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KUOW talks Bike Master Plan

KUOW’s The Conversation discussed the Bicycle Master Plan update Thursday afternoon. The program is archived online here if you want to give it a listen.

I was among those interviewed. Do I really say “ya know” and “um” that often? Things to work on…

Anyway, it was a good conversation. The only real opponent to the plan was Eugene Wasserman, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association (and active opponent to the Burke-Gilman Missing Link completion). However, he had no clear, legitimate argument against the plan, which has been actively working with freight interests to make sure their needs are included. He pointed to potential issues with placing a bike facility on N 45th Street—issues the draft plan itself points out—and he pointed to the massive funding backlog for bridge repairs in the city, which is essentially irrelevant to a discussion of a Bicycle Master Plan.

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Then he dropped this gem: “Somebody has to be the adult and make decisions about what can be funded and what cannot.”

Yes, because “adults” always resort to calling other people children during a debate over public policy. Yeesh.

There are certainly some issues with the plan, and it’s clear that there’s no way it is going to be a perfect document. Once you start drawing lines on a map, things are going to be overlooked, and other community groups are going to see things they don’t feel properly consulted about. I think it is important that everyone understands that each element of the plan will have its own public process if and when it is implemented, and this plan is just a way of setting standards and displaying how individual pieces fit into the larger bicycle route network.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the master plan update, including looks at NE and SE Seattle.

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8 responses to “KUOW talks Bike Master Plan”

  1. Eugene Wasserman


    Apparently you did not listen to the radio program since you listed me as an opponent of the plan. I never stated that I was an opponent of the Plan. KUOW asked me to be on the program. I stated the plan need much more work, because it does. You seem to agree with me on this.

    It would be great if you actually listened to people instead of stereotyping them.

    1. David


      I listened to the entire program. You were asked if there was anything you liked about the plan and you said “No” You were also described as an opponent to the missing link and a skeptic of all of the moves the city has taken on bicycling in the past by the host. You were labeled as an opponent based on what you said, especially taken in context with what everyone else said. You were not labeled as an opponent based on who you work for, which would be a stereotype. Walk it off.

      1. Eli


        I have to agree with David and Kevin. My only conclusion listening to the radio program was that, frankly, anyone with a coherent and thoughtful critique of the current Plan direction is already working privately with SDOT to get their concerns addressed and would not be airing dirty laundry in public at this stage.

        Also, I was baffled by your on-air talk of critiquing the Plan when all even have to critique, as Kevin correctly pointed out, is a first-draft concept network map that has not even begun any sort of prioritization. I’d really like to see your counter-vision for a city-wide bicycle network that supports the needs of families who want safe and healthy streets for themselves and their loved ones.

        Finally, you should try living around the 45th St corridor in the U-District before you bash the idea of a road diet on that street, just like Wallingford has received. I’ve lived on this street for 6 years, and it’s terrifying to walk on.

        The woman who cuts my hear (who walks from Wallingford to save money and to keep her health strong) says she gets nearly hit by cars every single single day. And like 50th, you can literally make out these roads on an unlabeled SDOT crash map because so many people walking and bicycling are getting hurt and even killed by drivers speeding through roads like these streets, rammed through our residential neighborhoods without consideration for the safety or needs of people trying to live on them.

        Good luck,


      2. Eli

        Darned autocomplete. “The woman who cuts my hear” -> “The woman who cuts my hair”.

        And since I’m posting, just wanted to close with Dominic Holden’s magic words:

        “Anti-bicycle advocates speak for less than one-third of Seattle residents. These holdouts, the polling shows, are largely older, white, conservative men. Candidates who pander to those blocs with anti-bike talking points will be losing more votes than they’re gaining.”

  2. Kevin in Ballard

    Hi Eugene,

    I’m curious, how were you stereotyped? I’m not sure I understand.

    Your comment that Tom quotes above – ‘Somebody has to be the adult and make decisions about what can be funded and what cannot’ You stereotyping here? What do you think? (I understand you are saying there is limited money, but are you saying City Council members are children? Bike master plan supporters are un-adults?? Help me out here)

    ….maybe it’s a good thing we have some adults like you watching out for us kids, keeping everyone safe from our wild and crazy ideas. Hey, can we play in your sandbox in Ballard sometime?

  3. West Seattle rider

    My frustration with this interview is Max from CBC, and the language he and many other bicycle advocates use: “world class bicycle infrastructure” and “state of the art for 2013”. Anything that’s world class and state of the art has the connotation of being the most expensive.

    I understand the club envisions a idealized state and models their efforts and performance to achieve that. However securing and prioritizing funding is a primary obstacle to improving bicycle infrastructure in Seattle. Using terms that make those improvements sound gold plated isn’t helping. Instead safety should be the primary purpose to correct unsafe conditions like the “missing link”. Outreach to the public that emphasizes a need for Seattle to keep in step with Portland and Copenhagen isn’t helping.

    1. Ha, yeah… I don’t know Copenhagen but in all I’ve read about Amsterdam it never sounds like they blew a whole lot of money on cycling infrastructure. Maybe the best example to follow today is Chicago — they’re going everywhere, cheap and fast.

    2. word class

      I have no such issues with the phrase “world class.” We should be using the state of the science to make these decisions, and Portland is one example of a city that’s doing it cost-effectively. World class can doesn’t necessarily mean cycletracks (although there should be a number of them) – it could mean finding creative ways to make people safe getting across arterial streets with minimal interventions in between.

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