NOTE: Aviva Stephens is a Seattle native and financial professional who discovered the benefits and joys of cycling on her challenging work commute between Ballard and the Eastside. Find more of her writing on Medium and follow her on Instagram at @avivarachelle.

It’s been a wet fall, but riding a bike in the rain is not as bad as it may seem. In fact conquering the weather can make me feel like fucking super woman ready to combat whatever office drama may come my way.

Becoming Super Woman

The other day I found myself stranded at the bus stop because the bike rack was full and my only commute choice was to pedal five miles to my destination. This was one of those rainy days with a winter weather advisory to the effect of “Warning: If you leave your house today you might die.” Admittedly, even as a bike advocate, I opt for public transport for most of my morning commute and reserve the long ride for the evening commute. So on this day I was not looking forward to getting sweaty and wet before a long day of meetings.

As I stood stranded on the curb I contemplated my options:

  • Ride five miles in the heavy rain and wind,
  • Coast back home and work from my cozy, warm and dry abode, or
  • Pop back into the coffee shop and pretend to be a carefree hipster for a day.

Although the fantasy of working from the comfortable confines of home and/or a coffee shop and not exerting all of my energy just to get to work sounded appealing, I also realized that they were choices rooted in fear. Fear of exhaustion, fear of looking unkempt, fear of an offending odor, fear of tumbleweed hair, fear of the rain…this last one seems absurd to me because I just got out of the shower and survived! Continue reading

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Kenmore is now a certified ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’

The City of Kenmore is Washington State’s newest Bicycle Friendly Community, achieving a Bronze rating from the League of American Bicyclists for the first time.

Around the state, Bellingham retained its Silver status, and Tacoma retained its Bronze.

The League reviews applications from communities across the nation every other year. Seattle failed to improve on its Gold status last year.

Kenmore was shaken awake by tragedy in 2014, when Caleb Shoop was killed while biking in a crosswalk at NE 190th Street and 61st Ave NE. He was 19. The City took action to make some safety changes, and neighbors started to get organized to encourage more. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

So congrats to Kenmore on your Bronze! Now, the trail-connected community can get to work improving its ranking, which has the wonderful side-effect of making the city’s streets safer, healthier and more fun.

More details from Kenmore: Continue reading

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Trail Alert 12/4–1/31: Seattle Parks begins repair work on old, bumpy sections of the Burke-Gilman

Be prepared for detours on the Burke-Gilman Trail in NE Seattle over the next two months.

Seattle Parks is making much-needed repairs to 13 segments of this aging, bumpy and extremely popular trail, starting with the divided stretch of trail that runs through a sunken area between 40th Ave NE and NE 65th Street.

All work is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, weather depending.

You can see Seattle Parks’ planned detour routes in these maps:


Continue reading

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520 Bridge Trail will finally open December 20

Photo from WSDOT

Well, WSDOT has said all along that the 520 Bridge Trail will open in Fall 2017, and it technically will.

The region’s most significant new biking and walking connection in decades will open December 20 at 3 p.m., 17 hours and 28 minutes before the winter solstice.

As we’re written before, this bridge connection is going to revolutionize biking in the region, especially between Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. For example, bike trips from UW to downtown Kirkland will be cut in half. The implications of such a change are immense. So many more trips will become accessible by a relatively easy bike ride. I hope Eastside cities are ready to take action to help make their streets safer to help encourage these new bike trips.

More details on the opening, from WSDOT: Continue reading

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New Interbay bikeway connects the Locks, Discovery Park, Ship Canal Trail and the downtown waterfront

A new protected bikeway under construction in Interbay and Magnolia is about to fill a major gap in the region’s trail network and plug the neighborhood into one of the best trail networks in the nation.

A new two-way bikeway connects the Ship Canal Trail at Fishermen’s Terminal to Government Way (and Discovery Park) to the north and the Elliott Bay Trail to the south.

Once complete people will be able to bike from the downtown waterfront to Discovery Park and the Ballard Locks almost entirely separated from car traffic. The project also makes a vital improvement to the western terminus of the Ship Canal Trail, which until now ended just a couple very stressful blocks away from reaching Gilman Ave W. This improvement makes the whole Ship Canal Trail vastly more useful and comfortable.

This project is a slam dunk because it makes so many high-quality connections, which is the biggest challenge to biking in Seattle. Our city has many great stretches of bike infrastructure, but most of them end abruptly without making a meaningful link to another quality route. A bike route is only as comfortable as its least-comfortable segment, and both the Ship Canal and Elliott Bay Trails have been held back by their poor connections to and along Gilman Ave W.  Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Design your own bike lane person 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

CONTEST: DESIGN YOUR OWN BIKE LANE PERSON

Based on the many, many fun, joyful bike lane “people” in Portland, a couple month’s ago, I asked Seattle’s chief traffic engineer if I could design a bike lane symbol here.  His response, “send some ideas.”

Instead of sending just a couple ideas, I’d love to send him a hundred.  So, I’m holding a contest for who can design the best bike lane person.  I’ll judge submissions based on originality, creativity, whimsy, and storytelling.  Winners will win gift certificates to Peddler Brewing.

Get all the details here and submit your bike lane person by Dec. 12. Continue reading

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Can Seattle’s ‘Safest Driver’ app teach people to drive more responsibly?

To win Seattle’s latest app-based game, you have to NOT look at your phone while driving, obey the speed limit, and smooth out your starts and stops.

On one hand, it’s a game. But it’s also a way for people to get feedback on how they are driving, something you rarely get after passing the driver’s test at 16.

The app runs in the background, so you don’t really need to do anything other than download it and sign up. You can then periodically check in on how you are driving and see areas where you need to improve (but not while driving, of course, or you’ll lose points).

The app was first used in Boston, and the city saw app users measurably improve their driving after installing the app. Speeding was reduced by 35 percent, and distracted driving was reduced by 47 percent.

The app also includes rewards for biking and taking the bus, which are the actual safest ways to drive.

Of course, the app only works on people who use it. And who knows how many of the behavior changes will stick for the long term? But it’s good to see street safety efforts aimed at the activity that holds the lion’s share of responsibility for preventing injuries and deaths.

More details from the SDOT Blog: Continue reading

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Your Giving Tuesday roundup of bike and safe streets orgs

Did you take one look at the massive influx of Giving Tuesday emails in your inbox today and click “Mark All As Read?” If so, you are a stronger person than me. I spent much of the day in the fetal position, mumbling something about Sisyphus and “inbox zero.”

But then I drank some coffee, did some silent meditation to center myself and started wading into the sea of appeal emails by good organizations doing genuinely good work.

So here’s what I’ve got for you: A digest of great bike and safe streets organizations participating in Giving Tuesday with excerpts from their appeals and links to donate. Many of the orgs have matching gifts, so this is a great time to make whatever amount you can spare go further. Continue reading

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Scenes from Cranksgiving 2017

Yours truly giving the rundown at the start of the ride. Photo by Brock Howell.

125 people hauled over 1,000 1,631 pounds of food by bike during Seattle Cranksgiving 2017 (UPDATED 12/5).

Over the eight years that Seattle Bike Blog has been organizing this food drive scavenger hunt by bike, the total amount of food riders have donated to Rainier Valley Food Bank is somewhere around 8,000 pounds of food. That’s the weight of several cars, all purchased locally and hauled by bike to share with neighbors.

Big thanks to everyone who came out November 18 for another unseasonably beautiful day.

Big thanks also to Swift Industries, who donated prizes and hosted the afterparty at their Pioneer Square headquarters. They were vital for pulling off this year’s event.

Other prizes were donated by Cascade Designs, Cascade Bicycle Club, Peddler Brewing, Reuben’s Brews and Kelli Refer.

First, here are a couple photos courtesy of Brock Howell: Continue reading

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Person driving killed a 61-year-old man biking in SODO this morning and fled – UPDATED

Approximate location of the fatal collision, via Google Street View.

A 61-year-old man was killed this morning in SODO, and Seattle Police are searching for the suspect. Someone driving northbound on 1st Ave struck and killed the man while he was biking near S Andover Street, just south of the West Seattle bridge viaduct.

The suspect then fled and is still on the loose. The victim died at the scene.

Seattle Police are investigating the fatal collision as a hit and run, but do not yet have a consistent description of the suspect or the suspect’s vehicle to share. We will update this post when we learn more. UPDATE 11/22: Seattle police released this updated description of the suspect vehicle: “Detectives were able to confirm that the suspect vehicle is a Toyota Prius (not a Prius C, V, or other model) from model year 2010 to 2015. If you have any information on this vehicle, please contact TCIS Det. Sanders at (206) 684-8923.”

Our deepest condolences to the man’s friends and family.

The circumstances of the fatal collision and the victim’s identity have not yet been released.

Details from SPD:

UPDATE 11/22: Detectives were able to confirm that the suspect vehicle is a Toyota Prius (not a Prius C, V, or other model) from model year 2010 to 2015. If you have any information on this vehicle, please contact TCIS Det. Sanders at (206) 684-8923.

UPDATE: Detectives are looking for a white or silver colored 4 door compact hatchback, very similar to a Toyota Prius. The vehicle will have obvious right front headlight area damage. Anyone with information on this vehicle is urged to contact SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad at (206) 684-8923 and ask for Det. Sanders.

Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) are currently investigating a fatal hit and run collision that killed a bicyclist early Tuesday morning in the SODO neighborhood.

At approximately 5:45 am, a 61- year- old male bicyclist was travelling on 1st Avenue South near S. Andover Street. According to witnesses, the driver of a vehicle, believed to be travelling northbound on 1st Avenue, struck the cyclist and then drove away northbound on 1st Avenue South. The cyclist was declared deceased at the scene. There were conflicting descriptions of the suspect vehicle, and detectives are working to get a better description of the vehicle involved.

1st Avenue South was closed in both directions while detectives processed the scene. This remains an active and on-going investigation. This information is preliminary and subject to change. We will update this post with any new information on this investigation.

Continue reading

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China’s Bluegogo, which once had bike share plans in Seattle, implodes dramatically

Yours truly about to ride a Bluegogo bike around downtown Seattle

In what is so far the biggest and most dramatic implosion yet in the new global free-floating bike share boom, China-based Bluegogo has reportedly gone bankrupt with big bills, staff salaries and user deposits still outstanding.

Bluegogo was one of the first companies to try to operate in Seattle. They even got as far as bringing a bike to town, which Seattle Bike Blog had a chance to ride around downtown in May. The company planned 3,000 bikes for Seattle, but then abandoned its U.S. expansion plans before ever launching.

The company has barely been operating for a year, but in that time it raised about $90 million in funding and deployed 700,000 bikes across China before abruptly closing shop, the Guardian reports:

But as reports emerged Bluegogo was in trouble, Chinese social media erupted with users complaining they were unable to get their deposits back, and rumours that [CEO Li Gang] had fled the country.

Bluegogo claimed it had 20m users across China at its height in an open letter written by Li this week. That would mean the company at one point had at least 1.98bn yuan (£226m) in deposits, although it is unclear how much the company is currently holding.

Rumors have also spread on Chinese social media saying Li had left China, prompting him to post on his profile: “I have always been in the country, fighting on the front lines for redemption”.

The company’s operations will be taken over by another bike sharing startup, Li said in the letter. Visits by Chinese journalists to Bluegogo’s offices found the doors locked and office space abandoned.

Perhaps the wildest part of the story has to do with a promo campaign the company launched around the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It didn’t go well:  Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Ride Cranksgiving, Watch Woodland Park Cyclocross & honor those who’ve fallen

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO THIS WEEK

1. Cranksgiving

Cities across America will be holding their own Cranksgivings this coming weekend.  What is Cranksgiving? Just about the best thing ever. It’s a bike scavenger hunt where participants pick-up a list of groceries and other goods and then donate them to a food bank at the end of the ride.  Organized by Tom Fucoloro of the Seattle Bike Blog and benefiting the Rainier Valley Food Bank, this year’s Cranksgiving in Seattle will be held this Saturday, November 18, starting at Swift Industries’ headquarters in Pioneer Square at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 2pm back at Swift for an after party.  If you don’t live in Seattle, check out the Cranksgivings in Tacoma or even Sequim.

2. Woodland Park Cyclocross

Have you ever wondered what “cyclocross” racing is all about?  This weekend is your chance to see it in action at Seattle’s Woodland Park.  Even if you’re not into racing or sport, watching cyclocross is a ton of fun. Check it out from 9:30-4pm; the fastest races are last in the day.

3. World Day of Remembrance

Take a moment to reflect on the people who’ve lost their lives due to traffic violence this year by attending a panel discussion on Friday at noon and take action on Sunday at noon to fix NE 65th Street. Continue reading

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