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Updated: 7 hours 13 min ago

Confidential mediation is no way to govern public decisions like 35th Ave NE bike lanes

7 hours 14 min ago

The plan for 35th Ave NE. Or is it? We can’t tell you because secret, ongoing meetings are confidential.

SDOT and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Office has convened a confidential mediation session between a handful of people who support and oppose bike lanes at part of the city’s under-construction 35th Ave NE repaving project.

Seattle Bike Blog has been working for a while to learn details about these mediation sessions — which are paid for by public funds and could influence public investments on a public street — but has been unable to receive times and locations for the meetings so I can report about them for you.

Erica Barnett at the C Is For Crank reported today that the mediation is costing taxpayers $14,000, and Seattle Bike Blog has learned that this money is coming from SDOT. Barnett also reports that the completion of the project, which is already under construction, may be delayed because “SDOT is having an ongoing dialogue with the communities impacted by these projects,” according to a presentation to the City Council Transportation Committee (PDF).

There is no doubt that the opposition to 35th Ave NE bike lanes has been very organized. Several people behind the Save 35th Ave NE group have even formed a political action committee called Neighborhoods For Smart Streets PAC. Because saying people are not smart if they don’t agree car parking is more important than safety, that’s a great way to engage with your neighbors.

But regardless of the outcome, confidential mediation is an inappropriate way to make decisions about public investments, especially when we already have official policies and plans to guide such decisions. How are the participants for the mediation chosen? How do we know every Seattle resident is appropriately represented in these talks? Several of the anti-bike lane organizers happen to be lawyers. Do all parties have equal access to lawyers?

35th Ave NE passes though a very wealthy and white neighborhood compared to the rest of the city, but the investment to spend millions to repave that street is being made by all of us no matter where we live. Every street is of citywide importance. That’s why we make plans like the Bicycle Master Plan or policies like the Complete Streets Ordinance and the elected City Council passes them in the full light of day.

Maybe there is a place for confidential mediation in conducting city business, though my preference for open government makes me skeptical. But a project like 35th Ave NE that follows officially and publicly approved plans is not one of them. Just because a group gets organized or has the money to start a PAC doesn’t mean they should be able to get a separate mediation process from the city. What precedent does this set? Does every neighborhood group now get to demand confidential mediation for every city project they don’t like? Or just the wealthy ones?

If the goal of the mediation is to significantly change the design of a public investment project that has already gone through public meetings and a public contracting process, that is worrying. But if the goal is to see if bike lane supporters and opponents can come together and sing Kumbaya, that’s maybe less worrying but still a questionable use of SDOT funding. But I would definitely be there to cover their first concert together as newfound besties.

Part of the mediation rules requires both parties to refrain from making statements to their respective members or to the press. This is troubling to me as a believer in open meetings and public access, though Seattle Bike Blog doesn’t have a legal team or budget to look into the legality of such a restriction. But even if it is perfectly legal to do this, it feels wrong.

The official, public page for the project makes no mention of the mediation. Below is all the information I was able to get from SDOT and the Mayor’s Office. When I asked follow-up questions, the response was, “I’m sorry, but the department can’t comment on the mediation process beyond what was shared yesterday.”

In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Councilmember Johnson, and SDOT, John Howell (from the consulting firm Cedar River Group) is mediating conversations regarding the 35th Ave NE Project with neighborhood and community members, including bike advocates, attempting to find common ground and project improvements to address the needs of the community.

While this effort is underway, contractor crews continue to repair street panels, replace curb ramps, repair sidewalks, and pave the road in the project corridor. The temporary striping that is on the road now will remain in place. We’ll provide an update on final striping to the community when we have more details on timing. You can sign up to receive our weekly email updates via our web page if you are interested.

After further study, SDOT finds that Eastlake Ave still needs bike lanes

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 15:08

I thought we had already established this a few years ago during public outreach for Roosevelt RapidRide, but SDOT has tried again to find an alternative to building bike lanes on Eastlake Ave. And, just like before, the results are clear that Eastlake is the only good option.

The project team presented the latest study to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board earlier this month, and they found that the previously planned protected bike lanes on Eastlake are the best option for the project by essentially every measure other than car parking. They conducted a serious study of nine options, then narrowed that down to four, then found what anyone who bikes in the area could have told them: Eastlake is the only continuous option without very steep climbs that serves Eastlake businesses and connects the U Bridge to downtown.

And let’s not forget that the final phase of SR 520 work should include a bike connection from Eastlake to the 520 Trail, making Eastlake Ave even more important.

The study explored a new concept for the route that is, frankly, quite baffling. The city would build a protected bike lane northbound on Eastlake Ave, but would route people headed southbound down a steep 11 percent grade hill on E Roanoke Street to Yale Ave E, which curves to meet back up with Eastlake south of the neighborhood’s main business district (the city’s study did not seem to factor downhill grade in its analysis even though a steep downhill can also be a barrier to biking, especially if you have to make a turn mid-hill like this plan would require). One version would turn Yale into a one-way neighborhood greenway, which is not really a thing. Another version would include a protected bike lane on Yale, which would remove even more car parking than the Eastlake bike lanes.

The idea of splitting the bike route in this way is inherently flawed and would result in people biking southbound on Eastlake Ave without a bike lane. Not only is it confusing to essentially detour one direction of the bike route, but people headed southbound would have no safe way to access the neighborhood’s business district.

And since Eastlake Ave is where 39 of 40 reported bike-involved collisions occurred between 2012 and 2017, addressing bike safety on Eastlake Ave should be paramount.

You can see the options explored below to decide for yourself (excerpts are from this presentation PDF):

Bike News Roundup: The bike lane is always greener…

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:07

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some stuff floating around the web that caught my eye.

First up, one of the only ways to get me to post a promotional video is to include lots of Seattle biking scenes:

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

This is an open thread.

KOMO: Sabotaged bike share brakes may have caused teen to crash

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 10:56

Screenshot of the suspect, from a surveillance video released by Seattle Police

An 18-year-old who was hospitalized this week after a crash near the University Bridge may be the first victim of a bike share vandal who cut the brake lines on his Lime e-bike. The teen is in stable condition, reports Gabe Cohen of KOMO News.

If caught, the person who cut those brakes could be charged with assault, police told KOMO. But catching the suspect will be the hard part.

Seattle Police recently released surveillance video of one person casually snipping brake cables in Sodo. You get the idea from the video that this is not the first time the suspect has cut bike cables. Brake cables on bike share bikes have been cut all over the city, and it’s not clear if this one suspect is just very prolific or whether multiple people are cutting them.

It’s very disturbing behavior to sabotage bikes, risking random strangers’ lives. Unlike most forms of vandalism, this is not just property damage.

You can protect yourself by making it a habit to check the brakes before you start pedaling, not only checking whether the levers move but also confirming they are stopping the wheels. This is in general a good idea even with your personal bike just in case a thief or vandal has tampered with the brakes since you locked it up. But the reality is that everyone is not going to check their brakes every single time they get on a bike.

We hope the victim heals up, and I hope whoever is doing this stops before anyone else gets hurt.

More from KOMO:

A Seattle Fire Department spokesperson says the 18-year-old man was taken to the hospital in stable condition after the crash, which happened on Fuhrman Avenue East in Portage Bay, a block from University Bridge.

A KOMO News crew responded to the scene and found a Lime e-bike there with slashed brakes.

Police say this has been an ongoing problem, with several incidents of brake slashings over the summer. I found four vandalized Lime bikes with their brakes either cut or ripped out Tuesday.

Cascade launches campaign to promote city-wide bike network

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 11:33

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan identifies 474 miles of new or upgraded bike routes to be constructed by 2034. But Cascade Bicycle Club launched a campaign this week called Connect Seattle to encourage the city to follow through on a handful of major city-wide routes by 2021.

The hard work to make this citywide vision a reality will likely happen at the neighborhood level, as has been the case for nearly every bike lane project in the city. But perhaps it would be good to have a reminder of how each project fits into a citywide vision.

The campaign map is like a pared-down version of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ Urban Village Bike Map, which envisions safe and comfortable bike routes connecting all of the city’s designated and planned urban villages to create a city-wide bike network. SNG is not listed as a partner in the campaign as they were for the Basic Bike Network.

The goal of the campaign is to get to 10 percent mode share by completing these projects over the next three years. There are certainly many important projects and neighborhoods missing from this map. But if these routes were all completed by 2021, much of the city would be much easier and safer to navigate by bike.

More details from Cascade:

As more Seattleites look for fast, affordable transportation options, we envision a Seattle where 1 in 10 trips is made by bike.

Making that vision a reality isn’t about hitting a magic number. It’s about creating happier, healthier and more inclusive neighborhoods – connected by bike – all across Seattle. We envision a Seattle where everyone, regardless of how we look or where we live, has the choice to hop on a bike to get to the store, to commute to school or work, or to cross town to visit friends and family for dinner.

1 in 10 trips by bike isn’t just an aspirational goal.


Here’s what it means: If Seattle follows through on a handful of projects that are already in the works – and completes them over the next three years  – we’ll have a basic network of bikeways across the city by 2021. When we Connect Seattle, we connect people to the places they need and want to go by bike. And that means more people, taking more trips by bike.

  • 60% of Seattleites want to bike more – and say that they would, if there were safe places to do so (1).
  • When cities build protected, connected networks of bikeways, usage multiplies (3). We only need to look to comparable cities (with similar topography, weather, size, and density) to see that setting goals and methodically building connected bikeways create results. In 2009, Vancouver, BC, set goals to increase walking biking and transit. In less than 10 years, biking levels have gone from approximately what they are in Seattle to now over 10% of all trips (4).
  • The majority of people identify as “interested but concerned” – they will only ride on a bike with physical separation, or on low traffic, low stress streets (2).
  • Evolutions in bicycling, such as e-bikes, make bicycling accessible to more people for more trips. According to 2018 data, average e-bike trip length is 9.3 miles; top reason for e-bike trip was to replace a car trip; e-bike users find they overcome the biggest conventional bike barriers – hills (5).

(download the map)

  • Northgate Bike/Ped Improvements
  • Roosevelt Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Greenlake Repaving
  • Fix 65th
  • Burke Gilman Missing Link
  • SR-520 Improvements at Montlake
  • Madison BRT/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • East Marginal Way Improvements
  • Rainier RR/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Duwamish Trail
  • Delridge RR/Multi-Modal Corridor
  • Swift/Myrtle/Othello Repaving
  • Southpark to Georgetown Trail
  • Basic Bike Network

(1) 2014 telephone survey conducted by Cascade Bicycle Club, of a statistically significant sample of Seattle residents


The Eastside Rail Trail grows: Celebrate Renton-to-Bellevue Saturday + A look at Kirkland-to-Spring District

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 13:11

King County will celebrate the opening of the newest section of the Eastside Rail Trail in Renton Saturday. The four-mile segment connects Gene Coulon Park to Newcastle Beach Park.

Details from King County:

Dear Friend of the ERC,

Join King County Parks and our ERC trail partners on Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m., as we celebrate a new four-mile-long segment of the interim Eastside Rail Corridor Trail. The rails are gone, the gravel is down and we’re ready to celebrate!

This new interim trail just south of I-90 connects Renton to Bellevue between Gene Coulon Park and Newcastle Beach Park, with connections to the Lake Washington Loop Trail at both ends.

When: Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m. – noon

Where: On the ERC at North 43rd Street, Renton

The event will include activities for all ages.

We are excited to celebrate with our partners:

  • City of Renton
  • Choose Your Way Bellevue
  • Cascade Bicycle Club
  • The Trust for Public Land

We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn more about the ERC Trail at

Bellevue’s newest trail section doesn’t really go anywhere … yet

One the opposite side of Bellevue, I finally had an opportunity to check out a recently-opened section of the Eastside Rail Trail that effectively extends the existing Cross-Kirkland Corridor Trail another couple miles to Bellevue’s under-construction Spring District.

Today, there is not a whole lot of transportation use in this new segment of trail, which has almost no access points between the South Kirkland Park & Ride and the temporary terminus. The Spring District remake is part of Bellevue’s massive BelRed redevelopment effort. Today, there are cranes and construction fences seemingly everywhere.

But in coming years, East Link light rail stations will open and the Eastside Rail Trail should be further connected into downtown Bellevue. By then, there should be a lot more housing and street-level business in the area:

Meanwhile, Bellevue is currently taking comments on building some interim bike lanes on the nearby 124th Ave NE to help connect the Spring District area to downtown. A future rebuild of the street is set to have permanent bike lanes, but the city is hoping to help make the street safer in the meantime. You can support the bike lanes via the city’s online survey.

Northrup Way is so close, yet so far.

The biggest need for this stretch of the trail is a connection to the 520 Trail/Northrup Way. You pass tantalizingly close, but there is no connection up to it. Perhaps a connection to 115th Ave NE under I-405 is the easiest way to make this connection in lieu of a larger project to connect the two major regional bike routes.

UW Police are piloting bike valet and registration service at UW Station

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 11:25

The UW Police Department is trialing the idea of a free bike valet service at UW Station this week in an attempt to help fight bike theft and get more bikes registered on the free bicycle database Bike Index. You do not need to be a UW student or staff to participate.

The valet will be staffed 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday this week only, and they will have computers ready to help you register your bike online if you have not done so already.

There is only space in the pilot service for 100 bikes, so you may need to get there early to take advantage of the service. They’ll be set up just north of the station in front of Husky Stadium.

UW Station’s location just off the Burke-Gilman Trail has made it a major bike-to-transit connection. Bike racks filled up immediately after opening as people from all over northeast and north-central Seattle realized that biking to the train is the easiest and often fastest way to get around. Sound Transit has since added more bike parking to help with the crunch, but the station could be a good place for something a bit more organized. UW already offers a bike valet service to handle the influx of bikes during home games at Husky Stadium.

Bike Index is a non-profit, nationwide database of bikes. It’s primary use is to serve as a one-stop shop for locating stolen bike listings. But very often, people have no record of their bike’s serial number and other identifying information. So Bike Index encourages people to register their bikes now. Then, if it is unfortunately stolen later, the details are all recorded and ready for you to post them quickly. The quicker a listing is posted and the more accurate its details, the more likely you are to get your bike back if police, a bike shop or a helpful community member finds it.

Bike Index powers Seattle Bike Blog’s stolen bike listings.

More details from the event page:

The University of Washington Police Department will be holding a trial Bike Valet event during the days of September 4-6, 2018. The times of the Bike Valet will be 7am-5pm.

A UW Police Officer will be paired with one or more civilian volunteers to park and watch over bikes in bike valet equipment provided by UW Transportation Services.

The Bike Valet will be located just north of the UW Sound Transit Station near Husky Stadium. Space is limited to 100 bikes so come early and take advantage of this great opportunity to interact with your campus police department!

Participants MUST be registered in Bike Index at

Staff working the event will be able to do on the spot registrations but we highly recommend interested individuals register beforehand to cut down on waiting times.

Blueberry-picking plaza is among the first of many Interurban Trail improvements Lynnwood plans

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:07

One section of a planned trail access project includes edible berries. See more about this project in this PDF.

So you’re biking on the Interurban North bike route that connects Seattle to Everett and many communities in between, and you get to 40th Ave W. You’re about halfway between downtown Seattle and downtown Everett. You could probably use a snack.

Well, Lynnwood’s got you covered. The first project of their nearly-complete Interurban Trail Master Plan is scheduled to open later this year, and it features something I’m not sure I’ve seen before in a trail plan: Edible berry bushes planted specifically so folks passing by can stop for a very fresh snack.

Work is also nearing completion on a filling in a short trail gap between 212th St SW and Hall Lake.

City of Lynnwood Project Update – Interurban Trail South August 23, 2018 –

— Lynnwood Streets (@LynnwoodStreets) August 23, 2018

Lynnwood’s City Council will discuss the 20-year master plan for their 3.8-mile section of the trail September 17. In the meantime, you can check out the concept below (images from the latest draft PDF):

More details from the City of Lynnwood:

The Interurban Trail is a 24-mile, regional, nonmotorized trail that stretches from Shoreline to Everett along the route once used by electric interurban rail cards. Lynnwood’s portion of the Interurban Trail is 3.8-miles long, continuing from Mountlake Terrace from the south at 212th St SW to the north end of the Alderwood shopping mall at the intersection of Ash Way and Maple.

With the pending completion of the last major missing-link of the corridor to further separate the trail from motorized traffic at 212th St SW, Lynnwood is shifting it’s focus to improving the overall utility and aesthetic of the trail through landscaping and amenities in order to create a safe and comfortable pedestrian and bicyclist environment that betters serves the community.

A planning effort to create a 20-year master plan with the aim to better understand the community’s needs of the Interurban Trail, how it can function better, and support improvements to be a stronger community asset began is nearing completion. The draft report is currently available for review and comment at: . The final report will be presented to the Lynnwood City Council on Monday, September 17, 2018.

This plan outlines a number of improvement projects planned for the corridor including the 40th Avenue West Trailhead project currently under construction and 212th St Missing Link (see below).

For additional information, or to stay up-to-date on all the Master Plan and trail projects, sign up for eNews by clicking on the yellow “construction updates” button on the project page.

Survivor who lost family in Branson Duck tour tragedy calls for a nationwide ban

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 13:09

Sign Tia Coleman’s petition online.

Tia Coleman lost her husband, their three kids and five more family members July 19th when a Ride the Ducks tour boat sank in a Branson, Missouri, storm. In all, 17 people on the Duck have died. The scale of her loss is unimaginable.

Now she is calling on the Federal government to ban the amphibious vehicles nationwide if they can’t be designed to be safe, something that should have happened long before July 19, 2018. You can sign her petition online.

But why were Duck boats still operating anywhere in our nation after one killed five people and injured a shocking 69 others in a single 2015 collision on the Aurora Bridge? The carnage total of that one Seattle collision was so overwhelming that it made up a full quarter of all traffic deaths on city-operated streets that entire year (does not include state-run I-5).

How did we not ban them immediately back in 2015? We should have. The Duck that killed Coleman’s family should not have been operating this summer. We cannot make that mistake again.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has introduced Senate Bill 3301, which would ban amphibious tour vehicles that can’t meet more stringent safety guidelines, like having a back-up way of staying buoyant in case of flooding so that they don’t sink like a rock to the bottom with a vehicle full of trapped passengers. The bill mostly focuses on water safety, with road safety requirements notably absent. Perhaps those are amendments Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell could add.

Ride the Ducks Seattle, which shares branding and basic vehicle design with the Branson operation but is a separate company, said in a statement that their vehicles do meet the requirements outlined in the proposed bill except for elements they say may conflict with Coast Guard requirements:

At Ride the Ducks Seattle, we support any measures that will make amphibious tour boats safer. We applaud the intent of this bill, and we already have the vast majority of recommendations in place at our operation. Where there are any deviations from the proposal, it’s because we strictly adhere to the safety requirements and recommendations of the United States Coast Guard.

Our vessels absolutely meet all current United States Coast Guard (USCG) requirements for buoyancy, including watertight compartmentalization. Our understanding is that some of the bill’s other proposals conflict with current USCG regulations, which will need to be resolved if the bill passes. Regardless, we will continue to follow safety regulations stipulated by USCG.

But these reclaimed military DUKW amphibious vehicles have proven tragically unsafe on both our waterways and our roads. The one in Branson did not have back-up flotation for when it started taking on water, which is an obvious need that Ride the Ducks Seattle claims to already have. But the vehicles also have long, high-up front ends with no crumple zone. So when they collide on land, the front end both blocks the driver’s view of people walking or riding small vehicles and acts as a devastating weapon against big vehicles. When the Duck collided with that charter bus on the Aurora Bridge, the long and high front end cut straight through the side of the bus and mangled the bodies of its occupants. The axle may have caused the collision, but the front end design is why the casualty toll was so high.

Image from the NTSB report shows how the Duck’s front end tore into the bus (PDF).

Malfunctions and mistakes can happen with any vehicle or by any operator. Safe design, whether it’s a street or a product, does everything it can to minimize or eliminate harm when things do go wrong. But when things go wrong with Duck vehicles, whether on land or water, they go extremely and horrifically wrong. That’s the definition of unsafe design.

Seattle and Branson are far from the only tragedies these tour boats have caused (reading the Duck tour Wikipedia page is truly horrifying):

  • 13 killed in 1999 when a DUKW tour boat sank in Arkansas.
  • 4 killed in 2002 by an amphibious truck conversion in Ontario.
  • 2 killed in 2010 when an inattentive tug boat operator ran over a disabled Duck tour in Philidelphia.
  • A man was critically injured in downtown Seattle in 2011 when a Duck failed to see him over its long front end and ran over  him and his motorcycle.
  • A woman was killed in 2014 while crossing a Philadelphia street, and a lawsuit blamed the vehicle’s long front end for obscuring the driver’s view.
  • 5 killed, 8 critically injured and 8 seriously injured in 2015 on the Aurora Bridge.
  • A woman killed and man injured in 2016 when a Boston-area Duck struck them on their scooter because the long front end prevented the driver from seeing them (page 33 of this PDF).
  • 17 killed and 18 injured in 2018 in Branson.

That’s at least 43 people killed and many more than that with serious and lifelong injuries. No novelty tourism experience is worth this much carnage and this many mass casualty events.

Ride the Ducks can still operate land and sea tours by driving road-ready vehicles on land and transferring to water-ready vessels for water. Sure, that might cramp their style, but so what? They should have voluntarily shut down their amphibious tours after the 2015 tragedy like their Philadelphia counterparts. But they didn’t, so now government needs to make the decision for them.

Every time I see a Duck go by (or desperately try to stay far enough ahead of them on the Fremont Bridge approaches to make sure they can see me over their huge front ends), I am shocked they are still running. It’s a regular reminder of how we failed as a society to curtail even the most obvious road safety danger.

While Washington’s delegation to DC should support and strengthen 3301, our state and city should not wait for the Federal government to act. And we definitely should not wait for the next tragedy. While Tia Coleman is supporting 3301, she doesn’t mince words about what she wants from it: “Ban the Duck boats NOW!”

Below is Coleman’s plea from her petition to ban the Ducks nationwide:

The duck boat took my family from me.

On July 19th, my husband, Glenn, 40, and our babies Arya, 1, Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, drowned in a totally preventable disaster on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. Altogether, seventeen souls, including my other Coleman family members – Horace “Butch” Coleman, 70, Belinda “Toni” Coleman, 69, Ervin “Uncle Ray” Coleman, 76, Angiee Coleman, 45 and her baby, Maxwell 2, were killed.. They all died because of the duck boat’s deadly design, which the industry knew about for more than 16 years. In 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board told the duck boat operators to make them safe.

They didn’t.

I miraculously survived, along with my 13-year-old nephew, Donovan.  So many loved ones died that tragic day, but not my spirit. In their memory, I am asking you to join me to help ensure that no one else is killed by death trap duck boats.

Help us ban all unsafe amphibious vehicles like the one that killed my family and dozens more over the past 20 years.  In addition to signing this petition, it’s also important to support Senate Bill 3301 Duck Boat Bill that will force the reckless and deceitful duck boat industry to comply with safety recommendations that it has ignored for decades. Ban the duck boats NOW!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tia Coleman

Bike News Roundup: Bike share’s anarchist roots

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 13:01

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup, a list of some stuff floating around the web lately that caught our attention.

First up, Grist dives into the anarchist roots and capitalist evolution of bike share:

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

Mayor Durkan moves quickly to improve Rainier/Henderson intersection after someone seriously injured 2 kids

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 10:28

Just 12 days after someone driving struck and seriously injured two kids crossing the street at Rainier Ave and Henderson St, SDOT crews were out making significant temporary safety improvements to the wide intersection.

The sense of urgency follows a weekend talk and rally for safe streets organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. At the talk, Mayor Durkan gave SDOT the green light to make road design and signal changes quickly.

“What happened was an incredible tragedy for the children, for the family, for the people they knew and loved,” Mayor Durkan said during the Saturday event, according to the Seattle Times. “We the city have to stand up, take notice, and make sure we’re doing all we can to make every community safer.”

It is very exciting to see Mayor Durkan respond to this tragedy with action. So often, people are killed or seriously injured on our streets, and we do nothing. Just in December, Kao Saeteurn was killed just a few blocks from this intersection by someone who drove away from the scene and left him on the street.

While these and future safety changes cannot go back in time to stop what has already happened, they can prevent similar collisions in the future. As Times reporter Mike Lindblom noticed during the talk, potentially dangerous situations occur all day long on this street because the road just isn’t designed with safety as its top priority:

During the mayor’s talk, an elderly man with a cane couldn’t make it across Henderson before his walk signal expired. A driver rolled past him two feet away. Others ran a left-turn signal, or sped through the crosswalks.

A third girl was injured there in May, said Rainier Beach High School science teacher Jennifer Goldman. “It was the day before Ramadan. She explained to the students what Ramadan meant to her, and an hour later she was at Harborview.”

The immediate changes that are already complete or in process will help, but Rainier Ave S needs so much more work before it is safe for everyone who uses it. You can still sign Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ petition calling for both immediate changes at this intersection and to quickly finish the whole Rainier Ave safety project.

While it shouldn’t take a tragedy to get quick action from SDOT and the Mayor’s Office, hopefully this is just the start of a more urgent attitude toward traffic safety at City Hall. There is so much work to do, and SDOT staff has shown they can do a lot very quickly when the Mayor gives them the go-ahead and the political cover to make it happen.

Sign our petition to keep the momentum going at:
Read more about the changes to the intersection at
Read more about the Rainier Ave safety corridor project at

— Rainier Greenways (@RVGreenways) August 22, 2018

Trail Alert 8/21-26: Burke-Gilman and Ship Canal Trail repaving in Fremont/Queen Anne

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 13:29

The good news is that some of the busiest and bumpiest sections of the Burke-Gilman and Ship Canal Trails in the Fremont/Queen Anne area are getting repaved this week.

The planned detours could be interesting, though. For example, what neighborhood street is parallel to the trail between 36th and 40th? Leary Way certainly isn’t bike friendly.

And the Fremont Market will close the detour route designated for Sunday, so they may need a detour detour.

Details from SDOT:

We are planning to do some spot repairs on the Burke Gilman and Ship Canal Trails starting on Tuesday, August 21st. Click on the maps below for larger versions, showing work areas. Here’s to smooth connections!

Burke-Gilman Trail: 8/21 & 8/24-26

What you can expect:

8/21 | BGT spot 5 location (see map above) closed 9 AM-3 PM; people biking detoured to N 34th St.

8/24-26 | BGT area 6 closed, 7 AM – 7 PM each day, Stone Way N to Phinney Ave N; signed detour to N 34th St.

8/25 | BGT spots 1 & 2 closed at site from 9 AM-3 PM, detour to parallel neighborhood streets from NW 36th St to NW 40th St.

Ship Canal Trail: 8/22 – 8/24 What you can expect:

8/22 | SCT spots 1 – 5 locations (see map above) closed 9 AM-3 PM; detour to Nickerson from 3rd Ave N to 3rd Ave W.

8/23 | SCT spots 1 – 5 locations closed 9 AM-3 PM; detour to Nickerson from 3rd Ave N to 3rd Ave W.

8/24 | SCT spot 6 on W Emerson Pl: trail closed at site 9 AM-3 PM; detour to N side of W Emerson Pl, 21st – 19th avenues W.

Contact us!

If you have questions about this work, email us at or call 206-684-ROAD (7623). Information subject to change.

Seattle’s next bike share battle could be between Lime, Uber and Lyft + Let’s start a scooter pilot

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 13:00

Uber-owned Jump has applied to operate in Seattle alongside Lime and Lyft-owned Motivate.

Though it’s been scaling back its efforts for a while now, Spin has officially announced an end to its bike share service in Seattle. Citing an increase in fees and the decision not to include scooters in the city’s updated permit, Spin will not be applying for the next year of operations.

With ofo already leading the way out of town, that leaves Lime as the only bike share company actively in business for the time being. So at the height of summer, Seattle is seeing a huge decrease in available bikes.

But it might not be this way for long. The Seattle Times reports that in addition to Lime, Uber-owned Jump and Lyft-owned Motivate (once the operator of Pronto Cycle Share) have both submitted permit applications to operate under Seattle’s new pricier and more regulated bike share scheme. Though the plan was to have four companies, it seems only three have applied so far.

But the city’s target is still 20,000 bikes total divided among the companies raising $1 million in permit fees per year. This seemingly arbitrary bike total means that each bike will cost $50 to permit, among the more expensive rates in the country. But at 20,000 bikes, Seattle would also have one of the largest bike share fleets in operation, many of them with electric assist.

The fact that two of Seattle’s three bike share companies are all but suspending U.S. bike share operations is one possibly worrying sign about the state of private bike share. But that is counteracted by recent investments from Uber and Lyft to become major players in U.S. bike share. In the meantime, the market for shared electric kick scooters is seemingly blowing up, an innovation Seattle has so far spurned.

There are a lot of companies competing for the huge market of urban trips that are too long for a short walk but too short to be well-served by transit or car. About half of all trips are three miles or less, so there could be a lot of money to be made if you can capture even a piece of that total. So far, companies have tried pedal bikes, e-assist bikes and electric kick scooters, each of which may have their own places in the ecosystem. But what we know for sure is that this period of innovation is not over. Who knows what the shared mobility device market will look like this time next year.

Yours truly on a Lime-S test ride.

Seattle chose not to include scooters in its recent permit. But now that the bike permit has been created and received the necessary approvals from City Council, we need to talk about scooters and whatever other devices companies might bring. Seattle was a national leader in ushering in this private bike share boom, and we should be proud of the success of that effort. But why stop here? Have we solved the car-free short distance travel problem? Have we really decided that 20,000 bikes is good enough so we should stop trying any new ideas?

Outside as I write this, the wildfire smoke haze is visible even across my small neighborhood street. Every social media feed is filled with photos of vistas obscured or people wearing their new breathing masks. The city’s solution is to tell people not to spend time outside, but there’s no plan for getting people around without cars and our existing transit. Even though cars burning gas makes the problem worse, the city has made no effort to limit driving or even offer incentives to take transit instead.

Meanwhile, there are multiple companies that want to bring electric kick scooters to town that people can rent on demand to get around without burning oil, but we won’t let them.

Like bikes, scooters can block sidewalks and create accessibility issues. But the city has a plan to alleviate that problem through a huge expansion in designated bike parking, especially on-street corrals where bikes that get knocked over won’t fall across the sidewalk. Allowing (and permitting) scooters will help the city expand that parking even further.

There is also a valid concern that people will ride the scooters on sidewalks. But the solution isn’t to ban them, the solution is to expedite building the connected network of comfortable bike lanes we already have planned. Scooters will be right at home using those bike lanes.

I had the chance a few months ago to try out a Lime-S scooter. It was zippy and easy to use. Though I still prefer the bikes, this is a personal taste kind of thing. I’m just more comfortable biking because I have been biking everywhere for years. Companies that operate scooters report huge interest from the majority of the public that does not bike everywhere they go as I and many readers of this blog do. Spin has essentially pivoted to focus on scooters, claiming they “generate more than 20 times the consumer demand than that of bikes,” according to a company statement.

SDOT should move quickly to create a permit for scooters and other non-pedaling devices in addition to the bikes. They could even make it another pilot permit the way they did when private bike share started just over a year ago. Move quickly to get them up and operational, then learn from the pilot data when creating permanent permit regulations. We already have a framework for the permit thanks to bike share, so modify that as needed to make it fit non-pedal options.

But we can’t just lean back, watch the city disappear into the smoke and consider our work providing non-car options finished.

Here’s Spin’s full statement about leaving Seattle:

Spin has been proud to serve Seattle, our first city, since July 2017. We have been particularly grateful to the City for welcoming us to the community and for pioneering the dockless mobility trend with us in the United States. Since our launch in Seattle, we have added electric scooters to our fleet, and we’ve found that these vehicles generate more than 20 times the consumer demand than that of bikes. We have since made the decision to focus on bringing scooters, and other forms of pedal-less electric mobility, to our markets around the country.

As SDOT formulated the new permit rules, we had hoped the requirements would allow scooters. We also expressed our concerns about the proposed requirement that all operators pay a flat fee of $250,000. We believe fees should be variable based on an operator’s fleet size, and not an arbitrarily high flat fee, with fleet expansions determined by performance. In fact, we note that every U.S. city that has adopted rules for dockless mobility operations bases fees on the operator’s actual fleet size, including Seattle until now.

Unfortunately, the City will not be allowing scooters in the new permit at this time. We were also disappointed that the City left the flat fee unchanged in the final version of the new permit requirements. In light of these realities, Spin has made the difficult decision to not apply for the bikeshare permit. Nevertheless, we intend to continue working with the City to offer our shared scooters to Seattleites soon.

Police release video of person snipping bike share brake cables

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:03

Screenshot of the suspect, from a surveillance video released by Seattle Police. Watch the full video below.

Seattle Police have released a surveillance video of a person in Sodo seen snipping bike share brake cables on more than one occasion, and they’re asking for the public’s help identifying the suspect.

For months, brake cables on bike share bike have been cut all over the city, posing a very serious safety hazard for users. If someone didn’t realize they had no brakes until they were already moving, they could be put in serious danger. Endangering the lives of random strangers is very disturbing behavior, and I hope the person in this video is identified and gets the help they need.

On top of that, snipping brake cables puts scores of bikes out of commission, making bike share less reliable for people just trying to get around town. It also costs companies a money to send workers all over town repairing the damage. Some bike share companies have been talking about hiding brake cables in future models.

It’s not clear if the brake cable sabotage is the work on multiple people or just one prolific vandal. I hope it is just one person. Here’s the video:

More details from SPD:

Seattle police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man suspected of sabotaging brake lines on several bike-share bicycles in SODO.

Surveillance video shows the man walking up to several bikes parked at 4th Avenue and South Main Street around 11:45 PM on June 14th. He can be seen manipulating what appears to be a cutting tool around the bikes’ brakes before he walks out of frame.

Police also found surveillance photos from a month earlier, which appear to show the same man damaging a single bike’s brakes near 4th Avenue and Holgate. This incident also occurred in the late evening, around 11:15 PM.

Detectives are also investigating other similar cases in other parts of the city, but have not yet confirmed any linkage between the incidents.

If you recognize the man in the video or have any other information about this case, please contact South Precinct detectives at (206) 386-1855

After 2 kids were struck and badly injured, Rainier Valley Greenways calls Saturday safe streets rally

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:55

Details from Rainier Valley Greenways:

We have had enough of kids and people of all ages being injured at the intersection of Rainier Ave S and S Henderson St. Just this year, three children have been hit at this intersection.

Join us to talk with Mayor Durkan about what can be done to fix this intersection before school starts, and urge finishing the entire Rainier Ave safety project. Let’s support the city as they consider acting quickly to address these critical safety problems.

When: 1:00 to 1:45 this Saturday, August 18th
Where: Intersection of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson St
Who: Mayor Jenny Durkan and people who care about fixing Rainier Ave – Seattle’s most dangerous street.

We hope you can join us!

If you can’t make it, please be sure to sign the petition:

Read more about the recent collision:

We have had enough of kids being injured at the intersection of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson St. Join us to talk with the Mayor about what can be done to fix this spot before school starts, and urge action to finish the entire Rainier Ave safety project:

— Rainier Greenways (@RVGreenways) August 15, 2018


Ian MacKay is making his second cross-WA bike tour on his sip-and-puff wheelchair

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 10:46

On of Ian’s riding partners helps him cool down on a long hot road. Photo from Ian’s blog.

Ian MacKay is on a 7 MPH bike tour across Washington State for the second time. As of press time, he and his riding partners are a day’s journey beyond the Grand Coulee Dam heading west on their trip from Spokane to his home near Port Angeles.

MacKay’s ride is an electric wheelchair he controls using sip-and-puff controls. It’s decked out this year with new lithium batteries that can keep him moving at his top speed for the 40 miles a day he hopes to cover during his two-week adventure. He is documenting his journey on a blog and via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and he has been capturing the imagination of the local news everywhere he goes.

Ian was injured in a California bike crash in 2008 that paralyzed him from the neck down. While recovering he started exploring further and further from home along the Olympic Discovery Trail, a paved rail trail connecting Port Angeles to Discovery Bay. That’s how he got the idea for his first cross-Washington trip in 2016.

He gave an incredible keynote talk at the 2017 WA Bike Summit about his adventure, and I highly recommend setting aside a half hour to watch the whole thing:

MacKay has become an inspiring advocate for the power of accessible trails and routes to open our state to more people of all abilities. Following his 2016 ride, he formed the non-profit Ian’s Ride to promote “a more accessible outdoors.” He’s become one of the strongest bike advocates in Washington State.

And he is certainly doing that work both by sharing his story and just by getting out there and inviting others to join him. Along his way, people join him for stretches in their own chairs or by biking along.

His tours require a lot more planning and logistics than most bike tours, including his mom driving a support van. And his routes have to be carefully planned to make sure his chair can handle them. But the same investments and policies that make our state safer and more comfortable on a bike also make our state more accessible for people in electric chairs and other wheeled mobility devices.

Though Ian’s 2018 journey won’t bring him to Seattle, we’re cheering him and his crew on. You can donate to Ian’s Ride to help him continue his work.

Wilson Ave S bike lanes will fill key gap in SE Seattle, meeting Thursday

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:08

Wilson Ave S is a true rarity in the hilly neighborhood above Seward Park: It is relatively flat and direct.

Well, OK, the whole street isn’t flat. But the 0.8 miles of the street that the Seattle Department of Transportation is repaving this year are surprisingly flat, connecting the very popular Lake Washington Loop bike route to the business district at S Dawson Street (Third Place Books) and the existing painted bike lanes on 50th Ave S that connect to the bike lanes on S Genesee St into Columbia City.

Workers have already started work to repave this stretch, and plans call for a northbound bike lane protected by parked cars and a southbound painted bike lane as well as new curb ramps all along the route. This meets the criteria in the Bicycle Master Plan, which calls for “in-street, minor separation” bike lanes here. In fact, this is one of the few new protected bike lanes planned in all of SE Seattle.

Though it is quite rare for designs to change once construction has begun, SDOT is holding a public meeting to get feedback about a change in the parking plan Thursday. People who bike are encouraged to attend to weigh in, but the proposed changes still include bike lanes. Details from the project page:

You’re probably wondering, “what’s up with the protected bike lane?” Well, we hope you will join us on Thursday, August 16 from 6 to 8 PM at the Lakewood Seward Park Community Club for a public meeting. We will be sharing an updated design for the planned protected bike lane. We heard the community’s concerns about the protected bike lanes and pedestrian and neighborhood safety.

The current plans would consolidate on-street parking to one side of the street (protecting the northbound bike lane). But SDOT’s communications lead for the project Adonis Duckworth said the team heard from neighbors on the west side of the street that steep driveways lead many of them to park on the street instead. And an SDOT parking count found that parking was higher on the west side than the east side. There were also concerns about parked car sideswipes on the east side of the street, which is on the outside of the curve (though it’s not like people in the bike lane want to be sideswiped, either).

The addition of the bike lanes should calm traffic a bit by narrowing the very wide lanes. Studies have consistently shown that wide lanes encourage speeding. That alone will hopefully help calm the sideswipe problem.

SDOT’s proposed change would have parking switch from the east side to the west side between Orcas and Morgan Streets. That means part of each bike lane would be protected some of the time and paint-only some of the time under this compromise plan.

SDOT also says it will monitor crossings along the stretch to see if marked crosswalks are needed.

A parking utilization study found such low utilization rates along the project area that all the parking could fit on one side of the street and still have a lot of open spaces.

The cost to repave the street is $2.55 million, paid for largely by the Move Seattle Levy. Paving projects are the most cost-effective way to build out stretches of the bike network. They have to put the street back together somehow, so putting it back with bike lanes doesn’t add much to the bottom line.

Lime’s expanded discount program lets people pay in cash, unlock 5¢ bikes with a text

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:02

A nickel. In 2018, there is essentially nothing that costs a nickel.

But that’s all it costs for qualifying low-income users to unlock a Lime pedal bike under the company’s newly-expanded Lime Access program ($5 for 100 rides). And qualifying users (see #4 below) can also now pay in cash and unlock bikes using any mobile phone that can send text messages or make calls, allowing people who don’t have a bank account and smart phone with a data plan to use their bikes.

Qualifying users can also access Lime’s e-bikes at half price (50 cents to unlock plus 7 cents per minute). So a half hour e-bike ride would cost about the same as bus fare ($2.60).

To get set up, the Lime Access webpage tells users to email the following:

  1. Full Name
  2. Phone Number (this number should be for the phone you plan to use for LimeBike)
  3. Valid government-issued photo ID
  4. Proof of low income status (e.g. EBT card, discounted utility bill, or any other state or federally-run assistance program document). Seattle Bike Blog has confirmed that an ORCA Lift card will also work.

It will take Lime staff up to two days to get accounts verified and set up. Users will also need access to a printer if they don’t have a smart phone so they can print a unique barcode they can use to load money into their accounts at any ParNearMe location, including the 50 or so 7-Eleven and CVS stores in Seattle.

As ofo closes down Seattle operations and Spin pivots to scooters (which are not yet allowed in Seattle), Lime has emerged in recent weeks as the primary bike share company in town. That could change as the city’s revamped bike share permit rolls out in the coming months, allowing new companies to compete with Lime. But for now, Seattle’s a Lime town.

At 5 cents for a pedal bike ride, Lime is all but giving those rides away. They just want folks to register. Perhaps this will also help prevent people from cutting off or disabling the locks on the bikes, since they can just access them legitimately for so little money.

$1 per ride was already the most affordable way to get around town other than walking (and maybe riding your own bike, depending on your bike costs). But at 5 cents, there is no cheaper way to get around. In a town where costs only seem to rise, shared pedal bikes offer a rare and very needed reduction in costs. This is why we have argued that the city should be doing whatever it can to encourage companies to provide the lower-cost pedal bikes in addition to their electric options.

West Seattle Link might destroy the Sodo Trail, but that could be a good thing

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:12

The Sodo Trial in Bike Master Plan. The planned extension is marked “17.”

SDOT has been planning an extension of the Sodo Trail to reach Spokane St under the West Seattle Bridge for a while now, but that work could take a major turn if Sound Transit chooses a West Seattle light rail alignment that displaces some or all of the existing trail.

At this point, the project team is still proceeding with design for a trail along the busway and light rail tracks assuming Sound Transit projects won’t change the area, according to an SDOT staff update to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

However, there is a chance that Sound Transit will decide to use the existing trail right of way. If that happens, design changes or even an entirely new route may be needed. The Board expressed the need for a connection, and SDOT Liason to the Board Serena Lehman said the department would work with Sound Transit to identify an alternative option if the trail is removed or impeded.

And trading the Sodo Trail for a different nearby connection might not be such a bad thing.

The Sodo Trail is a little oasis of low-stress biking surrounded by wide and often scary industrial streets. But access to the trail is awful from just about every direction. And the prospects for connecting bike routes to it are a bit difficult. It directly serves Sodo and Stadium Stations, but that’s really the only thing it does well. The connections to nearby businesses, the International District, West Seattle and Georgetown are all pretty rough.

4th or 6th Ave S, on the other hand, have much more complete connections. They serve more destinations and workplaces than the trail and have great potential for connectivity at their north and south ends.

Today, both these streets are very stressful for people biking and walking. But if SDOT and Sound Transit partnered to build a high-quality protected bike connection and walking upgrades to one or both these streets, the result could revolutionize biking and walking access in Sodo to a greater extent than the Sodo Trail ever could.

And protected bike routes and improved walkways are good for freight mobility because they separate the modes and remove conflicts. People already bike and walk a lot on both 4th and 6th, but they do so without safe infrastructure and proper separation from big trucks.

As we have learned from the bike share pilot data, Sodo is a major bike destination that has been largely ignored by city bike planning to date. But of course people are biking there. There are lots of jobs near downtown that are poorly served by transit. That’s the perfect recipe for biking, even if the bike lanes and trails are lacking.

The Bicycle Master Plan calls for the Sodo Trail to be extended and for new protected bike lanes on Airport Way. But WSDOT has reportedly pushed back on the Airport Way plans because that road is the I-5 alternative in case of major shutdowns or construction. This is an awful excuse for blocking a desperately-needed bike route, but so far the city has not pursued these lanes.

So with both major Bike Plan connections in jeopardy, 4th and 6th Avenues seem like the only options left. 4th Ave S is an enormously wide street with lots of potential for a more efficient redesign. 6th Ave S is less busy than 4th, but it would likely need a lot of work to create complete biking and walking paths.

But especially if light rail options using the existing trail right of way save Sound Transit a lot of money compared to other alternatives, it would make a ton of sense to invest some of those savings in biking and walking access on nearby streets.

Final Sound Transit alignment decision should come in early 2019, so we’ll know then whether the Sodo Trail will be displaced. So, readers, start dreaming about what you’d really like to see in Sodo.

Green Lake/Wallingford paving projects create opportunity to make huge bike improvements, comment by Wednesday

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 16:55

Overview map of projects in the paving group. Images from SDOT.

SDOT has grouped a bunch of Green Lake and Wallingford area paving projects together, designing and planning construction of them all at the same time. Because paving projects essentially wipe the street design clear, they are our best opportunities to build elements of the Bicycle Master Plan for little extra cost. The city can rehab existing infrastructure and improve safety using the same dollars.

Though the projects in this group were chosen for paving purposes, many of them happen to lie along routes designated for bike improvements. And the city’s plans are so far mostly very strong, including a two-way protected bike lane around Green Lake, uphill bike lanes on N/NE 40th St and improved bike lanes on N 50th St where it passes under Aurora.

You can learn more and weigh in on the projects through SDOT’s online open house. Responses are due Wednesday (tomorrow), so don’t procrastinate.

The repaving group covers a total of six miles. And though the city’s plans are a good start, a neighborhood group calling themselves Green Lake and Wallingford Safe Streets has organized to push for even more ambitious options.

Green Lake Way

The biggest changes of all are coming to Green Lake Way between N 83rd Street and N 45th St. The messy intersection at the north end of the lake will get a redesign and a new traffic signal, and the current paint-only bike lanes around the east half of the park will become a new two-way protected bike lane on the park side of the street. These are major upgrades to a major bike route.

The weirdest part of the whole plan is the transition from one-way bike lanes to the new two-way bike lane at N 52nd St. It would be cool if planners could find a way to do this transition at N 50th St instead, perhaps as part of a redesign of that awful intersection. The team currently does not plan any significant changes there, but they have heard loud and clear from basically everyone that they hate that intersection. It’s also worth noting that people walking have it the worst there, so a remake is very needed.

Here’s a look at the planned Green Lake Way changes starting at N 83rd St (a major bike connection across Aurora to Greenwood) and moving south:

N/NE 50th St

N 50th St is one of the few precious Aurora crossings for people biking. The city’s plan would slightly widen the existing paint-only bike lanes, but that’s pretty much it.

Really, N/NE 50th St should get a road diet for its whole length with bike lanes and a center turn lane added. Its outdated four-lane highway design has no place in a neighborhood. SDOT’s own experience with such safety projects has an amazing safety record, even if the skinny paint-only bike lanes they usually include are not the highest quality and do not achieve an all ages and abilities standard. There are no bus routes on 50th, so the decision to leave the road in its four-lane design is purely for the purpose of moving cars at the expense of safety.

But even if the city does not give 50th a safety redesign, the team should at least be looking at how to create a better I-5 crossing for people walking and biking. There are so few options for crossing I-5 that we can’t ignore any opportunity we have to improve them when we have the chance. (Full disclosure: I live nearby, so I have thought a lot about these I-5 crossings)

It seems like there is potential to remove an eastbound general purpose lane on the bridge by changing the right lane of 50th as it approaches 5th Ave NE into a right-turn-only lane for the many people headed to southbound I-5. That could possibly improve things for people driving (or at least not make much of an impact) while also freeing up a lane of space on the bridge.

One option would be to build a two-way bike lane on the south side of the bridge in the space vacated due to the new turn lane. Then new two-way bike lanes on west side of 5th Ave Ne and the east side of 7th Ave NE could connect people between 47th and 50th on both sides of the bridge. This would create an at least usable route for people trying to get between Wallingford and the U District without mixing with stressful traffic on 45th and 50th Streets.

If SDOT also constructed a two-way bike lane for one block on 5th Ave NE from 50th to 51st, that would connect people to a relatively flat neighborhood route connecting to Ravenna Blvd and NE 65th Street. It’s not a perfect or complete option, but it would be a huge step in the right direction. Here’s the basic idea:

All the green lines would be two-way bike lanes in this concept by Seattle Bike Blog.

These improvements would also be poised to plug into elements of the U District Station Mobility Plan currently in design, which include a possible NE 45th Street I-5 crossing and bike routes to the under-construction light rail station on Brooklyn.

And this concept would save an enormous amount of money compared to the unfunded solution noted in the Bicycle Master Plan: A NE 47th St bike/walk bridge over I-5. While that would obviously be very cool, it would be much wiser to make the two existing bridges nearby safer rather than spend an enormous sum on a single crossing. Save that kind of investment for parts of the city that don’t have any other I-5 crossing options (like Beacon Hill or the far south and north ends of the city). The only way a NE 47th St crossing makes sense it as part of a larger vision like what Lid I-5 is proposing. Until then, people need ways to get between these two neighborhoods using the bridges we already have.

N/NE 40th St

N/NE 40th St will get bike lanes in the uphill direction between 7th Ave NE and Stone Way. The Bicycle Master Plan calls for “in-street, minor separation” bike lanes here. The city’s plan more or less assumes you can find your own way downhill, but might need some extra space and time headed uphill. It’s not a perfect solution, but it will be a big help on those climbs.

The projects were all originally planned for construction in 2019, but now it sounds like some of them may be pushed back to 2020.