Dr. Adonia Lugo is returning to Seattle Saturday to talk about her book Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance.
Lugo lived in Seattle for a spell a few years back while working on her anthropology dissertation on bicycle culture. Before that, she was a founder of Los Angeles’ massive open streets event CicLAvia. While in Seattle, she created the Seattle Bike Justice Project and helped Seattle Bike Blog organize the 2011 Safe Streets Social. Since leaving Seattle, Lugo has worked for the League of American Bicyclists, has contributed to and edited the academic collection Bicycle Justice and Urban Transformation, and has been an organizer of The Untokening.
Basically, Adonia is awesome (and, full disclosure, a friend), and you should go to G&O Family Cyclery in Greenwood at 6 p.m. Saturday evening to hear her speak.
As an anthropologist, much of her work is very academic. But Bicycle/Race, published this year by Microcosm Publishing, is written for everyone, reading more like a memoir of her adventures studying and leading US bike culture.
A walk through three WA State ecosystems in as many parking spaces, from Park(ing) Day 2014.
Park(ing) Day is one of my favorite holidays. For one day, people imagine better ways we could use just a tiny percentage of all the precious city space typically reserved for storing cars.
The idea started in 2005 in San Francisco and has since spread across the world. Originally, and still in many places, participants operated subversively and without official permission. But Seattle has taken a more proactive approach by not only encouraging the day of creativity, but also organizing an easy and free permit process for participants.
At a time when SDOT seems unable to escape bad headlines and goes from interim Director to interim Director without clear leadership, a day of pure fun and creativity may be just what the department needs. It’s a chance to celebrate the fun side of managing public spaces.
The plan for 35th Ave NE. Or is it? We can’t tell you because secret, ongoing meetings are confidential.
SDOT and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Office (UPDATE 9/20: and Councilmember Rob Johnson’s Office) has convened a confidential mediation session between a handful of people who support and oppose bike lanes at part of the city’s under-construction 35th Ave NE repaving project.
Seattle Bike Blog has been working for a while to learn details about these mediation sessions — which are paid for by public funds and could influence public investments on a public street — but has been unable to receive times and locations for the meetings so I can report about them for you.
UPDATE 9/19: Since publication, Twitter user @bruteforceblog noted that the city’s chosen moderator John A Howell of Cedar River Group donated not only to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s campaign ($200) (UPDATE 9/20: and $100 to Councilmember Johnson’s 2015 campaign) but also to the failed 2009 City Council campaign of Jordan Royer, according to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. Royer is an organizer of the bike lane opposition, a committee officer of the group’s new political action committee and a party to the mediation. Royer, seen here embracing Mayor Durkan during a campaign event, also donated $500 to Durkan’s campaign. In 2009, Howell donated to Royer’s campaign on two occasions totaling $250. Another Cedar River Group employee, Tom Byers, donated another $400 to Royer bringing the firm’s reported total to $650.
I have an email out to both the Mayor’s Office and Howell asking how he was chosen for this role, whether this connection to a member of the opposition was disclosed and whether they see this as a conflict of interest. I will update this when/if I hear back. UPDATE: Howell emailed to say he did disclose his ties to Royer and does not think it is a conflict of interest:
I worked for Jordan Royer’s father in the 1970’s and 80’s. As a result, I have known Jordan for 40 years. I disclosed this to city officials. I have friends and colleagues on both sides of the debate about 35th Ave. I personally have not sided with either perspective, and will not do so. To answer your question about a 9 year old contribution to a city council race, I do not see that as a conflict.
UDPATE 9/20: Councilmember Johnson called to defend the talks, saying he reached out to Howell because he thought his relationship with Royer would be helpful.
“[Howell] is one of if not the most accomplished mediator and facilitator I’ve ever worked with,” Johnson said. “Between the unlit fireworks and gas cans, the death threats, the threat of real protest in front of people’s houses, and the real impact it is having on neighborly relations in the neighborhood, I had hoped that hiring John would allow people to come together and really take the temperature down.
“This isn’t a conspiracy by the Mayor’s Office.”
Erica Barnett at the C Is For Crank reported Tuesday that the mediation is costing taxpayers $14,000, and Seattle Bike Blog has learned that this money is coming from SDOT (UPDATE: An SDOT spokesperson confirmed that the funds are coming from the Bicycle Program). Barnett also reports that the completion of the project, which is already under construction, may be delayed because “SDOT is having an ongoing dialogue with the communities impacted by these projects,” according to a presentation to the City Council Transportation Committee (PDF).
There is no doubt that the opposition to 35th Ave NE bike lanes has been very organized. Several people behind the Save 35th Ave NE group have even formed a political action committee called Neighborhoods For Smart Streets PAC. Because saying people are not smart if they don’t agree car parking is more important than safety, that’s a great way to engage with your neighbors.
But regardless of the outcome, confidential mediation is an inappropriate way to make decisions about public investments, especially when we already have official policies and plans to guide such decisions. How are the participants for the mediation chosen? How do we know every Seattle resident is appropriately represented in these talks? Several of the anti-bike lane organizers happen to be lawyers. Do all parties have equal access to lawyers?
35th Ave NE passes though a very wealthy and white neighborhood compared to the rest of the city, but the investment to spend millions to repave that street is being made by all of us no matter where we live. Every street is of citywide importance. That’s why we make plans like the Bicycle Master Plan or policies like the Complete Streets Ordinance and the elected City Council passes them in the full light of day. Continue reading →
I thought we had already established this a few years ago during public outreach for Roosevelt RapidRide, but SDOT has tried again to find an alternative to building bike lanes on Eastlake Ave. And, just like before, the results are clear that Eastlake is the only good option.
The project team presented the latest study to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board earlier this month, and they found that the previously planned protected bike lanes on Eastlake are the best option for the project by essentially every measure other than car parking. They conducted a serious study of nine options, then narrowed that down to four, then found what anyone who bikes in the area could have told them: Eastlake is the only continuous option without very steep climbs that serves Eastlake businesses and connects the U Bridge to downtown.
And let’s not forget that the final phase of SR 520 work should include a bike connection from Eastlake to the 520 Trail, making Eastlake Ave even more important.
The study explored a new concept for the route that is, frankly, quite baffling. The city would build a protected bike lane northbound on Eastlake Ave, but would route people headed southbound down a steep 11 percent grade hill on E Roanoke Street to Yale Ave E, which curves to meet back up with Eastlake south of the neighborhood’s main business district (the city’s study did not seem to factor downhill grade in its analysis even though a steep downhill can also be a barrier to biking, especially if you have to make a turn mid-hill like this plan would require). One version would turn Yale into a one-way neighborhood greenway, which is not really a thing. Another version would include a protected bike lane on Yale, which would remove even more car parking than the Eastlake bike lanes.
The idea of splitting the bike route in this way is inherently flawed and would result in people biking southbound on Eastlake Ave without a bike lane. Not only is it confusing to essentially detour one direction of the bike route, but people headed southbound would have no safe way to access the neighborhood’s business district.
And since Eastlake Ave is where 39 of 40 reported bike-involved collisions occurred between 2012 and 2017, addressing bike safety on Eastlake Ave should be paramount.
An 18-year-old who was hospitalized this week after a crash near the University Bridge may be the first victim of a bike share vandal who cut the brake lines on his Lime e-bike. The teen is in stable condition, reports Gabe Cohen of KOMO News.
If caught, the person who cut those brakes could be charged with assault, police told KOMO. But catching the suspect will be the hard part.
Seattle Police recently released surveillance video of one person casually snipping brake cables in Sodo. You get the idea from the video that this is not the first time the suspect has cut bike cables. Brake cables on bike share bikes have been cut all over the city, and it’s not clear if this one suspect is just very prolific or whether multiple people are cutting them.
It’s very disturbing behavior to sabotage bikes, risking random strangers’ lives. Unlike most forms of vandalism, this is not just property damage.
You can protect yourself by making it a habit to check the brakes before you start pedaling, not only checking whether the levers move but also confirming they are stopping the wheels. This is in general a good idea even with your personal bike just in case a thief or vandal has tampered with the brakes since you locked it up. But the reality is that everyone is not going to check their brakes every single time they get on a bike.
We hope the victim heals up, and I hope whoever is doing this stops before anyone else gets hurt.
Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan identifies 474 miles of new or upgraded bike routes to be constructed by 2034. But Cascade Bicycle Club launched a campaign this week called Connect Seattle to encourage the city to follow through on a handful of major city-wide routes by 2021.
The hard work to make this citywide vision a reality will likely happen at the neighborhood level, as has been the case for nearly every bike lane project in the city. But perhaps it would be good to have a reminder of how each project fits into a citywide vision.
The goal of the campaign is to get to 10 percent mode share by completing these projects over the next three years. There are certainly many important projects and neighborhoods missing from this map. But if these routes were all completed by 2021, much of the city would be much easier and safer to navigate by bike.
As more Seattleites look for fast, affordable transportation options, we envision a Seattle where 1 in 10 trips is made by bike.
Making that vision a reality isn’t about hitting a magic number. It’s about creating happier, healthier and more inclusive neighborhoods – connected by bike – all across Seattle. We envision a Seattle where everyone, regardless of how we look or where we live, has the choice to hop on a bike to get to the store, to commute to school or work, or to cross town to visit friends and family for dinner.
The UW Police Department is trialing the idea of a free bike valet service at UW Station this week in an attempt to help fight bike theft and get more bikes registered on the free bicycle database Bike Index. You do not need to be a UW student or staff to participate.
The valet will be staffed 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday this week only, and they will have computers ready to help you register your bike online if you have not done so already.
There is only space in the pilot service for 100 bikes, so you may need to get there early to take advantage of the service. They’ll be set up just north of the station in front of Husky Stadium.
UW Station’s location just off the Burke-Gilman Trail has made it a major bike-to-transit connection. Bike racks filled up immediately after opening as people from all over northeast and north-central Seattle realized that biking to the train is the easiest and often fastest way to get around. Sound Transit has since added more bike parking to help with the crunch, but the station could be a good place for something a bit more organized. UW already offers a bike valet service to handle the influx of bikes during home games at Husky Stadium.
Bike Index is a non-profit, nationwide database of bikes. It’s primary use is to serve as a one-stop shop for locating stolen bike listings. But very often, people have no record of their bike’s serial number and other identifying information. So Bike Index encourages people to register their bikes now. Then, if it is unfortunately stolen later, the details are all recorded and ready for you to post them quickly. The quicker a listing is posted and the more accurate its details, the more likely you are to get your bike back if police, a bike shop or a helpful community member finds it.
One section of a planned trail access project includes edible berries. See more about this project in this PDF.
So you’re biking on the Interurban North bike route that connects Seattle to Everett and many communities in between, and you get to 40th Ave W. You’re about halfway between downtown Seattle and downtown Everett. You could probably use a snack.
Well, Lynnwood’s got you covered. The first project of their nearly-complete Interurban Trail Master Plan is scheduled to open later this year, and it features something I’m not sure I’ve seen before in a trail plan: Edible berry bushes planted specifically so folks passing by can stop for a very fresh snack.
Work is also nearing completion on a filling in a short trail gap between 212th St SW and Hall Lake.
Lynnwood’s City Council will discuss the 20-year master plan for their 3.8-mile section of the trail September 17. In the meantime, you can check out the concept below (images from the latest draft PDF): Continue reading →
Tia Coleman lost her husband, their three kids and five more family members July 19th when a Ride the Ducks tour boat sank in a Branson, Missouri, storm. In all, 17 people on the Duck have died. The scale of her loss is unimaginable.
Now she is calling on the Federal government to ban the amphibious vehicles nationwide if they can’t be designed to be safe, something that should have happened long before July 19, 2018. You can sign her petition online.
But why were Duck boats still operating anywhere in our nation after one killed five people and injured a shocking 69 others in a single 2015 collision on the Aurora Bridge? The carnage total of that one Seattle collision was so overwhelming that it made up a full quarter of all traffic deaths on city-operated streets that entire year (does not include state-run I-5).
How did we not ban them immediately back in 2015? We should have. The Duck that killed Coleman’s family should not have been operating this summer. We cannot make that mistake again.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has introduced Senate Bill 3301, which would ban amphibious tour vehicles that can’t meet more stringent safety guidelines, like having a back-up way of staying buoyant in case of flooding so that they don’t sink like a rock to the bottom with a vehicle full of trapped passengers. The bill mostly focuses on water safety, with road safety requirements notably absent. Perhaps those are amendments Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell could add.
Ride the Ducks Seattle, which shares branding and basic vehicle design with the Branson operation but is a separate company, said in a statement that their vehicles do meet the requirements outlined in the proposed bill except for elements they say may conflict with Coast Guard requirements: Continue reading →
Just 12 days after someone driving struck and seriously injured two kids crossing the street at Rainier Ave and Henderson St, SDOT crews were out making significant temporary safety improvements to the wide intersection.
The sense of urgency follows a weekend talk and rally for safe streets organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. At the talk, Mayor Durkan gave SDOT the green light to make road design and signal changes quickly.
“What happened was an incredible tragedy for the children, for the family, for the people they knew and loved,” Mayor Durkan said during the Saturday event, according to the Seattle Times. “We the city have to stand up, take notice, and make sure we’re doing all we can to make every community safer.”
It is very exciting to see Mayor Durkan respond to this tragedy with action. So often, people are killed or seriously injured on our streets, and we do nothing. Just in December, Kao Saeteurn was killed just a few blocks from this intersection by someone who drove away from the scene and left him on the street.
While these and future safety changes cannot go back in time to stop what has already happened, they can prevent similar collisions in the future. As Times reporter Mike Lindblom noticed during the talk, potentially dangerous situations occur all day long on this street because the road just isn’t designed with safety as its top priority: Continue reading →
We are planning to do some spot repairs on the Burke Gilman and Ship Canal Trails starting on Tuesday, August 21st. Click on the maps below for larger versions, showing work areas. Here’s to smooth connections!
Uber-owned Jump has applied to operate in Seattle alongside Lime and Lyft-owned Motivate.
Though it’s been scaling back its efforts for a while now, Spin has officially announced an end to its bike share service in Seattle. Citing an increase in fees and the decision not to include scooters in the city’s updated permit, Spin will not be applying for the next year of operations.
With ofo already leading the way out of town, that leaves Lime as the only bike share company actively in business for the time being. So at the height of summer, Seattle is seeing a huge decrease in available bikes.
But it might not be this way for long. The Seattle Times reports that in addition to Lime, Uber-owned Jump and Lyft-owned Motivate (once the operator of Pronto Cycle Share) have both submitted permit applications to operate under Seattle’s new pricier and more regulated bike share scheme. Though the plan was to have four companies, it seems only three have applied so far.
But the city’s target is still 20,000 bikes total divided among the companies raising $1 million in permit fees per year. This seemingly arbitrary bike total means that each bike will cost $50 to permit, among the more expensive rates in the country. But at 20,000 bikes, Seattle would also have one of the largest bike share fleets in operation, many of them with electric assist.
The fact that two of Seattle’s three bike share companies are all but suspending U.S. bike share operations is one possibly worrying sign about the state of private bike share. But that is counteracted by recent investments from Uber and Lyft to become major players in U.S. bike share. In the meantime, the market for shared electric kick scooters is seemingly blowing up, an innovation Seattle has so far spurned.
There are a lot of companies competing for the huge market of urban trips that are too long for a short walk but too short to be well-served by transit or car. About half of all trips are three miles or less, so there could be a lot of money to be made if you can capture even a piece of that total. So far, companies have tried pedal bikes, e-assist bikes and electric kick scooters, each of which may have their own places in the ecosystem. But what we know for sure is that this period of innovation is not over. Who knows what the shared mobility device market will look like this time next year. Continue reading →
Screenshot of the suspect, from a surveillance video released by Seattle Police. Watch the full video below.
Seattle Police have released a surveillance video of a person in Sodo seen snipping bike share brake cables on more than one occasion, and they’re asking for the public’s help identifying the suspect.
For months, brake cables on bike share bike have been cut all over the city, posing a very serious safety hazard for users. If someone didn’t realize they had no brakes until they were already moving, they could be put in serious danger. Endangering the lives of random strangers is very disturbing behavior, and I hope the person in this video is identified and gets the help they need.
On top of that, snipping brake cables puts scores of bikes out of commission, making bike share less reliable for people just trying to get around town. It also costs companies a money to send workers all over town repairing the damage. Some bike share companies have been talking about hiding brake cables in future models.
It’s not clear if the brake cable sabotage is the work on multiple people or just one prolific vandal. I hope it is just one person. Here’s the video: Continue reading →
We have had enough of kids and people of all ages being injured at the intersection of Rainier Ave S and S Henderson St. Just this year, three children have been hit at this intersection.
Join us to talk with Mayor Durkan about what can be done to fix this intersection before school starts, and urge finishing the entire Rainier Ave safety project. Let’s support the city as they consider acting quickly to address these critical safety problems.
When: 1:00 to 1:45 this Saturday, August 18th
Where: Intersection of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson St
Who: Mayor Jenny Durkan and people who care about fixing Rainier Ave – Seattle’s most dangerous street.
We have had enough of kids being injured at the intersection of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson St. Join us to talk with the Mayor about what can be done to fix this spot before school starts, and urge action to finish the entire Rainier Ave safety project: https://t.co/9iocQfVgTzpic.twitter.com/2rx5K4oo5P
Ian MacKay is on a 7 MPH bike tour across Washington State for the second time. As of press time, he and his riding partners are a day’s journey beyond the Grand Coulee Dam heading west on their trip from Spokane to his home near Port Angeles.
MacKay’s ride is an electric wheelchair he controls using sip-and-puff controls. It’s decked out this year with new lithium batteries that can keep him moving at his top speed for the 40 miles a day he hopes to cover during his two-week adventure. He is documenting his journey on a blog and via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and he has been capturing the imagination of the local news everywhere he goes.
Ian was injured in a California bike crash in 2008 that paralyzed him from the neck down. While recovering he started exploring further and further from home along the Olympic Discovery Trail, a paved rail trail connecting Port Angeles to Discovery Bay. That’s how he got the idea for his first cross-Washington trip in 2016.
He gave an incredible keynote talk at the 2017 WA Bike Summit about his adventure, and I highly recommend setting aside a half hour to watch the whole thing:
Wilson Ave S is a true rarity in the hilly neighborhood above Seward Park: It is relatively flat and direct.
Well, OK, the whole street isn’t flat. But the 0.8 miles of the street that the Seattle Department of Transportation is repaving this year are surprisingly flat, connecting the very popular Lake Washington Loop bike route to the business district at S Dawson Street (Third Place Books) and the existing painted bike lanes on 50th Ave S that connect to the bike lanes on S Genesee St into Columbia City.
Workers have already started work to repave this stretch, and plans call for a northbound bike lane protected by parked cars and a southbound painted bike lane as well as new curb ramps all along the route. This meets the criteria in the Bicycle Master Plan, which calls for “in-street, minor separation” bike lanes here. In fact, this is one of the few new protected bike lanes planned in all of SE Seattle.
Though it is quite rare for designs to change once construction has begun, SDOT is holding a public meeting to get feedback about a change in the parking plan Thursday. People who bike are encouraged to attend to weigh in, but the proposed changes still include bike lanes. Details from the project page:
You’re probably wondering, “what’s up with the protected bike lane?” Well, we hope you will join us on Thursday, August 16 from 6 to 8 PM at the Lakewood Seward Park Community Club for a public meeting. We will be sharing an updated design for the planned protected bike lane. We heard the community’s concerns about the protected bike lanes and pedestrian and neighborhood safety.
A nickel. In 2018, there is essentially nothing that costs a nickel.
But that’s all it costs for qualifying low-income users to unlock a Lime pedal bike under the company’s newly-expanded Lime Access program ($5 for 100 rides). And qualifying users (see #4 below) can also now pay in cash and unlock bikes using any mobile phone that can send text messages or make calls, allowing people who don’t have a bank account and smart phone with a data plan to use their bikes.
Qualifying users can also access Lime’s e-bikes at half price (50 cents to unlock plus 7 cents per minute). So a half hour e-bike ride would cost about the same as bus fare ($2.60).
Phone Number (this number should be for the phone you plan to use for LimeBike)
Valid government-issued photo ID
Proof of low income status (e.g. EBT card, discounted utility bill, or any other state or federally-run assistance program document). Seattle Bike Blog has confirmed that an ORCA Lift card will also work.
It will take Lime staff up to two days to get accounts verified and set up. Users will also need access to a printer if they don’t have a smart phone so they can print a unique barcode they can use to load money into their accounts at any ParNearMe location, including the 50 or so 7-Eleven and CVS stores in Seattle. Continue reading →
The Gran Fondo (the Great Ride) helps our friends, neighbors and loved ones who are fighting cancer. All funds raised stay local to benefit the Cancer Special Needs Fund of Providence St. Mary Foundation. This fund provides our most vulnerable … Continue reading →
Details: Volunteer Repair Parties (VRP) are drop-in, weekly bike repair parties for adults (age 18 and up). You do not need to be a skilled bike mechanic to help out. This is how most volunteers with Bike Works get their … Continue reading →
The Lake City Way Corridor Improvement Project is in the early design phase. In order to inform design, we’re using feedback gathered from the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project Task Force in addition to collision and speed data we’ve … Continue reading →
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