Bike Happy: Bellevue wants bikeshare; Bainbridge nixes bike bridge

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Your Voice, Your Choice Program: Submit your idea for a $90,000 improvement to a street or park in your neighborhood.
  2. Bainbridge City Council nixed a key bridge for the Sound-to-Olympics Trail.
  3. Bellevue residents overwhelmingly want dockless bikeshare.

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES

ARTICLES & POSTS

  • Beyond just coffee, Seattle has a booming scene of espresso machine makers. Making coffee machines is becoming a core part of CycleFab LLC’s portfolio, and all the great machines are a big boon for bike-oriented businesses like Conduit Coffee and Convoy Coffee (The Stranger).
  • Dr. Art Grossman, who suffered from ALS and recently passed away, was a “indomitable and incredibly fit husband [who] planned to keep doing what he loved — bicycling and teaching exercise classes — for as long as he could.” (Everett Herald)
  • Craig Fowler of Seattle became the first person to accomplish the “Double Triple Crown” of hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, and bikecamping the Tour Divide, Colorado Race Trail, and Arizona Trail Race — a total of 7,574 miles on foot and over 4,000 miles on a bike. (Adventure Journal)
  • “Around the Coastline of Britain – Interview with Andrew Mathias,” (Jan Heine’s Blog).
  • “René Herse: The Beauty of Function,” (Jan Heine’s Blog).
  • “Past Year with Bicycle Quarterly,” (Jan Heine’s Blog).

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The new 520 Bridge Trail brings our region closer together

Hard to believe this is now a leisurely bike ride.

The trail across the new 520 Bridge opened just before Christmas, opening new possibilities for biking in the region.

For example, a trip from downtown Kirkland to UW Station has been cut in half, and you can make it most the way either completely separated from car traffic or in a painted bike lane. Even at a leisurely pace, the ride takes around 45 minutes.

A bike ride to downtown Bellevue would take a similar amount of time.

I knew this bridge connection was going to create new opportunities for more trips, but what I didn’t expect was how many kids I would see biking there on my first trip across. The trail was bustling, with lots of people walking and biking. But it seemed like about half of the people biking on the bridge were kids under 10 with their parents. This is certainly anecdata, and maybe it was just a quirk of it being New Year’s Eve or still being novel. Continue reading

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Family of Desiree McCloud files lawsuit over fatal streetcar track crash

Image from lawsuit document, posted by CHS.

The family of Desiree McCloud has sued the City of Seattle for yet undetermined wrongful death damages following the 27-year-old woman’s fatal crash allegedly caused by the First Hill Streetcar tracks on Yesler Way near 14th Ave.

McCloud was biking with friends May 2016 when she crashed, passing away a week and a half later. After writing about her tragic death, Seattle Bike Blog was flooded with beautiful remembrances from people whose lives she had touched. Friends, family and neighbors held a memorial walk a month later in her honor.

Video eventually surfaced showing McCloud riding between the streetcar tracks just moments before she crashed. The lawsuit claims that she crashed trying to cross back over the track. Streetcar track gaps are just wide enough to grab or destabilize bike wheels.

A year after McCloud’s death, Jon Humbert and a Q13 News crew was filming a report at the spot where she crashed when Suzanne Greenberg crashed right in front of them in much the same way as McCloud. Greenberg spoke to Humbert before being transported to the hospital for some serious arm injuries. She has since joined the McCloud family in their lawsuit.

More details from Capitol Hill Seattle: Continue reading

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Kubly’s SDOT responded to massive growth by going big on walking, biking and transit

SDOT Director Scott Kubly helped lead a Bike To Work Day 2017 ride on Rainier Ave.

Scott Kubly resigned as SDOT Director last month, closing a chapter of incredible growth (and growing pains) over his more than three years at the expanding agency.

As SDOT Director during the development of the nine-year Move Seattle transportation levy voters approved in 2015, Kubly’s imprint will remain in Seattle for many years to come. The $930 million levy represents a bold vision for a future Seattle that prioritizes walking, biking and transit as the modes that will best absorb growth in the city and region. Voters approved it by a 17 point margin.

Kubly also oversaw a major expansion of bus service after city voters approved a 2014 ballot measure to save Metro service by increasing car tabs fees. That measure — along with some significant SDOT projects to speed up transit service, like transit-only lanes in South Lake Union — has furthered the partnership between the city and county as providers of bus service. It is also a major reason transit usage is growing quickly in Seattle while dropping nationwide.

Considering the amount of growth the city saw during his tenure, his job was impossible.

“In the three and a half years I’ve worked here, the city’s population has gone up something like ten percent,” a much relaxed Kubly said over pizza recently. “Most of it’s happening in just a few neighborhoods,” mainly urban villages. So while this “tiny fraction of the land area” has been gaining more and more residents, the streets there have also been constricted by lane and sidewalk closures due to development. Continue reading

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Construction set to begin on vital downtown stretch of 7th Ave bike lane

Project map from SDOT.

Construction is set to begin next week to finally connect the well-used 7th Ave bike lane to the downtown core.

When we last wrote about the planned 7th Ave southbound protected bike lane, we noted that it would end just a few blocks from 2nd Ave. But in the interim, SDOT accelerated planning and construction of new protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine Streets. So instead of being yet another bike lane hanging in a vacuum, the new lane will fill a vital gap in the young downtown bike network.

Construction should be complete in April.

Because bike routes on both Dexter and 9th Avenues N connect to 7th, the relatively low-traffic street has long been a major bike route into downtown from many points north. Construction in recent years has dramatically reduced the street’s usability as a bike route, but that may all change in 2018.

Details from SDOT: Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Save these 2018 dates

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Bike Happy Month will run from August 24 to September 23.
  2. The last Critical Mass Ride of 2017 is this Friday.
  3. The 2018 Bicycle Sundays dates have been set.

Bike Happy Month + Pedaler’s Fair

August 24 — September 23

In 2018, Bike Happy Month will run from Friday, August 24 to Sunday, September 23. We will cap off the month with Pedaler’s Fair on Sept. 23 on the streets of Ballard.

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Bike Happy: #HappyBikeLanePeople winners and many profiles of fantastic bike people

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Find out who won the top honors of the #HappyBikeLanePeople contest >>
  2. SDOT Director Scott Kubly resigned.
  3. The SR520 Bridge Bike Path opened.
  4. Learn about the man behind the mask of Bike Batman, the man who’s helped recover and return ~40 stolen bikes in the last few years.


#HappyBikeLanePeople Contest Award Winners

More than 280 people voted. Here’s who you voted as your top Community Choice winners of the #HappyBikeLane contest: Continue reading

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520 Trail opens today + Where to go for the opening celebration

Today’s the day! Starting at 3 p.m., you will finally be able to bike across the 520 Bridge whenever you want.

To celebrate, Cascade Bicycle Club is hosting free group rides from both the Seattle and Bellevue sides of the lake. Go see for yourself what it’s like to bike from UW to downtown Kirkland or Bellevue in just 45 minutes.

Details from Cascade: Continue reading

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SDOT uses bike racks to displace people camping under Viaduct

Photo from Dongho Chang, via Twitter.

When a long row of bike racks popped up under the Viaduct at Western and Bell, people immediately questioned whether the racks were there to create parking spaces for people to lock bikes or to displace people experiencing homelessness who had been camping in the rare dry Belltown spot.

Jeff Few, a neighbor, filed a request with the city for records about the bike racks and found that displacing campers was, indeed, the reason the city installed the racks, according to the Stranger:

The city installed the racks in September after officials conducted a homeless encampment sweep in the area. SDOT considered the racks “part of the Homelessness Emergency Response effort” and they were meant to discourage camping, emails show. Few obtained the emails through a public records request.

In a statement to The Stranger, SDOT spokesperson Karen Westing confirmed that the bike racks were part of a “strategy for lessening the hazards of unsheltered living by creating space for a different active public use.” She said SDOT has not made any other similar installments to deter camping.

The racks and installation cost about $6,700, according to Westing. The 18 racks and six mounting rails cost $3,998 and the labor of three crew members for five hours cost $2,718. SDOT used bike racks purchased through the voter-approved Move Seattle levy. However, the department reimbursed the total cost of the project through an SDOT fund specifically for homelessness, according to Westing.

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Bike share pilot’s daily ridership blows past Pronto’s lifetime totals, rivals both streetcars combined

From a recent SDOT presentation to the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (PDF).

As bike share companies added more bikes to Seattle streets during late summer and early autumn, the number of trips accelerated, too. Combined, Spin, ofo and LimeBike are carrying nearly as many daily riders as both the First Hill Streetcar and the South Lake Union Streetcar combined.

For the first two months, the brand new bike share services carried just under 120,000 trips. Since then, as the number of bikes ballooned, the number of trips accelerated even as typical seasonal biking trends say ridership should have been slowing down. By the end of November, the most recent figures Seattle Bike Blog has received from SDOT, the combined trip total reached 347,300. Riders even passed the million-mile mark.

To put that in perspective, Pronto Cycle Share carried 278,143 trips total during its entire two and a half years of operations. It took private bike share companies just over three months to pass Pronto’s lifetime total. The number of bikes permitted was about 9,400 by the end of November, though many of those are not in service due to maintenance. Pronto had 500 bikes.

At this point, Pronto is no longer a useful measuring stick for bike share in Seattle. Averaging 2,711 rides per day, bike share companies have already blown past ridership on the First Hill Streetcar (1,600 riders per day) and the South Lake Union Streetcar (1,400 riders per day). In fact, considering the accelerating rate of ridership, it’s likely that the bike share companies have had many days carrying more riders than both streetcars combined. Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Vote for your favorite Happy Bike Lane Person

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Vote for the winners of the #HappyBikeLanePeople Contest >>
  2. SDOT is making progress on designing RapidRide Corridors from the Delridge and Roosevelt neighborhoods into downtown, which could mean new protected bike lanes along those routes.
  3. The wickedly fun “Shortest Day / Longest Night Get Dowwn” Race is this Saturday.
  4. Cyclocross season comes to a close this weekend at Fort Nugent Park on Whidbey Island.
  5. Queen Anne Greenways is hosting a discussion with Robin Mazumder on Monday.
  6. The bike path on the SR520 floating bridge opens Wednesday 3pm, forever transforming our region’s commute and recreation rides.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BIKE LANE PEOPLE!

More than 50 ideas were submitted for the #HappyBikeLanePeople contest. Now, help choose the winners by voting in an online poll.  Winners will be announced in next week’s email.  Vote >>

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Bike News Roundup: Ghost Bikes

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Actually, it’s well past time. I’ve apparently totally forgotten to do this since early October, so I’ve got what might be the biggest Roundup in Seattle Bike Blog history. Oops! I hope you weren’t planning to get much more work done today.

First up, Ethan Brooks emailed me this short film he made that broke my heart:

Pacific Northwest News: Continue reading

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As NE 65th Street safety changes develop, tell SDOT to keep sidewalks wide and bike lanes protected

Councilmember Rob Johnson addresses a neighborhood march demanding a safer NE 65th Street in June 2016.

NE 65th Street needs a safer design. People keep getting seriously injured and killed on this street, and that won’t stop until something changes. This point has been well established, with neighbors even leading a community memorial and march to protest the dangerous conditions and demand action from the city.

Councilmember Rob Johnson, whose District includes this street, joined the march and made funding a safety project there a priority. And he backed his words up with budget action.

NE 65th is set to get a lot safer and more comfortable in summer 2018, and that’s very exciting.

So now, the question isn’t whether the street needs safety changes, including protected bike lanes. If you want to know more about that, read our previous posts on the subject. Now the question is what those changes should look like, and judging by in-development design documents, the project needs some reworking to make sure sidewalks remain wide enough and the bike lanes get enough protection at intersections.

You can get an updated look at the design and provide feedback in person at two public drop-in sessions 5–7 p.m. today (Tuesday) and 7–9 a.m. Thursday at Broadcast Coffee. You can also send comments to NE65VisionZero@seattle.gov. Continue reading

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Support bike lanes along the Roosevelt RapidRide line (including Eastlake Ave)

An effort to build a faster and more reliable bus route along the Roosevelt Way/Eastlake Ave corridor is also an incredible opportunity to improve biking and walking conditions along the way.

The project — now called Roosevelt RapidRide — is going through a Federal Environmental Assessment, and public comment is open now until January 12 on the scope of that assessment. You know what that means. Let them know that biking and walking connectivity and safety should be top priorities, and that the protected bike lanes included in the plan will be huge improvements. There is a drop-in style open house TODAY (Monday) from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at the Silver Cloud on Fairview Ave N (apologies for the very late notice).

You can also submit your comments in writing to RapidRide@seattle.gov.

The project’s preferred alternative includes many of the most important bike connections for this project, such as upgraded bike lanes on 11th/12th Ave from Roosevelt to the U Bridge and protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E and Fairview Ave N. Unfortunately, very exciting bike lane concepts on Fairview Ave N in the heart of South Lake Union and on Stewart St have been cut. The bus improvements north of Roosevelt Station, including improvements going as far as Northgate, have also been scaled back since earlier versions.

For biking, Stewart St is a particularly important and promising route for protected bike lanes, so it’s sad to see that left off the preferred alternative.

Eastlake Ave E is one of the most important bike route improvements in the whole city, since it connects our state’s largest employment center to one of the only bikeable bridges across the Ship Canal. It’s hard to overstate how exciting it is to see those bike lanes in the preferred alternative.

Here’s the planned project route and improvements under the preferred alternative: Continue reading

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Goldberg: Find a peaceful, relaxing ride on South King County and Pierce County trails

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Eli Goldberg and Bob Edmiston for this ride report. Their guide was written before the opening of the South Prairie to Buckley connection that wrapped up construction last week. So if you want to be one of the first people to ride that new trail section, here’s a guide for how to get there without a car.

Photo by Bob Edmiston

By Eli Goldberg and Bob Edmiston

It’s the Seattle conundrum: you want to enjoy some natural beauty and exercise on your bike. But you dread the chaotic congestion of the Burke-Gilman trail, with spandex-clad bike racers, dogwalkers and rollerbladers all jockeying for a sliver of space.

You feel a twinge of envy for Vancouver and Portland, with their extensive networks of traffic-calmed, tree-lined streets ideal for casual leisure biking.

But you don’t have to go far for a peaceful, relaxing seasonal ride.

Did you know that in just 15 minutes by public transit from downtown Seattle you can find a connected network of roughly 55 miles of well-maintained, scenic, and fully paved trails? No car or hill climbing required.

You’ll ride through a half-dozen cute and historic downtowns in King and Pierce counties, and enjoy diverse and scenic terrain, with stunning views of Mt. Rainier. In the summer, you can even fill your panniers with fresh blueberries and strawberries with farmstand and U-Pick stops right on the trail. And you’ll be far from the craziness of the Burke.

We’ve put together the below map and route guide, offering up to 55 miles of relaxed trail riding, with about 1.5 miles of less-comfortable on-street riding.

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Imagine a ‘postcarbon Seattle’ at symposium and ‘Futurama’ exhibit

Does Seattle even need cars?

That’s the question at the heart of a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture & Design now through February 17. The Center is open 10–6 Tuesday through Thursday, 10–5 Friday, 1–5 Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Futurama Redux comes from the international group Smarter Than Car and “follows a best-case thought experiment that moves the present-day to 2050, when Vienna has become a leading city in post-carbon transition.”

Many of those ideas about cities also apply to Seattle.

“We are interested in how to think about an alternative use of space in cities,” said Florian Lorenz of Smarter Than Car, an exhibit curator. “The whole exhibition questions the car.”

What other mobility options do we have?” he asked. “Why do we need cars in the city?”

I’m all ears.

The exhibit runs through February 17, but there will also be a symposium tomorrow (Saturday) called Imagineering a Postcarbon Seattle:

The future might not be motorized: Over the coming decades the challenges of Postcarbon Transition and Climate Change Adaptation will demand a paradigm shift for the organisation of human settlements. This symposium questions the position of the city of Seattle in the global challenge of complete decarbonization until 2050. It will explore the opportunities and challenges that decision makers, creatives and civil society is faced with when taking up this responsibility and will explore first stepping stones to further such a transition.

 

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Bike Happy: By Air Land Sea, tandem the Alps & race across Vashon

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

1. Design your own bike lane person.

2. Read about the 333fab Air Land Sea bicycle.

3. Watch Jan Heine bomb down unknown French Alps roads on a very old, unrestored René Herse tandem.

4. Attend a panel discussion about the future of transportation policy with some very smart people.

5. “Race” from the Vashon ferry to the Tacoma Dome, catch an ST Express Bus to SoDo, then first person to order a drink at 9lb Hammer in Georgetown wins.

6. Checkout all the great artists and builders at the Equinox Studios’ “Very Open House.”

7. Read the Seattle Times front page article about our chief traffic engineer, Dongho Chang. Continue reading

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Q13: Man killed in Sodo was biking to job where he worked his way out of homelessness. RIP Celso Diaz

Screenshot from Q13 News.

Celso Diaz was biking to his job at iClick’s Sodo warehouse November 21 when someone driving twice the speed limit struck and killed him while he crossed 1st Ave S at S Andover Street.

The suspect, driving a light-colored Toyota Prius, never stopped and is still on the run.

Diaz, who co-workers and friends told Q13 News went by Pete, died at the scene. He was 61.

Our deepest condolences to his loved ones.

Edward Cozarg, a friend and one of Pete’s co-workers at iClick, told Q13 that he met Pete a half decade ago. At that time, Pete was living in an encampment along I-5 between Beacon Hill and Sodo commonly referred to as “The Jungle.” Working at iClick, Pete was able to move into his own place.

From Q13: Continue reading

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Aviva Stephens: But it’s raining outside

EDITOR’S NOTE: Aviva Stephens is a Seattle native and financial professional who discovered the benefits and joys of cycling on her challenging work commute between Ballard and the Eastside. Find more of her writing on Medium and follow her on Instagram at @avivarachelle.

It’s been a wet fall, but riding a bike in the rain is not as bad as it may seem. In fact conquering the weather can make me feel like fucking super woman ready to combat whatever office drama may come my way.

Becoming Super Woman

The other day I found myself stranded at the bus stop because the bike rack was full and my only commute choice was to pedal five miles to my destination. This was one of those rainy days with a winter weather advisory to the effect of “Warning: If you leave your house today you might die.” Admittedly, even as a bike advocate, I opt for public transport for most of my morning commute and reserve the long ride for the evening commute. So on this day I was not looking forward to getting sweaty and wet before a long day of meetings.

As I stood stranded on the curb I contemplated my options:

  • Ride five miles in the heavy rain and wind,
  • Coast back home and work from my cozy, warm and dry abode, or
  • Pop back into the coffee shop and pretend to be a carefree hipster for a day.

Although the fantasy of working from the comfortable confines of home and/or a coffee shop and not exerting all of my energy just to get to work sounded appealing, I also realized that they were choices rooted in fear. Fear of exhaustion, fear of looking unkempt, fear of an offending odor, fear of tumbleweed hair, fear of the rain…this last one seems absurd to me because I just got out of the shower and survived! Continue reading

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Kenmore is now a certified ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’

The City of Kenmore is Washington State’s newest Bicycle Friendly Community, achieving a Bronze rating from the League of American Bicyclists for the first time.

Around the state, Bellingham retained its Silver status, and Tacoma retained its Bronze.

The League reviews applications from communities across the nation every other year. Seattle failed to improve on its Gold status last year.

Kenmore was shaken awake by tragedy in 2014, when Caleb Shoop was killed while biking in a crosswalk at NE 190th Street and 61st Ave NE. He was 19. The City took action to make some safety changes, and neighbors started to get organized to encourage more. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

So congrats to Kenmore on your Bronze! Now, the trail-connected community can get to work improving its ranking, which has the wonderful side-effect of making the city’s streets safer, healthier and more fun.

More details from Kenmore: Continue reading

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