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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by John Cornicello (used with permission)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

Map of Seattle showing existing and planned bike facilities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We send our best wishes to the person injured.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Route is marked in red, via Apex Racing.

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

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

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

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

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Seattle Parks starting Burke-Gilman Trail repairs from U Village to the city line

Map of Northeast Seattle with red boxes showing the various work zones.

Work zones are marked in red. They will not all be under construction at the same time. Images from Seattle Parks.

Seattle Parks is getting ready to start fixing bumpy pavement and outdated bollards on some of the oldest sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail between 30th Ave NE (just east of U Village) to the city’s northern border with Lake Forest Park. So be ready for a summer of short detours as crews go section-by-section to complete this work.

Work is scheduled to begin this month. And some of the detours look like they include some tough climbing.

Much of this section of trail has not been paved since the 70s, so we have really gotten a lot out of that investment. But sections of the trail have deteriorated significantly since then either due to erosion or tree roots. In many sections, the trail has lost significant width due to the edges crumbling away over time. We have also learned a lot about trail design and construction since the city first laid this asphalt on top of the old railbed 41 years ago.

Below are the planned detour diagrams from the contractor for each segment. They will not all be in effect at the same time. I have not yet tested them, though some look tough. If you are familiar with these side streets, let us know your thoughts in the comments below (the orientation of the maps switch around, so remember that “streets” are usually east-west and “avenues” are usually north-south): Continue reading

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Watch: Rooted In Rights why proper bike share parking is so important

It should be common sense, but don’t block walkways when you park a bike share bike. But you should also go a step further and think, would this bike impede someone with a vision impairment? Is it too close to a bus stop, curb ramp or building entrance?

Disability rights organization Rooted In Rights partnered with SDOT to produce a short video clearly showing some problems poorly located bikes can cause people with various disabilities. Sometimes users don’t park correctly and sometimes other people or the weather move or knock them over. Either way, if you see a problematic bike, do everyone a favor and move it.

Here’s the parking guide we made to help:

Concept image of a sample city street, noting areas where bikes should be parked (such as the furniture zone of a sidewalk or on-street bike corral) and areas that are off-limits (such as bus stops, walkways and curb ramps).

Annotations by Seattle Bike Blog. Base image from SDOT’s draft update for their Right of Way Improvement Manual.

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As a birthday present to yours truly, WSDOT will fix 520 Bridge Trail bumps

Photo of a bicycle wheel taken from close to the ground showing that the new plate design has a more gradual bump.

Photo of the less bumpy plate design from WSDOT.

In what is obviously a birthday present to yours truly, WSDOT announced today that they will fix every bumpy expansion gap plate on the 520 Bridge Trail.

We first reported about the bumpy plates back in 2016 before the trail was completed, then again in 2017. The problem was that the plates covering the floating bridge’s expansion gaps were built with an abrupt incline along the edges, making them feel more like hitting potholes than the more gradual bumps a user might be expecting from a brand new trail.

Luckily, I have not heard of any crashes caused by these plates, as I had feared. But the plates are unpleasant enough that it is worthwhile improving the trail experience on this $4.5 billion public investment.

The agency has been testing a more gradual expansion plate design, and 95 percent of users surveyed said the new design is an improvement.

The new plates should all be installed by the end of summer. Continue reading

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Watch: City Council hosts equitable transportation talk by Tamika Butler

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Transportation Choices Coalition recently hosted Tamika Butler, Toole Design’s California Planning Director and Director of Equity and Inclusion, for an hour-long talk about transportation equity and her experience as a land use, parks and transportation leader in Los Angeles.

Do yourself a favor and watch the whole talk. Seattle has made official efforts to run all major city decisions through its Race and Social Justice Initiative framework, and yet so many decisions still fail to put equity as a top priority. The city talks and talks about equity, but then fails to build safe bike routes connecting Rainier Valley and Duwamish Valley to the rest of the city’s bike network, for example.

Butler’s thoughts on congestion pricing (starts around 29:30) are also extremely important as Seattle begins to debate the concept.

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Saturday: G&O Family Cyclery hosts a Cargo Bike Festival in Greenwood

Poster for the Cargo Bike Festival. Cartoon drawings of rainbows, balloons, and people celebrating near exhibition tables and cargo bikes. Text: Celebrating the life-altering power of cargo bikes!Greenwood’s G&O Family Cyclery is hosting the first annual Cargo Bike Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The event is part of the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s LGBTQ Pride Rainbow Hop. It promises “test rides, kids activities, food, games and more.”

More details from the event page:

Be a part of Seattle’s first ever Cargo Bike Festival, a celebration of the life-altering power of cargo bikes! This event features family friendly activities and the chance to ride the best cargo bikes in the world…

This celebration is a part of the Phinney Pride Rainbow Hop, a family-focused neighborhood LGBTQ Pride event, and the whole business district is hosting fun activities.

When: Saturday, June 1 from noon – 4 p.m.
Where: Marrow Lane between Greenwood Ave N and Palatine
What: Celebrate the joy, fun and transformational power of cargo bikes with test rides, kids activities, food, games and more!

(Full Disclosure: My spouse Kelli helped organize this event, and G&O is a Seattle Bike Blog sponsor)

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Scherer is stepping down after 12 years as Director of Familybike Seattle, organization seeks more Board members

Photo of Morgan Scherer pedaling a heavy-duty cargo trike pulling six other bikes behind it up a bike lane on a city street.

Morgan Scherer hauls herself, six bikes and a passenger on her electric-assisted trike in 2012.

It is hard to think of any other person who has done more for family biking in Seattle than Morgan Scherer. She has been out on our streets leading by example and sharing her experience since at least 2007, when she founded Familybike Seattle.

Hauling a fleet of different kid-hauling cargo bikes all over town, Scherer has been providing people with life-changing opportunities to experience family life on a bike. Taking a spin on a cargo bike is not just fun, it’s a chance to imagine your life without (or with much less) driving.

When Scherer started, cargo bikes in America were largely a DIY or small-scale fabrication activity because very few companies were producing purposeful kid-hauling cargo bikes for sale in the U.S. market. So people converted old road bikes into Xtracycles or attached after-market electric motors to make climbing big hills with ever-growing kids on board a more easily-achievable daily way to get around. Just a decade later, you can get fully-designed family bikes off the sales floor of several shops. It’s an unbelievable shift, and Scherer has done an enormous amount of work to help grow the number of people looking to make biking a central part of their families’ lives.

But it’s not just about equipment. It’s also about parenting. Familybike Seattle and events like Kidical Mass provide a space for parents to share tips about, well, basically everything you might encounter raising a kid on a bike. More and more kids are growing up with biking as their primary way to get around, and this movement will continue to change the way Seattle thinks about transportation. Family biking is the heart of mainstream bike advocacy in Seattle now.

Scherer is stepping down to “focus more energy on balancing family life, disability justice, and (of course) bicycle advocacy,” according to a press release from Familybike Seattle. The organization is also seeking more members to “fill our working board with dynamic directors.”

This is a big moment for any organization. Trying to find footing without the original founder is tough, but it’s the only way to become an institution. We wish them the best. If you are inspired to help, see their press release for details for getting involved either as a Board member or volunteer: Continue reading

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Friday: Peddler Brewing hosts annual End of Bike Month Party

You biked. You will keep biking. So let’s party.

The always-wonderful Peddler Brewing in Ballard is hosting their annual End of Bike Month Party 4 – 10 p.m. Friday.

$1 per pint will go to Washington Bikes.

More details from the event listing:

Calling all bikey-people! Join us as we throw our annual bike party at the end of Bike Month. Check out local vendors, win great raffle items, enjoy live music, and raise a glass as $1/pint goes to Washington Bikes!

Friday 5/31 at Peddler Brewing Company
4 – 8pm: Check out local bike-related makers and nonprofits (listed below)
7:30pm: Raffle drawing! 1 ticket per pint purchased, must be present to win
7:30-10pm: Live music by Left Turn on Blue
Food Truck: Cycle Dogs

With plenty of bike parking for all, we encourage riders of all ages, abilities and styles to come out to this celebration of biking in Seattle. Everyone’s welcome, Peddler is all ages.

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Biking increased 32% thanks to downtown Bellevue bike lane + City will keep it, debates expanding network

A table showing bicycle usage by facility type. It shows that the percentage of people biking on the sidewalk decreased by about 60% after the bike lane was installed.

From the 108th Ave NE Demo Bikeway Assessment (PDF)

The City of Bellevue may have just conducted the most thorough study of a bike lane pilot project ever. The 31-page report (PDF) about the 108th Ave NE bike lane in the Eastside city’s downtown core found that bicycling increased 32%, sidewalk biking rate was reduced by more than 60% and zero collisions involving people biking have been reported.

And these results come from a bike lane design that is not even fully protected. Some sections only have paint, and one pinch point section even requires mixing with general traffic. So these results still have room to improve.

The Bellevue City Council voted last week to keep the pilot bike lane. But the city is also learning from what they observed and from survey results to make it better. And the city is also looking at how to best create an east-west protected bike lane connection, likely on Main Street. Cascade Bicycle Club has a handy online form so you can let Bellevue know you support their bike lane work and would like to see it grow to Main.

Protected bike lanes work best, say people … driving?

Continue reading

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Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition hosts Council candidate forums, D6 is Tuesday

Screenshot of the event listing for the District 6 Candidate Forum on Transportation, Housing and Sustainability. Header image is of a Metro trolley bus with a bike on the front rack. May 21. Hosted by Seattle Transit Riders Union and 14 others.

Screenshot from the first forum: District 6.

Seattle’s City Council is facing its biggest shakeup since, well, the last time the seven district-based seats were up for a vote.

An unprecedented 56 candidates are running for the City Council seats, and only three incumbents are seeking another term (Crosscut put together a handy candidate guide). So we are guaranteed at least four new members on the Council, one seat away from a voting majority (the two at-large Council seats, held by Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzáles, are not up for election until 2021 along with the mayor).

You can hear candidates talk about transportation, housing and sustainability at a series of forums over the next couple weeks that members of the Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition have organized:

If you don’t know your district, enter your address on this page to find out. The primary is not until August 6, but don’t wait to register. If you are new to King County, we vote by mail here, which is wonderful. Register now to avoid any hassles getting your ballot. Since primary votes happen in the middle of summer, it’s easy to get distracted or busy and miss deadlines. Voter turnout is much lower in the August primary than in the November general election, which means your vote is especially important.

The MASS coalition is not currently planning primary forums for Districts 1 or 5. Only three people are running in District 1 including incumbent Lisa Herbold, and two of them will make it through the primary. So West Seattle has the easiest job for the next couple months. Six people are running in District 5, the same number as District 3. But neither of those has as many candidates as the open seats in 2, 4, 6 and 7. District 6 takes the cake with a stunning 14 candidates for Mike O’Brien’s spot.

The big business lobby has said they will spend big this year to try to win a majority they see as favorable to their interests. Meanwhile, the democracy voucher system has empowered more grassroots-level candidates than ever before. Sprinkle some candidates with disturbing and dehumanizing ideas about homeless people into the mix, and we have the makings for one of the toughest Council campaigns in recent memory. It will be a true test of the city’s values. Continue reading

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With the paint barely dry on bike-lane-free 35th Ave NE, person driving strikes and injures someone on a bike

Just hours after a video of dangerous conditions for people biking on the new 35th Ave NE gained a lot of traction on social media, someone driving struck and injured a person biking on the street near the intersection with NE 70th Street.

News about the injury was posted to the Safe 35th Ave NE facebook page this afternoon, and Seattle Bike Blog confirmed the details with Seattle Police.

Around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, someone driving collided with someone on a bike. The person biking was transported to the hospital by ambulance with a knee injury, according to SPD. The person driving was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

As is typical for traffic incidents, the details of the collision are not yet available pending investigation. As such, it’s not clear whether the scrapped bike lanes would have prevented it.

Sending my best wishes to the person injured.

But news of the collision certainly adds to growing concerns about the safety of the newly redesigned 35th Ave NE. The street was planned, designed and contracted to include bike lanes, but Mayor Jenny Durkan removed them at the last minute due to opposition from some project neighbors.

Comparison of design diagrams for 35th Ave NE. On the left, the original design has two bike lanes, two general purpose lane and a parking lane. On the right, the mayor's design has two general purpose lanes, a center turn lane and a parking lane.

Design concepts for this stretch of 35th Ave NE from SDOT.

Her decision to remove the bike lanes drew strong criticism from people concerned about bike safety and the mayor’s commitment to its bicycle, Vision Zero and climate plans. People also voiced serious concerns about the city’s planned street design, which includes problems like wide travel lanes known to encourage speeding.

The decision to remove the bike lanes was due to politics, not best practices for designing safe streets. It went against the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and against the original design created and approved by SDOT traffic engineers after years of planning and public outreach. I hope nobody else is injured here, but hope alone is not enough to stop traffic injuries.

Here’s the video posted about 12 hours before the collision that called attention to how unsafe the new street design feels to someone on a bike:

UPDATE 5/20: A reader who did not wish to be identified reached out to say that they were waiting at the light at 35th Ave NE and NE 70th Street on a bike Sunday afternoon when someone driving sidewiped them while trying to make a right turn on red. The reader was not injured, but read this story and wanted to share:

Hey Tom – I just wanted to let you know that I was also hit by a car at 35th NE and 70th, while standing at a red light; the car attempted a right on red around me and bumped/hit me with its mirror. I wasn’t hurt, but still not ideal. The driver stopped and was apologetic, so i chose not to pursue it further. For a variety of reasons I don’t want to post this on twitter publicly, but please feel free to mention it in any articles.

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Tour de Pints 2019 is Saturday

Poster text: Tour de Pints. 5-18-2019. Peddler Brewing 11:30AM. Flying Bike Co-op 1:15PM. Burke-Gilman Brewing 2:30 PM. Floating Bridge Brewing 3:15PM. Rooftop Brew Co 3:45PM.You know what would be a great way to wash down all those donuts tomorrow (Saturday)? Beer.

The annual Tour de Pints starts 11 a.m. at Peddler Brewing. The Beer Week event is a casual tide to five north Seattle breweries throughout the afternoon. And it’s free to join (obviously, the beer costs money).

Details from the event page:

For the 11th Year in a row Tour de Pints will be visiting some of the best breweries and pubs around town in celebration of Seattle Beer Week! TdP is a free, open-to-everyone and ride-at-your-own-risk event. Enter or exit the ride at any point you like. We’ll be posting online and in person when making the last departure out of each stop.

The Tour begins at Peddler
Peddler 11:30AM – Extra long stop here to gather people to start the ride. We leave at 1pm!
Ride 20 min -Up the only major hill on the route
Flying Bike Coop ~1:15PM
Ride 30 min – Nice ride down past the lake and through Ravenna
Burke Gilman ~2:30PM
Ride 15 min to Floating Bridge, 30 to Rooftop
Floating Bridge ~3:15PM – Optional detour. Leave BG early to do The Feat of Strength, up a hill for an extra beer then get to Rooftop late
Ride 15 min – Across the Fremont Bridge and down the Ship canal trail!
Rooftop – ~3:45PM our final stop! Though I can’t stop you from going further! Maybe… Dirty Couch Brewing??

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Bicycle Benefits launches Bike Bingo today, hosts Tour de Donut Saturday

Photo of the Bike Bingo card. Businesses listed: Recycled Cycles, Peloton, Ride Bicycle Bike Shop, School of Bike, Seven Market & Cafe, Mighty-O Donuts, Full Tilt (Capitol Hill), Kaffeeklatsch, Machine House Brewing, Greenwood Hardware, Bike Works, Ian's Pizza on the Hill, Madrona Grocery Outlet, W. Seattle Farmer's Market, Nielsen's Pastries, Street Bean Roasters, Walnut Street Coffee, Peddler Brewing, The Bikery, Freerange Cycles, Swanson's Shoe Repair, Theo Chocolate and Conduit Coffee Roasters.

Get your 2019 Bike Bingo card for $3 at any of the businesses listed or at Friday’s launch party at Conduit Coffee.

You already bike to local businesses all the time, so why not make a game of it? Bicycle Benefits is launching their annual Bike Bingo today, a challenge to bike to local businesses and fill your bingo card by June 30. You get prizes for each row you complete plus even bigger prizes if you fill the whole card.

Bicycle Benefits is hosting a Bike Bingo kick-off party 5 to 9 p.m. today (Friday) at Conduit Coffee on Westlake Ave a couple blocks south of the Fremont Bridge.

Bicycle Benefits is on a mission to encourage more people to bike by partnering with local businesses to provide year-round discounts to anyone who bikes there and has a Bicycle Benefits sticker. You can buy a sticker for $5 at participating businesses, of which there are many. Check out the map.

The organization also hosts special events, like Bike Bingo and the Mighty-O Tour de Donut. Speaking of which….

Tour de Donut is Saturday

Poster text: Mighty-O Tour de Donut. Eat my crumbs. May 18th. Logos: Mighty-O Donuts, Cascade Bicycle Club and Bike WorksThe 2019 Mighty-O Tour de Donut starts at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Ballard Mighty-O location.

Basically a self-guided, non-competitive alleycat race, the Tour de Donuts will send people on a biking tour of Mighty-O locations. It’s a great excuse to bike with friends, eat donuts, drink coffee and support a good cause.

You can register online for $20. Proceeds will go to Bike Works.

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