Trail Alert 8/16-18: Big Burke-Gilman Trail detour planned through UW

Map of the detour route via Pend Oreille Road, Mason Road and Rainier Vista.UW will detour a significant stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail between Pend Oreille Rd and Rainier Vista this weekend for tree removal work.

The detour will be in place starting 6 a.m. Friday morning and going through Sunday evening. Work hours are 7 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.

The route is largely on-road, but hopefully traffic won’t be much of an issue since school is not in session.

For more details, check out the project notice from UW.


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Four years later, city settles with man terribly injured following streetcar track crash

Daniel Ahrendt was biking westbound on Jackson Street in May 2015 when he crossed the very wide five-way intersection with Rainier, Boren and 14th Avenues. A bus was stopped next to the curb, so he changed lanes to pass. That’s when everything went horribly wrong. The track grabbed his bike wheel, sending him crashing to the ground. Then the bus pulled away from the curb and ran over him, crushing his pelvis and leg. He nearly died of blood loss, but medics and the trauma team at Harborview were able to save his life. He was hospitalized for a month.

That was May 2015, and he just recently settled with the city for $1.55 million. He no longer bikes and now lives in New York, the Seattle Times reports.

“I learned through my attorney that nine other similar bicycle/rail gap accidents had occurred where bicyclists fell due to the First Hill Streetcar tracks before my crash,” he wrote in a statement. “Seven accidents had occurred after my crash. I hoped that my lawsuit would help prevent additional, similar bicycle accidents.”

His crash was nightmarish, but it was also preventable. Before building the First Hill Streetcar line, it was already well known that streetcar tracks are dangerous for people biking because the gap is wide enough to grab all but the widest bicycle tires. And once your wheel starts to slip into the track, you don’t stand a chance. Seattle and Sound Transit learned lessons from the dangerous design of the South Lake Union streetcar, especially on Westlake. That’s why the First Hill Streetcar runs next to a protected bike lane on Broadway.

But they did not continue this protected bike lane for the rest of the route, including heavily-biked Jackson Street. This was a huge mistake, and people continue to get injured.

As is common in settlements like this, the city did not officially admit fault. But something needs to happen to improve safety along our streetcar routes, including Jackson Street, Yesler Way and in various parts of South Lake Union. And experience from around the world shows that the only complete solution is to have separated bike lanes that cross streetcar tracks at safe angles as close to 90 degrees as possible.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has a truly despicable quote in the Seattle Times, basically telling everyone who has been injured (or killed) after their bike wheels got caught in the streetcar tracks that it was their fault. Continue reading

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Get ready for a major Fairview Ave N detour later this year + A look at some of your options – UPDATED

UPDATE 8/20: SDOT says the closure could start at early as September 16.

Official detour map showing the walking and biking detour along Aloha Street.If you bike along the east side of Lake Union into the city center, then you should get ready for a significant change to your bike route later this year.

Work has already started to prepare for the Fairview Ave N bridge replacement, but the extended closure of the bridge will cut off the only flat bike route between Eastlake and South Lake Union/downtown for more than a year. So it’s not a bad idea to start trying out some alternate options to see what works best for you.

You may not fully realize you are on a bridge when you cross over the Fairview Ave N bridge. But if you walk along the floating path to the north of the bridge, you can see that the roadway is supported by aging timber that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. The structure does not meet seismic standards, and it is the final timber-supported major bridge left in the city. Replacing it was a key project in the Move Seattle Levy, which voters approved in 2015.

The full bridge is scheduled to close for construction in the Fall and won’t reopen until 2021. Exact dates are not yet listed on the project webpage. The new bridge will have a two-way bike lane and a sidewalk on the north side of the bridge:

Diagram of the existing bridge layout, with a 9-foot shared walking and biking path on the north side.Diagram of the new bridge with a 12-foot two-way bike lane and an 8-foot sidewalk on the north side.

Work is underway right now to build elements of the Aloha Street walking/biking/transit detour. This will probably be the best option for most people, though it does include some significant climbing. A new traffic signal at Aloha and Eastlake should help people heading north make that left turn onto Eastlake.

One big question is how well the paint-only bike lanes on Eastlake Ave will hold up under the expected increase in traffic.


Continue reading

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Council bills say major paving projects ‘shall’ build planned bike lanes, push for downtown and south end bike lanes + Support these bills Friday

Concept image of the new 35th Ave NE design, with two parking lanes, two general purpose lanes and a center turn lane.

A proposed bill would require SDOT to go to the Transportation Committee and justify decisions like the one depicted here on 35th Ave NE, in which Mayor Durkan directed them to delete the designed and contracted bike lane. They would also need to outline how the needed bike connection could be made without the bike lanes.

Seattle already has a complete streets ordinance that says SDOT needs to consider the needs of all road users when making major road investments. The city also has a Bicycle Master Plan that notes where the highest-priority bike connections are. And yet Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT were still able to delete the planned, designed and contracted 35th Ave NE bike lane with little to no explanation or justification. That decision has proven to be an absolute disaster, failing to improve safety, failing to improve walking or biking connectivity and failing to make any progress toward the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

That’s why a new bill from the Transportation Committee is sort of like a more specific and tighter complete streets ordinance that says an improvement identified in the Bicycle Master Plan “shall be installed” whenever SDOT “constructs a major paving project along a segment of the protected bicycle lane network.” Understanding that the Bike Plan has not gone far enough into design to determine for sure whether projects are feasible, there is still an out for SDOT. However, the department would need to justify their decision to the Council and present how the needed bike connection could be advanced without the bike lane. (Full disclosure: My spouse Kelli works as a Legislative Assistant for committee Chair Mike O’Brien and worked on this bill)

So while it still falls short of requiring the city to build the Bike Master Plan, it should be able to help avoid future 35th Ave NE fiascos. For example, if SDOT had to justify their decision, they would have had a very hard time doing so. And the Council could possibly have had a chance to take action to intercede if, for example, the decision were political rather than based on best practices or city policies. Which it was. And perhaps it could also be useful for a mayor who doesn’t want to take political heat for a project by diffusing responsibility across the Council, which is responsible for passing these transportation policies and plans.

Cascade Bicycle Club has put out a call to action urging people to attend the special committee meeting 2 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) to support this bill.

Here’s the key section from the draft bill: Continue reading

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Parks levy with $166M for trails passes by wide margin, Council races take shape – UPDATED

Screenshot of King County Parks levy results as of election night. It was passing with 67.25 percent voting to approve.

Result as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Next ballot drop is expected Friday afternoon.

With more than two thirds of King County voters supporting it as of the initial ballot drop, the King County Parks levy is passing by a very wide margin. This levy includes millions for major regional trail connections, including funds needed to keep the Eastrail (formerly the “Eastside Raid Corridor Trail”) on track for opening in just a few years. This 42-mile rail trail connecting Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton is the single most transformative biking and walking project happening in our region. This is a really big deal.

The levy will also fund the Renton-to-Des Moines Lake to Sound Trail, the final sections of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, the missing Green River Trail link into South Park and a whole lot more. In all, about 20% of levy funding will go to trails.

Screenshot of trail project list, including: Eastside Rail Corridor (Bellevue, Woodinville, Kirkland) East Lake Sammamish Trail Capital improvements for existing Regional Trail System Lake to Sound Trail (Renton, Tukwila) Green to Cedar River Trail - North A (Maple Valley) Green River Trail Extension - North (Seattle) Regional Trails Acquisition Interurban Trail South investments (Kent, Auburn) Foothills Trail (Enumclaw) East Lake Sammamish Trail - Redmond Light Roil Extension Wayne Golf Course Trail Connector improvements Interurban Trail to Burke-Gilman Connection Interurban TraiI Connection (Milto ) Kirkland Green Loop Trail Soos Creek Trail Missing Link of Green River Trail

Trail project list from the motion creating the levy (PDF).

So this vote alone makes yesterday’s primary a huge success for biking in our region.

The Seattle City Council races also took shape as the often huge fields of candidates in each district have been whittled down. Most of the worst candidates didn’t make it through (so long, Ari Hoffman), but neither did some great candidates (thanks for running Phyllis!). Continue reading

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Primary votes due Tuesday + It’s not too late to register or get a replacement ballot

Map of the King County Parks Levy projects.

A map of King County Parks Levy improvements.

Hey, you! Early primary ballot return rates have been less than inspiring, so I know many of you reading this right now still have your ballot sitting on your kitchen table. Hey, that’s fine. My ballot is still here, too. But you can’t get distracted today and tomorrow and forget to vote because there’s a lot riding on this primary.

First off, you get a chance to approve the King County Parks levy (Proposition 1), which includes absolutely vital funding for regional trails like the EasTrail (formerly the Eastside Rail Corridor Trail), the Lake to Sound Trail between Renton and Des Moines, and finishing the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

So even if you are experiencing decision paralysis over your district’s Council vote, voting for the Parks Levy (and the Seattle Public Library Levy!) should be reason enough to inspire you to open that ballot, mark your votes and get it in a mailbox (must be post-marked Tuesday or earlier, so not a great last-day option) or a dropbox (final collection at 8 p.m. Tuesday).

If you have lost your ballot, you can either head down to the King County Elections centers in downtown Seattle and Renton to vote in-person or download and print your ballot then mail it in. And new this year, you can now register and vote any day including election day. So even if you procrastinated, head down to the Renton or Seattle King County Election center and vote in-person.

For a refresher on the Seattle City Council district primaries, check out our posts:

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Have thoughts on races we haven’t explored in-depth? Share them in the comments below.

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Sunday: ‘Feast in the Street’ on Beacon Hill to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Eat food, listen to music and support the work of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Sunday, all in the middle of Beacon Hill’s Roberto Maestas Festival Street.

Feast in the Street is a fundraiser for SNG that also “lets us re-imagine our public spaces in a way that puts people first.” That’s pretty on-brand for the group, I’d say.

You can register online for a spot, and then you can even join one of five neighborhood rides to the feast (or you could just take light rail to Beacon Hill, since the party is right outside the station entrance).

More details from SNG: Continue reading

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Bike News Roundup: Biking Seattle’s freeways

Wow, it’s been a very long time since I posted a Bike News Roundup. Oops. That means this one’s a doozy.

First up, here’s a cool first-person view of the 2019 Emerald City Ride by bobco85:

Pacific Northwest News Continue reading

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TRU’s Wilson: Four steps ‘to spark Seattle’s transportation revolution’

Screenshots of the Crosscut posts.

Read on Crosscut: Part 1, Part 2.

Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union has penned a twopart op-ed for Crosscut, and of course they are both must-reads.

Seattle’s climate emissions are increasing. And transportation is our biggest offender. We need a lot more people to drive a lot less. And we don’t have a lot of time to change course. So how are we going to do this?

For regular readers of this blog, few of her suggested solutions will be a surprise. But unfortunately, not everyone is a regular reader of this blog (hard to believe, I know, but it’s true). Wilson does a good job simplifying a set of complex and intertwined issues into ideas Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city has the power to improve.

The mayor can prioritize walking, biking, transit and accessibility, even in the face of opposition.

“After a century of auto dominance, most of us don’t even notice how much of our public space has been appropriated for cars, or how deeply driving is subsidized and written into our laws,” she writes. “There’s no way to revoke this planet-destroying privilege without making some people angry. The mayor needs to stand firm in defense of projects that shift us toward a sustainable future, even when it’s hard.” Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 7 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

Now, District 7. Right off the bat, we gotta talk about the Magnolia Bridge. Every candidate supports replacing this bridge, but the most popular idea among candidates is a “one-to-one” replacement of the car-centric freeway-style viaduct, which is complete nonsense. This would cost upwards of $420 million, a price tag that is simply not justified by the relatively small number of households it would serve. Investing in car-centric freeway infrastructure is also not in line with our climate goals. Our city has massive transportation challenges in quickly-growing parts of town and in lower-income areas that have long been neglected.

In order to make a Magnolia Bridge replacement make sense, it’s going to need to be paired with some major changes in the area, including a lot more housing and transit. So while all candidates support replacing the bridge, there are some differences in how they talk about it. Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 6 candidate for biking and safe streets? – UPDATED

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

Oh, Mike O’Brien. Please don’t leave us.

District 6 has drawn the biggest field of candidates, and the race is also among the least clear for biking and safe streets. On one hand, there are a lot of candidates who told Lester Black at the Stranger (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses) that they ride bikes (Terry Rice, Jon Lisbin, Dan Strauss, Heidi Wills, Jay Fathi, Joey Massa and Ed Pottharst) and think the city should invest more money to build bike lanes (Rice, Strauss, Fathi, Massa, Pottharst). So that’s good.

But no single candidate has yet emerged as the favorite among transportation-focused organizations, which is disappointing.

Melissa Hall has a good social media presence, sharing quality takes on transportation issues. For example, she supports completing the Missing Link which is somehow not a unanimous opinion among candidates this year. Her campaign got off to a late start and has been building. The question is whether she has a big enough campaign operation to get enough votes out. As we saw with the last mayoral race, being right about stuff is not enough to win an election.

Summary of public feedback on the Missing Link Environmental Impact Statement. Shilshole is the planned route.

The only candidate to get multiple endorsements from the orgs we’ve been tracking is Dan Strauss, who is currently a staffer for Sally Bagshaw. Strauss says a lot of the right things except for one big one: He is against completing the Missing Link. That’s a huge red flag. The city has already studied this section of trail far beyond the point of absurdity, and they found no evidence that the trail would harm jobs or any of the other arguments opponents have used in fighting for the past couple decades. I also worry about what opposing the trail says about who has his ear. The overwhelming majority of people (over 80 percent) who responded to the city’s multiple public outreach efforts about the trail support completing it as designed. Only 5 percent wanted Leary, Strauss’s stated preference. So who is he listening to?

UPDATE: Strauss commented below, and then he and I talked on the phone to somewhat clarify his Missing Link position. He wouldn’t budge from saying that he prefers Leary. But his position isn’t because of the business appellants, it’s because of the MLK Labor Council (I previously interviewed Nicole Grant about the council’s opposition).

“I know that a lot of people in the past have used Leary as a false alternative,” he said. “I want to get it done.” He also described himself as “very pro-bike.”

“I want a connected network of protected bike lanes,” he said. “I’m gonna go to the mat on the whole bike network.”

Work is scheduled to begin this fall, though schedule relies on a court ruling.  I asked him if he would try to stop trail construction when/if work begins.

“My preference would still be Leary. But for me, we need to get it done now,” he said. So what does that mean? I dunno.

Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 5 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

Couldn’t at least one of those great District 4 candidates have lived just a few blocks further north?

The District 5 race leaves a lot to be desired. Incumbent Debora Juarez has not drawn a high quality challenger, it seems. Juarez gave good, though not inspiring, answers to Lester Black at the Stranger (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses), which is more than I can say about the other candidates who bothered to respond.

Juarez has somehow managed to publicly stay out of the 35th Ave NE bike lanes fight, though her lack of support for the project, which crossed into her district, is itself saying something. The mayor’s last-minute decision to cut those bike lanes has proven to be a huge mistake, and her lack of advocacy for SDOT’s designed and contracted plan has resulted in a more dangerous street in her district and a gap in her district’s bike network. Folks who live in D5 and ride a bike could really have used her help standing up for them.

The Urbanist notes in their non-endorsement that “In her questionnaire, Juarez refused to side with safety advocates pleading with the city council to save lives on NE 35th Avenue. She insisted the concerns of business owners and landowners must be given extra weight no matter how late in the process or badly needed the safety upgrades are.”

But she says the city should be building more bike lanes and providing more funding for bike improvements. She has helped work on home zones and says she supports safer streets and Vision Zero. That’s all great to hear. 35th, though, was a solid test of her true commitment to safe streets, and she failed it.

I just wish there were a challenger in this race who could press her on these issues. But there doesn’t seem to be.

Here’s a look at some endorsements: Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 4 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

District 4 is a great example of the downside of changing to district-based elections. There are so many good candidates in this one race, yet the city can only elect one of them. Meanwhile, there are districts with few good options. It just seems like such a waste.

For example, Cathy Tuttle is running for District 4. Cathy Tuttle! The founder and longtime Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Just check out all these stories we’ve written about her and her work. And those are just the ones where I remembered to tag her name. Not only did she found and build a new safe streets non-profit organization, she was able to get it established enough that it could continue to thrive even after she stepped away. That is very rare. Only a tiny percentage of grassroots non-profit orgs ever survive their founder, and it takes great leadership to achieve this. Honestly, I’m not sure a Council seat is any harder than what she’s already done. And we know she’d be great for safe streets issues.

But she’s gotta somehow beat a dynamic cast of other candidates, many of whom have great things to say about biking and safe streets issues.

Shaun Scott, who racked up the most endorsements from transportation orgs (he’s the only D4 candidate who got the nod from every org we’ve been tracking below), has great things to say about transportation issues. And he is consistent in connecting it to issues of housing affordability and climate justice.

Emily Myers has also talked about the need to complete the Bike Master Plan and to “stop centering cars in our decision making process about how we improve transportation in the city,” as she said during the MASS forum (video and transcript below). Her answers to Lester Black at the Stranger were also particularly strong (be sure to check out the spreadsheet of responses).

And we haven’t even talked about Joshua Newman yet. Newman is a longtime neighborhood organizer who, instead of fighting new bike projects, says he wants to see neighborhoods with safer streets, more bike lanes and better transit.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 3 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As noted in our previous posts, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements this primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts.

District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant would be the senior member of the City Council if she wins reelection, but she has drawn her toughest slate of challengers yet.

Sawant has been a member of the Transportation and Sustainability Committee since 2016, when Mike O’Brien became chair after Tom Rasmussen declined to seek reelection. During that time, she has been unwavering in her support of walking, biking and transit efforts in her role on the committee and in full Council votes.

Transportation is not her top issue, and it’s not the focus of Socialist Alternative rallies and posters. But she gets it, and she often highlights equity and the needs of working people during committee discussions.

So if transportation is the issue you’re focusing on for this race, then I don’t see much of an opening to unseat Sawant.

Here’s a look at some endorsements:

Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 2 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.As I wrote in our District 1 post, Seattle Bike Blog is not doing official endorsements for the primary. Instead, I’ll be going district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts. I also want to hear who you are supporting and why in the comments below.

With Bruce Harrell choosing not to run again, District 2 is our first of many open races this year. And, as a result, there are a lot of candidates, and endorsements are a bit more spread out. But as you’ll see, a couple names rise to the top.

Continue reading

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Who’s the best District 1 candidate for biking and safe streets?

District: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Seattle City Council Districts map.

To verify your Council District, use this city web tool.

I apologize to readers waiting for Seattle Bike Blog’s City Council endorsements, but I just plain did not have enough time this year to do Council primary endorsements justice. I had written earlier this year that I planned on creating an endorsements board, but it turns out organizing such a board also takes a lot of time that I didn’t have. Between watching the kiddo during the week and working on a top secret project I can’t yet talk about, it became clear that any endorsement effort would have been lacking. So I decided against doing them.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be Council primary coverage! This week, I’ll go district-by-district, posting videos from the MASS Coalition’s transportation forums along with a roundup of transportation-related endorsements and other notable news items and thoughts. Sometimes one or two candidates will obviously stand out, and I’ll note that. This post is an example.

District 1 – Herbold goes unchallenged (basically)

The MASS coalition did not host a forum for this race, which also seems to be among the least competitive of the races this year.

Incumbent Lisa Herbold received endorsements from the Transit Riders Union and the Stranger. The Urbanist, Seattle Transit Blog and Seattle Subway (PDF) did not endorse anyone in this race.  Continue reading

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King County will celebrate the Eastside’s ‘Traily McTrailface’ July 20

Yeah, no. The Eastside Rail Corridor Trail will not be named Traily McTrailface. Sorry.

I’m pretty sure I know the name, but I’ll go ahead and let King County announce it in style 10 a.m. July 20 at Redmond Central Connector Park (hmm, this trail isn’t the only thing that could use a better name).

We reported a while back on the contending names for the under-construction trail, which is planned to connect from Renton to Redmond. None of the names were notably amazing or seemed to find a strong following of supporters. I’ve been referring to it as “The Eastside Trail” for years now since it’s official name “The Eastside Rail Corridor Trail” is a real mouthful. Of course, there are several trails on the Eastside, so my name wasn’t all that great, either. In Kirkland, it is known as the Cross-Kirkland Corridor Trail, a name that will remain in use for the Kirkland-owned section.

Maybe if King County succeeds in fully funding and completing the trail according to its ambitious schedule, someday we’ll name it the DowWay or the Baldutrail. Honestly, if the county completes a fully-separated rail trail from Renton to Redmond, they can call it whatever they want. It will be amazing.

It’s worth noting that passing the King County Parks ballot initiative this August would go a long way to helping to build this thing. So we should really do that.

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Madison RapidRide design nearing completion + A look at the planned bike improvements

Design concept for the Madison, 12th Avenue and East Union Street intersection described later in this story.

The latest design for Madison/12th/Union is much improved and rather innovative.

SDOT is hoping to begin construction on its Madison Street RapidRide G project in 2020 with service set to start in 2022. That assumes they get the Federal grant they need for the $121 million project. Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the project is still rated well on the FTA’s Small Starts Project list, but you never know what will happen with the current Federal administration.

The project team is hosting a series of open houses and tablings starting this week. You can also submit comments via their online open house.

Though the bulk of the project is about transit, of course, there are some great bike elements. There are also a couple spots where the project (or a complementary SDOT project) could help complete some key bike connections.

The buses

Continue reading

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City opens Bike Advisory Board applications as Mayor casts uncertainty on renewals

Photo of people in a conference room listening to Phyllis Porter give a presentation.

Then-member and now City Council candidate Phyllis Porter presents ideas about Rainier Valley bike routes to the Board in 2016.

Applications are open for a seat on Seattle’s volunteer Bicycle Advisory Board (“SBAB”). So if you want to volunteer your time to help the city make bicycle investments and influence bicycle policy, you should apply by July 28.

No professional expertise is required. In fact, some of the most effective board members have been regular ol’ Seattle residents who just want to learn, ask questions and offer their thoughts as people who ride bikes and want to help their city do better. Did you know Bill Nye was once an SBAB member? What I’m saying is, you could be Bill Nye.

The Board had made excellent strides in recent years to diversify its representation and leadership, and women of color have been co-chairs of the board for years. But the Board has lost some members of color in the past year (including Mayor Jenny Durkan’s controversial decision to oust Co-Chair Casey Gifford in November). People of color, women, LGBTQ folks, people from immigrant and refugee communities, people with disabilities, and people of all ages are encouraged to apply.

Send a resume and cover letter to by July 28. Learn more in this SDOT blog post.

The State of the Bike Board

Continue reading

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Missing Link court ruling puts a lot of pressure on city’s ongoing appeal

Excerpt from the decision document, which is unfortunately not screen readable. I will post a screen readable version if I can track one down.

Screenshot from the clarifying ruling (PDF).

A clarifying ruling by King County Superior Court Judge Roger Rogoff this week has put some extra pressure on the City of Seattle to win an ongoing appeal if they want to keep construction of the Ballard Missing Link on its recently-announced schedule. It also raises some questions about ongoing work on Market Street.

The Superior Court ordered that SDOT may not proceed with construction of the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail until additional steps under SEPA are completed,” Dan Nolte, a spokesperson for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, said in an email to Seattle Bike Blog. “We respectfully disagree with this decision and believe that we have already complied with SEPA and the Court’s orders. Appeals are ongoing in the Court of Appeals and the City is evaluating next steps.”

Trail opponents have all but declared victory following this ruling (read their statement in this PDF), but that may be a bit premature. They lost almost every argument they made, and the only one that stuck has been thoroughly dismissed by the city’s latest economic study. So sure, if the city loses its appeal, opponents would live to fight another day and would successfully delay the project even more and further increasing the city’s costs (hooray?). But they should have a much more limited set of arguments to make since they would really only be able to argue against the new economic analysis (at least I think this is the case, though I am not a lawyer).

And, if the city wins its ongoing appeal, then this should all be a moot point because the courts would have determined that the economic analysis wasn’t needed in the first place and the initial FEIS was good to go. I say “should” because we have seen this trail delayed by increasingly complicated legal battles for decades. I’m not going to declare this thing a done deal until the day we cut the ribbon.

The more interesting and troubling question is whether the ongoing work on Market Street is now under scrutiny. Judge Rogoff’s decisions says, “It is hereby further ordered that SDOT shall not conduct any construction under the FEIS considered by Judge Chung unless that construction can stand on its own, or has independent utility beyond furthering the Missing Link Trail Project.”

The Market Street segment currently under construction is part of the city’s Ballard Multimodal Corridor project, which includes transit, paving, utility and street safety upgrades in addition to the trail connection between the Ballard Locks and 24th Ave NW. So is that enough to satisfy Judge Rogoff’s “independent utility” requirement? The City Attorney’s Office did not have an immediate and clear answer about whether this work could continue (staff was leaving for July 4 vacations as this story was breaking). I don’t know what would happen if the city had to stop work while Market Street is half demolished. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, because that would be a real nightmare scenario.

So yeah, as you can see, there’s a lot riding on the City Attorney’s appeal.

Summary of the trail’s environmental study

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