King County Parks closure includes County-run trails, though they remain open for essential transportation only

An empty trail with empty park benches.

The Burke-Gilman Trail north of Seattle is a King County Parks trail. Image from King County Parks.

King County Parks took an extraordinary step this week to close all its parks in an attempt to further discourage people from crowding or gathering as we fight the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. And unless you are an essential worker or are accomplishing an essential task (like going to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment), that means county-run trails are closed, too.

While Governor Jay Inslee did say that getting outside for exercise is still allowed so long as you practice social distancing, the County does not want to you do so on its trail network. This includes about half of the 300+ miles of regional trails in the county, including sections of the Burke-Gilman, Sammamish River, Interurban South, Green River, Cedar River, Eastrail and Snoqualmie Valley Trails to name a few. It does not include any trails within the Seattle city limits or trails operated by WSDOT (like most of the I-90 and 520 Trails). There are also sections of regional trails under the control of local municipalities (like the Cross-Kirkland Corridor stretch of the Eastrail) that are not affected.

So yes, it’s a little confusing. The average user probably has no idea when they’ve crossed from a municipally-managed trail segment to a County one (sometimes there will be a King county branded sign letting you know, but not always). But we’re in an emergency, so do your best to follow official public health guidance and forgive some sloppiness in the rules.

And regardless of who operates a trail, the spirit of the King County ban should be on your mind. We talked about this a bit in our post: Let’s talk about responsible biking during this pandemic. Even if a trail is open and the governor says its OK to bike for recreation, you have to avoid bunching or crowding. If that means exiting the trail, waiting or turning around, then that’s what you’ve got to do. Residential streets are your friend right now, since they are typically wide open. Some stretches of trail have plenty of space, but others get crowded. It would be great if folks had more space to spread out, but that’s no excuse for joining a crowd right now. Six feet of separation is a minimum.

Here’s the official trail use guidance from King County Parks:

If an individual is part of the essential workforce and needs to commute for work or needs to accomplish essential tasks by using the King County Parks regional trail network (i.e. grocery store, doctors appointment, etc.) they are allowed to do so. Individuals who use trails for these purposes should follow social distancing guidelines and our standard trail rules and etiquette.

Non-essential use of the RTS remains closed as part of the ongoing efforts to protect public health and curb transmission of COVID-19.

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One idea for socially distant outdoor space: Make roadways like Lake Washington Blvd and the I-5 Express Lanes car-free

Seattle this week closed parking lots at eight busy parks to discourage congregating and enforce social distancing. This was a wise move, as crowds were a bit too dense in many places, including Alki Beach, Seward Park, Green Lake and Golden Gardens.

But while closing parking lots is one way to reduce the number of people gathered in those places, the city, county and state should also consider opportunities for opening more wide-open space to recreation so people can safely and responsibly get around if they are headed to the grocery store or an essential job, or get outside if they are just trying to get some exercise and unwind from the stress of it all.

Traffic has plummeted across the city, which is great because that means people are staying home. It also means that there is a lot of excess street space lying around right now, an asset we might be able to put to better use during this time.

This conversation has been going on in cities all over the world, and really gained steam when Bogota, Colombia, made some of its world-inspiring Cicolovía routes open 24/7 to help people get around without packing into crowded transit. But, of course, Bogota has been hosting these massive open streets events for decades, so they have it down and residents are familiar with them. It is a much bigger ask to request that a city start a whole new open streets program in midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Open streets, especially on busy streets through dense areas, will likely require a ton of coordination, communication and on-the-ground workers in order to make them safe and functional. In general, the more intersections (especially big intersections) along the route, the more money and staff are required to make them work as part of an open streets event. As much as I would like to say the city should create a citywide network of car-free streets, I know that such a project would be immense and require a significant budget and a lot of staffing. I would love to be wrong, but I doubt this is a reasonable use of city resources at this exact moment in time.

However, Seattle doesn’t need to start from scratch. Like Bogota, we have experience with open streets that we could enact right now without dedicating a ton of resources. Continue reading

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Person driving struck and killed a 63-year-old Newcastle man biking in Bellevue Sunday

A man turning left from Northrup Way onto NE 8th Street struck and killed a 63-year-old man from Newcastle who was riding his bike just west of Lake Sammamish Sunday afternoon.

Though the collision is still under investigation, the City of Bellevue said in a statement that the 44-year-old person driving turned in front of the victim and struck him just before 4 p.m.

The man is the third person killed while biking in Bellevue in the past seven months and the second involving someone in a car making a left turn to or from NE 8th Street.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, biking is one of the few ways people can get outside and get some exercise while maintaining proper social distancing. It is heartbreaking to be reminded that as we all attempt to deal with one public health emergency, the ongoing public health emergency of traffic deaths and injuries is still raging, too. Though traffic collisions are down sharply due to reduced driving, it only takes one bad one to create a tragedy.

Our condolences to this man’s friends and family.

More details from the City of Bellevue: Continue reading

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Bike repair deemed an ‘essential service’ during statewide stay-home order

Excerpt from the WA order exempting bicylce repair facilities.

From the “WA Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” guidelines (PDF).

Most people are required to stay inside under Washington State’s just-announced “stay home, stay healthy” order. Similar to the “shelter in place” orders in other cities and states, Jay Inslee announced further restrictions on activities and businesses that are allowed right now in an effort to further slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. You can leave the house to go to the grocery store or pharmacy or other essential service. You can also leave to exercise, including going for a bike ride.

But many people still need to get around, and biking has become a lifeline for people trying to avoid using public transit. It is also a great way to get outside and get much-needed exercise while following social distancing guidelines (so long as you are smart and safe about it).

So it is good news that bicycle repair services are considered an essential service under the state’s guidelines (PDF). Bike shops may remain open if they choose to so long as they practice social distancing.

This is especially important considering the demand for bicycle transportation following today’s surprise news that the city will close the upper West Seattle Bridge for and unknown period of time. For many people in West Seattle, including many essential workers, biking is likely to be the best way to get across the Duwamish River for a while. So they are going to need access to bikes and bike repairs.

Some shops around town have chosen to close even though they were not ordered to do so. Others have significantly changed the way they operate. Be sure to call ahead to find out if your local shop is open and whether they have new rules or restrictions you need to follow. Some shops may require sign-ups in order to limit the number of customers, for example. Continue reading

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Upper West Seattle Bridge will be closed for an unknown amount of time, biking across the swing bridge still open

Sam Zimbabwe on a video press conference announcing the closure.

From SDOT’s virtual press conference.

SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe made an unexpected announcement Monday afternoon that the upper West Seattle Bridge will be closed starting at 7 p.m. due to concerns about cracking in the bridge structure.

The lower swing bridge and its walking and biking path will remain operational, but the traffic lanes will be reserved for transit, freight and emergency access.

The upper bridge is the busiest bridge under Seattle’s control, carrying nearly 100,000 vehicles and the bulk of West Seattle buses on a typical day. Of course, these are not typical days, and Zimbabwe said traffic has dropped by about half due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

They did not give any cost or timeline estimates during the press conference because they are still assessing the problem. But it’s likely to be a lengthy closure (they seemed to be measuring it in weeks) and a costly fix.

This all means that biking is now the best way to get to and from West Seattle, and there are likely to be a lot more people trying to do so. This is what happened during the Viaduct closure in early 2019, and even with the outbreak there are still people who need to get around. If you live in West Seattle, now is the time to share resources with your neighbors about how to get around by bike. It sucks that the outbreak makes group rides a poor option, but letting folks near you know all the tips and tricks (best side streets, etc) you’ve learned would be a big help I’m sure.

Here’s an excerpt from the official Seattle Bike Map: Continue reading

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Bikes no longer banned on light rail downtown as Connect 2020 work ends, but service is reduced due to COVID-19

Well, what should have been a happy day for transit hardly feels worth celebrating amid the pandemic. Work to connect the existing Sound Transit Link light rail tracks to the under-construction East Link tracks has wrapped up, and the downtown light rail stations are fully functional again. No more transferring at Pioneer Square Station and no more ban on bringing your bike on the train.

But, of course, these are not usual times. What should have been the end of a tough-but-necessary light rail crunch is instead the early days of a service major service reduction across nearly all regional transit services in light of a massive drop in ridership due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Trains will run every 14 minutes.

Speaking of service changes, King County Metro also reduced service across nearly its entire network of buses, has stopped collecting fares and is encouraging people who can to board using the back doors to give drivers more separation from passengers.

More details on the end of Connect 2020 from Sound Transit: Continue reading

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With the fate of events uncertain, Cascade cuts half its staff and appeals for donations

Cascade Bicycle Club moved Friday to furlough half its staff in what leaders describe as an effort to save the club, which is marking its 50-year anniversary this year.

“We want to make sure it’s around for another 50 years,” said Executive Director Richard Smith. “It became clear that we had to plan for the worst but hope for the best.” And the worst case for Cascade would be a total cancellation of all major events in 2020.

Nearly two-thirds of Cascade’s $5 million annual budget comes from the organization’s series of storied events like STP and the Emerald City Ride, and now some or all of those events are at risk of cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club already postponed the Bike Swap and moved its Bike Everywhere Breakfast from May to June. The breakfast kicks off Bike Month and is a major fundraiser. Bike Month, of course, is also packed with smaller events now in question. But as the pandemic plays out, it seems more and more likely that social distancing will be required for longer than initially thought. So even events that have been rescheduled might not be possible.

But the real doomsday scenario for Cascade is if they cannot hold their major marquee events. The Emerald City Ride has been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date (possibly in the fall). But the elephant in the room is the annual Seattle-to-Portland ride, which is a massive two-day state-spanning organizing effort and major moneymaker for Cascade and its sister organization Washington Bikes.

“Something like the STP is very hard to reorganize or move to a different date,” said Smith.

They basically need to decide one-month before each event whether it is on or off, so you will have to stay tuned for news about each event. And since the news and public health guidance keeps changing so rapidly, they are going to wait and assess the situation for each event.

But the Board of Directors has decided to take drastic action to cut back on the organization’s costs to prepare for the worst case scenario. And that means cutting half of their staff from an organization that had 32 full-time equivalent staff before they announced the furloughs.

“Our Board President [Tamara Schmautz] actually works for UW Virology,” said Smith. “With her advice, our Board directed me and the staff to plan for the worst, and that means having absolutely no events through the summer.” Continue reading

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Watch: Swift Industries launches the Social Distance Cycling Club

Transcript (auto-generated .txt)

When they had to cancel their regular social bike rides due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swift Industries got creative. At first they laughed when Swift Founder Martina Brimmer suggested starting the Swift Social Distance Cycling Club. But then, after thinking about it a bit more, she realized it’s actually a pretty good idea.

The club is a free group on Strava, which is already a popular way for cycling groups to share rides and talk. So it was an obvious service to create their new “digital community to temporarily take the stead of all the social riding we do at Swift Industries and personally, individually,” said Brimmer. (Full Disclosure: Swift is a longtime Seattle Bike Blog advertiser, but this is not a paid post)

I had the chance to virtually talk to Brimmer about it recently, and you can watch above. And the conversation made me think that this could also be a great way for people who are missing the social aspect of cycling. Not only can you join this club, but you can organize the people you miss riding with into your own Strava group. It’s not the same, of course, but it’s a way to share what you’re doing and have some of the conversations you would normally do out on the road.

So far, the group has crowdsourced an insignia (“I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel right now, and I love the idea of an insignia on the collar, a little nod to the secret society”) and an upbeat Spotify playlist. Today, they are encouraging people to bike to Peloton Cafe Bike Shop at 12th and Jefferson to support them by buying take-out burritos.

But their first big event is scheduled for April 4, when they would have had their regular social ride. Basically, they are challenging members to spend three hours in the saddle and post photos from their rides. Details from the event page: Continue reading

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Friday: Cascade Bicycle Club is hosting a ‘Solo Scavenger Hunt’

Cascade Bicycle Club organizes community biking events, so the social distancing protocols make so many of their regular activities impossible right now.

The organization already postponed their annual Bike Swap has been moved to June 14, the Bike Everywhere Breakfast has been moved to June 3, the Washington Bike, Walk, Roll Summit has been moved to September 20 and 21 in Spokane, and their very popular free group rides program has been suspended until the end of March. And all these new dates are obviously subject to change depending on the status of the pandemic at that time.

So Cascade is trying out something different Friday: A “Bike, Walk or Roll Solo Scavenger Hunt.” You are not allowed to participate in a group (families are OK). Instead, you are supposed to head out into your neighborhood any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and “find” a list of challenges and take a picture of them. Then post your photos to the event page on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #FridayRideDay #FridayScavengerHunt #CascadeBicycleClub.

And of course, maintain safe social distancing at all times.

More details from the event listing: Continue reading

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Let’s talk about responsible biking during this pandemic

Photo of a bicycle with a container of disinfectant wipes in the water bottle cage.So I have been working on a video for several days now about biking around Seattle amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but I keep changing my mind about what it should say.

On one hand, I wanted to make something wildly different than the deeply troubling contents of your news feed. I wanted to make something happy, to show that joy and wonder still exists outside your home. The news and the virus hasn’t killed the trees and moss surrounding Interlaken Blvd. And you can still go bike adventuring in Seattle without getting within six feet of another person.

But I also don’t want to downplay the seriousness of what’s happening in any way. I don’t want to come off as if I’m saying, “It’s OK, you can still live your life like normal.” Because you can’t.

And during the past five days, the public health recommendations and government rules have changed dramatically. What seemed well within the guidelines just five days ago — going for a bike ride and keeping your distance from others — now feels like it is brushing up against the limits. It’s still within the guidance, but only if you are careful about where and how you bike. So let’s talk about that.

There is a decent chance that the guidance in Seattle tightens again soon, and the next step is ordering people to stay indoors. This is because people cannot be trusted to avoid gathering in groups. I mean, I saw it many times on a recent ride. We are social beings, and it’s just so hard to resist. But we need to. The Bay Area just instituted a “shelter in place” rule (PDF), and we should expect that to happen here, too. However, the Bay Area rules specifically exempt “outdoor activity” including walking, biking and running, so long as people follow the social distancing guidance.

So why go on a bike ride right now? This is an extremely stressful and anxious time. Being sedentary is not good for your health. And biking is a way to get out, blow off some steam and get some exercise while keeping a safe distance from others. It’s a chance to stop reading the news for a just a bit and take some time for yourself in the great big world outside your home. And it’s good for your mental health, which is also extremely important right now.

Of course, like any activity, you can be irresponsible while biking. It’s not magically safe. Being on a bike doesn’t make you immune. You have to be smart. Continue reading

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Sound Transit didn’t finish work as planned, so reduced downtown light rail and bike ban still in effect

Diagram showing the no-bikes zone between University Street and International District Stations. The bike detour follows 2nd Ave, South Main Street and 5th Avenue South.You know, in an alternate timeline this would be a really big story.

Sound Transit was not able to complete all the work needed to fully reopen downtown light rail service as was planned, so Connect 2020 continues. That means train service will remain reduced downtown and riders will still need to change trains at Pioneer Square Station. See our previous story for more details on why and how that works.

This also means that bikes are still banned between International District/Chinatown Station and University Street Station. That ban was supposed to be lifted today. You can check out this helpful video by Robert Svercl and friends Bri and Nick for a video guide to biking around the light rail closure.

Another weekend closure will be required once a fix is found, but there is currently no schedule for that work. So stay tuned.

Of course, there may not be a need for that bike ban since light rail ridership has dropped so dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overcrowding on trains is no longer the problem we need to worry about. Well, not for the same reason, anyway.

The Connect 2020 project is needed to connect the existing tracks to the under-construction line that heads to the Eastside via Judkins Park and I-90. That line is scheduled to open in 2023. But the agency wanted to do this work now to avoid disrupting service even worse once the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate Stations come online in 2021.

More details from Sound Transit: Continue reading

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New bike path under SR-520 opens in Montlake

Aerial photo with the walking and biking path drawn on it.Map of the new trail.Just in time for a virus-news-escaping bike ride, WSDOT has opened a long-awaited biking and walking trail that crosses under SR-520 between the start of the 520 Bridge Trail and Lake Washington Boulevard.

This is a “temporary” path, but you can get used to it because it should be here for a few years as the agency builds out the massive Montlake section of the multi-billion-dollar freeway project.

It is likely still faster and more direct to take the existing detour on the Montlake Blvd sidewalk if you are traveling between the bridge and the Lake Washington Loop bike route. But the new trail is likely more scenic and open. If you turn down E Hamlin Street toward the 520 Bridge Trail, you can catch the new trail and take it all the way to E Roanoke Street to get back to the Lake Washington Loop route on 25th Ave E.

This new trail should also make it easier and more pleasant to bike to the Arboretum. Hmm, sounds like I’ll need to go test that out just to be sure…

More details from WSDOT: Continue reading

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Biking during the pandemic

Screenshot from a Cascade Bicycle Club blog post "Empty Streets and Wide Open Bike Lanes"

Cascade Bicycle Club’s Paul Tolmé recently found light traffic during the downtown Seattle evening rush hour. Read the post.

With the announcement that Seattle Public School will close for at least two weeks and gatherings of 250 people of more have been banned, our region has reached a new level in its social distancing efforts. Events venues have been shuttered, and many businesses are voluntarily shutting their doors. Bike Works, for example, is closed until March 29 and Cascade Bicycle Club’s annual Seattle Bike Swap has been postponed from March 22 to June 14.

The pandemic has also shaken up how people get around. Though public health officials have not (yet) told people to avoid transit, people are clearly feeling uneasy about using it. But people do need to get around, and many people rely on transit.

New York City is encouraging people to walk or bike to get around, and that’s not bad advice for the Seattle region, either. In fact, biking might not just be good way to get around, it might also be one of the best ways to stay healthy and active when so much of the city is closed. After all, being sedentary is also not healthy for your body or your mind.

If you are thinking about biking to get around for the first time (or starting again after years off the bike), you may find that much of the city is much easier to access by bike than you expect. This is especially true of downtown where the city has nearly completed a fully-separated bike route from Lake Union Park (and the Fremont Bridge) to the International District. You will also likely find that traffic is much lighter than usual thanks to so many people working from home. That’s what Cascade Bicycle Club’s Paul Tolmé found one recent evening rush hour downtown.

One possible complication to biking now is that some bike shops may follow Bike Works’ lead and close. No bike shop (except maybe REI) is anywhere close to reaching the 250-person limit health departments have imposed, but that doesn’t mean they will stay open.

Years ago, we published a “How to bike in the Seattle rain” guide, and that may be useful to any fair-weather riders out there. But this is probably a good time to put together a more general “how to start biking” guide. What questions do you think are important to include in such a guide? If you are just getting started, what questions do you have? Ask in the comments below or email me at [email protected]. I’ll not only try to answer it, but your question will also help me put together a more useful guide for others.

This might also be a good time to share some great just-for-fun bike rides for those who are feeling antsy at home. What are your favorite resources or methods for finding a good recreational ride? Let me know.

Take care of yourself, and take care of your community.

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Watch: Why Anne-Marije Rook is biking the Tour de France route one day ahead of the men

Automated transcript (.txt)

It’s the year 2020, and the world’s most famous bike race does not have a comparable event for women.

That’s why women have biked the route of the Tour de France one day ahead of the men for half a decade now. They aren’t only demonstrating that women can ride the grueling 21-day, 2,200-mile route, but also that there is interest in a women’s race.

Anne-Marije Rook is a biking journalist who worked for Cascade Bicycle Club, the Ballard News Tribune and even wrote a freelance piece for Seattle Bike Blog before moving to Portland. Now she’s joining the Dutch team Peloton Orange (website in Dutch) to bike ahead of the 2020 Tour.

We spoke via video chat recently, and you can watch our conversation in the video above.

Of course, it is quite expensive and logistically complicated to ride the route as a team of amateurs without the massive sponsorship deals and official support that Tour racers get. So that’s where you come in. Peloton Orange is seeking sponsors and crowdfunding to help with their costs. You can contribute via GoFundMe.

And be sure to follow Anne-Marije’s writing on her website and on Twitter at @amrook.

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TCC: Contact your legislators now to support fully-funded transit

Don’t cut transit!

There are so many reasons why cutting transit funding makes no sense. But instead of listing them all here, I want you all to think of them for yourselves.

Then I want you to write those reasons in a letter to your state legislators using the handy online form Transportation Choices Coalition has created:

Dear Transit Supporter,

Transportation budget negotiations are underway, and public transit projects are on the chopping block. We need to act now to support fully funding public transit for this year.

Write your legislators today and ask them to fully fund transit in the budget.

Due to the passage of I-976, elected leaders are faced with balancing the budget in a challenging funding environment. While they have taken some steps to help mitigate the impacts of the initiative on transit, walking and biking, there are proposals to delay and potentially cut funding for Regional Mobility Grants that fund projects like the RapidRide H line.

Speak up now: Ask your electeds to fully fund public transit!

When we speak up together, we can help ensure our State funds a holistic transportation system that benefits all Washingtonians.

Write to your legislators now!


Transportation Choices Coalition Team

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With bipartisan House vote, Washington on verge of joining Idaho and Oregon by allowing people biking to treat stop signs as yield signs

The “safety stop,” also known as the “Idaho stop,” is on the verge of becoming law in Washington State. That means people biking will soon be able to legally treat stop signs as yield signs, essentially codifying what most people already do.

The State House of Representatives voted 77–20 to pass SSB 6208 with bipartisan support. The vote follows an almost-unanimous 44–1 vote in the Senate last month. It heads to Governor Jay Inslee next, and there’s no indication the cycling governor won’t sign it. The law is set to go into effect October 1.

The new law does not make it legal to blow through stop signs. If someone is entering a crosswalk or if another vehicle arrives at an all-way stop before you, you still have to stop and yield like normal. This does not change the rules of the road regarding who has the right of way. It also does not apply to school bus stop signs or stop signs at railroad crossings.

Rather, SSB 6208 simply acknowledges that when you’re on a bike your momentum is important, and it’s not just easier but also sometimes safer to roll through a stop sign rather than stopping completely. Initial acceleration on a bike is slow, and sometimes coming to a dead stop in mixed traffic can put you in a vulnerable position.

The change comes a year after Oregon passed a similar law and decades after Idaho. So now the law is consistent in the top left corner of the lower 48.

And though it is a mostly symbolic change, the bill also changes the term “bicyclist” to “person operating a bicycle.” I like that.

Passing this bill was high on the priority list for Washington Bikes. Another of their priority bills, SB 6493, has also passed both chambers. That bill includes some technical changes to the state’s Cooper Jones Active Transportation Safety Council. Bills to create a scenic bikeways program (HB 2587), to add “health” as a state transportation priority (HB 2461), to allow the use of automated camera enforcement of people blocking crosswalks and bus lanes with their cars (SB 5789), and allowing equipment like bike racks to temporarily obscure license plates (HB 2197) still need to get votes in the opposite chamber. Non-budget bills have until 5 p.m. Friday to get votes in the opposite chamber before being declared effectively dead for the year.

Here’s the official summary of the state’s incoming safety stop law from legislative staff:

Background: Drivers of vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians must obey a traffic control device.

Every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign must stop.

A driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign must slow to a speed reasonable for the conditions, and if required for safety come to a stop, and then after slowing or stopping, the driver must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard. If a driver is involved in a collision with another vehicle in an intersection or junction of roadways, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision must be deemed prima facie evidence of the driver’s failure to yield right-of-way.

There are at least four other states and some municipalities that have adopted a law allowing bicyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign. This movement is often referred to as a rolling stop.

Summary: A person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign must either stop, or follow the requirements for approaching a yield sign.

The provision allowing a person operating a bicycle to treat a stop sign as a yield sign is not applicable to:

  • ŸŸa stop sign at a rail road crossing; and
  • a stop signal displayed by a school bus, when the rules of the road require an approaching vehicle to stop
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With newly-opened section, the Lake to Sound Trail is tantalizingly close to reaching the regional trail network

Map of the Lake to Sound Trail including planned future connections.Imagine a new trail connecting Tukwila and Seatac to Renton. This trail would tie together the Green River Trail, Interurban Trail, Cedar River Trail and Eastrail, all while accessing rapid transit service. And someday, it could even reach the airport, Des Moines and Puget Sound.

Well, that trail is one step closer to reality. King County opened another couple miles of the Lake to Sound Trail between Tukwila and Renton. The new section doesn’t look like much on a map, but it included some difficult and important rail and river crossings as well as a connection to the Green River Trail.

Work is set to begin next year on a stretch between Seatac and Des Moines, but there is no current timeline for the major gaps between the new trail and the Cedar River or the Green River Trail to Seatac Airport. You can see on the map just how important this rare east-west link is to reaching much of south King County. Closing these gaps must be a major priority for future parks and trails funding.

More details from King County: Continue reading

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The Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show is this weekend

Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show logoThe Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show is the area’s largest bike industry expo. So if you want to check out the latest gear, test ride some bikes, this is your chance.

The 2020 show is 9–6 Saturday and 9–4 Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center. Tickets are $12 and cover both days.

At least as of press time, the show is still on. Some major conventions and expos have been cancelled due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, so check the event website for any updates.

More details from the Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show: Continue reading

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SNG: Report traffic signals that don’t give enough walk time or skip the walk unless you push a button

Screenshot of the city's idea submission map.

Click to submit your idea to the Your Voice Your Choice map.

One of the most insidious ways our transportation infrastructure is designed to delay or harm people walking is mostly invisible: Traffic signals programmed to skip the walk signal unless someone pushes a button. Whenever a traffic signal skips a walk signal, anyone who shows up is faced with the choice to either wait an entire signal cycle or make a run for it without knowing whether there is enough time to get across. It’s a dangerous and completely avoidable situation. All it takes is for SDOT staff to change programming.

A few years back, the local #GivePedsTheGreen campaign tried to raise awareness of this problem. And though that did not result in a major signal reprogramming effort, it did lead to more people paying attention. Once you start looking for it, you see it everywhere.

Now Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has started an effort to get people to report signals that require a button push, take too long to change or don’t give enough crossing time to the city as part of the Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets program. This program funds relatively small community-generated project ideas to improve their local parks and streets. And it’s hard to think of anything smaller than a signal programming change. So is there a signal you encounter regularly that skips you or takes so long that people decide to run for it rather than wait? Report it!

More details from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Continue reading

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Trail Alert: Cedar River Trail closed near Cedar Grove Natural Area until March 2 to repair washout

The Cedar River Trail was washed out during recent heavy rains, and crews will be out working with heavy machinery to finish repairs and paving. So the trail will be closed for 4.5 miles from 154th Pl SE east to Cedar Grove RD SE until Monday (March 2).

There’s no official detour, but SR-169 does have a shoulder for most of this stretch. Obviously, that’s not nearly as comfortable as a trail, and you need to be especially careful at intersections.

More details from King County Parks:

Trail closed from 154th Pl SE to Cedar Grove Rd SE

Excessive rain and flooding washed out a portion of the trail. While repairs to the embankment and trail subsurface have been completed, the Cedar River Trail will remain closed at 154th Pl SE east to Cedar Grove RD SE until Monday, March 2, so that resurfacing and paving can be completed.

Heavy machinery will be on the trail along with spotters for safety. No formal detour will be available.

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