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Council starts diving into transpo budget + Lunchtime discussion about the future of Seattle biking Thursday

Councilmember Jean Godden

We’ve told you all about the good stuff in the mayor’s proposed 2013-14 budget, including a downtown cycle track plan, a Westlake cycle track, and new Safe Routes to School and neighborhood greenways positions.

The Council is discussing the SDOT budget today at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Watch live now.

UPDATES: One option presented was to fund more biking and walking projects by cutting the mayor’s proposed high capacity transit funds. We’ll update as the meeting continues.

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The funding in question is about $5 million for planning high capacity transit routes to Ballard, Fremont and the U-District. A streetcar to the U-District has a great chance of including an Eastlake cycle track. Transit to Ballard and Fremont could mean a new biking/walking/transit bridge across the Ship canal somewhere between Fremont and Ballard. We’ll update when we hear some arguments for and against cutting these funds (the meeting is ongoing).

Here’s video of the meeting (SDOT is first):

Future of Bicycling in Seattle brown bag Thursday

Want to talk about the future of bicycling in Seattle? Of course you do, you’re reading this blog! Then pack a lunch tomorrow and get to the GGLO Space at the Steps.


Brown Bag Lunch: Future of Bicycling in Seattle
Cascade Bike Club explains how they evolved to support safe healthy streets.
WHEN: Thursday, October 25, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: GGLO Space at the Steps, 1305 1st Avenue, Seattle (1/4 of the way down the Harbor Steps)

Do you want Seattle to become a city where everyone, from an 8-year-old child to her 80-year-old grandmother, has the freedom to safely bike to get where they need to go? Do you want to know how you can help Seattle become this city?

Then join Great City and representatives from Cascade Bicycle Club for a brown bag presentation and discussion on Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan update. Learn how you can help ensure Seattle makes the investments necessary to become a city where everyone has the freedom to safely bike to get where they need to go. Envision our city connected with a world-class network of bikeways.

In 2007 Seattle adopted its Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). Though cutting-edge at the time, over the past five years cities across America have implemented innovative new tools and best practices that have resulted in dramatic increases in bicycling. Now, Seattle’s BMP is undergoing an overhaul and we have an opportunity to develop an updated plan that serves not just the small percentage of Seattle residents who are “strong and fearless” and comfortable riding in traffic, but the 60 percent of our city who are “willing but wary” and want to ride (how many of Seattle’s bikes locked away in dusty garages?), but don’t because we haven’t made the investments necessary for them to feel safe.

At the brown bag lunch presentation, Cascade’s Craig M. Benjamin, Policy and Government Affairs Manager, and Tessa Greegor, Principal Planner will discuss the history and impact of Seattle’s current BMP, what we can learn from cities across America who are outpacing Seattle in terms of building out their bicycling networks, and how we can put these lessons into practice through Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan update.

More information:(206) 715-0846 | [email protected].

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11 responses to “Council starts diving into transpo budget + Lunchtime discussion about the future of Seattle biking Thursday”

  1. Tim Willis

    I know there are some Seattle Ordinances about advertising (Metro shelters lack it) but as I was walking along the Ship Canal Trail, I was thinking it might a good revenue stream for the City to sell cycling specific ad space along walk/bike trails. Anyone else thought of this? Maybe revenue could be used specifically for walk/bike infrastructure?

    1. Andreas

      Seattle has one of the most restrictive outdoor advertising bans in the country, and the city council is worried that if they modify it at all to allow any advertising, they’ll face lawsuits that will force them to allow unlimited advertising. (Never mind that most all other major American cities have less restrictive laws and somehow are not completely plagued by lawyers. This is Seattle. We are special.) If Metro hasn’t been able to get an exception to the law, I doubt this has any chance.

      And even if you could get the law changed, I suspect you’d face some stiff opposition from folks like me. I’m all for allowing ad kiosks on downtown streets, and ads on bus shelters and benches. But if permitted ads start going up along the trails, I’ll rip those buggers out just the same as I currently rip out the illegal signs that go up regularly. There’s plenty of private property around for folks to advertise on, and plenty of public property that’s already been given over to concrete and commerce. I’d prefer to keep our trails and greenways free of that as much as possible.

  2. Rich

    I’m skeptical of streetcars and any at grade rail project. Look at Westlake, or even at Broadway, where bikes are effectively banned as we wait years for the promised cycle track. If the city builds a streetcar on Eastlake, we may get a nifty cycle track, or we may lose Eastlake as a commute route. It’s fine to ask the city for better bike infrastructure, but sometimes what they do for us gets overwhelmed by what they do to us. Let’s get some experience with a real, functioning cycle track before we decide they’re the answer to all our concerns. Eastlake is just fine for cycling as it is. Tracks will ruin it. A cycle track may mitigate the tracks. Or not.

    1. Chris

      Eastlake is not “just fine the way it is.” I’m comfortable being a vehicular cyclist, but most people are not. If we want to meet our goals for making bicycling in the city accessible for all ages and abilities, Eastlake is a great prospect for a separated facility that connects people from UW to downtown.

    2. Jeremy

      Eastlake fine? Where Northbound the bicycle sliver near University Bridge is mostly standing water when it rains, and the bicyclists are up on the gravel-and-glass-strewn sidewalk under I-5 because the cars are jammed up as far back as Hamlin both lanes around the evening rush hour? Or how about that Southbound bicycle sliver plus two lanes of traffic that suddenly merge to one lane plus door zone (except during morning rush hours)?

  3. jack whisner

    Eastlake Avenue East is OK for me and Chris. But it could be better for transit flow and casual cyclists. Transit should stop in-lane. The discussion of a streetcar is in the way. An objective study would find that an improved electric trolleybus would be most cost-effective. there would be no rails has bike hazards. there would be no rail infrastructure to fund. the electric trolleybus infrastructure was added back to the Seattle network in about 1997. there is sufficient electrical capacity to power tight headway on articualatd trolleybuses. bike priority would be easier to provide as the high cost of streetcar infrastructure would not be required. between 1940 and 1963, Eastlake Avenue East was served by Seattle Transit routes 7 and 8; they were trolleybus and they EACH ran every five minutes in the peak periods.

    1. Orv

      My understanding is the reason the city favors streetcars is they aren’t subject to the same funding model Metro is — i.e., they don’t have to match improvements inside the city limits by also spending on improvements outside the city limits. If Seattle gave the same amount of money to Metro, some of it would be spent elsewhere.

      Also, I heard a while back that Metro was looking at replacing trollybuses with diesels as the current equipment wore out, because the diesels are cheaper overall to operate. Is that still the plan, or did something change?

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        That was an option for replacing the aging trolleybuses, but they are sticking with modern trolleys: http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/11/21/metro-moving-ahead-with-new-trolleybuses/

        All other reasons aside, as anyone who has ever pedaled up a big hill behind a diesel bus knows, electric trolleys are worth their marginal extra cost (assuming no fuel spikes, of course) for the lack of belching exhaust alone.

      2. Orv

        Thanks, Tom. I’d missed that news.

        I’m glad they’re keeping the trolleys, although I also have to say I’m also impressed with how quiet and clean the newest diesel coaches are.

  4. biliruben

    Eastlake is a nightmare. I had a good friend hit there, and I have close calls every third time a ride it. Additionally, the hill, though not as bad as Dexter, and is a deterrent for inexperienced riders.

    The best solution would be a path along the water. Flat and safe. Unfortunately, when the city permitted Mallard Cove a dozen or so years ago, they made no provision for public right-of-way, effectively giving a street, which would be essential to the plan, to the developers.

    I have no idea if they can somehow be reversed, but knowing Seattle’s wimpy politicians, I doubt it.

  5. I really don’t like the idea of making walk/bike and high capacity transit funding compete against each other. They’re so tightly interrelated – we need to see these things developed together.

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