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Sick Day Video Post – Biking from Capitol Hill to UW in 2008

It’s a sick day here at Seattle Bike Blog HQ. So here’s a video from 2008 to discuss (posted to YouTube by schr0559):

What I find fascinating about this video is that there are almost no bicycle features or facilities anywhere on this trip. 2008 was only a couple years ago, but look how far we have (or have not) come.

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Mostly, look how different the roads look without sharrows. We all like to talk a lot of smack on sharrows because, true, they often seem useless or as a cop-out for streets that need more ambitious bicycle safety solutions. But they do change the feel of the roads.

Notice anything else interesting in the video? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Sick Day Video #2


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8 responses to “Sick Day Video Post – Biking from Capitol Hill to UW in 2008”

  1. Kevin

    Odd route. Why climb up the hill to Broadway just to go back down it? I would have done something like this, although maybe dropping down to Melrose / Cool Guy Park earlier.

    .2 miles shorter and 3 minutes faster, per Google’s estimate.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      A lot of people simply bike the way they know. Cool Guy Park is impossible to find unless you look at a map or someone takes you there. Until our city has clearly marked bike routes (like neighborhood greenways!), many people will simply ride the way they know. That often means biking where you drive or where the bus goes.

      At the recent presentation by Greg and Mark, PDX’s neighborhood greenway dudes, they talked about treating the roads as a legible 1/1 scale map. I like that idea. You shouldn’t need access to Google Maps or a big folding paper map to find where to ride. It should appear obvious.

      1. Gary

        Yeah I would at least ridden down Federal one block to the East vs 10th. It’s much quieter.

        Google maps with it’s street view has revolutionized my ability to help people find reasonable routes to ride to work. I can use the google bike suggestion, look at the actual roadway and see if there is any shoulder, what the sight lines are like etc. It’s not a replacement for a 1st person knowledge but it’s incredibly helpful. I’m looking forward to the day when a good bicycle GPS that doesn’t cost $600 like the Garmin 705 comes out. That should fix most of my route finding problems. Just being able to see one block over to see that it does run parallel, and doesn’t dead end, or have a ridiculous tall hill in it is invaluable.

        I did see Sharrows on the University Bridge. And unless I’m missing my time lapse adjustment you blew through with a rolling stop all those stop signs. (I do to if I can see no one is coming.)

      2. David

        Boylston = no fun to ride on.

        Gary – I actually lived on Federal for a while and chose to ride 10th 99% of the time instead. If it’s possible, the pavement quality on Federal is actually WORSE than on 10th (and that’s even before the new concrete pads on 10th). Also, some of the crossings on Federal as you head down the hill are a bit dicey. Federal is certainly calmer than 10th, but there are trade-offs.

        Sometimes I find myself on the sidewalk at Harvard/Eastlake, usually because I have an inclination to go to the bakery on the east side of the street. Every once in a while I’ll hop up on the sidewalk, look inside and see a long line, then scoot back onto Eastlake sans pastry and continue on my way.

        One tweak I typically make heading north is cutting through Roanoke Park and continuing north on Broadway E until cutting over to Harvard at Shelby. Broadway’s much more appealing than Harvard, the only drawback is that the curb ramp to access the gravel trail at the intersection of 10th and Roanoke isn’t lined up with the crosswalk, and so cars that are waiting at the light often block the curb ramp and force you to hop the curb. No biggie.

  2. JAT

    First comment: Oh My God – no bike facilities and yet you arrived at your destination alive?!!?!
    Second comment: I rode that route hundreds of times in the 1990s; it was bizarrely nostalgic watching that (part of it was my paper route in the 1970s…). Interesting choice to go up on the sidewalk at Harvard / Eastlake; I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d do it that way.

  3. Sharrows are awesome when they point out correct lane position, because they help people on bikes and in cars alike understand what that is, and encourage them to observe and respect it. Sharrows are worse than useless when they point out dangerous lane positions, weaving paths, etc., because they teach poorly, and encourage drivers to get mad when someone rides in a safer, better way. Good examples: 108th Ave NE in Kirkland around 52nd-53rd Sts, 45th through the U District. The worst sharrows I’ve ever seen are on 45th in Wallingford — they perfectly express how to get your ass killed on a bicycle.

  4. schr0559

    Hi, I’m the guy who posted the first video (Cap Hill to U District). Yeah, it wasn’t the greatest route, but I was more used to taking the 49 at the time, so I didn’t know the side streets well. Actually, I think this was the first time I ever rode the route.

    In any case it was more an exercise to test out a crappy camera mount I built for my bike. Glad you found some historical use for it, though. I am unable to explain why I went on the sidewalk, except that I’m a casual rider and wanted to get the hell away from that bus after a while.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Thanks for checking in!

      You highlight a really important point: When people first start biking, they are likely to take the routes they know either from driving or taking the bus. That’s why we either need to make those routes safe for biking and/or clearly sign alternative routes.

      Also, there’s no shame in hopping on the sidewalk when need be!

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