Upcoming weekend Link closures a good chance to try biking + Last chance to take station access survey

Graphic showing that a bus will serve each station between Sodo and Capitol Hill.In order to complete work necessary to connect the existing light rail line to the under-construction East Link line, Sound Transit will not operate trains between Capitol Hill and Sodo Stations for three upcoming weekends: October 12-13, October 26-27, and November 9-10.

There will be a free bus serving the stations during the closure, but it could also be a good excuse to try biking if that works for your trip.

And this weekend work is just a warning of larger challenges to come. Crews will be building a temporary center platform at Pioneer Square Station that Link trains will use during a very tough ten weeks starting in January. Trains will remain in operation during “Connect 2020,” but passengers will have to change trains at Pioneer Square Station. Not only that, but there will be fewer trains than usual. And people with bikes will have to exit at University Street Station (if southbound) or International District/Chinatown Station (if northbound) because there are concerns that there will not be room on the temporary platform.

So these upcoming weekend closures could be good practice for January for anyone who currently relies on taking a bike on Link through downtown.

Take this survey today

Today (August 23) is also the final day to submit comments to Sound Transit’s station access survey. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is encouraging people to give the two Seattle projects in the North King Subarea a high (3) rating.

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Seattle starts planning for shared scooters. Like, for real this time.

Planned timeline for Seattle's scooter share rollout. Details noted here are included in the story text.Scooters are coming to Seattle next year probably maybe.

Work to create the framework for the scooter share pilot project starts now, along with environmental review (of course). SDOT plans to finalize the permit details in the fall and winter, then launch the system in winter or spring.

Scooters have proven to be very popular in cities where they have launched, typically attracting significantly more ride per day than bike share. As we reported previously, Seattle is fairly unique as a city with a large dockless bike share system, but no scooters. In many other cities, companies have been either shifting focus to scooters or have dropped bikes entirely.

Seattle’s scooter permits will be entirely separate from the city’s bike permits, though many relevant details will likely be copied from the extensive bike permit.

It’s not yet clear what a scooter share pilot would mean for bike share. It’s potentially good news that companies offering both devices will not be forced to choose either bikes or scooters because scooters typically generate more revenue than bikes. But it will obviously be up to the companies whether and to what extent they continue offering bikes.

As a much newer technology, there are also lots of questions about how scooters will fit into Seattle. How will their motors handle our steeper hills? What about their brakes on the way down? What sort of technical requirements should the city include to ensure the devices are safe?

Unlike bikes, which have a very long history of use and studies in urban environments, electric scooters are relatively novel. And the designs of the devices has massively advanced in recent years. Data about scooter safety is still fairly new and incomplete, though the massive spread of the devices in cities across the nation is starting to generate some useful information. Some safety issues are shared, like the need for protected bike lanes. But some safety issues are different. Continue reading

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Don’t listen to SDOT, wear whatever you want to wear when walking on Rainier Ave

“Rainier Ave S averages more crashes per day than anywhere else in Seattle,” the public agency in charge of making city streets safe wrote on bus and light rail station ads in South Seattle recently. As the @FixRainier Twitter author put it, “Are you bragging here, @seattledot?”

So what is SDOT — the only people who can do anything to change that terrible fact — doing about it? They’re telling people walking to wear different clothes so they “Don’t Blend In,” the official name of a campaign that “encourages and empowers pedestrians and bicyclists to wear bright-colored clothing that stands out.”

Is there data somewhere that shows people who walk across Rainier Ave wear dark clothing more often than people anywhere else in Seattle? Of course not. Because people’s clothing choices are not the problem on Rainier. The problem is the design of the street, which puts people in harm’s way and encourages car speeding.

Wear what you want to wear. Dark-colored clothing is normal and fine if that’s what you picked out today, and our city should be defending your right to exist safely while wearing it. You do not need special clothes to walk around your neighborhood, and we should stand up against a public agency trying to say otherwise. And if someone wearing a black jacket is hit while crossing a street with a long history of speeding and collisions, that person’s fashion choice is not the problem. The street with a long history of speeding and collisions is the problem. And the only people who can change that street work at SDOT or have an office in City Hall. Continue reading

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As shared bikes and cars get more exclusive, it’s time to start thinking about what happens next

Lime bikes are blowing up. Literally.

Exploding Lime Bike battery on UW campus … yikes! from r/Seattle

This post is not about the couple of battery explosions reported in Seattle recently, but it’s hard to ignore that very visible (and rare) problem. This post is about recent pricing and service area changes by bike (Lime and Jump) and car (Car2Go and the now-defunct ReachNow) share services in Seattle, signs of trouble for the app taxi services (Lyft and Uber), and what Seattle and other cities need to start thinking about for the next phase.

I don’t have any answers. Instead, I want this post the be a place to collect your thoughts as users and to get folks thinking about the role of local governments in the future of shared mobility. Primarily, this site is focused on what comes next for bike share, though it seems worthwhile to consider the bikes within the context of the car-based services. I also want to restart conversations about public funding for bike share, which has proven to be incredibly valuable and effective at increasing the number of trips around town by bike.

But first, lets talk briefly about how we got where we are, what’s working and what isn’t. Continue reading

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Which NE 43rd St concept do you like best for U District Station access?

Map of the project area with NE 43rd Street highlighted.U District Station is going to change everything about the neighborhood when it begins operating in 2021, and the streets should reflect that. Located at Brooklyn Ave and NE 43rd Street, the main station entrance should be supported by streets that reflect the walking, biking and transit focus needed to help it succeed and thrive.

Today, NE 43rd Street dead ends into the station construction site halfway between the Ave and Brooklyn. The street also dead ends into UW Campus at 15th Ave NE. So it is not a necessary street for car movement, making it a great candidate to go car-free. Unfortunately, concepts floating around shy away from going fully car-free, which is a shame.

One big goal needs to be increasing the walking space to accommodate the more than 20,000 daily riders expected. Another goal, of course, is bike access. Bus access is a bit up in the air because it’s not fully clear whether buses will need to operate on the street or if they would be better serving the station via Brooklyn. However, plans seem to assume westbound bus operations complete with new trolly wires for the re-routed bus routes.

The U District Mobility Group and SDOT have two different concepts at this point, and the UDMG is currently taking feedback via an online survey.

Both concepts significantly widen the walking spaces, and both have potential. But the devil is in the details for both of them. So I’d like to hear from you all in the comments below.

SDOT’s counter-flow bike lane

SDOT's concept image, showing a protected bike lane eastbound and a shared lane westbound. Each lane is separated by greenery.SDOT’s design definitely looks a little strange at first. It has a protected bike lane eastbound, but the single westbound lane would be shared by people biking, buses and even … cars? Well, this is where the details become important. The SDOT design would allow all vehicles on the one block between 15th and the Ave, switching to transit and bikes only west of the Ave.

How will the city prevent illegal driving west of the Ave? This question is vital. As we have seen with the Bell St “park” in Belltown, signage alone will not be enough to prevent people from driving there. And if this street gets clogged with cars, the bike access, transit efficiency and walkability goals will be hurt. But if they have a physical car diverter plan, then this option could work.

If planners decide against serious, physical traffic diversion, then they should build bike lanes in both directions. And there also needs to be space for people biking to safely pass buses at bus stops or this shared lane concept won’t really work as a bike route.

The city describes their design as curbless, so you could imagine it as Bell Street, but with a separated counter-flow bike lane.

U District Mobility Plan’s wider curbless concept

Concept image showing a curbless street. Road edges are marked by tactile strips.

Facing east.

The U District Mobility Plan concept looks a lot like the Bell Street “park” in Belltown and gets rid of the bike lane. It’s a curbless street, and road edges are marked by tactile strips for accessibility. The concept would be open to transit, biking and “local traffic.” Hmm.

As we’ve learned from Bell Street, this design works really well when there are no cars, but falls apart once people start ignoring the signs banning through car traffic. And since there will be significant demand for pick-up and drop-off at the light rail station, this street concept would fall apart if it becomes clogged with cars. And simply posting signs will not work. Physical car diverters are needed, which is a challenge when you are trying to allow buses.

But if car traffic is removed or severely limited, then no bike lane would be necessary. The benefits of a curbless street is that people can take over the space. Sidewalks can spill into the road, which is a good thing. You can imagine cafe seating and street festivals and all kinds of cool stuff here. But it has to be done right or cars will just fill the whole space like they always do.

This concept is also set up better for going car-free, which should be the goal for this street, especially for the blocks adjacent to the station.

Concept diagram showing the U District Mobility Plan's curbless idea.

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An olive branch? Mayor Durkan celebrates downtown bike lanes, acknowledges delays

Map of the Center City Bike Network projects due for construction.

Map of the Center City Bike Network projects due for construction.

Seeing Queen Anne Greenways’ Mark Ostrow give Mayor Jenny Durkan a high five from his bicycle is the image that sticks in my head from Wednesday’s press event celebrating the opening of the 8th Ave bike lane downtown (Crosscut’s Josh Cohen captured the moment on video).

The news itself was not a big surprise today. Several projects already announced by SDOT and all but mandated by a City Council resolution are moving ahead, including 9th Ave N8th AvePike St2nd Ave-to-King St, and the King St Neighborhood Greenway.

The real news is that Mayor Durkan is celebrating and promoting a bike project, a shift from her stance for most of her term as mayor. Not only that, but she acknowledged during her speech that bike projects have been delayed further than they should have.

“We know when we hit our reset, we didn’t reset quickly enough,” she said, according to the Urbanist.

This one press event will not heal relations with bike and safe streets advocates, and it also will not put the delayed bike plan back on pace. But it feels like an olive branch, and advocates from Cascade and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways took it (an olive branch on Olive Street! Coincidence?).

I hope this is the start of a change. She clearly took advice from the wrong people when she chose to cancel the designed, funded and contracted bike lanes on 35th Ave NE, and that decision has turned out to be a huge mistake. So I hope mending relationships with safe streets advocates also means she may seek advice from them in the future. Continue reading

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Trail Alert 8/16-18: Big Burke-Gilman Trail detour planned through UW

Map of the detour route via Pend Oreille Road, Mason Road and Rainier Vista.UW will detour a significant stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail between Pend Oreille Rd and Rainier Vista this weekend for tree removal work.

The detour will be in place starting 6 a.m. Friday morning and going through Sunday evening. Work hours are 7 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.

The route is largely on-road, but hopefully traffic won’t be much of an issue since school is not in session.

For more details, check out the project notice from UW.

 

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Four years later, city settles with man terribly injured following streetcar track crash

Daniel Ahrendt was biking westbound on Jackson Street in May 2015 when he crossed the very wide five-way intersection with Rainier, Boren and 14th Avenues. A bus was stopped next to the curb, so he changed lanes to pass. That’s when everything went horribly wrong. The track grabbed his bike wheel, sending him crashing to the ground. Then the bus pulled away from the curb and ran over him, crushing his pelvis and leg. He nearly died of blood loss, but medics and the trauma team at Harborview were able to save his life. He was hospitalized for a month.

That was May 2015, and he just recently settled with the city for $1.55 million. He no longer bikes and now lives in New York, the Seattle Times reports.

“I learned through my attorney that nine other similar bicycle/rail gap accidents had occurred where bicyclists fell due to the First Hill Streetcar tracks before my crash,” he wrote in a statement. “Seven accidents had occurred after my crash. I hoped that my lawsuit would help prevent additional, similar bicycle accidents.”

His crash was nightmarish, but it was also preventable. Before building the First Hill Streetcar line, it was already well known that streetcar tracks are dangerous for people biking because the gap is wide enough to grab all but the widest bicycle tires. And once your wheel starts to slip into the track, you don’t stand a chance. Seattle and Sound Transit learned lessons from the dangerous design of the South Lake Union streetcar, especially on Westlake. That’s why the First Hill Streetcar runs next to a protected bike lane on Broadway.

But they did not continue this protected bike lane for the rest of the route, including heavily-biked Jackson Street. This was a huge mistake, and people continue to get injured.

As is common in settlements like this, the city did not officially admit fault. But something needs to happen to improve safety along our streetcar routes, including Jackson Street, Yesler Way and in various parts of South Lake Union. And experience from around the world shows that the only complete solution is to have separated bike lanes that cross streetcar tracks at safe angles as close to 90 degrees as possible.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has a truly despicable quote in the Seattle Times, basically telling everyone who has been injured (or killed) after their bike wheels got caught in the streetcar tracks that it was their fault. Continue reading

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Get ready for a major Fairview Ave N detour later this year + A look at some of your options – UPDATED

UPDATE 8/20: SDOT says the closure could start at early as September 16.

Official detour map showing the walking and biking detour along Aloha Street.If you bike along the east side of Lake Union into the city center, then you should get ready for a significant change to your bike route later this year.

Work has already started to prepare for the Fairview Ave N bridge replacement, but the extended closure of the bridge will cut off the only flat bike route between Eastlake and South Lake Union/downtown for more than a year. So it’s not a bad idea to start trying out some alternate options to see what works best for you.

You may not fully realize you are on a bridge when you cross over the Fairview Ave N bridge. But if you walk along the floating path to the north of the bridge, you can see that the roadway is supported by aging timber that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. The structure does not meet seismic standards, and it is the final timber-supported major bridge left in the city. Replacing it was a key project in the Move Seattle Levy, which voters approved in 2015.

The full bridge is scheduled to close for construction in the Fall and won’t reopen until 2021. Exact dates are not yet listed on the project webpage. The new bridge will have a two-way bike lane and a sidewalk on the north side of the bridge:

Diagram of the existing bridge layout, with a 9-foot shared walking and biking path on the north side.Diagram of the new bridge with a 12-foot two-way bike lane and an 8-foot sidewalk on the north side.

Work is underway right now to build elements of the Aloha Street walking/biking/transit detour. This will probably be the best option for most people, though it does include some significant climbing. A new traffic signal at Aloha and Eastlake should help people heading north make that left turn onto Eastlake.

One big question is how well the paint-only bike lanes on Eastlake Ave will hold up under the expected increase in traffic.

Eastlake-to-Stewart

Continue reading

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Council bills say major paving projects ‘shall’ build planned bike lanes, push for downtown and south end bike lanes + Support these bills Friday

Concept image of the new 35th Ave NE design, with two parking lanes, two general purpose lanes and a center turn lane.

A proposed bill would require SDOT to go to the Transportation Committee and justify decisions like the one depicted here on 35th Ave NE, in which Mayor Durkan directed them to delete the designed and contracted bike lane. They would also need to outline how the needed bike connection could be made without the bike lanes.

Seattle already has a complete streets ordinance that says SDOT needs to consider the needs of all road users when making major road investments. The city also has a Bicycle Master Plan that notes where the highest-priority bike connections are. And yet Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT were still able to delete the planned, designed and contracted 35th Ave NE bike lane with little to no explanation or justification. That decision has proven to be an absolute disaster, failing to improve safety, failing to improve walking or biking connectivity and failing to make any progress toward the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

That’s why a new bill from the Transportation Committee is sort of like a more specific and tighter complete streets ordinance that says an improvement identified in the Bicycle Master Plan “shall be installed” whenever SDOT “constructs a major paving project along a segment of the protected bicycle lane network.” Understanding that the Bike Plan has not gone far enough into design to determine for sure whether projects are feasible, there is still an out for SDOT. However, the department would need to justify their decision to the Council and present how the needed bike connection could be advanced without the bike lane. (Full disclosure: My spouse Kelli works as a Legislative Assistant for committee Chair Mike O’Brien and worked on this bill)

So while it still falls short of requiring the city to build the Bike Master Plan, it should be able to help avoid future 35th Ave NE fiascos. For example, if SDOT had to justify their decision, they would have had a very hard time doing so. And the Council could possibly have had a chance to take action to intercede if, for example, the decision were political rather than based on best practices or city policies. Which it was. And perhaps it could also be useful for a mayor who doesn’t want to take political heat for a project by diffusing responsibility across the Council, which is responsible for passing these transportation policies and plans.

Cascade Bicycle Club has put out a call to action urging people to attend the special committee meeting 2 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) to support this bill.

Here’s the key section from the draft bill: Continue reading

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Parks levy with $166M for trails passes by wide margin, Council races take shape – UPDATED

Screenshot of King County Parks levy results as of election night. It was passing with 67.25 percent voting to approve.

Result as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Next ballot drop is expected Friday afternoon.

With more than two thirds of King County voters supporting it as of the initial ballot drop, the King County Parks levy is passing by a very wide margin. This levy includes millions for major regional trail connections, including funds needed to keep the Eastrail (formerly the “Eastside Raid Corridor Trail”) on track for opening in just a few years. This 42-mile rail trail connecting Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton is the single most transformative biking and walking project happening in our region. This is a really big deal.

The levy will also fund the Renton-to-Des Moines Lake to Sound Trail, the final sections of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, the missing Green River Trail link into South Park and a whole lot more. In all, about 20% of levy funding will go to trails.

Screenshot of trail project list, including: Eastside Rail Corridor (Bellevue, Woodinville, Kirkland) East Lake Sammamish Trail Capital improvements for existing Regional Trail System Lake to Sound Trail (Renton, Tukwila) Green to Cedar River Trail - North A (Maple Valley) Green River Trail Extension - North (Seattle) Regional Trails Acquisition Interurban Trail South investments (Kent, Auburn) Foothills Trail (Enumclaw) East Lake Sammamish Trail - Redmond Light Roil Extension Wayne Golf Course Trail Connector improvements Interurban Trail to Burke-Gilman Connection Interurban TraiI Connection (Milto ) Kirkland Green Loop Trail Soos Creek Trail Missing Link of Green River Trail

Trail project list from the motion creating the levy (PDF).

So this vote alone makes yesterday’s primary a huge success for biking in our region.

The Seattle City Council races also took shape as the often huge fields of candidates in each district have been whittled down. Most of the worst candidates didn’t make it through (so long, Ari Hoffman), but neither did some great candidates (thanks for running Phyllis!). Continue reading

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Primary votes due Tuesday + It’s not too late to register or get a replacement ballot

Map of the King County Parks Levy projects.

A map of King County Parks Levy improvements.

Hey, you! Early primary ballot return rates have been less than inspiring, so I know many of you reading this right now still have your ballot sitting on your kitchen table. Hey, that’s fine. My ballot is still here, too. But you can’t get distracted today and tomorrow and forget to vote because there’s a lot riding on this primary.

First off, you get a chance to approve the King County Parks levy (Proposition 1), which includes absolutely vital funding for regional trails like the EasTrail (formerly the Eastside Rail Corridor Trail), the Lake to Sound Trail between Renton and Des Moines, and finishing the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

So even if you are experiencing decision paralysis over your district’s Council vote, voting for the Parks Levy (and the Seattle Public Library Levy!) should be reason enough to inspire you to open that ballot, mark your votes and get it in a mailbox (must be post-marked Tuesday or earlier, so not a great last-day option) or a dropbox (final collection at 8 p.m. Tuesday).

If you have lost your ballot, you can either head down to the King County Elections centers in downtown Seattle and Renton to vote in-person or download and print your ballot then mail it in. And new this year, you can now register and vote any day including election day. So even if you procrastinated, head down to the Renton or Seattle King County Election center and vote in-person.

For a refresher on the Seattle City Council district primaries, check out our posts:

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Have thoughts on races we haven’t explored in-depth? Share them in the comments below.

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Sunday: ‘Feast in the Street’ on Beacon Hill to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Eat food, listen to music and support the work of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Sunday, all in the middle of Beacon Hill’s Roberto Maestas Festival Street.

Feast in the Street is a fundraiser for SNG that also “lets us re-imagine our public spaces in a way that puts people first.” That’s pretty on-brand for the group, I’d say.

You can register online for a spot, and then you can even join one of five neighborhood rides to the feast (or you could just take light rail to Beacon Hill, since the party is right outside the station entrance).

More details from SNG: Continue reading

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Bike News Roundup: Biking Seattle’s freeways

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I posted a Bike News Roundup. Oops. That means this one’s a doozy.

First up, here’s a cool first-person view of the 2019 Emerald City Ride by bobco85:

Pacific Northwest News Continue reading

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TRU’s Wilson: Four steps ‘to spark Seattle’s transportation revolution’

Screenshots of the Crosscut posts.

Read on Crosscut: Part 1, Part 2.

Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union has penned a twopart op-ed for Crosscut, and of course they are both must-reads.

Seattle’s climate emissions are increasing. And transportation is our biggest offender. We need a lot more people to drive a lot less. And we don’t have a lot of time to change course. So how are we going to do this?

For regular readers of this blog, few of her suggested solutions will be a surprise. But unfortunately, not everyone is a regular reader of this blog (hard to believe, I know, but it’s true). Wilson does a good job simplifying a set of complex and intertwined issues into ideas Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city has the power to improve.

The mayor can prioritize walking, biking, transit and accessibility, even in the face of opposition.

“After a century of auto dominance, most of us don’t even notice how much of our public space has been appropriated for cars, or how deeply driving is subsidized and written into our laws,” she writes. “There’s no way to revoke this planet-destroying privilege without making some people angry. The mayor needs to stand firm in defense of projects that shift us toward a sustainable future, even when it’s hard.” Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 7 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.

Now, District 7. Right off the bat, we gotta talk about the Magnolia Bridge. Every candidate supports replacing this bridge, but the most popular idea among candidates is a “one-to-one” replacement of the car-centric freeway-style viaduct, which is complete nonsense. This would cost upwards of $420 million, a price tag that is simply not justified by the relatively small number of households it would serve. Investing in car-centric freeway infrastructure is also not in line with our climate goals. Our city has massive transportation challenges in quickly-growing parts of town and in lower-income areas that have long been neglected.

In order to make a Magnolia Bridge replacement make sense, it’s going to need to be paired with some major changes in the area, including a lot more housing and transit. So while all candidates support replacing the bridge, there are some differences in how they talk about it. Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 6 candidate for biking and safe streets? – UPDATED

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.

Oh, Mike O’Brien. Please don’t leave us.

District 6 has drawn the biggest field of candidates, and the race is also among the least clear for biking and safe streets. On one hand, there are a lot of candidates who told Lester Black at the Stranger (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses) that they ride bikes (Terry Rice, Jon Lisbin, Dan Strauss, Heidi Wills, Jay Fathi, Joey Massa and Ed Pottharst) and think the city should invest more money to build bike lanes (Rice, Strauss, Fathi, Massa, Pottharst). So that’s good.

But no single candidate has yet emerged as the favorite among transportation-focused organizations, which is disappointing.

Melissa Hall has a good social media presence, sharing quality takes on transportation issues. For example, she supports completing the Missing Link which is somehow not a unanimous opinion among candidates this year. Her campaign got off to a late start and has been building. The question is whether she has a big enough campaign operation to get enough votes out. As we saw with the last mayoral race, being right about stuff is not enough to win an election.

Summary of public feedback on the Missing Link Environmental Impact Statement. Shilshole is the planned route.

The only candidate to get multiple endorsements from the orgs we’ve been tracking is Dan Strauss, who is currently a staffer for Sally Bagshaw. Strauss says a lot of the right things except for one big one: He is against completing the Missing Link. That’s a huge red flag. The city has already studied this section of trail far beyond the point of absurdity, and they found no evidence that the trail would harm jobs or any of the other arguments opponents have used in fighting for the past couple decades. I also worry about what opposing the trail says about who has his ear. The overwhelming majority of people (over 80 percent) who responded to the city’s multiple public outreach efforts about the trail support completing it as designed. Only 5 percent wanted Leary, Strauss’s stated preference. So who is he listening to?

UPDATE: Strauss commented below, and then he and I talked on the phone to somewhat clarify his Missing Link position. He wouldn’t budge from saying that he prefers Leary. But his position isn’t because of the business appellants, it’s because of the MLK Labor Council (I previously interviewed Nicole Grant about the council’s opposition).

“I know that a lot of people in the past have used Leary as a false alternative,” he said. “I want to get it done.” He also described himself as “very pro-bike.”

“I want a connected network of protected bike lanes,” he said. “I’m gonna go to the mat on the whole bike network.”

Work is scheduled to begin this fall, though schedule relies on a court ruling.  I asked him if he would try to stop trail construction when/if work begins.

“My preference would still be Leary. But for me, we need to get it done now,” he said. So what does that mean? I dunno.

Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 5 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.

Couldn’t at least one of those great District 4 candidates have lived just a few blocks further north?

The District 5 race leaves a lot to be desired. Incumbent Debora Juarez has not drawn a high quality challenger, it seems. Juarez gave good, though not inspiring, answers to Lester Black at the Stranger (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses), which is more than I can say about the other candidates who bothered to respond.

Juarez has somehow managed to publicly stay out of the 35th Ave NE bike lanes fight, though her lack of support for the project, which crossed into her district, is itself saying something. The mayor’s last-minute decision to cut those bike lanes has proven to be a huge mistake, and her lack of advocacy for SDOT’s designed and contracted plan has resulted in a more dangerous street in her district and a gap in her district’s bike network. Folks who live in D5 and ride a bike could really have used her help standing up for them.

The Urbanist notes in their non-endorsement that “In her questionnaire, Juarez refused to side with safety advocates pleading with the city council to save lives on NE 35th Avenue. She insisted the concerns of business owners and landowners must be given extra weight no matter how late in the process or badly needed the safety upgrades are.”

But she says the city should be building more bike lanes and providing more funding for bike improvements. She has helped work on home zones and says she supports safer streets and Vision Zero. That’s all great to hear. 35th, though, was a solid test of her true commitment to safe streets, and she failed it.

I just wish there were a challenger in this race who could press her on these issues. But there doesn’t seem to be.

Here’s a look at some endorsements: Continue reading

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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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