Bike Route Alert 6/6: Return of the Montlake Blvd detour

Map of the soon-to-be closed trail under SR 520 east of Montlake Blvd.

Map of the soon-to-be-closed trail from WSDOT.

Photo of a person biking on the trail near the bridge.The trail under the 520 Bridge east of Montlake Boulevard will close permanently June 6 as crews begin work on a new biking and walking bridge over the freeway, according to WSDOT.

The trail opened in March 2020 and was labeled as a temporary route, but it was very welcome at the time. After crews closed the 24th Ave E bridge, which had formerly been the primary bike route, the biking and walking detour to Montlake Blvd was not great. The old skinny sidewalk was sorely inadequate for a two-way biking and walking route, and the state chose not to make extra space on the boulevard to make the detour better.

Unfortunately, people will once again need to detour to Montlake Blvd for an extended period of time. This time, however, they will detour to an under-construction Montlake Blvd. as crews work to significantly expand the roadway as part of the $4.51 billion freeway expansion project (the total climbs to $5.11 billion when you add in the “Rest of the West” connection to Roanoke and I-5). Hopefully the biking and walking detour will not be as stressful as before, though that remains to be seen.

People will be need to deal with a detour until the new biking and walking bridge or the new path along 24th Ave E are open, currently scheduled for full completion in 2023. Hopefully a usable alternative will open as soon as possible.

concept map of the final project.

The finished project.

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Where are the people demanding safer roadways for driving?

Traffic camera image showing a backup on the bridge.

WSDOT traffic camera image of the collision site.

Biking to preschool this morning, as my daughter and I biked across the University Bridge like we do every morning, we saw some Seattle Police boats fishing in the calm waters of Lake Union below us. But they weren’t searching for fish, they were searching for a human being, the victim of a horrific act of violence hundreds of feet above the water.

The exact details are not all clear yet, but several people reported via Twitter that they saw a stalled vehicle on the bridge on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge before two cars collided. The impact was so powerful that the vehicles rolled over. One person was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. But the occupant of the other car was missing. The Harbor Patrol found their body hours later. The impact had apparently thrown them over the side of the towering freeway bridge and down hundreds of feet to the lake below.

Our deepest condolences go to this person’s friends and family.

Seattle Police tweet: #Update: SPD Divers have recovered the missing driver from the water below the bridge. WSP will conduct the crash investigation.I didn’t tell my daughter what the boats were doing in the water this morning, but I knew because I had seen the news reports before we left the home. My feed was full of news about the traffic backup. I-5 was closed southbound, and the traffic backup was going to be big. Here this person experienced unimaginable violence, and the news was mostly about a traffic jam. How can our society be so callous about human tragedy?

This morning’s fatality was exceptionally dramatic, but it is otherwise horribly common. 538 people died in Washington State traffic collisions in 2019. Of those, 327 were drivers or passengers in cars. Why do people who drive accept the level of danger they face every day traveling our highways and city streets? Where is the grassroots organization of car drivers demanding safer roadways? These deaths are preventable. This doesn’t happen everywhere, and there are known solutions that make roadways safer. Why is there no organization of drivers demanding that our public agencies implement solutions that could save lives? Continue reading

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RIP Gan Hao Li

A couple in front of water and tall buildings in Shanghai.

Gan Hao Li and Cui in Shanghai. Photo courtesy of Linda Vonheim to the Times.

The person killed while biking in SoDo May 11 has been identified as Gan Hao Li, the Seattle Times reports. He was 73.

Our deepest condolences to his loved ones.

Li immigrated from China and lived at Hirabayashi Place in Chinatown International District with his wife Cui. David Kroman at the Times spoke to several in his building about Li.

“He and his wife were just enjoying their retirement, growing old together,” [former building manager Linda] Vonheim said through tears, “and now that’s been taken away from her.” […]

“He was just a great man, one of the pillars of our community at Hirabayashi,” she said. “If you needed help he would be right there. He would never say no to anybody.”

Crystal Ng also lives in Hirabayashi Place and started to suspect something was wrong when she didn’t see his bike in the storage area. Ng often helped Li, who spoke little English, communicate with others in the building. “He always asked me if I’d had dinner yet and tell me that he hadn’t seen me for a long time,” she told the Times.

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Photo of parents and kids biking on a trail together. I’m testing the concept of having space on the blog for microposts. Basically, the kind of thing I might post to Twitter but aren’t fleshed out into a full story. These would not have headlines and would not be sent to email subscribers. Instead, they would sort of be sandwiched between longer posts.

What do you think?

Posted on by Tom Fucoloro | 5 Comments

Sunday: Hey parents, Kidical Mass is back!

Event poster with a photo of kids and adults biking together.After taking a few years off due to the pandemic, Kidical Mass is back. The celebration of family biking will host its first event of the 2020s Sunday as part of the first Bicycle Weekend on Lake Washington Blvd. Meet 10 a.m. in the Mount Baker Beach parking lot for a 3-mile ride down the car-free boulevard to Seward Park for a picnic and some playground time.

Seattle has gained a lot of new parents in since 2019, and I am very excited for them to discover Kidical Mass. It’s a very short, very slow and very patient group ride that welcomes people biking with kids on their bikes as well as biking with kids who are learning to ride. The ride also makes stops for playtime and snacks, making it a great opportunity to meet other biking families or get family biking advice.

Anyone who is not yet set up for family biking but is interested in learning more should also swing by the picnic. Familybike Seattle, the host of Kidical Mass, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help more families bike. They can share all kinds of resources and advice. They are also very nice.

See the event listing for more details.

Photo of parents and kids biking on a trail together.

Kidical Mass in 2018.

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Happy Bike Everywhere Day! + Map of stations

Happy Bike Everywhere Day!

This is the first return to form for the long-standing bike day formerly known as “Bike-to-Work Day.” The Cascade Bicycle Club-organized event is one of my favorite days of the year because there are usually a lot of people biking to work for either the first time or for the first time in a long time. So you can get a glimpse into the near future when biking has increased even more.

People also host “celebration stations” all over the area, which are a nice morning stop for people headed to 9 to 5 jobs. Most are open from 7 to 9 a.m., though some stations have longer hours or will be open in the early evening. Check the map for details about each one. But they are also fun to visit for those who don’t work 9 to 5 because, well, you can spend all morning biking from station to station. If you play it right, you can eat a full breakfast and drink an irresponsible amount of coffee, all for free.

This year will still not be back to full strength the way it was before the pandemic, but I’m very happy to see it back in any form.

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How to play Seattle Bike Bingo 2022

Front of the bingo card.Bike Bingo is back! Bicycle Benefits launched its 2022 Seattle bike-friendly business game this month, and it runs through the end of October.

The game is simple: Ride your bike to the local businesses on your card and get something there. Participating businesses have cards for sale for $3. They should also have Bicycle Benefits stickers for $5. Hand them your card and they will give you a stamp. Get 5 in a row to unlock a reward, such as a free chocolate bar from Theo or a movie pass to Central Cinema. If you keep going, you unlock another reward with every row. Fill the whole card to unlock even more rewards, but you’re going to have to bike all around town to accomplish this feat. You gotta earn it.

More details from Bicycle Benefits: Continue reading

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Fact-checking SDOT’s excuses for not making Rainier Ave safer

Rainier Ave S bus lanes project map with phase 1 between South Edmunds and S Walden Streets and Phase 2 between Walden and South Massachusetts Street.The good news is that  SDOT is redesigning one of the worst stretches of roadway in the city: Rainier Avenue S between Columbia City and I-90. The bad news is that their design still prioritizes car movement above transit mobility and safety, especially for people walking and biking.

This design is simply not good enough. We are in the midst of a serious road safety crisis, especially in South Seattle. This roadway is very wide and is the only direct route between Rainier Valley and the city center. It must be safe and accessible for everyone. As Councilmember Tammy Morales said this week, “There is no excuse for not increasing the safety of our streets and sidewalks for the people of Seattle.”

At the bottom of SDOT’s project page for the Rainier project, staff responded to the consistent and persistent request from residents that the roadway should have safe bike lanes. As first noted by Ryan Packer, the response reveals a frankly terrifying lack of understanding of both the law and the city’s existing plans and policies concerning bicycling. It unfortunately needs a line-by-line analysis:

We’ve heard that Rainier Ave S is an important street for people biking because it is often the flattest and most direct route.

Yep! So they know that bike lanes are needed.

Rainier Ave S is also an important and frequently used route for transit, freight, and other vehicles. We must balance these needs and priorities when making decisions about changes to the street and the limited right-of-way space.

“Balance these needs.” On this metaphorical scale, how much does a person’s life weigh?

To date, we’ve heard that the community’s top two priorities for Rainier Ave S are to reduce crashes and keep buses moving.

“Reduce crashes.” Notice how this is actually a different goal than “safety.” People walking and biking are involved in about 7% of Seattle traffic collisions, but they account for 66% of traffic deaths. We are not asking for a general reduction in crashes, we are asking for specific safety improvements.

People biking are allowed to travel in curb-side bus-only lanes in accordance with Washington State law. The bus-only lanes on Rainier Ave S will be curb lanes, meaning that people biking are allowed to travel in these lanes.

This is accurate.

People biking in curb-side bus lanes should remember that transit has the priority and buses will often make in-lane stops.

This is extremely wrong and a bit troubling. Buses do not have priority over people biking even in a bus lane. The regular rules of the road apply. If a person is biking in the bus lane, then the bus driver needs to follow RCW 46.61.110 like any other vehicle driver. That means they must “move completely into a lane to the left of the right lane when it is safe to do so.” If the city does not want someone on a bike to be in the way of buses, then they need to build a bike lane.

People biking in bus-only lanes also need to follow the rules of Washington State law, including riding as near to the right side of the lane as possible if traveling at a slower speed than the rest of traffic.

This is also extremely wrong and a bit troubling. The law absolutely and very intentionally does not say a person biking must ride “as near to the right side of the lane as possible.” (emphasis mine). It says they “shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe.” People biking are allowed to ride in the lane position that best keeps them safe because of course they are. It is simply unsafe to squeeze next to the curb to allow a car or a giant bus to pass you, and nobody should do this. Your life and safety is the most important priority at all times.

While bike lanes are not currently planned for Rainier Ave S, nor are they included in the Bike Master Plan, we are making other changes to Rainier Ave S that will improve conditions for people walking, biking, and rolling.

Rainier Ave S is, in fact, included in the Bike Master Plan. It was included as a part of the plan’s top-priority “Citywide Network,” which is why it got a thick blue line representing “protected bike lane.” The project team linked to the plan, but they apparently never bothered to look at it. I don’t understand how this happened, but it’s a sign that they need to go back and redo their work. Continue reading

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Councilmember Morales: ‘No excuse’ for city failing to make streets safer

Councilmember Tammy Morales gave a strong statement calling for Seattle to act on its street safety plans following the death of a person biking on 4th Ave S in SoDo last week.

“These fatalities are completely unacceptable because they are completely avoidable,” she said. “There is no excuse for not increasing the safety of our streets and sidewalks for the people of Seattle. No excuse. None. Even in parts of the city where industry thrives, there will be people who cannot or choose not to drive in the city. They deserve to be safe.” She then requested a Vision Zero update to hear the status of existing city safety plans.

“The safety of Seattleites is at risk, especially if we don’t make the investments in safety that we’ve been talking about for the past decade: protected bike infrastructure, sidewalk improvements, ADA compliance, and more,” she added on Twitter. “As part of Vision Zero, we have safety measures that have already been designed. I’m not interested in hearing about any more studies.”

Meanwhile, a recent update on the city’s Rainier Ave S design changes still fails to include desperately-needed bike lanes for the only flat and direct route option between Rainier Valley and downtown.

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Watch: My bike

Seattle Bike Blog is not a bike reviews site, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions.

Many people are searching for a bike right now, which can be both exciting and daunting. There are so many options, and it’s a lot to take in for a new rider. While I don’t necessarily have all the answers, I figured I would make a video talking through my bike and why I chose different components and accessories. This isn’t the perfect bike for everybody, but it is the perfect bike for me.

My advice is for people who want to bike around town, run errands and maybe go on some bike camping trips. All of my bike mechanic experience comes from trying to keep my bike rolling on Seattle streets over the past 13 years. If you have aspirations to race or do significant off-roading, then definitely seek advice elsewhere. My bike knowledge and style is about being practical, reliable and fun. A recurring theme in this video is, “It doesn’t really matter,” which is maybe unhelpful. If you are looking for actual advice on bike styles and components, I recommend watching The Path Less Pedaled.

But there’s just a lot of marketing and overly-complicated bike advice out there. What matters most is that you feel good when riding it and don’t want to stop.

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Cascade: Support the city’s Ballard Missing Link construction permit

Proposed cross-section of the NW 45th Street section.

Concept design from SDOT.

Seattle has applied for a permit needed to construct the simplified Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link in Ballard, and you know what that means. It’s time to submit yet another comment supporting the completion of this long, long, long, long delayed trail.

Cascade Bicycle Club has created a handy online form you can use to send your comment of support to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection. You have until Friday (May 20) to comment.

As we reported in November, Seattle changed its strategy for completing the Missing Link. By simplifying the project to focus on completing a safe and complete trail, the city hopes to bypass many of the legal hurdles that have long stymied SDOT’s efforts to finish this project while also keeping it within its existing budget and completing it before the end of the Move Seattle Levy. Voters approved that levy in 2015, and completing the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard was a popular highlight of the proposal.

There really isn’t much left to have a public debate about. The city has conducted exhaustive public outreach on this project in recent decades, and the response is always overwhelming: “Just build the trail already!” The only thing left is for the appellant group to finally run out of legal maneuvers to delay it further.

Under Mayor Ed Murray, the city tried to appease appellants by putting a large budget into the project, proposing a major rebuild of much of the roadway. The price tag for the project increased dramatically, much of which would have gone to elements that weren’t even part of the trail. However, even after a long stakeholder process to develop the high-budget design, appellants sued to stop the project anyway. After years of court battles, the appellants won a surprise, long shot decision based on a technicality that had nothing to do with SDOT or the design of the trail.

A separate legal action by the Ballard Terminal Railroad also challenged the city’s ability to realign the rarely-used railroad tracks, a key part of the design. Those tracks have caused an enormous number of injuries in the decades that this trail project has been on hold, and a group of injured bike riders recently filed a lawsuit against the city and the Ballard Terminal Railroad alleging that they failed to maintain the street “in a condition that is reasonably safe for ordinary travel.” Continue reading

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City announces new scooter and bike share permits: Spin and Wheels are out, Bird is in

Chart showing scooter and bike deployments and ridership in 2020 and 2021.

It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from this chart due to the pandemic (and smoke), but more devices and warmer weather generally resulted in more trips, as expected. From SDOT’s scooter share pilot program report (PDF).

Spin and Wheels have not received permits to operate in Seattle under the city’s 2022–2023 permit, SDOT announced. But for the first time, scooter company Bird will operate here.

LINK scooters have retained their permit, as have Lime’s scooters and bikes. The most recent entrant into Seattle, Veo, has also retained its permit for its bikeish-scooters.

SDOT says it selected the permits based on each company’s “commitment to safety, community engagement, and continual improvement.” From the SDOT Blog:

All three of the selected companies submitted robust proposals detailing their commitment to safety, community engagement, and continual improvement, as well as considering the needs of other people traveling on streets, sidewalks, bike paths, and trails.

The selection was difficult, and we are grateful for Wheels and Spin, two current scooter companies that will not continue operating in Seattle, for the transportation service they provided between 2020–2022.

We are issuing three permits at this time. We may issue an additional permit to another company in the future if we see a good opportunity to benefit the public.

Map of scooter trip destinations

Map of scooter trip destinations, from the scooter share pilot program report (PDF).

People took more than 1.4 million trips on shared scooters and bikes between October 2020 and September 2021, a figure that is likely to increase as more destinations fully reopen and the number of events grows. The top trip destinations were crowded areas like downtown or busy business districts, SDOT noted in their pilot permit summary. The average scooter trip was 15 minutes, traveled 1.4 miles and cost $6.63.

A portion of the fees collected from scooter and bike services help fund an adaptive cycling program the city hosts in partnership with Outdoors For All in Magnuson Park, providing people a chance to ride accessible cycles designed to work for people with many different disabilities.

Spin and Wheels will have “a few weeks to wind down their operations,” SDOT wrote. It will likewise take Bird a few weeks to get up and running.

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Person killed while biking in SoDo just a block from site of January death

A person driving a Jeep struck and killed someone biking in SoDo Wednesday morning, according to Seattle Police.

The driver of the Jeep was trying to exit a parking lot onto 4th Avenue near Holgate Street, and told police they were looking south for a break in traffic so they could turn north onto 4th. The person biking was headed southbound on the sidewalk. “The driver collided with the cyclist while turning on to 4th Avenue,” police said.

We send our condolences to their friends and family.

The collision was just a block away from the site of another fatal collision in early January. A person driving westbound on S Holgate Street collided with and killed Antionio Tiongco as he biked across Holgate at 3rd Avenue S. Both cases unfortunately highlight the lack of safe biking and walking routes in SoDo, which has very wide roads with few quality street crossings and no complete and connected bike infrastructure. As Ryan Packer reported earlier this month,”Almost exactly two years before the [January] 2022 incident, on January 7, 2020, Douglas Mayhew was walking across Holgate at 8th Ave S, where there is no marked crosswalk, when he was struck by the driver of a vehicle. He later died of his injuries. On October 2nd of that year, another pedestrian was struck and killed at 1st and Holgate. SoDo’s wide streets and unforgiving intersections are not designed with the safety of people outside vehicles in mind.”

Councilmember Tammy Morales wrote on Twitter,” There are 4000+ miles of road in the city and less than 1 percent of it is protected bike lane infrastructure. These fatalities are unacceptable because they’re avoidable. My heart goes out to the victim’s family. I hope people will join in advocating for safer streets for all.

Though it is not yet clear if it is related, the collision occurred around the time that the lower West Seattle Bridge was closed unexpectedly for an extended period of time. Anyone biking between West Seattle and downtown would have needed to detour to the 1st Avenue Bridge by biking through SoDo. Whether this person was detouring or not, the bridge closure highlighted yet another reason why safe routes through SoDo are needed. SDOT is set to begin the design process on a Georgetown to downtown protected bike lane this year. If all goes according to the current schedule, the lane should be open by the end of 2024.

More details from SPD:

SPD detectives are investigating after a driver in a Jeep fatally struck a cyclist Wednesday morning in a collision on 4th Avenue.

Around 10:30 AM, the driver of the Jeep was turning out of a parking lot along 4th Avenue South and Holgate Street, preparing to turn north. The driver stopped to wait for vehicle traffic and was looking south when a cyclist approached on the sidewalk from the north. The driver collided with the cyclist while turning on to 4thAvenue.

Seattle Fire personnel were in the area and immediately responded to render aid. The cyclist later died from their injuries.

The driver remained at the scene and was interviewed by police. He showed no signs of impairment. Traffic Collision detectives continue to investigate the incident.

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Bicycle Sundays are now called ‘Bicycle Weekends’ + City begins ‘visioning process’ for Lake Washington Blvd’s future

Map of the car-free Lake Washington Boulevard.

Map of the car-free section.

54 years after the first Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard, the car-free event has long solidified as a beloved tradition. As was the case in 2021, SDOT and Seattle Parks will expand Bicycle Sundays into what they are now calling “Bicycle Weekends,” a series of car-free weekends during the summer. The first 2022 Bicycle Weekend is May 20–23. Here’s the 2022 schedule:

  • May 20–23; 27–31
  • June 10–13; 24–27
  • July 1–5; 15–18
  • August 12–15; 19–22
  • September 2–6; 16–19

After a half century, public support has grown for making a permanent car-free space on the scenic and historic lakeside roadway. A 2021 online survey found overwhelming support for a permanently-car-free Lake Washington Boulevard. Though online surveys are a limited tool for collecting public sentiments, this one received 6,701 responses, 2,244 of which were from people living in the local 98118 zip code. That’s a lot of responses. Below are the results: Continue reading

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Tuesday: Tell SDOT we need a continuous waterfront bikeway

concept art showing people using the future bikeway and public space with elliott bay in the background.

When complete, the waterfront bikeway may become a Seattle icon.

Seattle’s downtown waterfront has been under construction for so long, it’s sometimes easy to forget that when the dust finally settles there will be a complete waterfront bikeway for the first time in Seattle history. Upon opening, this bikeway will surely become an icon of the city, the setting for countless photos showcasing our beautiful city. In 2024, it should be possible to bike from Pioneer Square to the Burke-Gilman Trail entirely along flat, separated bike lanes and trails. By 2025, this continuous connection will extend all the way to Alki and South Park.

This is the most important bike route under construction in Seattle, and we must do it right. But the high-budget Waterfront Seattle project ends north of Pike Place Market, leaving a nine-block gap between the flashy new bikeway and the existing Elliott Bay Trail in Myrtle Edwards Park.

Map showing the north terminus of the Waterfront Seattle plan.

The northern end of the Waterfront Seattle project shows how the bikeway (blue lines) will continue along the west (waterfront) side of Alaskan Way until Virginia Street.

SDOT is currently designing a redesign of Alaskan Way through Belltown that will include a bike connection, but the current design concept bafflingly switches sides of the street twice within a span of six blocks. They are hosting an online open house about the project 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on MS Teams, which is a great opportunity to comment. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways also has a handy online form you can use to send a letter to elected officials.

Here’s the current SDOT design:

Map the the proposed bike lane.cross section showing the bikeway on the east side of the street as a bike lane cross-section showing the bikeway on the east side of the street as a shared use path cross-section showing the bikeway as a bike lane on the west side of the street. Continue reading

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Interurban Trail near Lynnwood Transit Center reopens

Map of the closure and detour.

Map of the former closure.

The section of the Interurban North Trail near Lynnwood Transit Center is now open again following ten months of construction closure. This significantly shortens the ride through the area while also removing some awkward detour routing along the sidewalk.

Sound Transit completed its light rail and parking garage construction work on schedule to get the trail open for Bike Month. A section of the short Scriber Creek Trail will remain until the fall.

The reopened trail is actually a temporary asphalt path. Some sections will have wide paths for each direction while one shorter section will be a 10-foot, two-way path.

More details from Sound Transit:

After being closed for nearly ten months, the portion of the Interurban Trail between 52nd Ave. W and 44th Ave. W near the Lynnwood Transit Center will reopen on Sunday, May 1. The section of the trail was closed to allow construction crews to work on the future Lynnwood City Center light rail station, as well as the new parking garage.

Users will now have access to a temporary trail connection through this area while construction continues. The temporary trail connection will be paved with asphalt and include a two-way separated section with ten-foot wide lanes, as well as approximately 300 feet of 10-foot wide non-separated trail.

The Scriber Creek Trail connecting Scriber Creek Park to the Interurban Trail remains closed as construction at the future light rail station site continues. This trail connection is anticipated to open in fall 2022. Users should continue to use the detour route to connect to the Interurban Trail at 52nd Ave W and 44th Ave W. People should follow all detour signage and stay within marked trail detours.

The station at the Lynnwood Transit Center will serve one of the busiest transit centers in the region. A new garage will contain approximately 1,665 parking stalls in a five-story structure. Along with adjacent surface lots containing 226 stalls, the Lynnwood City Center Station will have nearly 1,900 parking stalls, approximately 500 more stalls than are on the current transit center site.

Sound Transit is simultaneously working to extend light rail north, south, east and west. After Lynnwood opens, passengers from the Lynnwood Transit Center will enjoy 20-minute rides to the University of Washington, 27-minute rides to downtown Seattle and 60-minute rides to Sea-Tac Airport. Trains from Lynnwood will also serve the Eastside and reach downtown Bellevue in 51 minutes.

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Everyday Rides relaunches its Seattle bike fun calendar + Meetup tonight

Everyday Rides relaunch meetup poster.Bike events are roaring back to life in Seattle at a level not seen since 2019. Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike Month calendar is packed, as is the Seattle Bike Blog Events Calendar. But that’s not all. After a two-year hiatus, Everyday Rides is relaunching its local bike fun calendar, and is hosting a relaunch meetup 6 p.m. tonight (5/4) at Good Weather Bicycle & Cafe on Capitol Hill.

“The pandemic threw everything for a loop, but the social cycling scene in Seattle is 🔥 right now and I’m super stoked for Summer,” wrote Everyday Rides creator Zach Hale in an email announcing the relaunch effort. “Come support Good Weather, have a drink, and chat about ideas for rides and events y’all would like to do this year. I’ll bring my bag of maps for folks to use and be available to help with ride planning and ideas for anyone looking for help making their ride dreams come true. Let’s fill the calendar this summer!”

Everyday Rides is not just a calendar, it’s also a tool to collect RSVPs and organize a ride group. A newly-added groups feature allows people to create and join private groups, which can post public events as well as events only visible to other members of the group. It can also host group conversations, so it can be a way to organize events and stay in touch. With more and more people ditching Facebook, Everyday Rides could be a more widely accessible home for your bike event listings.

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Person killed while biking in SoDo was 1 of 21 King County residents who died in January while presumed homeless

S Holgate Street at 3rd Ave S has a single stop sign facing 3rd Ave but no traffic control for users on Holgate. (Google maps)

Four days into 2022, someone riding a bike in SoDo, at the intersection of S Holgate Street and 3rd Ave S, was struck by someone driving a Hyundai Accent. Receiving substantial injuries in the crash, including a badly injured leg. The cyclist, Antonio Tiongco, was recorded as having his address registered at a social service agency in Belltown, and was presumed by the King County Medical Examiner’s office to be homeless.

Tiongco’s death was not noted by any major news outlets in Seattle, being one of at least twenty-one people presumed homeless who died in King County in just that month alone. So far in 2022, that number has reached 64, according to the medical examiner’s online dashboard. 188 people presumed homeless died in 2021, an increase from 167 in 2019. “Accident” is the leading cause of death, making up 62% of 2021 deaths and 72% of 2022 deaths.

The recently obtained police report details how the crash occurred, on a rainy January evening just before 5pm, nearly a half hour after sunset. The driver of the Hyundai was in the left lane of westbound Holgate heading toward the railroad tracks that cross Holgate just west of 3rd. Tiongco was attempting to cross Holgate at the same time. Traffic on 3rd has a stop sign, but there is no stop sign on Holgate at the intersection. Since October 1, 2020 people riding bikes can treat stop signs as yield signs in Washington State; there is no way to know whether Tiongco didn’t see the approaching vehicle coming or misjudged the distance on a rainy night. “Based upon my review of patrols investigation and interview of [the] driver…the proximate cause of this collision was Tiongco’s failure to obey the traffic control device (stop sign) and the grant the right of way to the 2014 Hyundai Accent,” the final report on the collision investigation states. Tiongco survived for ten days, passing away from his injuries on January 14th, 2022.

A diagram showing a cyclist hit by a driver in the middle of 3rd and Holgate

This diagram from the traffic collision investigation details how police reconstructed the crash. (Source: Seattle Police Department)

SODO is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Seattle for people to walk or bike in. In 2017, Celso Diaz was killed at 1st Ave S and S Andover Street where he worked. Diaz had been formerly homeless but had secured a place of his own to live when he was struck and killed by someone going twice the speed limit, who fled the scene.

Almost exactly two years before the 2022 incident, on January 7, 2020, Douglas Mayhew was walking across Holgate at 8th Ave S, where there is no marked crosswalk, when he was struck by the driver of a vehicle. He later died of his injuries. On October 2nd of that year, another pedestrian was struck and killed at 1st and Holgate. SoDo’s wide streets and unforgiving intersections are not designed with the safety of people outside vehicles in mind.

Our condolences go out to the family members and friends of Antonio Tiongco.

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Happy Bike Month! + Cascade’s calendar of events

Happy Bike Month, everyone!

Bike Everywhere Day 2022 is May 20, but there are also bikey events throughout May to help encourage more people to bike or to simply celebrate how great it is to bike around this beautiful place. This is the first full-on Bike Month since 2019, as the pandemic cancelled most Bike Month events in 2020 and 2021. So get out there, meet people and show your support for local bike events.

You can find more events (or create your own) on the Seattle Bike Blog Events Calendar.

From Cascade Bicycle Club: Continue reading

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Watch: A $0 fix for the notorious 9th and Mercer intersection

Every day during busy travel times, people turning left from southbound 9th Avenue N block the bike lane and crosswalk across Mercer Street. This happens every signal cycle, forcing people to try to find a path through the mess of cars and trucks just to get across the street. It has been this way for years.

After witnessing this blockage every day on the way home from my kid’s preschool, I became convince that there is a $0 fix to the problem. Well, “fix” is maybe the wrong word. But for $0, the city could make the bike lane and crosswalk much more usable. It is such an obvious solution that I’m sure I am not the first person to think of it (though I did suggest it a half decade ago when it opened). I made the video above to explain the concept.

Mercer Street’s traffic signals have a so-called “Intelligent Transportation Systems Program,” which is supposed to dynamically adjust the signal timings based on the needs of street users. But it is not very “intelligent” if it allows this complete failure to occur every single day for years on end. The problem is that the ITS Program is designed to prioritize vehicle movement, not to make it easier to walk or bike. This is the same system that steals crosswalk time and gives it to cars.

It’s time for some old-fashioned human intervention.

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