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  • Ballard HS Student: Missing bike racks limit biking to school in Seattle

    Chart showing a relationship between students of color in a school and that school being less likely to have adequate bike parking.
    From SDOT’s 2018 School Bike Parking Inventory Analysis (PDF).

    Lucas Salm-Rojo, a junior at Ballard High School, wrote an excellent op-ed for the Seattle Times this week arguing that Seattle Public Schools is making it harder for students to bike to school because not every school has adequate — or any — bike parking. And the problem is particularly apparent at at schools serving communities of color.

    While locking a cheap kids’ bike to a random fence might not be a big deal in elementary school, the problem becomes a bigger deal once kids grow and start riding more theft-worthy adult bikes. A student’s bike is probably among their most valuable possessions, so you can understand them not wanting to lock it up to a random street sign outside school all day every day.

    The full story is a must-read:

    When I was younger, I never thought too deeply about where I parked my bike. In elementary school I locked my bike to the chain-link fence that surrounded the building. Now that I am older and the bike I ride is more expensive than the 20-inch kids bike my dad bought off Craigslist, I am more invested in not having it get stolen. In a 2019 survey conducted by the Seattle Department of Transportation, 45% of respondents said that biking to school was not an option, citing a lack of bike racks and a worry of theft, both of which are issues I have encountered.

    Seattle municipal code requires schools to provide four bike parking spots per classroom. However, a 2018 study by SDOT found that at least two-thirds of Seattle public schools don’t meet those requirements, and three schools — Franklin High School, Emerson Elementary and Van Asselt Elementary — didn’t just not meet the code, but had no bike racks at all. I have a friend who goes to Franklin and is forced to rent a bike locker at the nearby Mount Baker light-rail station.

    This lack of bike racks is also concerning because it ties into the racial inequalities that are often found in any type of infrastructure in this city. SDOT’s study found that the number of bike racks a school has can be tied to the number of students from that school who live in a community of color. It found that the more diverse a school’s student body is, the fewer bike racks it has. This is concerning because students of color are already less likely to walk or bike to school than their white counterparts.

    Read more…

    Thank you, Lucas, for writing this excellent piece.

    (Note: If you do not subscribe to the Seattle Times, local public library card holders can access the paper free through their library’s excellent collection of online resources: Seattle Public Library and King County Library. Here’s the direct SPL link to Salm-Rojo’s article.)

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  • I love new Bike Lane Day

    Person biking in a bike lane that has recently been striped.
    Melrose Ave facing south near Denny Way.

    The other day my kid and I were biking the same route we bike every day on the way to preschool when something amazing happened: Part of the route had brand new bike lanes.

    We knew bike lanes were coming at some point, but it was still a wonderful surprise the day it happened. For a couple blocks, including a sometimes stressful uphill section between Olive Way and Pine Street, we no longer needed to ride with cars in mixed traffic on Melrose Avenue. It’s was a glorious feeling.

    The new bike lanes are part of the long-stewing, community-generated Melrose Promenade project. Many community members have been working with the city, winning grants and hosting an enormous amount of community outreach for more than a decade. I remember this being a day-one priority during the initial meeting of Central Seattle Greenways in February 2012. Initially billed as an effort to celebrate “Capitol Hill’s front porch,” the project is an attempt to improve the walking and biking environment on this key route, which includes a connection to Lakeview Boulevard to the north and First Hill to the south, while also making it more enjoyable for the community to actually hang out on the street. Sure, the roar of the freeway is a bummer, but the views from the street between Denny and E Roy Street are great.

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  • Port says it supports waterfront trail if it can be detoured during cruise loading

    In response to the surge of letters they received from people concerned about Seattle’s plan to permanently route the waterfront bike path across Alaskan Way and back again near the Pier 66 cruise terminal, the Port of Seattle said it supports a trail on the west side of Alaskan Way so long as it can be detoured during busy cruise loading hours.

    Seattle Neighborhood Greenways put out an action alert earlier this month calling on people to write the Seattle Port Commission and urge them to support a “seamless” waterfront trail. All five Seattle Port Commissioners signed a response letter saying “the Port supports a continuous, dedicated, west side bike trail. The key element of this design for the Port is a temporary detour for cyclists to an east side bike trail while cruise ships are loading and unloading.” The Commissioners also state that they support the city’s plan for a larger traffic safety redesign of the street. “The Port also supports the city’s lane reductions in this corridor beyond the cruise terminal activity center to reduce vehicle traffic volumes and speed, which will also increase safety for all.”

    So far, the city has yet to release a trail design that meets the Port’s and trail advocates’ requests. The most recent design available on the project website still shows the trail crossing the street twice within a couple blocks, which would add significant delay for trail users and make the experience less intuitive. It would likely also lead many trail users to simply ride on the sidewalk or in the street instead of using the trail, defeating the purpose of the project.

    Map of the proposed bike lane crossing Alaskan Way twice near Pier 66.
    SDOT’s current trail design from the project website.
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  • Map of Friday’s Bike Everywhere Day Stations

    Bike Everywhere Day is Friday, and people and organizations will be hosting Celebration Stations all over the place to cheer on anyone riding a bike and maybe give out some coffee, snacks or swag.

    If you work a 9 to 5 job, I highly suggest getting an early start so you can visit some stations along the way. And if you don’t work Friday morning, getting up early and riding to as many stations as you can is a pretty fun way to start the day. And if you word early, there are also a number of stations open in the afternoon as well as several evening events. So before visiting a station on Cascade Bicycle Club’s map, select it to see its scheduled hours. In general, Green=Morning, Red=Evening and Purple=All Day.

    Station Highlights

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  • The Bike News Roundup is back again

    It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Or rather, we are long overdue for a Bike News Roundup. I got out of the groove on organizing the interesting bike and transportation related stories I read back in 2021 when, well, reading the news wasn’t very fun. I was working on my book, and the Bike News Roundup was one of the tasks that got cut. But that ends now! So here’s the first Bike News Roundup in two years.

    First up, did you all catch Doc Wilson on Out & Back with Alison Mariella Désir on KCTS back in December?

    By the way, you can join Doc and Peace Peloton for a Fresh Air ride Saturday.

    National & Global

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  • A traffic jam on Seattle’s new Belltown Neighborhood Highway

    It is the year 2023, and Seattle just opened a new highway through the dense and walkable Belltown neighborhood. For five years, there was no connection between Alaskan Way on the waterfront and Western Ave in Belltown, and traffic was working about at well as it ever does. But this month, Seattle opened a new highway connection, and the result is sadly predictable: a multi-lane traffic jam in the middle of a neighborhood.

    In video I shot just a couple weeks ago, you can see what it was like before. And now it’s yet another multi-lane street that gets clogged up during busy times and encourages speeding and dangerous driving during the off-hours.

    We did not need to do this. This was a choice. The new highway connection was enormously expensive, and for what? To fill this neighborhood street with idling cars and make it uncomfortable to cross the street? Are the people sitting in these cars enjoying this? Who won here? The oil companies?

    The decision to create this neighborhood highway was made years ago. And frankly, everyone involved in pushing for this design should be ashamed. Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront made this timelapse over multiple years showing them tear down the highway that Seattleites wanted gone and replacing it with, well, a different highway. This is nothing to celebrate. This does active harm to our city, it works against our climate and traffic safety goals, and it makes Belltown a less pleasant place to live and work. Meanwhile, it seems that traffic volumes have dropped on nearby 1st Avenue due to this new Western highway. Why weren’t there plans to make 1st Avenue safer when traffic moved over to Western? The people shouldn’t need to beg for safe streets, it needs to be standard practice within our transportation agencies.

    But it doesn’t need to stay this way. Just because a decade-old decision was bad doesn’t mean we have to live with it. I suggested before this project opened that we only open one of the lanes and see how things go, and I still think that’s a good idea. We know that the vast majority of traffic deaths and injuries on city streets happen on streets with more than one lane in the same direction, so why are we repeating that mistake again?

    We also need the city and state to expedite road safety project on Western Ave beyond the Elliott Way highway project. This is a bike route, believe it or not. But it is also a street that people need to feel safe around.

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Bike Events Calendar

7:00 pm D5 Candidate Forum on Mobility
D5 Candidate Forum on Mobility
Jun 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Join us for a chance to hear what Seattle City Council Candidates for District 3 Representative have to say about transportation, mobility, and climate issues in Seattle. Moderated by Colleen Echohawk.Virtual options available.Monday, June 5,[…]
7:30 pm NW Greenways Meeting @ Broadview Tap House (N 125th and Greenwood Ave)
NW Greenways Meeting @ Broadview Tap House (N 125th and Greenwood Ave)
Jun 6 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The next NW Greenways meeting will be in-person at Broadview Tap House on Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30pm. Broadview Tap House (at N 125th and Greenwood Ave) is dog and family friendly and, with the longer[…]
6:00 pm Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board M…
Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board M…
Jun 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Monthly agendas can be found at: http://www.seattle.gov/seattle-bicycle-advisory-board/meetings/meeting-agendas The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) advises the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments and Divisions on projects, policies, and programs that improve and/or affect bicycling conditions in[…]
7:15 pm Point83 @ Westlake Park
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Jun 8 @ 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.
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