Who’s the best District 4 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

District 4 is a great example of the downside of changing to district-based elections. There are so many good candidates in this one race, yet the city can only elect one of them. Meanwhile, there are districts with few good options. It just seems like such a waste.

For example, Cathy Tuttle is running for District 4. Cathy Tuttle! The founder and longtime Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Just check out all these stories we’ve written about her and her work. And those are just the ones where I remembered to tag her name. Not only did she found and build a new safe streets non-profit organization, she was able to get it established enough that it could continue to thrive even after she stepped away. That is very rare. Only a tiny percentage of grassroots non-profit orgs ever survive their founder, and it takes great leadership to achieve this. Honestly, I’m not sure a Council seat is any harder than what she’s already done. And we know she’d be great for safe streets issues.

But she’s gotta somehow beat a dynamic cast of other candidates, many of whom have great things to say about biking and safe streets issues.

Shaun Scott, who racked up the most endorsements from transportation orgs (he’s the only D4 candidate who got the nod from every org we’ve been tracking below), has great things to say about transportation issues. And he is consistent in connecting it to issues of housing affordability and climate justice.

Emily Myers has also talked about the need to complete the Bike Master Plan and to “stop centering cars in our decision making process about how we improve transportation in the city,” as she said during the MASS forum (video and transcript below). Her answers to Lester Black at the Stranger were also particularly strong (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses).

And we haven’t even talked about Joshua Newman yet. Newman is a longtime neighborhood organizer who, instead of fighting new bike projects, says he wants to see neighborhoods with safer streets, more bike lanes and better transit.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

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Who’s the best District 3 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant would be the senior member of the City Council if she wins reelection, but she has drawn her toughest slate of challengers yet.

Sawant has been a member of the Transportation and Sustainability Committee since 2016, when Mike O’Brien became chair after Tom Rasmussen declined to seek reelection. During that time, she has been unwavering in her support of walking, biking and transit efforts in her role on the committee and in full Council votes.

Transportation is not her top issue, and it’s not the focus of Socialist Alternative rallies and posters. But she gets it, and she often highlights equity and the needs of working people during committee discussions.

So if transportation is the issue you’re focusing on for this race, then I don’t see much of an opening to unseat Sawant.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

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Who’s the best District 2 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As I wrote in our District 1 post, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements for the primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts. I also want to hear who you are supporting and why in the comments below.

With Bruce Harrell choosing not to run again, District 2 is our first of many open races this year. And, as a result, there are a lot of candidates, and endorsements are a bit more spread out. But as you’ll see, a couple names rise to the top.

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Who’s the best District 1 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.

To verify your Council District, use this city web tool.

I apologize to readers waiting for Seattle Bike Blog’s City Council endorsements, but I just plain did not have enough time this year to do Council primary endorsements justice. I had written earlier this year that I planned on creating an endorsements board, but it turns out organizing such a board also takes a lot of time that I didn’t have. Between watching the kiddo during the week and working on a top secret project I can’t yet talk about, it became clear that any endorsement effort would have been lacking. So I decided against doing them.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be Council primary coverage! This week, I’ll go district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts. Sometimes one or two candidates will obviously stand out, and I’ll note that. This post is an example.

District 1 – Herbold goes unchallenged (basically)

The MASS coalition did not host a forum for this race, which also seems to be among the least competitive of the races this year.

Incumbent Lisa Herbold received endorsements from the Transit Riders Union and the Stranger. The Urbanist, Seattle Transit Blog and Seattle Subway (PDF) did not endorse anyone in this race.  Continue reading

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King County will celebrate the Eastside’s ‘Traily McTrailface’ July 20

Yeah, no. The Eastside Rail Corridor Trail will not be named Traily McTrailface. Sorry.

I’m pretty sure I know the name, but I’ll go ahead and let King County announce it in style 10 a.m. July 20 at Redmond Central Connector Park (hmm, this trail isn’t the only thing that could use a better name).

We reported a while back on the contending names for the under-construction trail, which is planned to connect from Renton to Redmond. None of the names were notably amazing or seemed to find a strong following of supporters. I’ve been referring to it as “The Eastside Trail” for years now since it’s official name “The Eastside Rail Corridor Trail” is a real mouthful. Of course, there are several trails on the Eastside, so my name wasn’t all that great, either. In Kirkland, it is known as the Cross-Kirkland Corridor Trail, a name that will remain in use for the Kirkland-owned section.

Maybe if King County succeeds in fully funding and completing the trail according to its ambitious schedule, someday we’ll name it the DowWay or the Baldutrail. Honestly, if the county completes a fully-separated rail trail from Renton to Redmond, they can call it whatever they want. It will be amazing.

It’s worth noting that passing the King County Parks ballot initiative this August would go a long way to helping to build this thing. So we should really do that.

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Madison RapidRide design nearing completion + A look at the planned bike improvements

Design concept for the Madison, 12th Avenue and East Union Street intersection described later in this story.

The latest design for Madison/12th/Union is much improved and rather innovative.

SDOT is hoping to begin construction on its Madison Street RapidRide G project in 2020 with service set to start in 2022. That assumes they get the Federal grant they need for the $121 million project. Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the project is still rated well on the FTA’s Small Starts Project list, but you never know what will happen with the current Federal administration.

The project team is hosting a series of open houses and tablings starting this week. You can also submit comments via their online open house.

Though the bulk of the project is about transit, of course, there are some great bike elements. There are also a couple spots where the project (or a complementary SDOT project) could help complete some key bike connections.

The buses

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City opens Bike Advisory Board applications as Mayor casts uncertainty on renewals

Photo of people in a conference room listening to Phyllis Porter give a presentation.

Then-member and now City Council candidate Phyllis Porter presents ideas about Rainier Valley bike routes to the Board in 2016.

Applications are open for a seat on Seattle’s volunteer Bicycle Advisory Board (“SBAB”). So if you want to volunteer your time to help the city make bicycle investments and influence bicycle policy, you should apply by July 28.

No professional expertise is required. In fact, some of the most effective board members have been regular ol’ Seattle residents who just want to learn, ask questions and offer their thoughts as people who ride bikes and want to help their city do better. Did you know Bill Nye was once an SBAB member? What I’m saying is, you could be Bill Nye.

The Board had made excellent strides in recent years to diversify its representation and leadership, and women of color have been co-chairs of the board for years. But the Board has lost some members of color in the past year (including Mayor Jenny Durkan’s controversial decision to oust Co-Chair Casey Gifford in November). People of color, women, LGBTQ folks, people from immigrant and refugee communities, people with disabilities, and people of all ages are encouraged to apply.

Send a resume and cover letter to Serena.Lehman@seattle.gov by July 28. Learn more in this SDOT blog post.

The State of the Bike Board

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Missing Link court ruling puts a lot of pressure on city’s ongoing appeal

Excerpt from the decision document, which is unfortunately not screen readable. I will post a screen readable version if I can track one down.

Screenshot from the clarifying ruling (PDF).

A clarifying ruling by King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff this week has put some extra pressure on the City of Seattle to win an ongoing appeal if they want to keep construction of the Ballard Missing Link on its recently-announced schedule. It also raises some questions about ongoing work on Market Street.

The Superior Court ordered that SDOT may not proceed with construction of the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail until additional steps under SEPA are completed,” Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, said in an email to Seattle Bike Blog. “We respectfully disagree with this decision and believe that we have already complied with SEPA and the Court’s orders. Appeals are ongoing in the Court of Appeals and the City is evaluating next steps.”

Trail opponents have all but declared victory following this ruling (read their statement in this PDF), but that may be a bit premature. They lost almost every argument they made, and the only one that stuck has been thoroughly dismissed by the city’s latest economic study. So sure, if the city loses its appeal, opponents would live to fight another day and would successfully delay the project even more and further increasing the city’s costs (hooray?). But they should have a much more limited set of arguments to make since they would really only be able to argue against the new economic analysis (at least I think this is the case, though I am not a lawyer).

And, if the city wins its ongoing appeal, then this should all be a moot point because the courts would have determined that the economic analysis wasn’t needed in the first place and the initial FEIS was good to go. I say “should” because we have seen this trail delayed by increasingly complicated legal battles for decades. I’m not going to declare this thing a done deal until the day we cut the ribbon.

The more interesting and troubling question is whether the ongoing work on Market Street is now under scrutiny. Judge Rogoff’s decisions says, “It is hereby further ordered that SDOT shall not conduct any construction under the FEIS considered by Judge Chung unless that construction can stand on its own, or has independent utility beyond furthering the Missing Link Trail Project.”

The Market Street segment currently under construction is part of the city’s Ballard Multimodal Corridor project, which includes transit, paving, utility and street safety upgrades in addition to the trail connection between the Ballard Locks and 24th Ave NW. So is that enough to satisfy Judge Rogoff’s “independent utility” requirement? The City Attorney’s Office did not have an immediate and clear answer about whether this work could continue (staff was leaving for July 4 vacations as this story was breaking). I don’t know what would happen if the city had to stop work while Market Street is half demolished. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, because that would be a real nightmare scenario.

So yeah, as you can see, there’s a lot riding on the City Attorney’s appeal.

Summary of the trail’s environmental study

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My family lives in a house in our friends’ backyard + What ADUs can (and can’t) fix in our city

I live in my friends’ backyard along with my spouse Kelli and 16-month-old daughter. We all worked together (well, the baby didn’t really help) to build a new house where a carport and patchy weed-filled yard was previously. And in the end it cost about as much or maybe a bit less than buying a lower-end condo of comparable size, though it could have been a bit cheaper had the city’s very strange building codes been improved.

And that’s exactly what the Seattle City Council unanimously did today. Congratulations to everyone who worked for years to get this passed (Full disclosure: My spouse Kelli is a legislative aid to ordinance sponsor Mike O’Brien).

After going through this whole years-long process to design, permit, finance and build our backyard house under the existing rules, I have some insight into what it takes to make projects like this happen. It was more difficult, took longer and cost more than I had originally expected. But much of that work was fun, and I am so happy with how it all turned out. And with these new rules making many of the steps easier, there are a lot of people who will find building backyard houses useful for many different reasons, such as:

  • People partnering to share a property that they could not afford on their own. As a bonus, you get to be neighbors!
  • People looking to generate extra monthly income.
  • People hoping to age in their own neighborhood by downsizing into new smaller houses in their backyards and renting the main house.

In-fill housing like backyard cottages and basement apartments are an especially great way to increase the number of people who can live in our city’s bikeable, walkable and transit-connected neighborhoods. Though this blog is focused mostly on transportation, that issue in intimately connected to land use. The way we build our communities determines how far people need to travel to meet their needs. Biking is one big way to cut costs, but that only works if your home is within biking distance of your needs. A lot of houses in so-called “single family” neighborhoods are a bit far from necessities by foot, but a very easy distance by bike. Biking and backyard houses go together perfectly. Continue reading

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SDOT quietly deletes key section from southend bike lane at the last minute, misleads the public about the change

Design document showing complete protected bike lanes on Columbian Way. Design document showing sharrows instead of a bike lane heading west on Columbian Way before Beacon Ave S.

Photo looking east from the newly-constructed bike lane on Columbian Way. The lane disappears for half a block before the intersection.

Photo taken May 31 shows that the bike lane ends before the intersection.

In yet another hit to the already sorely lacking southend bike network, SDOT quietly made a last-minute change to the Columbian Way paving project to remove an uphill section of protected bike lane as the road approaches Beacon Ave S. Neighbors didn’t know about the change until crews painting the planned bike lanes on the repaved street ended them half a block east of Beacon Ave S.

Just how quiet was this change? Even the project’s own communications and outreach staff didn’t seem to know about it as recently as June 6, according to emails sent to reader Matthew Snyder. Snyder had contacted the team May 29 as soon as he and other neighbors noticed the gap in the bike lane. A week later, SDOT staff sent this reply:

“We understand your concerns since striping is not yet completed. Crews are planning to complete striping on S Columbian Way / S Alaska St soon. Please see the attached PDF of the PBL plan where it shows that the PBL on S Columbian Way will continue through the intersection with Beacon Ave S. The plan also follows the City of Seattle’s protected bike lane intersection design standards. We hope that helps answer your questions.”

The document they sent was the 95% construction plan, which includes the complete bike lane neighbors thought was being constructed (the top image on this post). But the project engineers made a last-minute change to replace a block of the bike lane with sharrows, and they did so without any kind of public outreach or even public notice. They didn’t even bother to tell their own outreach staff or make sure information on the project website was updated to reflect the change.

Snyder, being a tenacious and engaged neighbor, was able to track down the 100% plans from the city’s contractor bidding website (the second image above). The team finally acknowledged in an email dated June 12 that the bike lane would “become a sharrow to make room for a right turn lane and traffic lane.” Continue reading

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Construction the Missing Link core scheduled to start this year + Latest economic study wades deep into the absurd

Photo of two adults biking with a child each on the shoulder of Shilshole as heavy traffic goes by.

Why we need to build this trail.

After adding another 66 pages to the peak of the Ballard Missing Link’s towering mountain of in-depth studies, Seattle is scheduled to start work on the core segment of the hard-fought trail this year.

Work is already underway on Market Street as part of a major road project that includes one third of the planned trail route as well as paving and transit improvements. That section, which more closely resembles a protected bike lane and complete streets project, was part of a big compromise deal former Mayor Ed Murray struck with industry leaders opposed to the initial route following the rail line between Shilshole Ave NW and the Locks.

Now the city has announced plans to begin work on Shilshole, perhaps the most controversial section of the project, after a court-required economic analysis (PDF) found, once again, that the project would not have an adverse impact on businesses. The additional study brings the total number of pages in just the final environmental impact study (“FEIS”) to 895. For a trail.

Map showing the three phases of construction.Work will now be broken into three phases. The Market Street phase is already under construction, the Shilshole phase is scheduled to begin this year and the NW 45th Street phase is scheduled to begin in 2020, My Ballard reports. Continue reading

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Lime and JUMP raise prices, city revokes 2,000 bike permits

Photo of a row of Lime and JUMP on the sidewalk of 2nd Ave Ext just north of Jackson Street.Seattle’s ongoing experiment with private, free-floating bike share has changed the landscape for biking in the city, helping to raise city bike counts to record heights.

Bike share in Seattle has been unprecedentedly successful at increasing the raw number of bike trips taken in this city and growing the number of people who now consider biking as a transportation option for some trips or as a way to access transit.

The way the bike share services work has been evolving quickly and dramatically since launching in 2017. First there were $1 per ride pedal-only bikes from Spin, Lime and ofo. Then ofo and Spin left while Lime transitioned to e-assist bikes with an additional $0.15 per-minute rate. Then Uber’s JUMP brought their e-assist bikes and undercut Lime in price by charging the same $0.15 per minute, but without the $1 unlock fee.

The mid-2018 departure of ofo and Spin meant a significant reduction in the total bikes on the streets (nearly 10,000 in early 2018 vs 5,000 to 7,000 in early 2019) along with the increase in price due to the switch to e-assist bikes. SDOT data shows these changes did reduce the number of rides in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018:

graph comparing January, February and March 2018 bike share trips to 2019. January was about the same. February 2019 was much lower. March 2019 was a bit lower.

Note that February 2019 was very snowy, so that big decline is likely a bit of an outlier. Graph from the Quarter 1 2019 bike share progress report (PDF).

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King County limits bikes on Vashon/West Seattle water taxis, bans many family bikes

Photo from the deck of the water taxi showing how a long cargo bike can block the ramp.

Photo from King County showing a cargo bike that partially blocks the ramp.

In what is sure to be disappointing news to many readers, King County has announced that it will begin limiting the number and types of bikes allowed on its Vashon and West Seattle water taxis.

Bikes and water taxis go together extremely well, especially since driving to the water taxi makes very little sense and transit service is very limiting. In fact, that’s the problem. Biking to the water taxi has become too successful, and King County did not design the vessels with enough space to meet demand. So they will now be limiting each sailing to 26 bikes.

They also did not design the vessels with larger family and cargo bikes in mind, which is a pretty big problem for people who rely on those bikes since you can’t just park it at the dock and check out a Lime cargo bike when you get to Seattle (though wouldn’t that be cool?). This is a bit of a bummer for West Seattle users, but it’s potentially a huge problem for Vashon users. Family bikes don’t just carry multiple people, they also carry all the stuff that comes with them. They are larger than most one-person bikes, sure, but are they much larger than two bikes (one “bike” per person)? Three bikes? Two bikes plus a stroller? Sure, blocking the ramp like in the photo above isn’t good, but banning them entirely feels a bit extreme. I hope they exhausted all other options before arriving at this decision. We’re in the midst of a family biking boom in this region, and this rule change makes it harder for folks to use them.

As for overflow bike parking, obviously storing bikes in ways that block access to exits or railings is not an acceptable solution. But making the bike/water tax combo less dependable is also problematic. About half of West Seattle users and 30 percent of Vashon users surveyed said they have biked to the water taxi, which is pretty remarkable. And considering the region’s goal of increasing walking, biking and transit, this problem should be considered a good problem to have. Continue reading

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Saturday: Fremont Solstice naked/painted bike ride + How to join

Photo of a big group of people biking toward the camera while painted in bright colors.

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

The annual Fremont Solstice Parade is Saturday, and you know what that means: It’s time to get naked, paint your body and crash the parade on your bike.

For about a quarter century, people have been biking ahead of the Fremont Solstice Parade in various states of nudity and body art. In the past decade, the number of participants has ballooned, and the ride has become an iconic cultural phenomenon in our city.

If you are going to watch, don’t even try to drive there. Biking is your best bet, of course. The bike ride starts at 1 p.m. and the official parade (which is also amazing and people-powered) starts at 1:30. Earlier this spring, the parade organizers announced that the bike ride would be after the official parade, but they have since changed their minds due to some logistical concerns. So the bike ride will go first as usual, but riders may not be looping around as they did in previous years.

If you want to join, there are two basic options: You can get painted up at your or a friend’s nearby home, or you can join the volunteer-run open painting party at CSR Marine. Both options are popular.

If you are painting on your own, meet at 3rd Ave NW and NW 36th Street at 1 p.m. ready to ride (don’t be too late or you will not be allowed to enter the route).

If you are joining the main painting party, doors open at 8:30 a.m., and you need to be finished by noon. The group then goes on a ride around Ballard before joining the parade route at 1. Bring $10 to donate to the cause. There are usually some random communal paints, but bringing your own paint and brush is usually best if you have a specific idea in mind.

Some tips:

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Hundreds rally and ride downtown to protest cuts to safe streets projects

Photo looking north on 4th Ave from City Hall. The street is filled with people biking and walking.Hundreds of people rallied at City Hall then rode bikes, rolled in wheelchairs or walked down 4th Ave Sunday to protest recent cuts to safe streets projects.

The Ride For Safe Streets, organized by members of the Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition, came just days before the City Council Transportation Committee was scheduled to hear about Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT’s latest version of their short-term bike plan, which slashes the previous plan.

“Families of color should not need to drive their children to their neighborhood school just because the only routes available are too dangerous to walk or bike,” said Jen Grant from Familybike Seattle, who helped lead a Kidical Mass ride to the event.

“Too often, the disability community is pitted against biking and walking and safe streets advocates, we don’t want that to happen” said Anna Zivarts of Disability Rights Washington’s Rooted In Rights project. “We all need to go places, we all need to go places safely. And we can do that. We can create that city. But we need to be working together and we need to be sure our opponents are using us against each other, which is what’s happening now.” Zivarts and Michael Forzano called on safe streets advocates to support their campaign to make sure bike and scooter share does not negatively impact disabled people navigating sidewalks. You can learn more in this recent op-ed in the Seattle Times.

Dr. Jeanna Wheeler of Seattle’s chapter of 500 Women Scientists pointed out that though the Washington carbon tax lost statewide, Seattle voters approved it by more than 68 percent. “To the hesitant elected officials who believe that bus lanes, new housing, bike lanes, walkable streets, all that, are political poison because they inconvenience driving and parking, please look again at 1631. Seattle voters are ready to support more than feel-good measures,” she said. “This is the new face of climate denialism here in our emerald city.”

“It is a shame that in South Seattle we will never see completed safe bicycle infrastructure without prioritization,” said Councilmember Lorena González. She encouraged the crowd to continue building the movement for safe streets.

“The city has done some good things. On paper,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “We have committed to Vision Zero to make sure our city is safe for all road users. We have an ambitious Climate Action Plan that says we’re going to eliminate all carbon emissions in our city. We have bike/ped/transit master plans that lay out a road map to do that. The plans are there, folks. we have some work to do to get those implemented.

“I got six months left, folks. My commitment to you is to get our green transportation infrastructure in place and the policy infrastructure in place at the city before I say farewell,” he said (Full disclosure: My spouse Kelli works in O’Brien’s office as a legislative aid).

Aerial photo of the large crowd gathered at the City Hall plaza for the rally.

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Seattle’s latest bike plan takes one step forward, one step back and continues neglecting South Seattle

Map of Seattle showing existing and planned bike facilities.

Images from the 2019 Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan (PDF).

SDOT and Mayor Jenny Durkan yesterday released the city’s first “annual” short-term bike plan in 26 months.

That the plan itself was delayed well over a year is a good symbol for how SDOT and Mayor have been treating bicycle improvements since she took office. But it is here now. And though the contents are sure to be disappointing to people hoping the city would dedicate itself to bold and ambitious action to improve bike safety and access across the city, at least this time the mayor has put her personal stamp on it. No more blaming her predecessors. She is accountable to this plan.

“This Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan reflects our commitment to fight climate change, support a multimodal transportation system that encourages the reduction of single-occupancy vehicles, and supports Seattle’s Vision Zero commitment to eliminate fatal and serious traffic collisions by 2030,” Mayor Durkan and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe write in the intro letter. Though considering that this plan makes big cuts to the previous version, I’m not sure this sentence comes off quite as they hoped.

Compared to the draft version of this short term bike plan released earlier in the spring, the final version has some small tweaks but is mostly the same. Some changes are good, some are not so good, and some are maybe good but possibly pointless. Ultimately, the work outlined here gets Seattle nowhere close to building its Bicycle Master Plan on schedule. Instead, the city is moving at half-speed. At its current rate, Seattle won’t reach its 2035 bike facility goal until 2055. Considering the world has only until 2030 to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, 2055 is far too late to complete this little part of the solution.

The updated short-term bike plan, covering work through 2024, cuts about 23 miles of bike facilities that were included in the 2017 short term plan. So the city is not positioned to catch up on its slow bike plan progress.

Now, it might be OK for the city to meet only half its mileage goals if it were choosing the most important miles and doing them really well. But in many cases, especially in South Seattle and 4th Ave downtown, that is not the case, either.

I don’t expect this plan update will slow down Sunday’s Ride for Safe Streets, a rally at City Hall and ride/walk down 4th Ave to protest the recent cuts and call for more city action on safe streets.

The good

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Saturday: Seattle’s 9th annual women/trans/femme/non-binary Moxie Summer Jam Alleycat

Poster image for Moxie Summer Jam. June 15. 9th Annual women, trans, femme, non-binary alleycat. Registration 2PM, Gasworks Park. Race at 3. $10The 9th Annual Moxie Summer Jam meets 2 p.m. Saturday at Gas Works Park. Organizers say it is one of (if not the) biggest women/trans/femme/non-binary alleycats in the world.

What is an alleycat? What can I expect if I show up at Gas Works with $10 entry and my bike? Here’s more details from Moxie Summer Jam’s Marley Blonsky:

The 9th Annual Moxie Summer Jam Alleycat rides again on Saturday, June 15th starting at Gas Works Park and ending at the Boxcar Ale House. This race is Seattle”s (and possibly the world’s) biggest WTFnon-binary alleycat and we’d love to have you join us!

All who identify as a woman, trans, femme, or non-binary are welcome to join for a day of fun, community building, and bikes! All speeds, ages, and types of pedal-powered bikes are welcomed. We’ll have separate categories for Single Speed/Fixed Gear, Out of Towners, and Masters (45 years and older.)

Not sure what an alleycat is or don’t think racing is for you? While we won’t give away all of our secrets, you can expect to ride somewhere between 12-20ish miles in a choose you own adventure style race. Some racers ride like the lightning, others more of a casual pace, and everything in between. At the beginning of the race we’ll give you a manifest that will have a number of locations on it. You choose the order that you go to the stops and how to get there. Still not sure? Check out a primer we wrote a few years ago about what to expect at your first Alleycat here: http://www.moxiemonday.com/2012/06/what-to-expect-at-your-first-alleycat/

Registration begins at 2pm at Gas Works park and is $10 (no one turned away for lack of funds). The race wraps up around 6:30 at the Boxcar Ale House with prizes, drink specials, and karaoke! Continue reading

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Sunday: Join the Ride For Safe Streets starting at City Hall

Photo of a large group of people biking in downtown Seattle.Under Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle has cut bike lanes from paving projects and slashed its short-term bike plan.

At a time when we need to make dramatic action to do whatever we can to reduce traffic injuries and deaths and combat climate change, her bike lane cuts are all backwards.

People already packed City Council chambers earlier this year to voice their concerns about the bike cuts. This Sunday, protest efforts go to the next level with a rally at City Hall followed by a slow ride/walk down 4th Ave (where a planned bike lane remains delayed) to Westlake Park for music. Meet at City Hall’s 4th Ave plaza at 1 p.m.

The Ride For Safe Streets has been organized with leadership from Brock Howell in partnership with a long list of organizations, including biking, walking, transit, climate and disability rights groups (see the full list here).

Many of the biggest barriers to making streets safer lately are coming from the Mayor’s Office, but there are also actions the City Council can take to make sure safety and climate policies and goals are followed. And it’s important to show city leaders how much enthusiastic support there is for bold safe streets action.

More details from the Ride For Safe Streets website (you can also invite your friends on FB):

Map of the route, starting at Seattle City Hall at 1 p.m. then traveling on 4th Ave to Westlake Park, Continue reading

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Days after SDOT acknowledged safety concerns on new 35th Ave NE, a collision critically injured someone on a motorcycle

Someone driving a pickup truck collided with someone on a motorcycle at the intersection of 35th Ave NE and NE 75th Street Monday evening. The person on the motorcycle was critically injured and was rushed to the hospital in life-threatening condition.

We send our best wishes to the person injured.

It is not yet known exactly how the collision occurred. It appears from photos by people who saw the aftermath that the person in the pickup may have been turning left from northbound 35th Ave NE onto eastbound NE 75th Street, but the exact nature of the collision is not clear. Seattle Police traffic investigators were working the scene.

UPDATE: SPD posted an update: “When officers arrived and contacted the 87-year-old driver. The 22-year-old motorcyclist received emergency medical care at the scene. Police spoke with witnesses who stated the truck began turning left when the motorcyclist struck the driver’s pickup truck.

Seattle Fire Department Medics took the 22-year-old man to Harborview Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

A drug recognition expert evaluated the 87-year-old man at the scene and found no signs of impairment.

Traffic Collision Detectives are now investigating and will determine what led up to the crash.”

But this horrific collision comes less than a month after someone on a bicycle was struck and injured (though less seriously) five blocks away on NE 70th Street.

These collisions have all happened within weeks of crews painting the lines for the revised design of the street. At the direction of Mayor Jenny Durkan, SDOT removed the bike lanes and associated traffic calming initially planned and contracted as part of a major repaving project on 35th Ave NE.

The backlash against the mayor’s decision (and the subsequent cuts to the near-term bike plan) was two-fold. On one hand, people saw it as a sign that the mayor was not dedicated to the city’s traffic safety and climate goals. People packed City Council chambers to voice their concerns, including Tamara Schmautz and Apu Mishra who brought a hand-cranked paper shredder up to the podium and proceeded to shred the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, Vision Zero Plan and Climate Action Plan.

But on the other hand, people were concerned that the city’s planned bike-lane-free design for 35th Ave NE was going to be dangerous. Wide lanes are known to encourage speeding, for example. But the reality has proven to be even worse since the road opened. The center turn lane, which was supposed to help calm traffic, has instead been used regularly for making illegal passes. We posted a video from @mitchellplease on Twitter demonstrating the problem quite clearly: Continue reading

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Saturday: Streets will go car-free for two hours before Ballard Crit for an open streets party

Map of the course route along Ballard Ave NW, Vernon Place NW, Silshole Ave NW and Dock Place NW.

Route is marked in red, via Apex Racing.

Here’s a great idea: Ballard Criterium race organizers Apex Racing are already doing the hard work of securing permits, placing signage and barricades and informing the community about their annual event Saturday. So why not extend the time a few extra hours to create an open streets community event?

That’s exactly what’s happening tomorrow (Saturday) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to play in the streets for two hours before the racing begins. Cascade Bicycle Club is helping to organize activities, including a free 5K fun run by Fleet Feet, a bike rodeo for kids, a scooter share pop-up with Lime and Shared, and live music.

Stay after the open streets party to watch one of the more unique bike races in the city, which has been a tradition for more than a quarter century. Here’s the race schedule:

Race categories and schedule. The 9 races start with juniors at 1:30 and end with Pros at 7:30.

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