Endorsement: Vote Sherae Lascelles in the 43rd

Photo of Sherae Lascelles.

Photo from Sherae For State.

Seattle Bike Blog did not do endorsements this year for a number of reasons (mostly that I haven’t had the time it takes to do a full slate of endorsements). Instead, I rounded up endorsements from a handful of transportation-focused organizations in the area and posted them here. There was very little disagreement.

But there was one split endorsement that caught my eye, perhaps because it is my district. So I figured it may be helpful to weigh in on the race for House Legislative District 43, Position 2. The Transit Riders Union and the Urbanist endorsed Sherae Lascelles while Seattle Subway and the Sierra Club endorsed Frank Chopp. Washington Bikes did not endorse in this race.

Seattle Bike Blog says to vote for Lascelles.

This race ultimately comes down to what access to power should look like. Neither candidate says anything notably bad in their transportation policy sections. Chopp, who has been in the legislature since 1995, clearly has a very detailed understanding of how the legislature works. But is it working?

The Democrats have had control of WA State’s government for years, yet the state still has an extremely regressive tax structure, still funds new and expanded freeways while leaving transit funding to local communities, and still has not made meaningful progress on reducing our climate changing emissions. No matter what major local issue you are talking about, conversation nearly always gets to this exchange:

Person 1: Well, in order to do that, we’d need to change state law.
Person 2: Ugh, that’s not going to happen.

This dynamic needs to change. Lascelles brings a dramatically different philosophy to their campaign. Everything in their platform is about centering people most impacted by each policy. For example, here’s Lascelles’ campaign policy statement on free mass transit: Continue reading

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Who local transportation organizations endorsed in the 2020 general election

Photo of two adults and a child wearing bike helmets while putting ballots in a drop box.Your ballot is either in the mail or has already arrived. If you are in King County, you can check your ballot’s status online here. The tracker now indicates whether it has been mailed or has been delivered, which is very cool. The deadline to register online is October 26, but you can also register anytime up to and including the day of the election if you go in-person (online is encouraged during the pandemic, though). Ballots must be postmarked by November 3 or delivered to a ballot drop box before 8 p.m. November 3.

Here’s a look at endorsements and recommendations from local transportation organizations, including The Urbanist (“U”), Washington Bikes (“WB”), Seattle Subway (“SUB”) and the Transit Riders Union (“TRU”). Visit their sites to read more about their decisions. Note that these orgs sometimes cover different areas. So sometimes a non-endorsement means they couldn’t decide, but sometimes it means they just aren’t covering that race or issue.


Continue reading

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WA Supreme Court strikes down I-976, calling it ‘deceptive and misleading’

Tim Eyman continues to be very bad at writing initiatives, wasting an enormous amount of people’s time and energy arguing over a statewide initiative that wasn’t even constitutional.

The official description for I-976 that appeared on ballots in 2019 said it would lower so-called “car tab” fees “except voter-approved charges.” But the initiative would actually lower the fees even for charges that voters had previously approved. Eight of the nine WA Supreme Court justices said that was “deceptive and misleading” to the point of being unconstitutional, Heidi Groover at the Seattle Times reports.

This is great news for several reasons. The most immediate cause for celebration is that Seattle and so many other communities that rely on these fees to fund transportation will not need to pay back any fees collected since the initiative passed. Seattle has been collecting the fees, but has not spent them in case they needed to be refunded. With transportation budgets in crisis, this is a huge relief.

“Car tabs” is also a bit of a confusing term because it combines different kinds of taxes together. A vehicle license fee—like the one used by Seattle—is a flat-rate fee attached to any vehicle license, but a vehicle excise tax—like the one used by Sound Transit—is based on the value of the vehicle. The term “car tab” attempts to lump them together, but they are different. Some voters were angry about the way Sound Transit’s excise tax valued vehicles, but does that mean they were also opposed to vehicle license fees? It’s impossible to know. That’s why initiatives are also not allowed to combine multiple issues into one vote, another concern the justices cited.

Again, Eyman is pretty decent at passing votes, but terrible at writing initiatives. Many YES voters will likely be angry at the Supreme Court, but they should reserve a lot of their anger for Eyman.

Even though it was struck down, the initiative has had a big impact anyway. Seattle is currently voting on Proposition 1, which would renew funding for the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (“STBD”). The previous STBD was funded in part by sales tax and in part by vehicle license fees and expires at the end of 2020. But with the fate of I-976 unknown, Seattle leaders could not feasibly propose a new vote on a potentially illegal tax. So the version up for a vote does not include vehicle license fees. I-976 supporters can claim that as a victory.

It’s also not yet clear how state Democrats are going to respond. 53% of statewide voters approved the initiative, flawed as it was, though it failed miserably in Seattle and King County.

This decision also opens the door for adding vehicle license fees to the STBD in the future. Maybe next year? Obviously, it would have been nice to only have to run one campaign, but this is just how it played out. And in the end, maybe we’ll end up with an even bigger STBD than the version expiring now.

But man, it sure is exhausting and precarious work to fund transit in this supposedly pro-environment state.

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Why you should vote YES for transit even though Prop 1 won’t be enough

Ballots are in the mail. And ejecting that complete monster from the White House is not the only thing on the ballot. For one, you’ll have a chance to help give local transit a fighting chance in the very difficult years ahead.

Proposition 1 will not save transit on its own. The pandemic has done enormous damage to our region’s transit system, decimating ridership and leading to huge cuts in service. At the same time, the economic fallout has also impacted other sources of transit funding. I doubt anyone fully understands the extent of the challenge transit faces in coming years, but it is certainly big. Definitely bigger than what Prop 1 can deliver.

However, that is no reason not to vote for Prop 1, which would invest $39 million per year in Seattle transit service, affordability and equitable access programs, and capital improvements like bus lanes and signal changes to reduce bus delays. These are vital investments.

And our transit efforts were working before the pandemic hit. As we reported recently, transit commuting by Seattle workers topped 25% in 2019, the first time this has happened in current memory. Transit commuting has carried over half of downtown workers for years. The city can only function with a quality transit system in place. All hopes for an economic recovery hinge on it, let alone hopes of meeting our climate and equity goals.

Prop 1 would renew and slightly expand the sales tax portion of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District. The extra sales tax will not fill the hole left by I-976, which sought to dramatically limit the use of vehicle license fees used to fund transportation districts around the state. That initiative was successful in 2019, though legal challenges are ongoing. With the outcome uncertain, the city couldn’t feasibly send a possibly illegal tax to voters. So the vehicle license fee was removed. It’s not the measure anyone wishes we were voting on, but it’s the measure we have.

Photo of a child sleeping on and adult's leg in the seat of a bus.

November 14, 2019.

I have deeply missed taking non-essential bus trips. My toddler and I used to just hop on a bus and take it somewhere new. She didn’t care where we went, she would just ask to ride the bus. I enjoyed those trips so much. Thinking back to rainy bus rides to museums or to find coffee shops with kid rooms, it hurts. None of that has been possible this year. We are all feeling so much loss and pain this year in so many different little ways in addition to the big ones that get most the attention. But those little losses add up.

Voting YES on Prop 1 won’t allow me to wake up November 4 and hop on a bus with my daughter to go play in a crowded kids play room inside a local business. It won’t even prevent service cuts for the many people who rely on transit every day. But it will make six years of investments we will need to help rebuild a city with freedom of mobility for everyone.

Voting YES is also one small way that I can reject the crush of cynicism that has been building throughout a year when everything seems to get worse and worse. Voting YES almost feels like an act of faith. I believe in Seattle and all of its people. I believe the people have a right to move freely around their city no matter their race, ability or how much money they have. I believe the city has a moral obligation to cut the climate-destabilizing emissions we release. And I believe in the power of the people of Seattle to succeed together.

Over the past four years, our horrific Federal leadership has set us way back. Our state leadership has failed to provide communities with the options we need to address our problems (many state leaders are on the ballot this year, vote for the ones who will do the right thing even if it is politically difficult). Our county leadership chose not to step up to the plate and at least try to pass a regional transit initiative. And our very poor Mayoral leadership has delayed, reduced and cut so many of our remaining walking, biking and transit plans that the city will fail to deliver its 2016 Move Seattle Levy promises. In 2020, even a small step in the right direction feels like a triumph.

Your role today in fighting for our city probably looks different than you once imagined it would. The cause of safe and sustainable transportation has understandably fallen down the priority list. Many of you are in the streets protesting against racist police and so many other systems of oppression. Thank you. Many of you are campaigning and phone banking for close campaigns at home and across the country. Thank you. And many of you are just hanging on and getting through another tough day. Thank you, too.

One thing I know for sure is that we will not stop fighting for a better future no matter what happens. My daughter needs us to keep fighting. She is worth it. We are all worth it. We will put out these fires together, and we will start building again. We will replace every politician who abandoned our values when the going got tough, and we will elect new leaders who actually believe in and care about every single member of our community. And we won’t stop after we vote.

Prop 1 is a down payment on the next era of Seattle transportation, led by the people under a new mayor who will need to help pass a regional solution to transit funding and craft the next big Seattle transportation levy. The movement we build now will be in a position to make enormous changes to so many structures of our society, one of which is to direct the next decade of transportation investments.

I believe in SDOT and the many professionals there (or soon to be there) who don’t let the callous tools of engineering obscure their love for their community. I believe in the voters of Seattle, who will support massive public investments if leaders would just be honest about how much it will cost. And I believe in us all to keep organizing and fighting in our own unique ways to make it all happen.

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The WA bicycle and pedestrian count has resumed + How you can help

Details from Maimoona Rahim at Cascade Bicycle Club:

After a short break, the Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Count is back! It’s happening this fall on October 20, 21 and 22 at a street or trail near you. To sign up today, head to: bikepedcount.wsdot.wa.gov

Every year hundreds of volunteers across the state get up and out for the Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Count! At the last count 425 caring neighbors volunteered across 431 sites in 46 cities throughout Washington state! This is your chance to be a part of a statewide data-collection effort that will inform decisions about funding for sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes in communities all across Washington state, including yours.

Volunteers choose either a morning (7 to 9 a.m.) or evening (4 to 6 p.m.) shift and choose from the designated locations to document the pedestrians and bicyclists who pass by. After signing up, every volunteer receives detailed instructions. Sign up to volunteer today!: bikepedcount.wsdot.wa.gov

What is the count data used for?
Every year, volunteers collect a massive amount of data that improves our understanding and informs decisions to make it safer to bike and walk across Washington state. This data is important for measuring the number of people bicycling and walking on trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other facilities across the state.

The data is made publicly available, and it is used frequently by governments, transportation planners, and non-profits to design projects, track changes, and to measure the demand and benefits of investing in active transportation. To learn more, visit WSDOT. To see where the data goes visit the WSDOT data portal.

This once-a-year opportunity provides policymakers with critical data. One of the best ways to help support infrastructure in your neighborhood or city is through this data count. Here’s the link to sign up: bikepedcount.wsdot.wa.gov

Please share this with your network, friends and family so we can cover the whole state!

If you have questions, please email [email protected].

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Alert 10/12: Bell Street closed between 5th and 6th Avenues for up to 3 weeks

Map of the full Bell Street project.Heads up! Work is underway to complete the Bell St bike lane and install new signals between 5th and 6th Avenues. This means the street will be closed 24/7 for up to three weeks, according to SDOT:

The Bell St Protected Bike Lane project will resume construction next Monday, 10/12. Our remaining work includes:

  • Install new traffic signals infrastructure at west corner of 6th Ave and Bell St
  • Construct ADA compliant curb ramps at all four corners of 6th Ave and Bell St
  • Install new low landscaping in curbed barrier between protected bike lane and parking lane, between 5th Ave and Denny Way

Please note that our work will require temporary full closure of Bell St between 5th Ave and 6th Ave to vehicular traffic (except for emergency vehicles) for up to 3 weeks, beginning next Monday, 10/12. The closure will be in place 24/7 until the signal installation is complete. Due to the restricted roadway space and nearby construction work, full closure of Bell St between 5th and 6th Ave is the only feasible option to safely install the new signal. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. During this closure, please expect delays when traveling in and around the area and follow signs for detour.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 206-900-8760.

Thank you for your patience as we install right-of-way improvements in your neighborhood.

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A message from the Editor

Photo of Tom Fucoloro with Gas Works Park machinery in the background.My dearest Seattle Bike Blog readers,

I have been putting off this post for a couple weeks now, but I can’t avoid it any longer. The rigors of parenting during a pandemic have reached a point where I cannot keep up with the demands of running a full-time news site. So for the foreseeable future, I am pulling back to part-time.

I am not quitting, and Seattle Bike Blog is not going away. But I am letting go of the drive and pressure to have posts every weekday. And that necessarily means that I am also letting go of my vision of Seattle Bike Blog as a comprehensive news source about biking and safe streets news.

I have been missing so many stories because I just do not have the capacity to cover them, and being constantly behind is a huge source of stress in my life. Every day I go without writing about, for example, the city’s plan to connect the Duwamish Trail to the low bridge, the stress builds up more. I know I need to write this story and many others, but I just don’t have the time and energy after childcare. And the stress is turning into depression, which is immobilizing and makes it even harder to pick myself up and work during the limited time I get.

These times are very hard for everyone. There are so many sources of stress. And I need to let this one go. Continue reading

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In final Census survey of the before times, number of Seattle bike commuters hit an all-time high

Bike commute chart over the years.

Note: The Census survey only accepts a binary gender selection.

The number of people biking as their primary mode to work hit a new high water mark in 2019, crossing the 17,000 mark for the first time in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The survey results confirm that before the total shitshow that is 2020 hit, door-to-door bike commuting was still on the steady climb it had been on for well more than a decade.

We have no idea what these numbers are going to look like in 2020, 2021 or beyond, but we know they will be different. Bikes effectively sold out nationwide this year, and shops are still having a hard time stocking them. Interest in biking is up, but so many workplaces are closed or have gone virtual. Counting work commute trips has always been severely lacking as a measure of biking, and 2020 will make that especially true.

The main reason commute stats are cited so often is because this survey is among the only consistent datasets we have. But so many bike trips are not counted. People biking to run errands or see friends or just have fun are not counted. Neither are most people who bike to transit since the survey only counts the mode used for the most distance. (Exact wording via Bike Portland: “How did this person usually get to work LAST WEEK? Mark (X) ONE box for the method of transportation used for most of the distance.”)

But overall, transportation trends in Seattle were headed in the right direction. Though the number of drive alone commuters reached 205,000, the mode share for driving alone remained near its all-time low at 44.5%. Meanwhile 25.1% took transit (the first time in recent history transit has reached the 25% mark), 10.7% walked, 7.9% worked at home, 6.8% carpooled and 3.7% biked. Because the total number of workers increased so much, the raw number of people driving and door-to-door biking both increased while their mode shares stayed about the same compared to 2018.

But what now and what next? Obviously working from home is going to be off the charts in the 2020 survey, and it is very likely that a lot of jobs (that still exist) will never come back from the home. But transit is also going to face a funding crisis and likely a ridership crisis, and without serious intervention service will be much less frequent than it was in 2019. A lot of people are buying bikes, but a lot of people are buying cars, too. Meanwhile the West Coast is burning and choking in smoke, and the urgency to reduce emissions from driving is extremely urgent. Our planet cannot bear us going back to driving.

The chart above comes to you from the before times. Essentially every foundation of society is shifting right now, and it’s never going back to the way it was before. I’ve been writing about these survey results every year for a decade, and this one feels like writing on the last page of a notebook. Time to put it on the shelf and grab a crisp new blank one.

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Initial stretch of the 4th Ave bike lane opens downtown

Crews have finished work on the first phase of the 4th Ave bike lane downtown.

The new two-way bike lane connects the six block from Pine St to Madison St, directly connecting Westlake Park and the Central Branch Library.

Future phases scheduled for 2021 should connect the bike lane through Belltown and into Pioneer Square. See our previous story for more on those plans.

This bike lane has been a long time coming after Mayor Ed Murray delayed it in 2016, then Mayor Jenny Durkan delayed it again in 2018. Safe streets supporters have protested on the street several times to urge the city to take bike safety and transportation seriously.

Because of downtown’s severe grades when headed east-west, 4th Ave is a very necessary complement to 2nd Ave because some of the steepest streets in the entire city separate these two streets. So they look close together on a map, but when you’re on the ground, they sure feel very far apart.

This is an odd time to make safe streets improvements downtown because so many of the destinations they reach are closed right now due to the pandemic. But that also makes it a very smart time to make these changes. When the central library and City Hall and all those other government and office buildings reopen, this bike lane will be there to help keep people safe and provide a non-motorized way to get there.

Have you ridden the 4th Ave bike lanes yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Project map.


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Day after Council votes to slightly reduce police funding, officer rolls bike over person’s head and neck

A Seattle Police officer was caught on video intentionally rolling their police bicycle over the head and neck of a man lying face down in the street last night as people protested the lack of charges against the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

The officer was walking the bike and stepped over the man lying face down, then purposefully rolled the bicycle first over the man. The front wheel goes over his head, then the rear wheel goes over his neck. The man is in obvious pain as it happens. CJTV captured the moment during a live stream.

In a statement, SPD said they are “aware of a video circulating on the internet that apparently shows an SPD bike officer’s bike rolling over the head of an individual laying in the street. This matter will be referred to the Office of Police Accountability for further investigation.” Of course, the bike didn’t roll itself over an individual, an officer intentionally rolled the bike over the person’s head and neck. UPDATE: The King County Sheriff’s Office will investigate the incident, according to the SPD Blotter.

Caution, the video is disturbing:

It’s assault, it’s violent and the officer did it knowing that cameras were rolling and that we were all watching. It’s shocking to see just how comfortable this officer is while casually hurting someone who could not possibly pose any threat. These police bikes, made by Washington State bike maker Volcanic, are heavy both in design and because they are carrying lots of equipment.

The police are out of control, and Mayor Jenny Durkan is doing nothing to stop them. Instead, she is spending her time and effort protecting the department from any budget cuts. The City Council this week defended its mid-year budget, which included very modest cuts to the SPD budget, by voting 7 to 2 to override Mayor Durkan’s veto. The vote was a moment of victory for people who have been pouring their hearts out in the streets all summer protesting against racist police violence and advocating for investments in community, especially Black community. Continue reading

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Bike Route Alert: Little 116th Street trail closed near I-5

Photo of the closed trail.

Image of the closed trail connection from Google Street View.

Detour map. Sound Transit has closed a short trail connection between NE 116th St and the 1st Ave NE I-5 overpass to N 117th St.

This trail will never reopen. Instead, the agency will construct a new trail under the light rail tracks a block away at NE 115th St.

The official detour is fairly out of the way and uses busy NE Northgate Way for a block. There are no bike lanes on Northgate, and the detour map suggests using the sidewalk. However, I suspect most people biking and walking will find their own unofficial ways through, likely using shorter routes through nearby apartment building parking lots.

More details from Sound Transit:

As early as September 21st, Sound Transit is closing the Northeast 116th Street bicyclist/pedestrian path to construct the Lynnwood Link Extension light rail guideway. The NE 116th Street trail will be closed permanently. The Lynnwood Link rail-track alignment in this area changes from aerial (supported by columns) to at-grade (supported by retaining walls), similar to guideway being constructed just south of Northgate. Sound Transit will be constructing a retaining wall and track guideway for the Lynnwood Link light rail through the existing NE 116th Street trail. Sound Transit plans include a new pedestrian/bicyclist trail at NE 115th Street crossing under the new light rail aerial guideway.

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Watch: The case for a bike lane over the Fremont Bridge

The Fremont Bridge is Seattle’s busiest bike route pinch point. Routes from all over the region converge here to cross the Ship Canal, which is why the bridge’s bike counter registers the highest number of trips in the city. A record 1,187,146 bike trips crossed the bridge in 2019. It may the the region’s most important bike route, serving local trips and the Interurban North bike route that connects all the way to Everett.

But that 1.2 million bike trips have to squeeze by each other and all the people walking across the bridge on two skinny sidewalks. The crunch is not comfortable for anybody.

That’s why neighbors with Ballard-Fremont Greenways have put together a proposal and petition you can sign calling for bike lanes on the Fremont Bridge. The pandemic has made this need far more acute since social distancing is impossible on the skinny bridge sidewalks, but it’s a necessary improvement even without the threat of spreading a deadly virus.

The bridge is historic and, unlike with the Ballard Bridge, there is no plan to replace it any time soon. The sidewalks have been beyond their comfortable capacity for a long time now, and they will only get worse. There’s no reason to put off this improvement.

The biggest challenge is almost certainly transit. The bridge raises and lowers often, leading to a build-up of traffic that then needs to clear in a big and often scary rush. As it is now, buses that serve downtown Fremont (31, 32, 40 and 62) simply get in line with cars. So the key to making a bike lane work here is to also give buses priority, especially during the moments when the bridge reopens. This likely means bus lanes and queue jumps that get buses to get to the front of the line before they even reach the bridge. Signal changes could also give buses a head start before allowing cars.

Changes like this will impact drive times for people in cars, but most people with cars have other options. The Aurora Bridge is right overhead and they also have free reign on the Ballard Bridge. Sure, these are not the most direct routes for all trips, but at least there are options. For people walking, biking and taking Fremont buses, there is no other option. So walking, biking and transit should be the priority here. The group’s proposed design (or some other design that meets these needs) still provides car and freight access, it’s just not the top priority anymore. And that’s the way it should be.

I think another major advantage of creating bike lanes on the bridge deck is that the sidewalks can become the iconic spaces they should be. People walking across should be able to stop in the middle and take a moment to take in the incredible view down the Ship Canal or out to Lake Union. People should be able to take a selfie. I know that sounds like a silly reason, but the Fremont Bridge is so cool and should be the kind of space that belongs to the people on the ground living life. It’s so much more than yet another pipe funneling cars.

Watch the King 5 report: Continue reading

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Report: NE 65th Street bike lanes have saved lives and prevented serious injuries

Chart showing the change in collisions, deaths and injuries before and after the project.Map of the project and locations of deaths and injuries.For a four-year period, the short stretch of NE 65th Street between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE killed one person and seriously injured at least one other person every year. But a hard-fought safety project installed in spring 2019 has cut collisions by more than half and has so far eliminated deaths and serious injuries, according to a new SDOT report (PDF).

As with nearly all of SDOT’s Vision Zero street redesigns, the project is a huge success. It once again demonstrates the department’s ability to save lives and improve mobility when it prioritizes safety on our streets.

There is at least one person somewhere who is sipping coffee, Zoom chatting with a loved one or otherwise living life at this moment who would be dead if not for these safety changes. Is it your friend? Your mother? You? We will never know who that person is, but we do know that had the city chosen not to take action and make changes to this street, one person would die every year. And that person would most likely have been walking or riding a bike.

And these benefits come even though the city compromised fairly heavily on many of the details. For example, intersections do not have separated signal phases for people on bikes and bike lanes share space with bus stops in several locations. And worst of all, the bike lanes stop at 20th Ave NE, providing no dedicated biking space between 20th and 39th. But even with these compromises and half measures, the results are impressive.

And the problems that led to traffic danger on this street were not at all unique to NE 65th Street. They are problems repeated on streets all over the city and the region. Too much space for cars leads to speeding and no space for people biking or crossing the street leaves them vulnerable.

Photo of the street before the changes, with just one yellow dotted line down the center..


Photo after the changes with a center turn lane and bike lanes.


Continue reading

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Lime launches scooter share in Seattle

Screenshot from the Lime app showing a scooter available.After years of talking, the first shared electric scooters are hitting Seattle streets today as Lime rolls out 500 of its popular Lime-S scooters.

Lime has been serving Seattle for years with its pedal bikes and e-bikes. The company now owns and operates the red JUMP bikes available around town. Though the city has invited three companies to operate scooters in town, Lime was clearly in the best position to launch quickly.

“As Seattleites look to open-air transportation options that allow for social-distancing, shared scooters offer a reliable solution for short and medium-length trips, as well as for trips not served by public transit,” the company said in a press release. “The Seattle e-scooter pilot will help reduce car usage, augment transit and allow for safer and more sustainable travel.”

Their scooters cost the same as the JUMP bikes, with a $1 fee to unlock plus 36¢ per minute. While they are limited to only 500 scooters, the company is limiting their distribution efforts “from the Central District and SODO to Capitol Hill, Downtown, South Lake Union, Ballard, Fremont and the U District,” but users are able to ride them anywhere in the city that they want. Notably, this initial distribution area does not include West Seattle, though people can ride to West Seattle if they want to. Helping with the West Seattle Bridge transportation crisis was one reason the city cited during City Council debate over the permit plan. “As the fleet is authorized to expand, the deployment areas will expand,” the company noted in a press release. Continue reading

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Cascade launches flashy new resource to help people bike to and through West Seattle

Illustrated map showing common West Seattle bike routes.Cascade Bicycle Club and IZIP electric bikes partnered to create a pretty great-looking map of popular bike routes to and through West Seattle to help more people visualize how they can shift more trips to bike.

The illustrated map is cool because it’s a high-level look at the options. But once someone is interested in the details of each route, Cascade has very detailed guides online. For two routes (Junction to downtown and White Center to downtown), they have Ride With GPS maps (which can be used for turn-by-turn directions) and very good video guides.

Continue reading

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Bike Route Alert: Lynnwood Link construction will close Scriber Creek Trail for 2 years, disrupt Interurban Trail

Map of the planned closures and detours near Lynnwood Park and Ride.Work on Lynnwood Link will close the Scribner Creek Trail for two years and will require intermittent closures of the Interurban Trail, Sound Transit says.

The Scribner Creek Trail is basically a path along the southwest edge of the Lynnwood Park and Ride parking lot that connects to the Interurban Trail. So if you don’t recognize the name, you may use this trail if you access the trail from the park and ride.

The more significant impact, though, will be the series of Interurban Trail closures in the area over the years of construction. The first such closure is scheduled for late October and will last two weeks, but later closures could last up to 6 months. And the detour route includes a busy stretch of 200th Street SW and the sidewalk of 44th Ave W (there is no curb cut from 44th to the trail, so the sidewalk is the only option unless Sound Transit adds a ramp). Maybe there will be an unofficial way to weave through the park and ride area to skip some of the detour, but the official detour map doesn’t suggest an alternative.

Details from Sound Transit: Continue reading

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Seattle knew 5 years ago that a Rainier Ave safety project would save lives, but is just now starting work

Diagram of the new road layout with bus lanes and a center turn lane.Rainier Ave S has long held a terrible title: The most dangerous street in Seattle. It saw more crashes per mile than the city’s other deadly streets, including Lake City Way and Aurora, despite carrying far fewer trips.

“During a 6-month study in 2015, on average, there was 1 crash per day that took 45 minutes to clear,” SDOT wrote on the project website.

Despite being the central commercial street for many Rainier Valley neighborhoods, Rainier Ave was designed like a highway. With multiple lanes in each direction and no center turn lane, the street encouraged speeding and prioritized people traveling through the neighborhood over people trying to make turns or cross the street. So not only were there a lot of crashes at high speeds, but they were often the most dangerous kind (pedestrian, cyclist, head on and left turn collisions). The result has been decades of people dying and being seriously injured with little to no action to prevent them.

Then in 2015, Seattle redesigned a stretch of Rainier Ave S in Columbia City to reduce collisions along one part the street. It took an enormous amount of political pressure, including a protest in Columbia City, to convince the city to take action and redesign the street. And the results were jaw-dropping. Just by repainting the lines and changing some signs, SDOT’s Vision Zero team was able to reduce dangerous collisions and speeding by huge percentages. But most notably, this stretch of the street averaged 9 serious injuries and 1 death every year before the changes. The project reduced that to zero.

Chart showing before and after collision counts on Rainier Ave following a 2016 safety project.With such an incredible success, the city immediately went out and completed this safety project along the rest of the street, right? The logical and compassionate response to the results in these charts would be to all but declare a public health crisis and fix the rest of the street immediately before more people get hurt. If this were a medical study, researchers would have taken one look at these results, stopped the study and then immediately administered this obviously effective medicine to all patients. Because physicians have a sworn ethical duty to do no harm, and every number in these charts represents a real human being with people who love them. Even one should be considered unacceptable.

But there is no Hippocratic Oath for people making transportation policy. It is considered acceptable to knowingly allow people to die preventable deaths in traffic, and therefore such deaths are not treated like an emergency. Continue reading

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SDOT: Keep Moving Streets extended until October 5

Chart showing increased bike use on Lake Washington Blvd during the Keep Moving Street program.

From SDOT.

Seattle’s car-light Keep Moving Streets have been a success, so the city has extended them another month.

Created in partnership between SDOT and Seattle Parks, the city’s four Keep Moving Streets are typically on arterial streets near parks or along waterways that don’t have enough sidewalk space to safety handle all the people who want to use them. Streets, on the other hand, have lots of space. So the city decided to try closing streets to through traffic (local access is allowed) and open that space to walking and biking.

And people love it.

The program has been extended until October 5. But there’s no reason to think they won’t be needed beyond that point. Neighbors of the Alki Point project even put together a campaign to make it permanent (complete with a video).

More details on the October extension from SDOT: Continue reading

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Bike Route Alert 9/11-14: 520 Bridge closed, including the trail

Map of the 520 Bridge closures.The 520 Bridge will be closed 11 p.m. September 11 until 5 a.m. September 14 for a series of major construction projects. These closures include the trail over the lake.

The trail under the bridge on the Montlake side connecting Shelby/Hamlin to Lake Washington Blvd will be open during the daytime, but will close at night.

Details from WSDOT:

Reminder to travelers: SR 520 will completely close for construction between Seattle and the Eastside from 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 14. During that weekend, crews will repair a damaged sign bridge that goes over all lanes of SR 520, realign Montlake’s eastbound SR 520 on-ramps, restripe a section of the westbound lanes, and more. Check out our latest video to learn more.

What travelers should expect:

  • All east- and westbound lanes will be closed between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast near Medina.
  • The SR 520 Trail will be closed across Lake Washington.
  • The temporary path under SR 520 between East Montlake Park and Lake Washington Boulevard will be open during the daytime, with flaggers present, so please use caution. This path will close at night.
  • SR 520 will remain open between I-5 and Montlake Boulevard.
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Saturday: Peace Peloton rides from NE Seattle to White Center + Fundraiser

Event poster. Details in the story.Mmmmm… Junebaby is so good. And Saturday’s Peace Peloton starts at the NE Seattle restaurant in the early evening, then rides to Beer Star in White Center.

Dr. Rayburn Lewis will be speaking this week, a former Cascade Bicycle Club Board member who is Chief Medical Officer at International Community Health Services.

As always, the ride is focused on supporting Black-owned businesses and promoting economic reform for Black people.

Meet at Junebaby between 4 and 6 p.m. Pre-order food from the Junebaby website (seriously, it’s so good). The ride is 14 miles with a midway stop in Centennial Park. Riders will roll into White Center around 8:30.

It will be getting dark by the end, so make sure you bring bike lights.

And hey, wanna support the cause financially while also getting a chance to win a pro’s bike? You can! $50 gets you one chance to win Tejay van Garderen’s 2019 Cannondale Supersix EVO Race bike, and their goal is to raise $25,000. More details here. Continue reading

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