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  • Tonight: Public meeting about possible 16th Ave SW bike lanes in White Center + Take the survey

    Well, this one’s a pretty easy choice. Support Option 1 for a section of 16th Ave SW in White Center! Take King County’s short online survey and attend the open house at 6:30 p.m. July 24 (tonight!) at White Center Food Bank. From the survey:

    Diagram of the existing roadway.
    Diagram of option 1 with bike lanes and some extra parking.
    Diagram of option 2 with no bike lanes and lots of extra parking.
    Table outlining the differences in the options.

    As a side note, King County is making a classic mistake with their outreach here. If there’s an option that is safer than the others, it really shouldn’t be put up for a public debate. Why would we ask a community whether the safety of people is more or less important than 21 theoretical parking spaces that don’t even exist today? Especially since they have an option that improves bike safety while also increasing parking. Like, what are we doing here, folks?

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  • Aug 3: Join me for a family-friendly social and book reading in Tacoma

    Downtown on the go event poster with headshots of a Anna Zivarts and Tom Fucoloro along with their book covers and event details.

    Hey Tacoma folks, I’m headed your way August 3 along with Anna Zivarts, author of the excellent book When Driving Is Not An Option: Steering Away From Car Dependency.

    This will be the first ever Seattle Bike Blog event in Tacoma, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with you all at this Downtown On The Go event. We’re meeting up at Wright Park from 2–4 p.m. for a family-friendly social followed by a joint book reading and discussion at King’s Books starting at 4:30 p.m. It’s all free of course, and you can go to one or both. Please RSVP via the event listing so we have a rough idea of how many people will be there.

    Bring your copy of Biking Uphill in the Rain or buy one at the event and I’ll sign it. More details from Downtown On The Go:

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  • Raven sculpture stolen from start of Interurban Trail in Shoreline

    Photo of an oversized raven sculpture near a trail.
    Photo from the City of Shoreline.

    The large raven sculpture cawing at the start of the Interurban Trail after crossing from Seattle into Shoreline has been stolen. It is the second public sculpture to go missing in recent weeks after the beloved piece Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes was stolen from her place near the northwest end of the University Bridge.

    The thief or thieves have not yet been found, and police have not said whether they believe the incidents are connected or what the motive might be. The thieves may intend to sell them as scrap, especially since the Sadako sculpture cut above the ankles making it unlikely that it was stolen by someone who wanted to keep or sell it as a work of art.

    The Emissary Raven by Tony Angell has been perched at the Interurban trailhead since 2005. I hope it is recovered, and Shoreline says they will “accept the return of the sculpture with no questions asked,” according to a press release:

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  • Study: Seattle Vision Zero projects do not harm local businesses

    Charts showing total sales over time for each studied project.
    Chart from the article in Injury Prevention (PDF).

    Seattle’s Vision Zero road safety redesign projects have not had a negative impact on local businesses, according to a study by University of Washington researchers published in the peer-reviewed journal Injury Prevention (PDF) earlier this year.

    “Results suggest that road safety improvement projects such as those in Vision Zero plans are not associated with adverse economic impacts on adjacent businesses,” authors Daniel R Osterhage, Jessica Acolin, Paul A Fishman and Andrew L Dannenberg concluded. “The absence of negative economic impacts associated with pedestrian and bicycle road safety projects should reassure local business owners and may encourage them to work with transportation agencies to implement Vision Zero road safety projects designed to eliminate traffic-related injuries.”

    The group studied multiple years of taxable sales data before and after seven different Seattle Vision Zero projects, then compared those results to 18 comparable sites that did not have Vision Zero projects. “Our study is one of the largest to date examining the economic impact of road safety projects on adjacent businesses based on sales data,” according to the journal article. They found that annual sales increased slightly faster on the Vision Zero streets than on the comparison streets, though the difference was not statistically significant.

    Meanwhile, these Vision Zero projects have and will continue to prevent serious injuries and deaths. They would be worthwhile even if they did have a negative impact on businesses because people’s lives are more important. Now that we have the clearest evidence yet that these project do not hurt businesses, more business owners will hopefully join safe streets advocates in demanding more Vision Zero safety redesigns.

    Map of Seattle showing the locations of the study and comparison streets.
    Map of the study and comparison streets from the Injury Prevention article. The Aurora project did not include physical changes, only a police enforcement effort. However, the results did not meaningfully change when excluding Aurora, the authors noted.
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  • SDOT begins work on permanent remake of 3rd/Yesler

    Top-down diagram showing the intersection design, including protected bike lanes and many curb extensions to shorten crosswalks.
    Final design from SDOT.

    After years of piloting solutions and testing how they impact transit service, SDOT is beginning work on a rebuild of the complicated intersection at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way in Pioneer Square that they hope will prevent the potentially deadly collisions that were unfortunately common there previously.

    “The intersection of 3rd and Yesler has experienced a high number of collisions for people walking and biking,” wrote SDOT on the project webpage. “In particular, drivers are prone to hitting pedestrians in the west and north crosswalks of 3rd and Yesler. ​To mitigate these collisions, we are making safety improvements that we have tested over the past two years.”

    The intersection also serves as a connection between the 2nd and 4th Avenue bike lanes, and is the primary southbound option for people using the 4th Ave lane since that unfortunately lane does not continue southbound on 4th. That could change someday since the Seattle Transportation Plan calls for a continuous bike lane on 4th all the way to Seattle Boulevard S, which then connects to the upcoming Georgetown to Downtown bike route.

    The 3rd and Yesler redesign includes new bicycle signals and hardened bike lane protection heading downhill from the intersection toward the waterfront. Later this year, SDOT is planning on a short bike lane to fill in the gap between the 2nd Ave bike lane and the new waterfront bikeway. All these small projects are coming together to create some big connections, allowing people to bike up and down the waterfront and connect into the downtown bike network without ever leaving a protected bike lane.

    More details on the 3rd and Yesler project:

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  • Endorsement: The Seattle Transportation Levy will be a massive investment in safe, efficient streets

    Chart breaking down the spending categories for the 2015 levy and 2024 levy proposal.
    I combined categories to get them to match up as well as I could. You can check my math in this spreadsheet.

    Now that Mayor Harrell and the City Council have officially sent the $1.55 billion 2024 Transportation Levy (PDF) to Seattle voters in November, we can put all the debates about expanding the levy behind us and take stock of how it ended up. With $160.5 million for Vision Zero, $193 million for sidewalks and ADA work, $151 million for transit corridors and access, $133.5 million for bicycle safety, and $66.5 million for a new people streets and public spaces budget line, the 2024 levy proposal is by far the best Seattle transportation funding measure in recent memory. It will* do more for walking, biking and transit in our city than the 2015 Move Seattle Levy, which was itself the city’s best transportation funding measure in recent memory.

    OK, yes, there is an asterisk in that last statement. The effectiveness of this levy relies on the city’s yet untested dedication to the recently-approved Seattle Transportation Plan. If Seattle really does follow this plan—prioritizing safety investments, transit access, and bike route connectivity during paving projects as noted—then the 2024 Seattle Transportation Levy will represent a significant acceleration in the city’s commitment to Vision Zero. The Seattle Transportation Plan does not include any new or expanded roads. So while the levy includes an astounding and unprecedented $403 million for paving and street maintenance work, that funding is not slated to tear down houses or buy out people’s front yards in order to widen roads as Seattle did for much of the 20th century. Instead, streets that get repaved should also be updated to meet the Seattle Transportation Plan’s ambitious vision that prioritizes safety.

    The 2024 levy includes big increases in safety funding, and it includes a good amount of somewhat loosely defined transit funding. What it lack are a lot of major signature projects like the streetcar or the many bus rapid transit corridors that the Move Seattle Levy promised. Because of how the Move Seattle defined its spending, it is difficult to directly compare transit funding levels. But transit clearly did not get the big increases other elements received, and it possibly even got cut a little when adjusted for inflation depending on how you calculate it. Unfortunately, many of those levy-funded “RapidRide+” projects have not gone well. The 2015 levy dramatically underestimated the costs while also overestimating the amount of federal grant funding Seattle would be able to leverage. In Seattle’s defense, they did not foresee Donald Trump winning office a year later, a disaster for the nation in so many ways that the decline in federal matching grants for SDOT projects barely seems notable. But as the price tags rose on those projects, Trump’s USDOT was not about to lift a finger to help Seattle, so the city had to cut back hard on what was promised.

    The lack of specific project earmarks is not necessarily a bad thing, though. SDOT is a very good transportation department staffed with some of the smartest people you will ever meet who genuinely care about our city and the people living and working here. The Move Seattle Levy set them up for failure, and the Seattle Transportation Levy seems designed to sidestep this problem by not over-promising. Instead, it defines the types of work to fund and then leaves it up to SDOT staff following the Seattle Transportation Plan to prioritize and guide that work. Perhaps the proposal underpromises, and there will be people who are uncomfortable approving so much money with so few specifics. Advocacy will be as important as ever for the next eight years, so it is a good thing we have great walking, biking and transit advocacy organizations and volunteers in our city.

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Bike Events Calendar

Jul
25
Thu
7:15 pm Point83 @ Westlake Park
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Jul 25 @ 7:15 pm
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Meet up in the center of the park at 7ish. Leave at 730. Every Thursday from now until forever rain or shine. Bikes, beers, illegal firepits, nachos, bottlerockets, timetraveling, lollygagging, mechanicals, good times.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
Jul
27
Sat
all-day Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washing…
Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washing…
Jul 27 – Jul 28 all-day
Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washington Blvd
Details from Seattle Parks: On scheduled weekends from May to September, a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. “Seattle Parks and Recreation[…]
1:00 pm Seattle Queer History Ride 2024 … @ Volunteer Park (Black Sun sculpture)
Seattle Queer History Ride 2024 … @ Volunteer Park (Black Sun sculpture)
Jul 27 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Seattle Queer History Ride 2024 - Capitol Hill to University District (Leisurely) @ Volunteer Park (Black Sun sculpture) | Seattle | Washington | United States
Join me for a 7 mile bike ride going from Capitol Hill into the University District at a Leisurely pace. We’ll visit various sites relevant to Seattle’s current gayborhood and gathering sites around UW.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
Jul
28
Sun
all-day Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washing…
Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washing…
Jul 28 – Jul 29 all-day
Bicycle Weekends on Lake Washington Blvd
Details from Seattle Parks: On scheduled weekends from May to September, a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. “Seattle Parks and Recreation[…]
Aug
1
Thu
7:15 pm Point83 @ Westlake Park
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Aug 1 @ 7:15 pm
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Meet up in the center of the park at 7ish. Leave at 730. Every Thursday from now until forever rain or shine. Bikes, beers, illegal firepits, nachos, bottlerockets, timetraveling, lollygagging, mechanicals, good times.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
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