Seattle tests low-budget painted bike parking to make bike share more orderly

Photo from SDOT

Thousands of bikes spread throughout the city available on-demand for $1, what could be wrong with that?

The private, free-floating bike share companies serving Seattle are already changing how people get around the city by providing a new fast, healthy, low-cost and very environmentally-friendly mobility option. Combined with an expansion of safe and comfortable bike routes, bike share is poised to be part of a significant transportation shift in Seattle (if city and regional leaders choose to follow through with the bike route plans, of course).

But there is one downside to the stationless bikes: They sometimes block walkways, bus stops and accessibility. Only a very small percentage of the thousands of bikes cause issues, but they can be especially problematic for people with vision impairments and people who use mobility devices or otherwise can’t easily navigate around a blocked curb ramp or bike toppled across the sidewalk.

Sometimes the problem is that a vandal has pushed a bike over, and that’s a hard issue to remedy. The same thing happens to trash cans, newspaper boxes, signs, construction fences and any other movable thing in public space. Sometimes the problem is inadequate kickstand design or maintenance on the bikes (they should be able to handle a strong gust of wind without toppling). But sometimes, the problem is due to a bike being parked in the wrong spot either due to ignorance of the rules or by accident or because the user doesn’t care.

To help remedy this issue, SDOT is trialing a handful of low-cost, painted bike parking boxes in five Ballard locations. Users are not required to use the boxes, but they are there to help guide use to be more orderly and maybe even teach people visually about how they should park the bikes. Details from SDOT: Continue reading

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Don’t delay the downtown bike network

From a One Center City presentation. These bike trips will only happen if the city invests in a safe and connected bike network.

Downtown Seattle is facing a massive transportation challenge when buses are kicked out the transit tunnel in 2019. That is not long from now, and the City of Seattle and our region’s transportation agencies need to be taking action right now to keep everyone moving.

Light rail service to Northgate begins in 2021, which will be a great opportunity to restructure transit service into downtown and increase light rail frequency and capacity. But until then, the fate of transportation downtown relies on bold action to prioritize transit, walking and biking. Because if more people start driving, we’re all screwed. Traffic will be worse, busses will get stuck, air quality will degrade, etc.

But we don’t need to just sit back and allow this happen. We can make a choice as a city and region to invest in bold changes to city streets that create more space for reliable bus movements, improve safety for people walking and provide safe and connected bike lanes that make biking downtown an appealing choice for the huge number of people in our region who would love to bike but would never even consider biking mixed with downtown traffic.

Both Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways have sounded the alarm, saying that it’s time to act. You can use their handy online forms to tell city and regional transportation leaders agencies you support plans for a 4th Ave bike lane and the many other safety and transit improvements downtown. Continue reading

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Family update + Some news we’ve missed

Fiona loves her ducky friend.

Hello, Seattle Bike Blog readers, it’s been a while since I updated you all on my daughter Fiona and my current leave from writing.

First of all, you have been amazing. So many readers have risen to the occasion to help us out, either through gifts or making us meals or sending words of encouragement and love. It has been just amazing to feel so supported by all of you. Following my initial post telling you all that I won’t be writing as often while on family leave, the number of paying reader supporters actually went up. Thank you for investing in my family. Seattle Bike Blog will someday be back bigger and better than ever thanks to you.

Special shout out to the Mama Bears, Seattle’s incredible family biking community that has been an especially strong pillar of support. Thank you.

Fiona is still in the NICU, but she’s headed in the right direction, growing bigger and stronger every day. But growing takes time, and our stay here still has many weeks left to go. I am so eager to get her home, and can’t wait until we can go for walks and bike rides together. But for now, she’s confined to this room. Kelli and I sit by her side every day, holding her and soothing her as best we can while she works hard to grow. Sitting by her side all day doesn’t sound particularly exhausting or time-consuming, but it is. In some ways, it feels like I am doing nothing all all day. Yet time flies by, and I can’t seem to find a moment to answer emails, let alone report stories.

It has been so hard not to be writing because so many cool bike things are happening: Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Explore Seattle’s racist history (March 15 – 22)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week’s edition was posted to Seattle Bike Blog a week late. Sorry! So if you’re just now seeing this, our apologies that you missed all this fun stuff. Thanks again to Brock Howell of Bike Happy for putting together this comprehensive weekly newsletter.


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. On Saturday, you can join one of two rides to explore how historic racial redlining of Seattle neighborhoods shaped our communities (10am-1pm3-6pm).
  2. Plans are afoot for major changes at the Northgate Mall and in Bellevue’s Wilburton neighborhood for more compact development patterns, connected to transit, walking, and biking.
  3. Seattle’s One Center City Plan, which is supposed to improve transit and bike infrastructure in downtown, has been delayed.

Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Pi Edition

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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. REI won’t sell Giro and Bell helmets because the parent company also sells AR-15s.
  2. The Your Voice Your Choice Project Development Meetings to choose small transportation and parks improvements in your neighborhoods continues this week.
  3. There are four community workshops/meetings this week relating to transportation improvements for North Downtown, including one tonight.
  4. Last chance to help reach Bike Happy Month fundraising goal by the March 11 deadline.
  5. Be irrational. Go on a Pi Pie Ride on March 14, 1:59 p.m. and 26.5 seconds.

Continue reading

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35th Ave NE: A Project at Risk

This is a guest post written by Liam Bradshaw. Liam is a research scientist in materials chemistry who lives near 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood. He enjoys riding for both commuting and recreation, but drives, walks, and busses when necessary.


35th Ave NE runs through the heart of the Wedgwood and Bryant neighborhoods, connecting our schools, post office, grocery stores, and restaurants. It currently has an outdated design that is causing injuries and collisions at an alarming rate, and SDOT’s repaving this spring provides the perfect opportunity to address the safety problems as the community has been requesting for years.

The design has been finalized and bids returned for construction, but a few vocal neighbors are petitioning the mayor to halt the project and remove the bike lanes that are included to improve the safety of all who use the street. We need your voice on a petition to make sure this project happens.

Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Roar-in March like a lion on an e-bike

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

MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Thanks to Washington Bikes advocacy, the State Legislature passed legislation that clarifies state law relating to e-bikes. Now, unless a local law specifically says otherwise, people can ride their e-bikes in bike lanes or trails just like any other bike so long as the bike isn’t powered to provide e-assist past 20mph. King County laws regarding its trails still need to be updated (SBB).
  2. The Seattle Bike Show is this Saturday and Sunday at CenturyLink Field Event Center.
  3. Attend community-led workshops on mobility in the U District (3/7) and Uptown (3/8).

Continue reading

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Clarified e-assist bicycle rules head to the Governor’s desk

Both the State House and Senate have passed a bill clarifying the legal status of electric-assisted bicycles on streets, sidewalks and trails. The bill (SB 6434) now heads to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for a signature.

If signed into law, the new rules will help the burgeoning e-bike industry grow by aligning state regulations with existing Federal rules. Until now, there were too many gray areas about when an e-assist bike should be treated like a bicycle and when it should be treated like a motor vehicle. The outdated rules failed to account for modern e-assist bike technology that follows a more nuanced three-class system:

E-assist bikes have huge potential to expand access to bicycling to more people, so it is good for communities across the State of Washington if the e-assist bicycle industry succeeds here. But uncertainty and legal gray areas are no good for business.

Washington Bikes worked hard to advocate for this bill, and they deserve some serious props for getting it through on the first try. It passed 44-2 in the Senate and 86-12 in the House. Continue reading

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UW master’s student is surveying bike share users

Screenshot of one set of survey questions.

Did you use Pronto? Have you used the new bike share bikes? If you answered yes to either of these questions, University of Washington master’s student Luke Peters would like to hear from you.

Peters recently launched a survey in an attempt to better understand the lessons from the failure of Pronto Cycle Share and how the current private bike share services improve (or not) on the previous system.

It’s a pretty short survey, and you could win a Swift Industries bag. So if you have a couple minutes, fill it out.

More details, from Peters: Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Chilly Hilly, YVYC, & Last week for Bike Happy Month Fundraiser

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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. With less than a week left to reach our fundraising goal to hold Bike Happy Month and Pedaler’s Fair, we still need quite a few donations. It’s a critical we reach our $2,500 goal so we can cover the basic permitting and website costs. Plus, for every dollar donated we are hopeful to match it with two dollars in city grant funding. Contribute now >>
  2. The city’s Your Voice, Your Choice program to fund 4-5 $90,000 street and parks projects in each council district enters its “project development” phase this next week, and our calendar is completely overwhelmed by the YVYC meetings. Learn more >
  3. This weekend, join the end-of-the-month Critical Mass ride, celebrate and learn about Seattle’s Black history on a ride with Merlin Rainwater and Jessica Evotia Hall, and start your season with a truly Chilly Hilly.
  4. Tell Mayor Durkan you support a safer 35th Avenue NE in Wedgwood/Ravenna-Bryant >>

Continue reading

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Bike News Roundup: Four weeks old

It’s time for the bike news roundup! As always, this is an open thread.

A little update on my family. Fiona turns four weeks old today. Kelli and I spend every day at the NICU with her, holding her for hours and trying to help how we can (changing her diaper, taking her temperature, etc). It’s a stressful place to be, and I am just blown away every day by the patience and composure of the medical professionals here. We will be here for several more months. I anticipate that posts will continue to be somewhat sporadic, and that I will be slow to cover big news (I haven’t even written about the fact that the 2nd Ave bike lane extension is open! Or the Arboretum Trail! Or 35th Ave NE! Or bike parking regulation changes! Or that LimeBike and Spin want to add electric kick scooters! Lots of big stories are going uncovered here, but I’ve just had to make peace with letting them go for now.

Thanks, everyone, for reading. And keep sending tips: tom@seattlebikeblog.com

Now, here’s a bunch of bike and transportation stuff floating around the web in recent months:

Pacific Northwest News Continue reading

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Cascade calls Trump’s infrastructure plan a ‘bad deal for biking in Washington’

In an insult I doubt Donald Trump will take too hard, Cascade Bicycle Club said that his infrastructure plan is a “bad deal for biking in Washington.”

At a time when the region is investing so much local funding in its own streets and mass transit service, a plan that cuts Federal support for local initiatives is just nonsense. The Move Seattle levy and the Sound Transit 2 and 3 initiatives passed assuming some Federal support for major project elements. Because local, regional and federal partnerships have long been the way major infrastructure gets built in the U.S.

But the Trump program would cut some of these major programs, threatening delays or shortfalls for projects our growing region desperately needs.

Cascade has put together a handy online form so you can message your Senators and Representatives to urge them not to support the Trump infrastructure cuts. From Cascade:  Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Nation’s largest e-bikeshare system

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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Seattle is home to the nation’s largest e-bikeshare system.
  2. In the last 7 years, the percentage of commuters driving alone into downtown has dropped 10 points.
  3. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, speak up for better bike parking in new buildings at a public hearing on parking legislation.
  4. Attend “One Man, Two Wheels,” a play written and performed by Henry James Walker this weekend (Thursday–Saturday, 7:30pm), at the 18th & Union Arts Space.

Continue reading

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Aviva Stephens: Pedaling my way to the 520 Bridge

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.

Since bike commuting to and from the Eastside, I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the new 520 Bridge trail. After years of sitting in traffic due to car accidents, unexpected congestion, and inclement weather, I could not wait to fly past the parking lot of cars on my bike with smile on my face.

The beginning

I took the afternoon off December 20 (opening day of the 520 Bridge trail) to enjoy every moment of my glorious ride during what little daylight there was. Fortunately, the 520 bike trail runs right past my office. Below is a pic of the trailhead, SR 520 is just beyond the trees. If you’ve never been on the trail, it mostly runs alongside SR 520. If not, you’ve likely noticed a few sparse bike riders to your right while driving eastbound on the highway.

Redwest Campus

While I’ve ridden parts of this trail around Redmond, I’ve never taken it all the way to the bridge. So this was an adventure for me. Like many folks who have been waiting for this day, I figured the trail would run along 520 all the way into Seattle. It is called the “520 Trail” after all, right? Not so much. The trail does follow the freeway for the most part, but there are some confusing breaks that can make this ride challenging. In this post I will share my experience with the breaks and offer tips if you look to make the same journey.

The circled section below is  where I will focus this post, as it is the most problematic. I tried pulling the directions from Google maps, but the result wasn’t quite right. For some reason Google takes you off the proper 520 Trail before it actually ends. I’ll go into detail about this later.

Google Maps: Redwest to Montlake bike directions

Ambiguous intersections

Continue reading

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The 2018 Bicycle Sundays schedule is out

Car-free Lake Washington Boulevard is just the best. So save these dates in your calendar!

From Seattle Parks:

On scheduled Sundays from May to September, a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to motorized vehicles from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seattle Parks and Recreation invites everyone in the community to bike, jog or stroll along the boulevard between the Seward Park entrance and Mount Baker Park’s beach during these times.

The 2018 event dates are:

  • May 20, 27
  • June 3, 17, 24
  • July 8, 15
  • August 19, 26
  • September 2, 9, 16

 

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Howell: Going Steady with Lime-E


After a month of anticipation, LimeBike released 300 e-bikes into its fleet of 4,000 bikeshare bike in Seattle this past weekend, with plans to release another 200 by this Wednesday.  Eventually, “Lime-Es” will comprise forty percent of LimeBike’s fleet.

Here’s the thing — I had never ridden an e-bike in my life. And while I believe e-bikes have transformative power to flatten Seattle’s hills and get more people to ride, unlike many e-bike evangelists, I believe e-bikes shouldn’t be allowed to have e-assist past 15 or 17 mph.

As I rode from my Tangletown home to downtown where LimeBike was providing the test rides to the media Sunday afternoon (Seattle Bike Blog Editor Tom Fucoloro sent me to attend on behalf of the blog), I first had to pump up my rear wheel to address its slow leak. As I pedaled, I noticed my bottom bracket creaked an unusual amount. These problems need to get addressed.

I smoothly went down Stone Way.  As I passed Fremont Brewing, I saw four “Lime-Es” along with the full citrus spectrum of ofo and Spin bikeshare bikes out front.  The 300 e-bikes were already in use, helping people imbibe outdoors on a beautiful afternoon.  As I rode along the Westlake Protected Bike Lane, Bell Street, and the 2nd Avenue Protected Bike Lane, I hit all the usual number of red lights.  But I made it to LimeBike’s meeting spot at a WeWork space on Spring Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

My initial impression: E-bikeshare is awesome.

Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Suburban bikeshare

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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Bikeshare is expanding to the suburbs.
  2. Seattle City Council is considering legislation to improve bicycle parking in new buildings.  You can show your support.
  3. The 2nd Ave Protected Bikeway is complete.

Continue reading

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The annual Seattle Bike Swap is Saturday at Magnusson Park

Photo from the 2017 Seattle Bike Swap.

The Seattle Bike Swap really does have something for everyone. It’s like a giant garage sale featuring booths focused on all different kinds of biking all together in an old hangar in Magnusson Park.

Rare bike geeks, racers and people just looking for an affordable ride can all find stuff at the Swap.

The 2018 Seattle Bike swap is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Hangar 30. It’s $7 to get in ($5 for members). Kids under 15 are free.

More details from Cascade: Continue reading

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Cascade: Bellevue City Council set to decide on downtown bike lane pilot Monday + How you can help

The Bellevue City Council will decide Monday whether the city will move forward with a demonstration protected bike lane on 108th Ave NE downtown, a first for Seattle’s biggest Eastside neighbor.

The city’s Transportation Commission voted 5-2 last month in favor of the demonstration project, giving the bike lane a good head start going into Monday’s vote. If approved, the city is ready to move forward quickly with implementation as early as this spring.

Details on how you can help, from Cascade Bicycle Club:

How you can help:

  • Take a minute now to send a personal note to council in support of the demonstration bikeway and bikeshare. Be sure to personalize your message for most impact.
  • Attend the Feb. 5 Council meeting. Wear your Bellevue Bike Network t-shirt to send a visible sign to council that you support the proposal. Want a t-shirt? Email us: vickyc@cascade.org
  • Just ahead of the Council meeting, meet up with Cascade and fellow advocates (5:30 pm at the fireplace in City Hall) to learn more about the proposal, and other ways to help move it forward.
  • Share this information with friends and neighbors so that they also show up and show support.
  • Join the Bellevue Bike Network campaign, to make sure that whether you live, work or visit Bellevue, you get the latest on improvements in Bellevue biking and future ways to engage.

Please join us for this final push on Feb 5!

More background on the vote, from Cascade: Continue reading

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Bike Happy: Missing Link victory & a new Seattle-based folding bike company

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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO

  1. Missing Link Victory! The Seattle Hearings Examiner decided the City of Seattle sufficiently studied the environmental impacts of completing the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard, and that construction on the Missing Link project can finally move forward. But expect the appellants to appeal to superior court.
  2. Cascade’s Seattle Bike Swap is on Saturday.
  3. A new Seattle-based company makes titanium folding bikes.
  4. West Seattle Cyclery went out of business this winter, the last day for Bike So Good in Georgetown is tomorrow, and Sprocketts Recycled Cycles in Interbay is struggling to pay the rent.  So, this is a good reminder to support your local bike shop by getting fenders installed for the rainy weather or getting a winter tune-up so you’re ready for riding later this spring.

Continue reading

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