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Updated: 11 hours 43 min ago

Bike Happy: It’s the Last Week of Bike Month

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 15:00

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

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. A cougar killed SJ Brooks, co-founder of Friends on Bikes.
  2. The Seattle Times broke down how the 2nd and 7th Avenues protected bike lanes were expensive, but were more than just bike projects. And Seattle Bike Blog highlighted how “bike lanes are for cars.”
  3. On Wednesday, there’s a Womxn’s Bike Month Happy Hour.
  4. This is the last week of Bike Month. Get out there!

If your bike is ever stolen, you will need all the details (including photos), and a passionate community of people looking out for your bike.  That’s what Bike Index provides. Register your bike on Bike Index right now.

In Memoriam

An emaciated cougar attacked Isaac Sederbaum and killed SJ Brooks while they were biking forest roads northeast of North Bend. They had responded properly by trying to intimidate the animal; this was the first fatal cat attack in 94 years in the state.  SJ was well-known within Seattle’s bike community, having worked at G&O Family Cyclery; and co-founded Friends on Bikes, an organization dedicated to making bicycling more inclusive to women, trans, and non-binary people of color. SJ is missed by many.

SBBOutside MagGuardianSunSeattle TimesPI 1PI 2Bellingham HeraldKIRO7 1KIRO7 2KING5Q13,

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • “Gender Disparities in Bicycling: Small Steps to Close a Big Gap,” Urbanist.
  • “What It Takes to Ride Up to Paradise on Mount Rainier,” Bicycling.
  • “Is biking a Catch-22 situation?” — article explores the public health benefits and costs of biking in poor air quality. Crosscut.
  • Rave to two people biking who stopped and assisted a fellow person who had crashed her bike on the Sammamish River Trail. Seattle Times.
  • Magnuson Cafe & Brewery is opening this summer next door to Cascade Bicycle Club’s headquarters this summer. WA Beer Blog.
  • “Dust off the bike and pedal into Spring,” Cascade.
  • “Vaccinate your bike,” SBB.
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • Seattle
    • “$12 million a mile: Here’s how bike-lane costs shot sky high in Seattle,” Seattle Times.
      • “Bike lanes are for cars,” SBB.
      • “SDOT Can’t Build As Many Bike Lanes As Promised,” Stranger.
      • “Seattle struggling to pay for bike lanes, as costs for ‘visionary’ project balloon to $12 million per mile: report,” Fox News.
      • Letter: “Bikes and taxes: An ‘F’ for SDOT,” Seattle Times.
      • “Bikes and taxes: Bicycle tax,” Seattle Times.
    • “Vote For Seattle’s Worst Intersection: 2018 (Round 1),” Urbanist.
    • “Leary Ave NW in Central Ballard Is A Little Safer,” Urbanist.
  • King County-wide
    • King County Executive Dow Constantine announced legislation to accelerate protection of 65,000 acres of open space and improvements to regional trails. King CountySeattle Times.
  • East & South King County
    • The Mercer Island City Council is considering its 2019-2023 Transportation Improvement Plan, which could fund a new city pedestrian-bicycle plan and a north-south bike route from the Town Center to the future light rail station. MI Reporter.
    • Letter: Don’t upgrade north segment of Green to Cedar Rivers Trail. Maple Valley Reporter.
  • Pierce County
    • The new Puyallup River Bridge that connects Fife to Tacoma will have bike lanes. MyNW.
  • Statewide
    • “Field Notes from the 2018 Washington Bike Summit,” Cascade.
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS ARTICLE SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager & Assistants, Bike Works

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT (5/24)
Multi-Modal Transportation Executive Leader, WSDOT (5/27)
Development Coordinator, SDOT (5/29)

Communications, Development, & Management
Contract Grant Writer, Bike Works
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Staff Accountant, Cascade

SUBSCRIBE

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What Seattle needs from the next SDOT Director + Take the mayor’s survey

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 15:25

As we work towards a future in Seattle where it is easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit, we need your help.

Visit the online community survey to share your priorities for the next SDOT director. https://t.co/t5EwFRox6u

— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 21, 2018

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a national search for the next SDOT Director this week. Interim Director Goran Sparrman will serve in the role through the end of August.

The Mayor’s Office is collecting feedback through an online survey, saying that survey results will guide the candidate interview questions. It’s also a chance for you to think about what you want most from an SDOT Director.

The job could be a pretty tough sell because it might be nearly impossible. Buses are getting kicked out of the downtown transit tunnel next year, and current leadership seems to be bailing on bold plans to get downtown ready. So unless city and transit agency leaders get big plans in the works ASAP, the next director will be walking into a downtown transit crisis.

On top that that monster of a challenge, SDOT is in turmoil. Perhaps the simplest way to put it is that the Move Seattle levy has put more money and more responsibilities on the department than it was prepared to handle. Big projects are spinning out of control, and leadership is already preparing the public for disappointment as they try to walk back many promises to voters for bold walking, biking and transit improvements.

The way I see it, there are two strategies for a new leader to deal with this situation:

  1. Dramatically water down or cut promised projects, blaming previous leadership for the disappointment. The result would be worse traffic, slower buses stuck in that traffic and the same rate of serious injuries and deaths due to traffic collisions.
  2. Be bold and creative about how the department delivers projects to fulfill promises made to voters in 2015. Maybe the funds aren’t there to do full street rebuilds, but there are lower-cost ways to give buses priority, build bike lanes and improve crosswalks without significantly watering down their effectiveness.

Perhaps this sounds like a lot to put on one person’s shoulders. But the good news is that they have help. SDOT has some amazing people on staff who know how to do a lot with limited resources. The Safe Routes to School, Bicycle Program and Road Safety Corridor teams, for example, have done some amazing things with very limited budgets. They need a leader who will challenge them and trust them. Staffers doing bold work need to know the Director will have their backs. That’s how to boost morale and create great work.

It often seems like the higher the budget, the more disappointing the outcome is for SDOT projects (I’m looking at you, Mercer Street). A lo-fi revamping of Move Seattle could end up even better than the major capital project version.

Most importantly, the next SDOT Director needs to believe in the walking, biking and transit vision in the city’s many transportation plans already developed with public input and approved by City Council. Seattle has some of the best transportation plans in the nation. What we need is a leader who can deliver the vision outlined on those pages.

The key to making all this work is an SDOT leader the public can believe in so people trust the department when a bold change is proposed near their homes and workplaces. SDOT somehow spends too much time and money on public outreach while simultaneously failing to properly communicate the value of projects to nearby communities. The department’s next leader needs to know how to inspire.

What we don’t need is someone blinded by the car windshield perspective that dominates so many DOTs around the country. The size of the projects the candidate has managed is less important than the impact of those projects. Someone who has led amazing community-level projects would be better than someone who has overseen huge freeway projects.

So, uh, no pressure finding the absolute perfect person to take this nearly impossible job, Mayor Durkan!

Bike lanes are for cars

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:03

The opening of the 2nd Ave bike lane.

People do not need bike lanes to ride a bike. People driving cars need bikes lanes to protect them from intimidating or harming people on bikes.

The laws in Washington State are clear. Bikes are vehicles, so people are legally allowed to bike on any street or highway that is not a limited access freeway (I-5, I-90, SR 520, the Viaduct, the Battery Street Tunnel, the upper West Seattle Bridge). You can go out and bike down the busiest street in your neighborhood or downtown or wherever you want at whatever speed you feel comfortable going, and the law says you are doing the right thing.

Let’s wave a magic wand and change people’s driving habits so they fully respect the rules of the road and always pay perfect attention. In this world, even an eight-year-old kid can bike to school going eight miles per hour down 4th Ave or Rainier Ave or 1st Ave S or 35th Ave NE, and every person driving would slow down and patiently wait for opportunities to pass her safely. She wouldn’t be afraid to bike because everyone follows the rules so perfectly. And she wouldn’t need bike lanes. This is a wonderful “vehicular cycling” utopia. Unfortunately, it is fantasy.

In real life, you’ll likely be in for a stressful ride on these busy city streets. People might blare their horns at you. Some may even make a close pass to “teach you a lesson.” Others may pass closely or narrowly avoid hitting you because they are simply not paying attention or for whatever reason don’t feel they need to slow down and wait for an opportunity to pass safely. All these intimidating or dangerous actions are illegal, but the odds the person behaving this way will get a ticket are extremely low. Just because you have a right to bike there doesn’t mean people in bigger, more deadly vehicles will respect that right. For some reason, even otherwise friendly and loving people are capable of treating fellow human beings with such ugliness once they are behind the wheel of a car.

As you might expect, biking in these conditions does not appeal to very many people. In places where biking to get around requires you to bike on such streets, biking rates are very low.

This is where bike lanes come in. From one perspective, a bike lane designates space on a road for people to bike. From another perspective, a bike lane is just enforcing the rights of people biking to safely get wherever they are going without fear that someone driving a car will infringe on those rights. From yet another perspective, bike lanes are necessary mitigation for a destructive and dominating car culture that has overrun our public streets thanks to a century of unbalanced investments to prioritize car supremacy.

If there were no cars, we wouldn’t need bike lanes. Therefore, bike lanes are for cars.

Click here for the interactive version.

But bike lanes are also for cars in an even more direct way. Collision data shows that streets that have bike lanes have fewer and less serious car crashes. People in cars are the primary beneficiaries of safety improvements when bike lanes are added to a street. A person’s odds of living a full healthy life improve every time the city builds another bike lane, even if that person never rides a bike. Because any change to a street’s design affects all the users of that street.

When there is too much space on a street for cars (too many lanes or lanes that are too wide, for example), chaos fills the voids. Making a left turn across two lanes is vastly more dangerous and unpredictable than turning across one lane, for example. And the faster people are driving, the more likely someone will be killed or seriously injured when the unsteady balance of traffic fails and kinetically-charged steel collides with flesh. Car collisions are a leading cause of death in the U.S., especially for children and young people.

But a bike lane is not enough. Just because a stripe of paint has designated a space of the street for biking does not stop some people in cars from parking there or driving in that space to pass other cars. Again, these behaviors are illegal, but the odds of a ticket are very low. Barriers are needed to protect those bike lanes from infringement and keep people driving in the appropriate lane. So, just as bike lanes are for cars, so are the curbs, planter boxes and plastic posts needed to keep bike lanes car-free.

But a protected bike lane is not enough, either. Because when someone biking in a bike lane and someone in a car turning across that bike lane reach an intersection at the same time, the person driving is supposed to yield. But as we know, people driving often do not. So we need traffic signals or other significant intersection changes to prevent people from illegally turning across a bike lane. Those traffic signals with pictures of little bikes on them? Yeah, those are also for cars.

I say all this because there’s this strange conversation going on in the press and at City Hall about the cost of downtown bike lanes. Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times wrote a very good story about how the 2nd and 7th Ave bike lane projects ballooned in cost to something like $12 million a mile, a huge sum that SDOT leadership is citing as a reason the bike lane promises made to Move Seattle voters are in jeopardy.

But Lindblom’s reporting shows that a big percentage of the project costs have little to do with bike mobility or safety. The 2nd Ave project, for example, added new traffic signals to three Belltown intersections at great cost. These signals are for everyone, not just people biking. That’s why SDOT called the project the “2nd Ave Mobility Improvements Project,” not the “2nd Ave Bike Lane Project.”

But this is just an extreme example of investments made in the name of biking that really help every road user. It’s pretty absurd to have different pools of money for specific modes of transportation, since most investments in city streets are inherently multimodal. But that is how the Move Seattle levy was written. So we have to ask to what extent the pool of money for bike lanes should be charged for new street lights, new traffic signals that mostly help people driving cars or segments of bike lane that were raised to sidewalk level to help a hotel valet zone. If it is multimodal in action, shouldn’t it be multimodal in funding?

Vision Zero is supposed to be a core principle for all of SDOT’s work, not just a side project with a limited budget. Every SDOT investment should put eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries as the primary goal. If bike lanes are the most cost-efficient way to achieve that goal, then bike lanes shouldn’t be limited only to one separate pool of funds.

The troubling conclusion of this story that bike lanes cost $12 million a mile is that it becomes a reason to build fewer bike lanes. The more stuff SDOT can bill to the bike budget, the fewer bike lanes they will need to build for the duration of the levy.

But that eight-year-old biking to school doesn’t care which SDOT funding pool paid for which parts of the street. She just wants to have fun getting to school safely on a bike. Our city’s leaders can either sit around and argue about internal budgeting or they can get to work creating a safer and more comfortable city for the people. It is far too early in the life of this levy to admit failure and give up.

Seattle needs to figure out how to deliver the safe and connected bike network it promised to voters. Obviously, a big part of the solution is to get costs under control. Another part of the solution is to stop putting projects into modal silos and start acting multimodal. Because bike lanes are for bike mobility and local businesses and walking safety and transit access and freight mobility and parks and schools and public health. But mostly, bike lanes are for cars.

‘Everybody bikes differently.’ RIP SJ

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 11:50

UPDATE: A GoFundMe has been started to help Izzy through recovery, and the WTF Bikexplorers have started a scholarship fund in SJ’s honor to help more people attend their summit.

SJ Brooks was the Founder of the Seattle chapter of Friends on Bikes, a group focused on creating space for women/trans/femme/non-binary people of color to enjoy biking together. Brooks was tragically killed over the weekend in an internationally publicized tragedy.

SJ’s death is a huge loss to our city. At 32 years old, they had so much more to do in this world. Our deepest condolences to their loved ones. And our best wishes go to Izzy, who is recovering. Izzy served a term on Seattle’s volunteer Bicycle Advisory Board a few years ago, helping to guide the city’s bicycle planning.

“Everybody bikes differently,” SJ told Seattle Bike Blog in an October interview about the launch of Friends on Bikes. Looking back through my notes from that interview, that quote really stands out to me as a perfect three-word summation of what bicycle culture should be all about. SJ worked in the bicycle industry on both coasts, from Montreal to Boston to Seattle, and that’s the insight they were hoping to bring to our city through Friends on Bikes.

SJ was scheduled to speak about Friends on Bikes at the WTF Bikexplorers summit in Montana later this summer. The Portland chapter of Friends on Bikes wrote the following about the late leader of their Seattle chapter:

Deeply heartbroken for the loss of SJ Brooks. No words can describe how much they will be missed in FOB, Seattle and the community at large. They were a positive light who worked tirelessly to create change. We’ve suffered a great loss. Please keep their family and loved ones in your thoughts. As well for Izzy who is still recovering. Keep your loved ones close, life is precious.

While media outlets are fascinated by the rare circumstances of Brooks’ tragic death, Seattle needs space to talk about SJ’s life. If you have any stories or remembrances you want to share, either leave them in the comments below or email them to me at tom@seattlebikeblog.com and I will add them to this post.

UPDATES:

Howell: Vaccinate your bike

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 11:38

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Brock Howell of Bicycle Security Advisors. The group is launching a campaign to fight bike theft by getting more people to register their bikes online with Bike Index.

Bike theft is a major problem in Seattle — and I didn’t have to write this sentence for you to know it.  That’s why there’s now a campaign to vaccinate bikes this month, and volunteers will be at fourteen Celebration Stations on Friday morning to register bikes.

Every year, more than a 1,000 bikes are reported as stolen to the Seattle Police Department.  Far worse, based on federal crime reports, the number of bikes actually stolen is likely five to six times what is reported to the police.  With seven percent of people never replacing their stolen bike again, this is a real issue for increasing the number of people who bike.

From May to October, Seattle experiences epidemic levels of bike theft.

Average Number of Bike Thefts by Month, 2008-2017

This isn’t too surprising.  These are the months that people are biking and so their bikes are more vulnerable to theft.

It’s a little like how people are more susceptible to the influenza virus in the winter because their immune systems are weakened by the weather.  Which brings us to how we can attack our seasonal bike theft epidemic.

Bike theft doesn’t have to reach epidemic levels every year. As the founder of Bicycle Security Advisors, I’ve been working with councilmembers, transportation agencies, police departments, developers, and businesses to improve bike parking and fight bike theft through better land use codes, neighborhood planning, direct consultations, and better police resource deployment.

Here’s what you can do: vaccinate your bike.

Vaccinate your bike?

Yes. Like how every October-November the Center for Disease Control coordinates a public education campaign to encourage people to get their flu shot, I am coordinating a public education for people to register their bikes and to properly lock them up.

If you ever have your bike stolen, you will need photos, a detailed description, and your bike’s serial number to get it back, as well as a community of people who are looking out for your bike.  That’s what the bike registration sites Bike Index and Project 529 Garage provide. They’re free, independent, and easy to use.

Tomorrow morning at fourteen Bike Everywhere Day Celebration Stations, a fleet of volunteers wearing white doctors’ coats will be out registering bikes in person on Bike Index.  It’s the perfect time for you to get your bike signed up, and it’ll take just 30 to 60 seconds of your morning.

Bike Index is fantastic.  Again, it’s free, independent, and simple to use.  Better yet, there are hundreds to thousands of passionate community members who are part of Facebook groups (Seattle, PNW), and Twitter conversations who actively use Bike Index to help you track down stolen bikes. Bike Index is also the official registration system of the University of Washington and the Seattle Bike Blog, and nearly every Seattle bike shop uses Bike Index to check suspect bikes to see if they’re stolen and either registers every sold bike on Bike Index or promotes it to its customers.

Plus, every bike registered and reported as stolen on Bike Index also automatically gets listed on Project 529. So, by registering on Bike Index, your bike gets listed on both sites.

Last year, the King County Sheriff’s Office BEEs (the bike & transit patrol), calculated how effective Bike Index was at helping return stolen bikes.  KCSO found that nearly 70 percent of the bikes successfully returned to their owners was with the help of Bike Index.  Since Bike Index started in 2014, they’ve helped return nearly 4,600 bikes to their owners.

If we register enough bikes, I firmly believe we can make it virtually impossible for a bike thief to get away with stealing bikes.  Let’s achieve herd immunity.

On your way into work tomorrow, stop for 30 to 60 seconds at one of the fourteen Celebration Stations that we’ll be at and we’ll register your bike for you.

Click for an interactive Google Map of where we’ll be registering bikes

If you miss us tomorrow, we’ll also be at the Bike Month Party at Peddler Brewing tomorrow night, at the Mighty-O Tour de Donut Ride on Saturday, and at Bicycle Sunday.

Look for us in our doctors’ coats.

And you can always register your bike yourself.

A special thanks goes to all our partners and allies on this public education campaign for bike registration, including the Phinney Neighborhood Association; U District, Let’s Go; Bike Works; Cascade Bicycle Club; Commute Seattle; Seattle Department of Transportation; Seattle Neighborhood Greenways; TransManage; UW Police; UW Transportation Services; Washington Bikes; many bike shops and many others.

If you would like to contact Brock Howell about the bike registration effort, email him at brock@bicyclesecurityadvocates.org.

Bike Everywhere Day is Friday + Where to join a morning ride to City Hall or visit a ‘Celebration Station’

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 07:55

Bike to Work Day 2011 at the Fremont Bridge

The happiest rush hour of the year is just two days away! Bike Everywhere Day 2018 (formerly known as “Bike to Work Day”) is Friday, and the city will be flush with snacks and swag and group rides and smiling faces.

There is usually an extra surge of people in the city’s bike routes, and there is no better day for someone to give biking to work (or school or the park or wherever) to give it a try. Biking gets safer and more comfortable as more people do it.

One great way to participate: Join a group ride to City Hall. Rides are starting all over the city. Details from the event listing:

  • Beacon Hill, Beacon Hill Light Rail Station, Beacon Ave S and Lander St (meets at 7:30 am; departs 7:45 am)
  • Columbia City, Bikeworks, 3709 S Ferdinand St (meets at 7:00 am, departs 7:15 am)
  • Fremont, Florentia & 4th Ave. N. (meets at 7:15 am, departs 7:30 am)
  • Ravenna, Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave NE, (meets at 7:15 am; departs 7:30 am)
  • West Seattle, Beneath the West Seattle Bridge (meets at 7:15 am, departs 7:30 am)

Or you can make your own way to the 8 a.m. rally outside City Hall, which will include a “surprise action.”

And thanks to bike share, people don’t even need their own bike (or get it fixed) to participate anymore. To sweeten the pot, all three companies are offering free rides Friday according to Commute Seattle, which is hosting three Bagels & Bikes events:

  • Ofo: 2 free rides up to 60 minutes each using promo code Biketowork2018 (case sensitive)
  • Limebike: Get $4 in ride credit by entering promo code LIMEBIKE2WORK
  • Spin: $2 in free rides for new riders using promo code BIKEEVERYWHEREMAY

People and organizations will host “celebration stations” all over town Friday morning, often giving out coffee or snacks or some extra encouragement to people on bikes. So leave home a bit earlier than usual to give yourself some extra time to stop at stations on the way. Or if you don’t work, spend your morning visiting as many stations as you can. It’s a lot fun. Here’s a map:

More details on the Ride and Rally from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways/Cascade Bicycle Club:

Seattle needs a connected, cohesive map of safe bicycle lanes that can move people to and around downtown. That’s the vision of the Basic Bike Network.

We’re taking this message — by bike — to City Hall this Bike Everywhere Day. And we need you to join us.

WHEN: Friday, May 18th, 8:00am-8:45am

WHERE: Seattle City Hall, 4th Ave side

WHAT:

* 8:00am sharp — Gather for coffee, donuts and a surprise action. We need lots of folks for this! If you’d like to participate in the action, contact Clara@SeattleGreenways.org

* 8:00am-8:15am — Greet 5 group rides as they arrive from separate corners of the city (Beacon Hill, Columbia City, West Seattle, Fremont, and Ravenna)!

* 8:15am — Rally with featured speakers, vendors, etc

We’ll bring: Donuts, coffee, booths and swag.
You’ll bring: Friends on bikes!

Ride with us: Meet at locations below to join a Neighborhood Ride. Or, meet at City Hall Plaza for the Rally.

>> Beacon Hill, Beacon Hill Light Rail Station, Beacon Ave S and Lander St (meets at 7:30 am; departs 7:45 am)

>> Columbia City, Bikeworks, 3709 S Ferdinand St (meets at 7:00 am, departs 7:15 am)

>> Fremont, Florentia & 4th Ave. N. (meets at 7:15 am, departs 7:30 am)

>> Ravenna, Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave NE, (meets at 7:15 am; departs 7:30 am)

>> West Seattle, Beneath the West Seattle Bridge (meets at 7:15 am, departs 7:30 am)

Or, ride on your own/with your neighborhood pals!

Everyone: Meet at Seattle City Hall to Rally at 8:00 a.m. for coffee donuts and a surprise action. Rally starts at 8:15 am.

Check here to RSVP: https://p2a.co/DXwnZJd

Check here for more information on the Basic Bike Network: http://seattlegreenways.org/blog/2018/05/07/7403/

Party for Bike Month Friday, bike for Mighty-O Donuts Saturday

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:28

Happy Bike Week!

As Seattle Neighborhood Greenways suggested in a post here Friday, this is a great opportunity to (politely and non-judgmentally) reach out to a friend and offer to help them get on a bike. Maybe that means helping them buy or borrow a bike. Maybe it means helping them get their old bike fixed up. Maybe it means offering to plan a safe bike route from their house to work or wherever they are trying to go. Maybe it means offering to meet them at their house and bike with them.

Or maybe your friend would be more motivated by bagels or donuts or a party. Well, your friend is in luck! All of those are happening this week.

Bikes & Bagels 2018 – Friday

In addition to the Bike Everywhere Day stations around the region, Commute Seattle is hosting three Bikes & Bagels events around the city from 7 – 9 a.m. Friday (as advertised on Seattle Bike Blog):

Bike Month Party at Peddler Brewing – Friday

Once again, the annual Bike Month party will be hosted at Peddler Brewing. Close out a day of biking to Bike Everywhere Day stations, eating bagels and rallying for the downtown Basic Bike Network by heading to Ballard for a party and vendor fair from 4 – 8 p.m. Details from Peddler Brewing:

May is Bike Everywhere Month and you’re doing it! You’re riding you bike more than you ever thought possible – to work, to school, for fun – let’s drink to that! Join us at Peddler Brewing Company in their Beer Garden on Bike Everywhere Day and celebrate the best way to get around – by bike!

RAFFLE – 1 ticket per pint purchased, drawing at 7:30pm, must be present to win
VENDORS – Washington Bike Law, Electric and Folding Bikes Northwest, Telaio Wool Bicycling Clothing, Swift.Industries, Rad Power Bikes, Commute Seattle, Chrome Industries, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club, & Washington Bikes!
FOOD TRUCK – Cycle Dogs

With plenty of bike parking for all, we encourage riders of all ages, abilities and styles to come out to this celebration of biking in Seattle.

Everyone’s welcome, Peddler is all ages!

Mighty-O Tour de Donut – Saturday

For the second year, Mighty-O Donuts and Bicycle Benefits are partnering to host a bikes and donuts ride Saturday. Meet by 8:45 a.m. at the Ballard Mighty-O location to participate. It’s $20 to enter (you can register in advance online). Proceeds go to Bike Works.

Details from Mighty-O Donuts and Bicycle Benefits:

Mighty-O Donuts and Bicycle Benefits have teamed up again to put together the 2nd annual self-propelled pedal tour around the city fueled by delicious donuts.

Round up your friends & family and dust off your bikes because it’s time to celebrate 2 of the finest inventions of our time…bikes & donuts.

All proceeds for the Tour de Donut will go to Bike Works which promotes the bicycle as a vehicle for change, to empower youth and build resilient communities. You will be given a special Mighty-o Tour de Donut shirt at the beginning of the ride in Ballard. Also, we will be sharing donuts and drip coffee (other drinks available for kids) at each location as you make a stop.

Ride instructions, donuts and coffee will be shared at 8:45am. Ride will depart approximately at 9am.

The self guided route details are:
1. Ballard to
2. Capitol Hill to
3. Denny Triangle to
4. Greenlake

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: Save the Basic Bike Network

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 08:46

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Bike Everywhere Day a week away, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has some ideas for how you can get engaged to help get the downtown Basic Bike Network back on track. If nothing else, scroll to the bottom to see their action items. This is a cross-post from their blog.

May is National Bike Month. A month when everyone is encouraged to dust off their bike, pump up their tires and try biking to get to work, school, local businesses, or just for fun. Everyone who wants to bike should be able to because biking can make us happier, keep us healthier, save us money, and reduce pollution.

But right now, too many people find biking to where they want to go scary or uncomfortable. In fact, a lack of safe streets is the number one reason people in Seattle don’t bike more.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Way more people bike in cities that have safe, comfortable, and convenient bike networks. Around the world, cities like Vancouver, Calgary, New York and London have all implemented connected bike networks and seen ridership exploded. Even here in Seattle, when the 2nd Ave protected bike lanes were connected to Pike and Pine, ridership jumped 30% on 2nd Ave. But we still have a long way to go in Seattle.

That’s why we created a vision of a bike network that connects all neighborhoods, starting with our fastest growing “Urban Villages.”

And collaborating with Cascade Bicycle Club, we also created a plan for a “Basic Bike Network” for downtown Seattle.

Unfortunately, in 2016, former Mayor Ed Murray put the Basic Bike Network on hold until after a new transportation plan for downtown Seattle called One Center City could be developed.

We pushed back against these delays. Led by family bikers, we filled City Hall holding signs saying “My Family Bikes” and “Safe Streets Now,” chanting “We can’t wait!” As a result of these protests, the city promised to build parts of bike lanes on 2nd Ave and Pike/Pine and include bike routes in the One Center City planning process.

The two-year One Center City (OCC) collaborative planning process resulted in a plan for downtown that safely moved more people. The planning process was organized by a working group made up of government, agency, and dozens of community stakeholders. Last fall, after years of study, analysis, and compromise, the committee approved a holistic plan that would keep everyone moving downtown. The plan included new bike and bus lanes that would increase safety (decreasing collisions by seven to 18 percent), move more people with more efficiency (10,000 more people per hour), and reduce travel times for everyone (30 seconds to one minute compared to the no-action alternative). Additionally, the city’s analysis showed that the Basic Bike Network was a key part of the solution, because by building it the number of people biking downtown would double by 2023.

But when the new Durkan administration came to power, they pushed aside the One Center City community stakeholder committee, ditched the compromise, delayed the bike lanes, and watered down the transit improvements. So we rallied caring community members who were fed up with all the delays and sent hundreds of emails to elected leaders and testified at City Council meetings.

While we haven’t won yet, our elected leaders are listening now. Help us keep the momentum going.

Here are three quick things you can can do during Bike Month to make the Basic Bike Network a reality:

  1. Show up at the Rally for the Basic Bike Network on Bike Everywhere Day, May 18. Gather at 8:00, program 8:15 – 8:45 AM at the Seattle City Hall Plaza.
  2. Share a photo of yourself along with a quote about why a basic bike network is important to you. Check out our inspiring album on Facebook and share your own story with tags #basicbikenetwork, #wecantwait, and #seattlegreenways.
  3. Ride your bike & bring a friend! There is safety in numbers – research has shown the more people who ride their bikes, the safer everyone is. May is a great time to encourage a friend, colleague, or family member to try biking in Seattle.

Bonus action: Become a monthly donor. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a 501(c)3 and we depend on your financial support to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live.

Thank you!

Bike Happy: Flash Mob for Donuts today, & Bike Everywhere Day is next Friday

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 12:04

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

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. This afternoon at 4pm, SDOT is holding a bike+donut flash mob at 2nd Ave & Bell Street. First 200 people on bikes get mini-donuts.
  2. Bike Everywhere MonthWomxn’s Bike Month, and Bike to School Month all continue.  Next Friday is Bike Everywhere Day (formerly “Bike to Work Day”), and there are many celebration stations, rallies, and after parties planned across the city and region.
  3. Sooo much good bike stuff is happening on Saturday.  Two bike movie nights are planned for Tuesday.
  4. The fight over the Burke-Gilman Trail got physical.

Today (5/10), 4pm, 2nd Ave & Bell Street.
First 200 people on bikes get donuts.

Every year, a bike theft epidemic rages from May through October, claiming thousands of bicycles in Seattle.

If your bike is ever stolen, you will need a record of its serial number, a description, and photos — and a community of caring people looking out for your bike. That’s what Bike Index provides.  It’s independent, free, and easy.

More than 70% of returned stolen bikes in Seattle is thanks to Bike Index.  If enough bikes get registered, we can both recover more bikes and prevent the bike theft epidemic. List your bike on BikeIndex.org.

IN MEMORIAM SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • Yesterday was Bike to School Day.
    Photos from West SeattleActivities in Redmond.
  • The League of American Bicyclists awarded Facebook’s Seattle office with its gold level bike-friendly business certification, and upgraded the Allen Institute for Brain Research to the gold level as well. LAB.
  • Rant: Don’t walk in the bike lane. Seattle Times.
  • “Get Thee to the Middle Fork, Cyclists,” Urbanist.
  • Pros & Cons of Biking. PI.
  • In support of the Poulsbo Rotary Club’s scholarship fund, domestic violence program, and international programs, you can ride in its Viking Tour Philanthropy Ride on May 20. Kitsap Sun.
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • Seattle
    • Seattle City Council approved a key alley vacation for the expansion of the Washington State Convention Center. As a result, more than $16 million will be invested in better bikeways on 8th Avenue and in the Pike-Pine corridor, equal to 0.1% of the total project cost. KHLSTBCrosscut,
    • The Federal Transit Administration awarded WSDOT a federal grant to add/improve bicycle facilities at Colman Dock. Kitsap SunQ13.
    • An industrial fishing industry boss who opposes completing the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard, shoved Councilmember Mike O’Brien out of a grand opening after-party for the Nordic Museum due to the councilmember’s support for the trail. SBBRawStoryMyBallardPIDori MonsonSeattle TimesCrosscut.
    • SDOT has significantly scaled back its plans for making Sand Point Way NE, needed improvements that may have saved a person’s life last week who, while walking, was struck and killed by a driver. Urbanist.
    • Use of dockless bikeshare has been more distributed, and much heavier, throughout Seattle than the docked Pronto system. MyNWKOMO.
    • The final voting for the Your Voice, Your Choice projects will occur June 16 – July 16. DON.
  • Eastside
    • A new 17-mile mountain bike trail network will open in Raging River State Forest near North Bend on May 19. KIRO.
  • South King County
    • The Federal Way Police Department’s patrol officers ride e-bikes. Q13.
  • More
    • “How to Kill a Bike Lane,” CityLab.
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager & Assistants, Bike Works

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Transportation Planning Intern, Bellevue (5/11)
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT (5/24)
Multi-Modal Transportation Executive Leader, WSDOT (5/27)
Corridor Planning Manager, WSDOT
System Wide Planning Manager, WSDOT

Communications, Development, & Management
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Staff Accountant, Cascade

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, eleven bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults.  A thief also stole 20 bikes from a school program at Bethel Middle School near Spanaway (Tacoma WeeklyTNTKOMOKIRO7Fife Free Press).

Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe here to get the Bike Happy newsletter delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Shipyard manager admits he had men shove CM O’Brien over his support for the Missing Link

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 13:10

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, a longtime trail supporter, and Warren Aakervik, the owner of Ballard Oil and a former trail appellant, shook hands during a 2017 press conference announcing a compromise deal.

General Manager Doug Dixon of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard oversaw men who shoved Councilmember Mike O’Brien during an afterparty celebrating the opening of the Nordic Heritage Museum Friday evening.

Dixon admitted to overseeing the alleged assault on O’Brien, telling the Seattle Times that they shoved the District 6 Councilmember because he supports completing the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail:

“We have a conflict with Mike O’Brien because of his efforts to put a bicycle path here and do some other issues that hurt the maritime-industrial area,” he said.

“We told him if he didn’t leave he would be criminally trespassing and he didn’t leave, so we had to forcibly remove him,” Dixon added. “We told him finding his wife had nothing to do with him being there or not.”

O’Brien’s take is pretty much the same as Dixon’s. He told the Times he agreed to leave as soon as he found his wife, which is by no stretch of the imagination justifiable cause for violence. This is classic juvenile bully behavior. Except this isn’t middle school gym class, it’s our city leadership. From the Times:

When the gala ended, the museum’s director “told the crowd we were welcome to attend an event two blocks away,” said O’Brien, who represents Ballard and supports the trail plan. The council member was having a conversation at the after-party when shipyard General Manager Doug Dixon told him to leave.

“He had two to four other men with him,” O’Brien said. “I told him I would leave but I was going to find my wife first. I started to look for my wife, and at some point a minute or so later, someone from behind grabbed me by the shoulders and proceeded to shove me towards the gate and out the gate as I continued to look for my wife, who I was unable to find.”

O’Brien added, “I want to be clear — I was physically thrown out of this event because of the policies I advocate for.”

There should be a loud and resounding condemnation of Dixon’s actions from our city’s political, labor and industrial leaders. An elected official cannot be physically assaulted for any reason, but especially not due to a policy disagreement. That is a dangerous precedent to set in our city, especially at a time when many city policy debates feel near a boiling point.

The apparent assault comes just days after a group organized to disrupt a nearby town hall about the employee head tax by yelling down any city leaders or neighbors who tried to carry out public comment. Councilmember O’Brien is a primary target of the group, which opposes proposed solutions to homelessness that O’Brien has championed.

Councilmember O’Brien is a special public servant who champions bold action on many issues from safe streets to affordable housing even in the face of angry constituents. It takes bravery to face and listen to yelling and anger pointed his way last week. But that is part of an elected official’s job, and he doesn’t shy away from it. I find that admirable.

But physical assault is totally different.

When Central District activist Omari Tahir-Garrett assaulted then-Mayor Paul Schell during a 2001 event, he was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Schell’s injuries were certainly much worse than O’Brien’s, but assault on an elected official of any kind must be taken seriously.

Worse, Dixon is not some regular Joe worker, he is in a serious leadership position at a major business. When he oversees people shoving a city official, what message does that send to everyone who works there? His actions here require consequences, and his peers need to step up and make sure everyone knows that getting physical is not the appropriate way to voice a policy disagreement.

It’s also worth noting that Pacific Fishermen Shipyard already won a big compromise when trail advocates and some major nearby businesses agreed to a compromise route that would go via Market Street rather than the more direct route passing directly in front of the shipyard and other waterfront businesses along NW 54th Street. This was a significant concession on behalf of trail supporters, but it was supposedly the key to finding a deal industry leaders could agree to. The city and trail advocates are still pursuing the compromise route even though some businesses, including Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, went ahead and sued anyway.

Trail advocates and O’Brien are being more than fair to appellant businesses, considering they could have dropped the compromise when the lawsuits were filed. But that olive branch was met with a shove.

There is a lot of irony that this shoving happened during an after party for the opening of the Nordic Museum. Guests of honor for the opening included Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who famously bikes her children to school via Copenhagen’s world-leading network of safe bike lanes. The Burke-Gilman Missing Link project is about connecting a trail that is safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to bike to and through Ballard. The trail would pass directly in front of the Nordic Museum, and plans would integrate it into the entrance plaza, a truly fitting homage to Nordic bike culture.

Concept design for the trail as is passes in front of the Nordic Museum, from SDOT.

Sweden, another nation the museum celebrates, is the home of the Vision Zero philosophy for safe streets. Vision Zero states that traffic injuries and deaths are preventable, and streets that see injuries should be redesigned to be safer. On average, two people per month are injured to severely while navigating the Missing Link that they require an ambulance response. The Missing Link trail is the solution to these injuries, which is why supporters have been working for decades to get it completed. Councilmember O’Brien has been a true champion for the cause.

This might be a good time to take a second to call (206-684-8800) or email (Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov) O’Brien’s office and thank him for his leadership.

Opponents of the trail have nearly exhausted their legal avenues for fighting the trail. A group, including Dixon’s Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, have filed an appeal challenging the city’s Environmental Impact Statement, a massive document studying every inch of the 1.4-mile trail connection. They already lost one such appeal, so King County Superior Court should be their final chance to stop it. As of now, the city’s project website still lists a fall 2018 date to begin construction.

Bike Happy: Bike Month has begun

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 13:49

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

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. Bike Month has begun. Have you taken the challenge?
  2. It’s also Womxn’s Bike Month.
  3. And Bike to School Month.
  4. The mayors of Everett & Mukilteo are challenging one another to see which of their communities bikes the most to parks, libraries, boats, and more during Bike Month.

Every year, a bike theft epidemic rages from May through October, claiming thousands of bicycles in Seattle.

If your bike is ever stolen, you will need a record of its serial number, a description, and photos — and a community of caring people looking out for your bike. That’s what Bike Index provides.  It’s independent, free, and easy.

More than 70% of returned stolen bikes in Seattle is thanks to Bike Index.  If enough bikes get registered, we can both recover more bikes and prevent the bike theft epidemic. List your bike on BikeIndex.org.

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • Bike Month
    • For Bike Month, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin and Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson are challenging each other and their communities to see who can achieve the most of five challenges, including riding to parks, libraries, fire stations, boats, and historic landmarks, and posting the most selfie photos to social media. Everett Post.
    • “Sun & Bikes Out!” SDOT.
    • “Get ready to ride,” Bellevue Reporter.
    • Bike to school day is May 9. Redmond Patch.
  • E-Bikes
    • “What to know when you’re buying an electric bicycle,” Seattle Times.
    • “E-bike craze officially hits Seattle,” Crosscut.
  • More
    • Kids rent three Lime bikes and take turns riding up & down their street. Biking in the Rain.
    • A new 17-mile Raging River State Forest mountain bike trail system will open May 19. Everett Herald.
    • “Do you travel to or from the Eastside? You gotta give biking the 520 Bridge a try,” SBB.
    • “How to Test Tire Performance,” Jan Heine’s Blog.
    • Prince of Peace Preschool Trike-a-Thon raises funds for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Everett Herald.
    • “Start your summer biking the right way at Bike Rodeo,” Kitsap Daily News.
    • “How to keep your bike safe, secure,” Cascadia Times.
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​

Tuesday, May 8

NEWS
  • Seattle – Downtown & Move Seattle Levy
    • The 2nd Avenue Protected Bikeway Extension has officially opened. Urbanist.
    • You should have a heart attack for a project that improved access and safety for people biking, walking, and driving on 2nd Avenue, says Danny Westneat. Seattle TimesMyNw.
    • Four new blocks of protected bike lanes on 7th Avenue costs $3.8 million. By comparison, Sound Transit has a 550-stall parking garage in Kent that will cost $65 million, more than $30 million over budget. Reason.
    • SDOT seems set to cut bikeway projects from the Move Seattle Levy’s project list. KIRO7MyNw,
  • Seattle – Bikeshare (+ helmets)
    • Ofo warns riders that vandals may have cut brake lines of their bikeshare bikes. GeekWire.
    • Like all biking in Seattle, bikeshare use decreased in the winter rain months. Seattle Times.
    • Long-time helmet activist Dr. Rivara admits risk of head injury on a bike is very low, and much lower for people riding bikeshare bikes. And yet he he cites his own discredited research of helmet efficacy to raise alarm over the risk of increased numbers of people biking on bikeshare without helmets. Oof. KUOW.
  • Seattle – E-bikes
    • E-bikes will likely soon be allowed on most of Seattle’s multi-use trails. MyNw.
  • Seattle – More
    • Am I a gangster? Dori Monson.
    • Design firms held a community workshop for redesigning the 15th Ave E business district on Capitol Hill. CHS Blog.
  • South King County
    • Kent is adding colored LED architectural lighting underneath the Highway 167 / West Meeker Street overpass to improve the aesthetics and the safety of the underpass for people driving, bicycling, and walking. Kent Reporter.
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS ARTICLES SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager & Assistants, Bike Works

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Public Space Management Inspector, SDOT
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Transportation Planning Intern, Bellevue (5/11)
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT (5/24)
Corridor Planning Manager, WSDOT
System Wide Planning Manager, WSDOT

Communications, Development, & Management
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Staff Accountant, Cascade

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, ten bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults. Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe here to get the Bike Happy newsletter delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Do you travel to or from the Eastside? You gotta give biking the 520 Bridge a try

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 10:35

Biking across the 520 Bridge during a sunny evening commute this week, I was floored by the sheer number of people biking across Lake Washington. I knew demand for a biking connection on this bridge was going to be big, but seeing it in action is still inspiring.

In fact, as more and more people discover the bike trip possibilities this new connection opens, it’s not so hard to imagine a commute-hour pattern with more people biking, walking and taking transit across 520 (especially if you include people on employee shuttles).

That’s where you come in, person who regularly travels across Lake Washington. The 520 Bridge just brought a lot of jobs and homes into bike range for the first time. That may include yours.

Biking from downtown Kirkland or Bellevue to the University of Washington is now a 7-mile bike ride, which takes about 40 minutes at a casual pace. Without traffic, that’s not much longer than taking the bus. During heavy traffic, it could be faster.

But more than that, it’s also a lot of fun. Instead of fuming in traffic, you could experience the freedom of being outside in the middle of Lake Washington. The bridge trail includes cut outs along the way where you can pull over, sit on a bench and take a few moments in awe at the beauty of the place we live.

It’s better for the environment, better on your budget, better for your health, and better for your soul.

Below are a few maps from WSDOT showing some bike connections to the trail. They’re not perfect, but it sure beats stop-and-go traffic.

Redmond area.

Eastside bridge connections.

Seattle bridge connections.

Has the 520 Bridge Trail changed your travel habits? Let us know how in the comments below.

Bike News Roundup: Why isn’t cycling normal in [insert city here]?

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 09:57

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some stuff floating around the web in recent weeks (months?) that caught our eye. This is also an open thread, so feel free to discuss whatever bikey stuff is on your mind in the comments below.

First up, this very British comedian’s take on cycling in London sure sounds familiar.

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

Fiona is home + Donate to the March for Babies in her name

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 12:41

Fiona’s first walk!

Fiona came home a little more than a week ago after 85 days in the NICU.

She is doing great. She’s so brave and so strong. She’s already been through more intense medical care in her three months of life than I have in my 32 years. She’s powered us through all of it.

My family leave from this blog will continue for a bit longer. I’ll start adding more and more writing back into my day as I can. It’s amazing how time-consuming and exhausting it is to basically just stare at her all day. But I love it.

Huge thanks to everyone for all your support. We are so lucky to have solid health insurance and such a strong network of friends and family to get us through all this. The medical team at the UW Med Center NICU is unbelievable. We are so lucky we had access to that place and that we live within biking distance so we could spend every day there.

But not everyone is so fortunate. There were families in the NICU with us from Eastern Washington and even Alaska who were either forced to uproot their lives or spend time away from their babies so they could continue working. And not everyone has access to quality prenatal care, which is so essential to giving babies the best head start they can get. Like so many injustices in our racist society, Native American, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic babies in Washington State are significantly more likely to be born early than white babies. Racial prejudice begins in the womb.

Preterm birth rates by race in Washington State, via March of Dimes.

You all have been so supportive of our family. This generosity inspired Kelli and I to start a fundraiser in Fiona’s name for the March of Dimes’ annual March for Babies. Join us in supporting the organization’s education and political advocacy work to improve health care for moms and babies.

You can donate via her online fundraiser page or via Facebook. This year’s Puget Sound region march is Saturday morning at Seattle Center.

The March of Dimes is just the start of our family’s dedication to this cause. Do you know of any other organizations doing good work locally to support moms and babies? Give them a shout out in the comments below.

In the meantime, we are gearing up for her first bike ride. Once we feel she can handle it, we are ready to join the biking Seattle families who have inspired me so much through my years covering local bike news. The blog is slow right now, but just wait. As soon as we’re back in the saddle, we’ll be stronger than ever.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Bike Happy: When bikes ruled Seattle

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:14

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

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. Watch excellent videos about bicycling history.
  2. Seattle Bike Blog called for Mayor Durkan to implement protected bike lanes on Rainier Avenue S and to reset the Move Seattle Levy/Plan with priority to walking and biking.
  3. JBLM has bikeshare.

There are three great videos for you to watch this week. First, Knute Berger provides a brief history of Seattle bicycling in the 1890s. Then Hennessy (yeah, that Hennessy) produced a series of short inspirational videos of Major Taylor, including one about the “Six Day Race” at Madison Square Garden.




SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • iDatalabs CEO talks about how he achieves a work-life balance, in part by biking. GeekWire.
  • A summer romance that started with a bike theft and a trip to a bike shop rekindles 40 years later. Times Colonist.
  • PSE says your old refrigerator could become a bike, if you recycle it. KING5.
  • Former Seattleite Maddie Carlson writes about her first Ladd’s 500 in Portland. BikePortland.
  • Be prepared for the spring-time sunshowers. Biking in the Rain.
  • Are wide or narrow handlebars right for you? Jan Heine’s Blog
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • eBikes
    • “Pilot program would allow e-bikes on 5 popular trails in Seattle,” KOMO.
    • The new state e-bike law goes into effect this summer, which allows e-bikes powered up to 20mph to ride on trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks where local law also allows. Curbed.
    • “E-bikers, these sidewalks are made for walking,” Doug McDonald, Crosscut.
  • Seattle
    • “Mayor Durkan is right, we do need a ‘reset’ on Move Seattle — to prioritizing biking,” SBB.
    • “Finding a Balance Between Green Transportation and Safety,” Rachel Hart, Seattle Mag.
    • “Ideal of congestion pricing faces real-life roadblocks in Seattle,” Jon Talton, Seattle Times.
    • “Creating Bike Lanes Isn’t Easy. Just Ask Baltimore. Or Boulder. Or Seattle.” WSJ.
  • North Seattle
    • “Sand Point Way NE To Get New Sidewalks, But Other Changes Uncertain,” Urbanist.
    • A neighbors says protected bike lanes on 35th Ave NE are overdue. Crosscut.
    • Clash over homeless camp sweep near Burke-Gilman Trail. KIRO7MyNw.
  • South Seattle
    • “Rainier RapidRide remake concepts fall short + Mayor Durkan should push SDOT for a more visionary plan,” SBB.
  • Central Seattle
    • “With plan to start construction later in 2018, WSDOT ready to talk ‘Rest of the West’ plans including new Montlake lid,” CHS Blog.
    • SDOT will start the second phase (Jackson St to Rainier Ave) of the 23rd Avenue Paving & Rechannelization Project this year, but SDOT has removed the bus-only lanes through Montlake for phase 3 (John St to the Montlake Cut). CHS Blog.
  • Eastside
    • Kirkland will construct an impressive set of biking and walking improvements this and next year, including for Lake Washington Blvd and Market Street, neighborhood greenways in the Rose Hill neighborhoods, a trail connection from the Cross Kirkland Trail to the Redmond Central Connector Trail, and walking routes to A.G. Bell and Juanita Elementary Schools. Kirkland Views.
    • “Cycling Seattle’s new 520 Trail, which opens vistas, links communities,” Bill Thorness, Seattle Times.
    • Neighbors in Motion tackling Mercer Way shoulder paving and biking safety, MI Reporter.
  • North King & Snohomish Counties
    • Bothell keeps massive urban park as housing boom continues,” Q13.
  • Pierce County
    • Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and Pierce Transit have a bikeshare program called “GO Bike”! Nisqually Valley News.
  • State
  • Research
    • Hi-Viz: “A recent study from researchers at the University of Bologna adds to a growing body of evidence regarding their effects of laws that require bicyclists to wear high-visibility clothing.” Planetizen.
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Walk N Roll Teacher Assistant, Intercity Transit
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager & Assistants, Bike Works
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #1, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #2, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – Kent, Alta

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Public Space Management Inspector, SDOT
Traffic Records & Data Supervisor, SDOT
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Transportation Planning Intern, Bellevue (5/11)
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT (4/29)

Communications, Development, & Management
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Staff Accountant, Cascade

 

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, six bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults. Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

TIP

At night, don’t use a flashing or strobing white light as a headlight — it’s illegal and makes it very difficult to see for fellow on-coming riders (especially on a trail), as well as drivers. It could even cause seizures.  During day-time hours when the sky might be overcast but there’s more ambient light, a flashing light is less of an issue but still illegal under state law. Kitsap Sun.

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Mayor Durkan is right, we do need a ‘reset’ on Move Seattle

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:10

This Move Seattle map shows the clear focus on transit, biking, walking and maintenance that voters approved in 2015. Seattle’s leaders need to get back to this vision.

As regular readers of Seattle Bike Blog know, I have been on family leave since late January following the early birth of my daughter. So unlike the daily news regimen I have reported since 2010, I have not had the bandwidth to post about some major local transportation stories as they have happened. It’s been hard to follow the news and not be a part of it.

But maybe taking a step back and looking at the big picture around Seattle transportation would be helpful right now. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Interim SDOT Director Goran Sparrman are calling for a “reset” of Move Seattle to recognize the likelihood of less Federal funding than was assumed under the levy proposal.

I agree that we need a Move Seattle reset, though not in the form of big cuts targeting walking, biking, transit and safety projects as has been the pattern so far under Mayor Durkan. Since passage of the levy, our city’s transportation actions have drifted far off course from the transit, walking, biking, safety and maintenance mission voters approved in 2015. What we’re doing now is not working. Our city needs strong leaders with a creative vision to figure out how to get the job done even if the Feds don’t come through as originally hoped.

But a reset should not mean abandoning the extensive walking, biking and transit master plans that took years to develop, were approved by City Council, and were funded by the voters. Nor should it mean abandoning the city’s Vision Zero plan or the multi-agency One Center City plan for downtown. It may be true that the methods for accomplishing the goals in these plans needs to evolve — either due to funding or because there are better ideas — and that’s where the mayor can step in and be a strong leader.

The Move Seattle levy may be the most ambitious local transportation funding package voters have passed in any U.S. city. $930 million over nine years, and almost all the funding was earmarked for transit, walking, biking and maintenance of existing assets. To pass a levy of this scale with very little funding for new or expanded roads and highways marked a big shift in the city’s transportation vision. The voters were clear in November 2015 that they believe walking, biking and transit are the future in Seattle, and they are willing to pay hard-earned cash for it. City leaders must deliver what the people of Seattle are paying for.

The proposed annual levy budget from this Move Seattle levy PDF.


But since the levy passed, our (many) mayors and SDOT leaders have lost that vision. With the Center City Streetcar now paused, the biggest levy project funded so far is the Lander Street Overpass, a cars and freight project located just blocks from Sodo Station that prioritizes extra traffic lanes over walking and biking. This project is the closest thing to a new or expanded road in the whole levy, and it got expedited years early and was given a pass by SDOT staff and city leaders despite concerns that it is missing both a bike lane and a sidewalk on its south side. This project as designed does not resemble the goals and vision of Move Seattle, yet it has been fast-tracked while transit, biking and walking projects are delayed.

Another early major Move Seattle investment was the so-called “intelligent transportation systems program” on Mercer Street that has slowed buses and people biking on cross-street routes and caused serious harm to walking mobility and safety in South Lake Union and Uptown. By reprogramming signals to take time away from cross-streets and people walking, this project has stolen mobility from people outside of cars in a futile effort to make driving on Mercer a little less terrible. This project represents the exact opposite of the Move Seattle vision voters approved in 2015 (we need a leader who will identify this failure and dedicate funding budgeted for future ITS projects to fully redo the Mercer signals to prioritize walking).

Meanwhile, mayoral and SDOT leaders have cut or seriously delayed the bold promises about a downtown bike network and rapid bus upgrades that inspired voters. The levy was sold with images of truly multimodal streets like this one:

Image from an early Madison Bus Rapid Transit concept.

We were supposed to reprioritize streets all over the city with walking, biking and transit in mind. The map at the top of this post shows safety projects at every public school, a safe and comfortable bike network downtown and across the city, and “multimodal corridor projects” along major commercial streets in every neighborhood. This is what people voted for.

Yet so far, cars-first projects are moving forward while many walking, biking and transit projects get delayed, cut or watered down beyond recognition. SDOT staff behind many of the multimodal corridor projects in planning so far (Madison, Delridge, Rainier) have been pitting transit against bikes in a cynical ploy to cut bike lanes while still appearing to have tried. Car parking was deemed more important than bike lanes on a Rainier Ave safety project from Columbia City to Rainier Beach. Many of the city’s neighborhood greenways are uselessly windy or hilly, and two of them (Delridge and Central Seattle) even have staircases that make them literally unbikeable (that’s right, they are unbikeable bike routes). The 24th Ave so-called “Vision Zero” project has cut essentially all the safety and transit improvements despite finding a significant history of collisions on that street. The Fauntleroy Boulevard project, which would make big biking and walking improvements to the entrance to the Junction, has been effectively cancelled. And the final phase of a safety project on 35th Ave SW has been cancelled after an initial phase effectively eliminated serious injury and fatal collisions on the street. Phase 1 has quite possibly saved lives and prevented a half dozen or so serious injuries, but city leaders are apparently not in the mood to save even more people from “I-35” traffic collisions.

The sum of all of this is pretty demoralizing, especially all the cuts to safety projects. For a visual of how far behind the city is on its downtown bike lane promises, for example, the Spring 2015 update of the city’s bike facilities construction plan foresaw this for central Seattle by the end of 2018:

Blue=Protected bike lane, Green=Neighborhood Greenway, Orange=Painted bike lane. Thick lines are 2018 projects, thin lines are projects completed in previous years.

In this plan, 4th Ave already has a bike lane, Pike and Pine bike lanes already stretch from Pike Place Market to Broadway, and there are already connections to south end bike routes. But in reality, there are zero quality connections to the south end, the Pike/Pine bike lanes downtown are very short and essentially nonfunctional in places, and Mayor Durkan recently announced that she will delay the 4th Ave bike lane into the next decade.

Basically, the city is about two years behind on a downtown plan it created three years ago when it was seeking voter support for Move Seattle. After winning that support, the city bailed on those promises citing the need for yet another plan: One Center City. We argued hard against that delay, and people even protested at City Hall, but the mayor’s office was insistent that the bike network would get back on track once the One Center City process recommended them. And now that One Center City has recommended bike lanes again, Mayor Durkan has signaled that she is going to bail on those promises anyway.

The political cost of bailing is immense. There is a huge amount of positive energy in this city ready to back bold changes to the way our streets work, but further delays and cuts to major commitments are alienating these would-be supporters. Without prompt action to show that Mayor Durkan is serious about building a downtown bike network, people are going to harden into political enemies. Mayor Durkan’s term may still be young, but the work for these downtown bike lanes has been dragging on for three years.

Shortly after announcing that she would delay the 4th Ave and Pike/Pine bike lanes into the early 2020s, Mayor Durkan announced a congestion pricing plan for downtown. This is a massive proposal, the kind of idea that could revolutionize transportation and the streetscape in Seattle forever if done right and equitably. But the groundswell of community support such a proposal would need to make it through the strong and expected backlash was still reeling from the betrayal of watching years of promises broken. The result is a mayor flapping in the wind, vowing to toll everyone who drives into her city with few people to back her up and cheer her on.

Without strong and organized community support behind her touting the benefits of such a system (less congestion, more funding for better transit and safer streets, more options for car-free streets, etc), her plan is doomed, and she will lose credibility as a transportation leader.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It is still very early in Mayor Durkan’s term, and she has plenty of time to turn things around. A Move Seattle “reset” could be a great way to frame that effort. So far that reset seems to mostly mean cancelling or delaying biking, walking and transit projects, which is troubling. Because in order to build the support she needs to make transportation or climate change progress, Mayor Durkan needs to rebuild a coalition of walking, biking and transit supporters like the one that passed the Move Seattle levy.

People need to see that Mayor Durkan is serious about taking action on the big transportation plans the people of Seattle have painstakingly developed and funded over the past half decade. People also need to know that the resources behind any projects cut or delayed are being reinvested in an equal or better way. And those reinvestments need to happen on the same timetable so we don’t fall further behind on our goals. In order to inspire transportation supporters, she needs to do something inspiring. (Here’s one idea.)

There is an enormous amount of potential for Seattle to be a national leader in the shift to more sustainable, efficient, equitable and healthy transportation during Mayor Durkan’s term. The city has the plans and the funding. The mayor should be cutting ribbons, not bike lanes.

 

Rainier RapidRide remake concepts fall short + Mayor Durkan should push SDOT for a more visionary plan

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 17:00

Rainier Ave is the only flat and direct street between Mount Baker and the International District/downtown. If southeast Seattle is ever going to have good bike access to the jobs and other major destinations downtown, Rainier Ave will need bike lanes. It is a diagonal street through the low point in a valley. There are no other options for a direct and flat bike route.

At the same time, Rainier is so wide and dangerous that it sees far more traffic collisions than north end streets with double its daily traffic volumes:

The street connects downtown to neighborhoods with low rates of car ownership that have been shamefully underserved ever since Seattle started building bike lanes:

While there are two high quality bike route options for people traveling the three miles from the Fremont Bridge to the downtown core, there are zero quality options for people biking the three miles from downtown to Franklin High School and Mount Baker Station.

With protected bike lanes on Rainier Ave, it could be as easy and comfortable to bike to the south end as it is to bike to Fremont. There is no other bike investment outside downtown that would have as big an impact as Rainier Ave bike lanes, especially the north section between Mount Baker and the International District.

This is the perfect time to make bold changes to this stretch of Rainier Ave because Sound Transit is currently building a light rail station where the road crosses I-90. That station will have no car parking and will head directly to job centers on the Eastside, so being able to access this station by walking, biking and transit is vital. And Rainier Ave is the only direct and flat option for making that connection.

But an SDOT RapidRide project that is planning to redesign this stretch of the street appears on the verge of blowing this opportunity. Project planners presented three options for the street recently, none of which feature quality bike lanes. This is simply not acceptable.

You can tell the project team through their online open house that you want them to go back to the drawing board and find a solution for Rainier Ave that includes safety and mobility for people biking and keeps buses running reliably. The open house ends Saturday, so don’t wait to fill it out.

There are so many examples of streets around the world that move transit efficiently, carry plenty of cars and include safe bike lanes. Rainier Ave is a very wide street. I do not accept the excuse that planners cannot find a way to fit bike lanes on it:

There is plenty of space for protected bike lanes here.

This is a good opportunity for Mayor Jenny Durkan to assert herself as a transportation leader. The mayor should direct SDOT to prioritize walking, biking and transit on Rainier Ave and to get her a design that would help the city meet its biking, traffic safety, equity and climate change goals. The current options all fail by these measures.

Some red and green paint, some flowers and planters and you’ve got pilot bike and bus lanes on Rainier Ave. Concept image made via Streetmix.

Even better, Mayor Durkan could challenge SDOT to come up with a pilot project on Rainier Ave to try out protected bike lanes and bus improvements using paint and other low-cost materials. That way people can see how it would work for themselves and project planners could observe and make improvements as needed.

Mayor Durkan has already proposed connecting downtown’s 2nd Ave bike lane to the Dearborn bike lanes in 2019. If she directed SDOT to also accelerate that plan, people would be able to bike from the Space Needle to Franklin High School entirely on a relatively flat and traffic-separated bike route by the end of this year.

Bike Happy: Don’t capsize the ferry system with stranded bikeshare bikes

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:05

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

TOP THINGS TO KNOW & DO
  1. Don’t leave your bikeshare bike on a ferry. The system shuts down.
  2. E-bikes will likely be allowed on most Seattle trails soon.
  3. Mayor Durkan is expected to “reboot” the planned projects in the Move Seattle Levy. Keep your eye on how this will impact planned bikeway investments.

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • “Take a group bike tour and visit every Everett fire station: the second annual family-friendly event features a slower pace to promote bicycling,” Everett Herald.
  • “Cyclists take over Alaskan Way Viaduct for Emerald City Bike Ride,” KING5.
  • “The 2018 Bicycle Sundays Opening Celebration is May 20!” Seattle Parks.
  • “Head gear,” Biking in the Rain.
  • “Myth 8: Modern Components are Lighter,” Jan Heine’s Blog.
  • Seattle-based Nuun launches “immunity” tablets (Bicycle Retailer).
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • eBikes
    • Seattle Parks may allow e-bikes on its major trails (KIRO7).
  • Bikeshare
    • Abandoned bikeshare bikes on the state ferry causes massive, costly delays as Coast Guard must conduct man-overboard searches (Maritime Exec.WorkBoatKIRO7KOMODJCKitsap SunKUOWSeattle TimesCurbed).
    • SDOT and Metro will participate in a national convening hosted by Transportation For America about bikeshare, carshare, and other new mobility devices/vehicles (SDOT).
  • Bike Theft
    • Issaquah Police arrested bike thieves who stole from bike shops in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, including from Element Cycle in Redmond, Redmond Trek, and Gerk’s Ski & Cycles in Issaquah (KIRO7Lake Oswego Review).
  • Citywide Funding & More
    • Mayor Durkan is expected to “reboot” the Move Seattle Levy’s planned investments to account for the expected loss of federal funding (The C is for Crank).
    • SDOT is installing the 33 projects selected in the 2017 Your Voice Your Choice Program, and the 2018 YVYC process just completed its participatory project development phase (DON).
    • Of the nine councilmembers and the mayor, Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw regularly biked to work last week (Seattle Times).
  • Downtown
  • Central Seattle
  • South & West Seattle
    • SDOT will not complete the 35th Ave SW Safety Project (Urbanist).
    • SDOT installed a new crosswalk in Georgetown (SDOT).
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Maintenance & Retail
Seasonal Bike Shop Sales & Retail Assistant, Bike Works
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles

Bike Product Industry
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks

Bike Education & Training
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Counselor-in-Training (Seasonal), Cascade
Walk N Roll Teacher Assistant, Intercity Transit
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn

Commute Services & Other Outreach
Sounders FC Bike Valet Parking Manager, Bike Works
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #1, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – South Bellevue #2, Alta
Outreach Ambassador – Kent, Alta

Policy, Planning, & Engineering
East King County Policy Manager, Cascade
Designer – Level 1, Alta
Group Leaders – Senior Associates, Alta
Curbspace Management Supervisor, SDOT (4/17)
Public Space Management Inspector, SDOT
Traffic Records & Data Supervisor, SDOT
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Intern, Bellevue
Transportation Planning Intern, Bellevue
Multimodal Transportation Planning Specialist 3, WSDOT
Commerce Specialist 3 – Community Development Block Grant, State Dept. of Commerce

Communications, Development, & Management
Development & Communications Coordinator, Bike Works
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Accounting Manager, Cascade

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, ten bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults. Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

Subscribe

Subscribe here to get the Bike Happy newsletter delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Bike Happy: The Future of Downtown Shifts

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 12:49

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 City Council adopted a bold new bike parking code.
  2. Mayor Durkan delayed the 4th Ave protected bikeway, halted the 1st Ave streetcar, and wants congestion fees for downtown.
  3. There are grand opening ceremonies for the Pioneer Square alleys tonight, the Arboretum Loop Trail on Saturday, and a crosswalk in Georgetown on Tuesday.
  4. Cascade’s Emerald City Ride is on Sunday, and it’s probably the first and last time you can ride across the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

IN MEMORIAM

A driver, suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, struck Marcus Henthorn on March 28 in Port Townsend. Marcus, 75-years-old, died two days later at Harborview Medical Center. He was active and well-loved within Port Townsend’s bicycling community. (PT Leader)

SOCIAL, LIFESTYLE, & ADVENTURE UPCOMING ACTIVITIES​ ARTICLES & POSTS
  • “Join the Swift Campout,” Jan Heine’s Blog.
  • “Top five reasons to ride a bike,” Biking in the Rain.
  • “Have no fear, your bicycle is here,” Biking in the Rain.
  • “Aviva Stephens | Bikes are for boys: Cycling while woman,” SBB.
  • “Redmond based Propella E-Bike let’s you choose how hard you want to work,” KING5.
  • “Cyclists Prepare to Ride Alaskan Way Viaduct,” Seattle Weekly.
  • “A chance to bike the Alaskan Way Viaduct before it’s demolished,” KING5.
  • “Community Transit honors Edmonds all-weather cyclist,” MyEdmonds.
  • “Premera employee named Smart Commuter of the Year by Community Transit,” MLT News.
  • “Coffee cancer label doesn’t worry Seattle roaster [Conduit Coffee, a pro-bike business],” KING5.
  • “A ride for everyone: Bicycling on the Key Peninsula,” Key Pen. News.
  • Seattle resident Jessica Kelley won an adventure award of $1,000 for her plans to complete a 1,350 mile bike-rafting loop of paved and gravel roads and sections of the Yukon, Tanana and Susitna rivers; Jessica will also be raising money for Anchorage GRIT, a bike mentoring program for middle-school girls (Rock & Ice).
POLICY & INFRASTRUCTURE ACTION UPCOMING EVENTS​ NEWS
  • Bike Parking
    • Seattle City Council updated the off-street parking code for new buildings, which included a major overhaul and improvement to the bicycle parking requirements for bike rooms, bike cages, and on sidewalks. The legislation also reduced requirements for car parking, especially in transit-rich neighborhoods (Bicycle Security AdvisorsSeattle TimesSDCICurbedCHS BlogKING5).
    • The parking reforms were too late for Bellwether Housing, which was required to build a $1.5 million parking garage for an affordable housing project in South Lake Union (KING5).
  • Bikeshare
    • Everyone is interested in Seattle’s dockless bikeshare (GeekWire).
    • Bellevue’s bikeshare pilot will only allow e-bikes (CurbedSTB).
  • Downtown
  • Central Seattle
    • The Arboretum Loop Trail officially opens this weekend (UWCHS Blog).
  • South & West Seattle
    • SDOT pulled back its plans for safety-focused rechannelization of 35th Ave SW (West Seattle Blog).
    • SDOT’s Rainier Avenue Corridor Project lacks vision, protected bikeways (Urbanist).
  • Eastside
    • In its battle against King County’s Phase III design to the East Lake Sammamish Trail project, the City of Sammamish lost an appeal of a federal District Court decision to the federal Surface Transportation Board (FELSTDecision).
    • Bothell’s golf course recently turned public park is now open as a park, and in seek of a name and a master plan, which may include mountain bike trails (Bothell ReporterEverett Herald).
    • Issaquah is studying improvements to its Front Street (Issaquah Reporter).
    • Public comment has opened for the EIS for WSDOT’s I-405 expansion project, which will build an overpass for the Eastside Greenway Trail Corridor (Bellevue Reporter).
  • Snohomish County
    • Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers issued a Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Executive Order that commits the county to investing in regional trails (Bothell Reporter).
    • The future of mountain bike trails at Lord Hill Park continues to be debated (Snohomish Tribune,
    • A new kombucha brewery in Arlington located along the Centennial Trail in part to attract people biking as customers on their morning commutes (Marysville Globe).
    • Arlington and Marysville want to develop a 4,000-acre area into an industrial center, possibly with trail access (Everett Herald).
  • South King & Pierce County
    • Public comment for extending light rail from Federal Way to Tacoma is open through May 4; some stakeholders want improved biking & walking connections across the Puyallup River (STB).
  • Statewide
    • The Iron Horse / John Wayne Trail may be renamed (Yakima Herald).
SPORT UPCOMING EVENTS GET OUT SAVE THE DATES JOBS

Bike Retail & Industry
Sales Clerk, Aaron’s Bicycle Repair
Professional Bicycle Mechanic, Aaron’s Bicycle Repair
Bicycle Mechanic-in-Training, Aaron’s Bicycle Repair
Seasonal Bike Shop Mechanic, Bike Works
Seasonal Bike Shop Sales & Retail Assistant, Bike Works
Seasonal Recycle & Reuse Assistant, Bike Works
Mechanics & Retail Staff, Gregg’s Cycles
Sales and Marketing Specialist, Sportworks
Director of Sales and Marketing, Sportworks
Product Design and Development Engineer, Sportworks
Nonprofit
Program Coordinator, Bike Works
Sounders FC Bike Valet Attendant, Bike Works
Volunteer Program Assistant (Seasonal), Cascade
Major Taylor Ride Leader/Instructor, Cascade
Summer Camp Head Counselor, Cascade
Summer Camp Counselor, Cascade
Business Relations, Policy & Operations Manager, Commute Seattle
Government
Curbspace Management Supervisor, SDOT (4/17)
Public Space Management Inspector, SDOT
Traffic Records & Data Supervisor, SDOT
Supervising Project Manager, SDOT
Walk N Roll Teacher Assistant, Intercity Transit
Bicycle Specialist – Recreation Leader II, City of Auburn
Specialized Recreation Cycling Assistant – Recreation Leader I, City of Auburn
Commerce Specialist 3 – Community Development Block Grant, State Dept. of Commerce

STOLEN BIKES

In the past week, ten bikes were reported as stolen to SPD, not counting stolen bikes part of burglaries and assaults. Help fight back by (1) registering your bike on Bike Index, and (2) always locking up your bike with a U lock, even inside a bike room. Bicycle Security Advisors provides additional information on how to keep your bike safe.

Subscribe

Subscribe here to get the Bike Happy newsletter delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Aviva Stephens | Bikes are for boys: Cycling while woman

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 12:16

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. She just launched a new blog called Biking In the Rain, which is also on Instagram at @bikingintherain. Find more of her writing on Medium and follow her on Instagram at @avivarachelle.

As a young girl I rode my bike everywhere around town, to the corner store for my daily candy stash, through the lovely wooded areas around Seattle, and the beaches along Lake Washington. But once I hit my tweens I became consumed with the tidiness of my apparel, containing my offensive odor, and maintaining a cool facade that included no outwardly appearance of effort or trying. While the boys remained boys, I was being groomed by society to be a young lady for the remainder of my school days and into my professional career as a tax accountant. As I proceeded to pursue my life ambitions the bike of my childhood gathered dust in the garage, and those moments of joy slowly faded from memory.

In finding my way to bike commuting, I was faced with the unexpected challenge of having to hunt down where I fit in the bike community as a woman. In every facet of my experience — from shopping for bikes to finding folks to ride with to procuring bike apparel — there are countless implications that bikes are for boys. The majority of bike shops are full of boy employees, group rides are led by the boys from the bike shop, and the readily available apparel seems to only fit athletic boy like bodies.

I use the word boy rather than man because there is a certain child playfulness with cycling so boy seems more fitting. While navigating my way to bike commuting is much more challenging than purchasing a car at my local dealership, the benefits are enormous, including health, sanity, and most importantly finding my childlike spirit at least once during my work day.

It’s the little things

As a marginalized minority, I’ve grown accustomed to confused glances and microaggressive questions when I repeatedly defy stereotypes in my day-to-day life, but I was shocked to find this same friction present on my journey to bike commuting. While there’s no sign over the bike shop that says “boys only,” it’s the little things that send the “boys only” message loud and clear.  Just the other day my coworker took a glance at my sick-ass All-City road bike and asked “is that is girls bike,” then shoots me a confused glance that implied “because bikes for boys.”

Everywhere along my journey there are these little “boys only” signs that create a boys’ club mentality in the bike community.  Here’s a few that I’ve observed:

  • Bike shops are full of boys because bikes are for boys.
  • Online bike shops have three bike categories — Bikes, Women, and Kids — because bikes are for boys. While I can understand having a separate Kids category since Kids are usually smaller than adults, I’m still perplexed as to the difference between a Bike’s bike and a Woman’s bike. From the few Women’s bikes that I’ve seen the geometry tends to be a less aggressive riding position with a wide cushier saddle. Am I supposed to wear a corset and ride side saddle?
  • Levi’s line of bike commute apparel is only available for men because bikes are for boys.  This one is especially grading to me because I wear Levi’s religiously for bike riding. I give Levi’s my hard earned cash, sing their praises as great jeans for riding and yet they deliberately choose to not serve my demographic when developing their commute specific apparel line.
  • Bike helmets and hats, also available in the familiar “Bike, Women, and Kids” categories, but more ironic because even the Women’s helmets have no room for hair that is longer than two straight inches because bikes helmets are for boys with short straight hair. The Women’s helmets also tend to be smaller, do boys have big heads?
  • Even my beloved All-City bikes have masculine names like Macho Man, Nature Boy, and Cosmetic Stallion because bikes are for boys. My bike is a Mr. Pink and I’m pretty sure it’s named after Steve Buscemi’s character from Reservoir Dogs.

In navigating my way through the bike misogyny, I was lucky enough to encounter some badass cycling divas that gave me some great advice that enabled me to overcome these hurdles. Just being the presence of women in the bike community was super encouraging because it allowed me to envision myself on a bike.  It may sound simple, but we all need role models to inspire us.

Second, when I set out to purchase a bike, my friend Martina from Swift Industries (Editor’s Note: Swift is a longtime Seattle Bike Blog sponsor) told me, “Forget about bike reviews, websites, or what anyone else thinks, just go to all of the bike shops and ride as many bikes as you can until you find the bike that fits.” And that’s what I did. Bike shopping can be overwhelming, but just being in the bike shops, talking about what I want and learning everything I could is what catapulted me into the bike community.

Ultimately I purchased my All-City from Counterbalance, but it was only after a conversation I had with the folks at Free Range Cycles that led me there. I also learned my way around a bike from a reasonably-priced bike class offered at the Montlake Bicycle Shop.

Finally, there are great bike groups such as Black Girls Do Bike, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Friends on Bikes that have helped me along the way.

While there is an emerging support system for newbies to cycling coming from the margins, the social stigma of cycling while woman is still pervasive and continues to be a challenge every day I ride.

Is that a woman?…on a bike!

A few years ago I took an Eat, Pray, Love type excursion to France, my version was more like Drink, Eat, Shop. For the Drink portion of my journey, I rented a mountain bike in the Burgundy Valley and pedaled through the vineyards along a country road, popping into wineries along the way. The illustration below is from my trip, does it look like rolling hills of grapevines?

Côte de Beaune, France

I feel this image completely sums up the experience of cycling while woman because of a comment that a cheery English woman said to me during dinner after my ride. As I was taking my first sip of silky white burgundy, this woman walked up to me and curiously stated that had she had spotted me on my bike earlier that day and gleefully inquired to her husband “Is that a woman?…On a bike!” The combination of her shock, confusion, envy, joy, and proper English accent seemed to encompass the collective reaction to women in cycling.

  • Shocked at the sight because it’s uncommon,
  • Confused because bikes are for boys,
  • Envious of the smile on my face,
  • Joyous because of the realization that she could do it as well, and
  • Her seemingly sophisticated accent implied that woman are proper and bikes are not.

While planning this trip I had often fantasized about how romantic it would be to glide effortlessly through the grapevines while encountering handsome French wine makers. However, I was surprised at how much Burgundy, France, resembled Yakima, Washington, and my butt was killing after riding a cheap road bike over questionable country roads under the hot sun. At the end of the day I was covered in dirt and sweat, but fortunately I was able to take a hot shower and get gussied up before my eloquently French dining experience.

Women don’t sweat

This juxtaposition of my picturesque ride through wine country and the reality of my sore buns and sweaty dirty skin as a result is the same conundrum that I face with bike commuting everyday. While there are several aspects of bike commuting that are unwelcoming to women, I think the largest hurdle to get over is sweat. First, women don’t sweat…but we do, so confusing. I’m not saying that women don’t sweat ever, but it is not socially acceptable for woman to sweat in open spaces (unless you’re jogging) which is evidenced by the hordes of women squirreling away in yoga studios, Orange Fitness, Barre classes, SoulCycle, and the corners of the women’s only section of the gym.

While I have yet to change the minds and hearts of American society that will allow women to sweat out loud, I have discovered a few tricks that have helped me overcome this unrealistic sweat-less standard for my daily commute.

The biggest hurdle in the sweat battle is the implication that one must get dressed at work if they want to pedal to the office. Implied because traditional office apparel is neither bike nor sweat friendly, so if you want to bike commute you must get dressed at work.

Get dressed at work? No thanks! This is a nightmare for woman because of the plethora of toiletries that are required to for a woman to face day. Should a woman decide to go the get-dressed-at-work rout for her daily commute she must choose to either set up a second dressing room at the office or tote it back and forth on the bike. Again, no thanks! Despite the mental weight of having to maintain a mobile dressing room, my apparel and tidiness are my amore to face the long days of unwanted advances, constant critique, and doubtful glances of my skills and abilities.

Since I don’t subscribe to the get-dressed-at-work program, I search high and low for apparel that can withstand ten or so miles on the daily ride. While I am a tax professional, I am fortunate to work at a technology company where I can wear jeans and tee shirts in the office. However, I still don’t want to arrive to my morning meetings in a sweaty tee, so let’s address this sweat issue head on.

Office friendly bike apparel

No matter what your style there are a few things you can look for at your favorite shops that will get you from bike to conference room.

  • Natural and breathable properties — Cotton and wool are my dependable go to fabrics. Cotton is light and breathable, it’s not so quick drying but is durable to washing and easy to clean. Wool is the magical fabric that is breathable, durable and quick drying. Breathability is key because is moderates your body temperature that fluctuates while riding.
  • Flexible pants and tops — look for a little elastic in the your garments, this allows for greater range of motion for your ride.
  • No polyester — this a tough one because polyester is a cornerstone of the American apparel industry, it’s cheap, durable and long lasting so it’s hard to find garments without it. But it’s horrible for bike riding (or life in general) because it’s not breathable and holds odor. So if you are really concerned about sweat then polyester is your enemy.
  • Tapered pants and knee length skirts  —  bicycles have chains and gears, so if there’s flowing fabric from the calf down it can get caught in the gears and you could lose your bottoms before your first meeting.
  • Shoes with grip — thankfully we live in a time where functional shoes can also be fashionable. The things to look for in a casual bike shoe is a good grip for engagement with the pedal, comfort for comfort, and a good snug fit. If the shoe is not firmly affixed to your foot then you risk losing the shoe and falling off the bike. I could go on forever on this topic, but I will stop here and dedicate an entire post to office friendly bike apparel.
Let’s ride

I wrote this post because anytime I’m on my bike or talk about riding, I get questions from women on how I accomplished the task. I’ve heard several stories about how people used to ride bikes as girls, or in college, or before they got married, pregnant, or moved cities. So ladies, let’s ride! If you used to ride and miss the joys or if you’ve thought of riding but don’t know how, feel free to ask me questions and share your stories in the comments