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After WA won #1 for a decade, Bike League changes its state-by-state report cards

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 13:41

From the League of American Bicyclists’ 2018 WA State Report Card (PDF).

Perhaps tired of handing the top honors to a barely-deserving Washington State year after year, the League of American Bicyclists changed its annual state-by-state rankings into a set of 50 individual report cards that track each state’s progress. And by this new measure, Washington State isn’t doing so hot.

Washington had won the top spot in the League’s rankings an absurd ten years in a row. On one hand, this was an impressive feat by our state. But after years of winning the honor even without any tangible progress, it also started to feel a bit sad. Were other states even trying? Was Washington winning “best” or “least bad?”

So while it might take a positive headline away from Washington, it probably makes sense to stop ranking our state number one every year. Instead, the League is issuing each state a report card that tracks its own progress compared to the previous year. And their report isn’t as rosy:

Washington state, the only state to be ranked #1 in the ten years of our Bicycle Friendly State ranking, shows some weakness in its federal data indicators.

While the state’s federal data indicators are consistently above the national average and each one is in the top 10 over the last decade, both the rate of bicycling to work and the rate of bicyclist traffic fatalities are headed in the wrong direction.

The state certainly has the tools to reverse these trends in both
its advocacy organizations and the Washington Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, but the state is in danger of losing its long-time #1 ranking.

In a weird way, though, WSDOT seems to be doing better work on biking in recent years than it has throughout its history. Biking and walking elements rarely feel like afterthoughts anymore. Compare the quality of the 520 Bridge Trail to the I-90 Bridge Trail, for example. And while the department is still carrying out a lot of backwards freeway projects (often due to state legislature funding earmarks), top leadership takes biking and walking seriously. Remember when WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar said traffic congestion is due to a lack of affordable housing with access to better transportation options? That was awesome.

So, Washington, we have a lot more work to do. And maybe benchmarking our progress against ourselves (or bike-friendly nations around the world) would be more useful than comparing ourselves to the other 49 states.

More data from the report card (PDF):

Under Mayor Durkan, Seattle has only built about 4% of its 2018 bike lane goal

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:50

Even many of the claimed mileage is misleading, since they are delayed from 2017. From an update to the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee (PDF).

Under Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle has nearly stopped building bike lanes. With the need to build more than ten miles of protected bike lanes in order to reach the Move Seattle Levy’s bike lane goals, SDOT says it will have constructed 1.88 miles in 2018. That is a pitiful 18 percent.

But the truth is even worse. That 18 percent is an inflated number. 1.49 of those 1.88 miles of bike lane were actually delayed 2017 projects that opened at the start of the year. They were accounted for in last year’s Move Seattle performance update as the excuse for why SDOT would miss its 2017 bike lane goals. So if you subtract those projects, SDOT has so far only constructed 0.39 of the 10.43 miles of protected bike lanes needed to meet the 2018 goal set by Seattle voters. That’s 3.7 percent.

There is no term for this other than failure.

But rather than apologizing for so wildly underdelivering on a goal set by the voters, Mayor Durkan had the gall to highlight it as though it were some kind of success. As though we can’t see that 1.4 or 1.88 or 0.39 are all numbers far lower than the goal of 10.43. In her self-congratulating document “One Year of Urgent Action (PDF),” she lists building bike lanes as an example that she is “delivering essential services and meeting the needs of our growing city”:

The NE 65th Street bike lanes currently under construction thanks to the tireless work of Councilmember Rob Johnson are pretty much the only bike lanes in active construction right now. Nearly everything else has been delayed. A highly-compromised neighborhood greenway in Rainier Valley, which will do some good but will fail at truly connecting the neighborhood, will make up the bulk of the 2018 mileage.

Below is the project list Mayor Durkan inherited when she took office, based on the voter-approved goals in the Move Seattle Levy and the Council-approved Bicycle Master Plan:

It’s hard to say whether Mayor Durkan is actively undermining SDOT’s efforts to grow biking as a viable transportation mode or if the department is floundering due to the leadership vacuum she has created at the top of the department. I want to believe it is the latter, and that Mayor Durkan is on the verge of appointing a good permanent SDOT Director she will entrust with the political backing needed to enact our city’s transportation plans and policies with urgency in 2019.

The coming traffic crunch downtown is only getting closer, and the mayor just wasted an entire year that she could have spent making planned street changes to provide more people with more options to get around without a car. Her bike route progress is grim, but her transit progress may be even worse.

The big test for Mayor Durkan is here. Decisions need to be made. Bike lane projects need to get a green light and her political backing. So many bus lanes need to be painted. We also need effective education and encouragement campaigns to help people change their transportation habits. All this needs to happen quickly if we want these options to be available to people when the traffic crunch begins.

As we wrote last week, the combination of bike share and more comfortable bike routes is working. We can see this in the Fremont Bridge bike counter data, which shattered records by a huge margin this year. And Seattle now has a huge backlog of projects ready to go in 2019. They just need the mayor’s backing.

All the time for waiting and delaying has been used up in 2018. I’ve already seen people referring to the upcoming transportation mess as the “Jenny Jam” because she has had chances to get ahead of the problem and has so far squandered them through delays and inaction. I don’t think that’s a moniker she wants to stick.

Mayor Nickels lost his political career because he didn't plan for a snowstorm. How are voters going to feel when we've had years to avoid the #JennyJam but did nothing? https://t.co/vygWzH6DFv

— Queen Anne Greenways (@QAGreenways) November 19, 2018

 

2018’s one millionth Fremont Bridge bike trip is about to cross, smashing the record

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 13:36

Whoever bikes across the Fremont Bridge as number 1,582 today will tip the 2018 bike counter into seven digits, clobbering all previous records by a wide margin.

Bike trips across the iconic bridge, which forms a pinch point for many north and northwest Seattle regional bike routes, have been smashing monthly bike records ever since bike share companies launched in summer 2017. But the counts really started taking off in 2018, when the number of bikes in service ramped up to nearly 10,000 across Lime, Spin and ofo. And the biggest increases were in winter and spring, with the first five months of the year each increasing by an astounding 17 to 32 percent (though winter 2017 was extremely rainy).

Good work, everyone! Somebody should probably throw a party, because it feels like it has been too long since we had a good bike celebration in this town. One million bike trips across a single bridge is an awesome accomplishment, and we still have all of December to run up the score. You all contributed to this one bike ride at a time.

Of course, there is still a lot of work to do. The city needs to get back on track because 2018 successes came from 2017 work. And due in large part to a leadership vacuum that Mayor Jenny Durkan has created at SDOT, Seattle has done very little in 2018 to ensure an equally exciting 2019. 

Spin and ofo left town in July as the 2017 bike share pilot ended, and Seattle then delayed its rollout of the new bike share permit. Perhaps partly due to this permit delay (though also due to wildfire smoke), August and September were the only months that did not see significant growth over 2017.

Bike share works. And especially as downtown Seattle heads into a tough couple years where we really need a lot more people to find alternatives to driving, the city should be doing everything it can to encourage and grow these systems.

It’s very disappointing to see that Seattle leaders already squandered half the summer by delaying the new permit rollout until November. Though Mayor Jenny Durkan has been talking a lot about the coming traffic crunch recently, she has not prioritized bike share expansion or experimentation with non-bike options like scooters. We can see bike share working in these bike counts, so why is the mayor not working to get all the non-car trips we can out of these services? It’s not about money because these companies pay their own way.

It feels like the mayor is on the verge of clutching defeat from the jaws of victory. Bike share and downtown bike lanes were all set to grow together, allowing more people to make more trips comfortably by bike. This combo is the magic sauce for increasing bike trips. But Mayor Durkan stepped in and delayed both of these just when we need them most.

But now the bike share permit is out, and JUMP has joined Lime with Lyft Bikes also set to join at some point. And the City Council has all but directed SDOT to build a serious number of downtown bike lanes by the end of next year in an effort to catch up with the backlog created by inaction and indecision on the mayor’s part this year (SDOT still does not have a permanent Director one year after Scott Kubly left). With strong leadership, 2019 could be an amazing year for biking in Seattle, and the bike trip counts will continue upward.

After mediation fails, 35th Ave NE bike lanes head to Mayor Durkan’s desk

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 14:28

Comparison of the options for 35th Ave NE, from Safe 35th Ave NE.

Remember the $10,000 of bicycle safety funds Councilmember Rob Johnson and Mayor Jenny Durkan spent on a confidential mediation effort to see if there was any way for bike lane opponents and supporters to agree on a plan for the street? That didn’t really work.

The result of those meetings is a new street design option that would remove the bike lanes from the street. But it would also remove the on-street car parking that bike lane opponents have been saying they want to protect. Instead, there would be a new center turn lane. The decision is in Mayor Durkan’s hands now.

“The Mayor’s Office will make a final decision on 35th Avenue NE’s new street configuration by the end of the year – choosing between the current “contracted design” and a new “alternative” that closely resembles a suggestion made by Save35th leadership last fall,” the pro-bike lane group Safe 35th Ave NE wrote in an update to their online petition. “We hold firm that the contracted design already represents a compromise, and that the alternative would  be less safe, and would not serve the needs of the community.”

Let’s get one thing perfectly straight: Removing an already designed and contracted plan for bike lanes that were designed in accordance with Seattle’s unanimously-approved Bicycle Master Plan is not a compromise just because they are also removing parking. Without bike lanes, people biking on 35th will be less safe, and the city will be less able to meet its biking goals.

Mayor Durkan should reject this new design option and stick with the contracted design that meets our city’s established and Council-approved transportation policies.

The talks did come up with some points of agreement. Crosswalks should be improved, for example. Everyone agrees about that. And there may be a couple intersections where left turn signals should be separate from through traffic.

But the central disagreement remains quite simple: Some people don’t want there to be bike lanes, and some people do. And the people who want the bike lanes have the backing of years of Council-approved city transportation policy and an already-signed construction contract on their side.

“All users of 35th, including the people who ride bikes – or want to – should be able to safely get to businesses and residences,” the Safe 35th group wrote. “Bike lanes also provide an additional level of safety and comfort for pedestrians that would not be delivered by the ‘alternative.'”

Mayor Durkan should back up her city’s policies here, citing the goals of Bicycle Master Plan as her justification: Ridership, safety, connectivity, equity and livability.

Page 8 of the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (PDF).

The Eastside Rail Corridor needs a new name

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 14:11

It may be the most exciting opportunity for biking and walking (and some transit) in the whole region, but the name “Eastside Rail Corridor” sure sounds boring. It describes what the corridor used to be rather than what it could become.

For years, Seattle Bike Blog has been referring to the whole trail element of the entire corridor by the unofficial name “Eastside Trail.” We have used this name to encompass both county-owned and locally-owned segments and to shorthand the laborious “Eastside Rail Corridor Trail.”

But there may be a better name for this incredible Eastside-spanning trail, utility and transit corridor. And the Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Advisory Committee wants your ideas. Complete this online survey to throw in your two cents. And, of course, discuss your ideas in the comments below.

If you are really into what this thing is called, the advisory committee is holding a meeting 1 p.m. Thursday at Kirkland City Hall (more details in this PDF).

The Eastside Trail (or whatever it will be called) could be largely open, at least in bikeable hardpack gravel form, by the end of 2021 if all the funding and construction details come together as planned. That’s pretty much light speed for a trail project of this length. But, of course, there are a lot of “ifs.”

In addition to the transportation and recreation opportunities, the project will also rehab and reuse historic and stunning bits of rail infrastructure, such as the Wilburton Trestle in Bellevue.

The Eastside Trail will also connect many Eastside neighborhoods and city centers to light rail, the I-90 Trail, the 520 Trail, the Burke-Gilman Trail, the Cedar River Trail and more. It has the potential to be the more impactful and important regional trail since the Burke-Gilman opened in the 70s.

Take this Pike/Pine bike lane survey + Rethinking Pine St downtown

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 14:29

Few bike improvements in the city could have a bigger impact than a safe, comfortable and fully connected bike route from the Pike Place Market to Broadway. And due to the grade of First and Capitol Hills as well as I-5 cutting off many streets, Pike and/or Pine are the only options to make this connection.

These streets are already very popular for people on bikes despite their insufficient or lacking bike lanes because they are the only real choices for people living in large swaths of Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central District. Being packed with destinations helps, too. Since most people have no interest in biking mixed with car traffic, connecting 2nd Ave’s protected bike lanes to the Broadway bikeway has enormous potential to connect a lot of homes, businesses and destinations.

More than 150 people attended a late October community workshop organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Capitol Hill Housing and the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. They provided a lot of feedback on the city’s effort to complete this connection by the end of next year. But the organizers want to make sure the opinions of folks who couldn’t attend are also included, so they put together an online survey.

After considering the realistic options, organizers determined that the lanes will most likely go both ways on Pike Street from Broadway to around Melrose, then switch to westbound on Pine and eastbound on Pike through downtown as outlined in the Pike Pine Renaissance plan.

The first major question is about the basic design of bike lanes on Pike from Broadway to the street curve near Minor. Should they be one-way bike lanes on each side of the street or a two-way bike lane on the north side of the street?

The second question is about the transition where the streets curve near Minor. Which street is the best option for routing people headed westbound over to Pine Street? Minor, Melrose and Bellevue are pretty much the options available.

Reconsidering the Pine Street bike lane

The existing bike lane on Pine Street downtown, installed a year ago, is terrible. There’s just no way to sugar coat that. Forcing people biking to mix with car traffic through the brick section near Westlake Park ruins this bike connection. The Pike Pine Renaissance plan depicts this bike lane remaining in its current flawed state, but this does not achieve the basic goals of a protected bike lane connection. A route is only as comfortable as its most stressful section, and mixing with car traffic through the brick section pretty much negates the benefits of the bike lane on the other blocks.

So while this survey does not address this issue, the city needs to make a choice. Are we going to redesign the brick section to create a continually-protected bike lane on Pine? Or do we need to move the westbound bike lane to Pike Street? Either option could work, but we must do one of them.

One possibly great option would be a two-way bike lane on the north side of Pike Street from Pike Place Market to Broadway. This would definitely be the most intuitive route because it is consistent and direct the whole way. In fact, a lot of people already treat the Pike Street bike lane as a two-way today, suggesting the demand is there. This option would also have basically no transit conflicts.

SDOT could then remove the flawed Pine Street bike lane downtown, but they should keep the pre-existing painted bike lanes on Pine Street east of 8th Ave for the sake of business access and because there’s no benefit to getting rid of them. I imagine that even with a quality bike lane on Pike, some confident riders will still choose to bomb down Pine Street because it is just so fast if you feel comfortable mixing with car traffic. People who want to go fast downhill might not like riding in a two-way bike lane. And that’s OK. Having choices is a good thing.

More details about the survey from the community organizers:

We were thrilled that more than 150 community members representing a range of perspectives joined us on October 25th at the Pike/Pine Protected Bike Lane Community Design Workshop to share their thoughts on street design. Even better, we heard from many that this community-driven model should be adopted by the City for all major projects. We will share our lessons learned in the hopes of making that possible.

We heard you. As we assemble our analysis, key themes have emerged. Participants expressed the importance of safety for all users, of clearly marked and logical bike routes, of plentiful loading zones for freight and for people, and the challenge of balancing competing needs.

See group-designed maps and suggestions as well as photos from the workshop.

Next Steps
To ensure that as many community members as possible have the opportunity to provide feedback, we will continue direct outreach through the end of December. In January, we will share our summary findings with the Seattle City Council, SDOT staff, and you!

Take our survey to share your thoughts on bike lane location and how to balance other uses of the street. We’ll include your comments in our advocacy and share them with City planners and officials. Share the survey with anyone you think might be interested!

Scenes from Cranksgiving 2018: A new donation record

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 13:40

Miguel Jimenez from Rainier Valley Food Bank addresses Cranksgiving riders at the start of the event.

Seattle’s Cranksgiving 2018 hit a new record Saturday, with 150 riders donating an astounding 1,713 pounds of food to Rainier Valley Food Bank.

For the ninth year, Seattle Bike Blog hosted this food drive scavenger hunt by bike on RVFB’s final distribution day before Thanksgiving. It’s a very low-budget event that is free to join. Participants are given a list of items to buy and a list of local grocery stores and stands around town to buy them from. So participants’ money and effort goes directly into donating food and having fun biking around our beautiful city. There are also some photo challenges for extra points, and you can see some of the results below.

New this year, Swift Industries hosted a gear donation drive for Facing Homelessness, and people brought boxes worth of tents, tarps, hats, socks, rain jackets, coats and more. Swift also hosted the after party and donated prizes.

Thanks to Swift Industries, G&O Family Cyclery, Cascade Designs and Olympia Beer for your prize and party donations. And big thanks to my wonderful spouse Kelli for helping to procure prizes, donating a few copies of her book Pedal, Stretch, Breathe, and for taking on extra baby-watching duty so I could organize the event.

And finally, thanks to everyone who joined us Saturday. You were all so positive, lovely and generous. I’m thankful for all of you.

Now I just need to figure out what we are going to do next year to celebrate the tenth annual Seattle Cranksgiving…

Here are a few scenes from #CranksgivingSEA:

#CranksgivingSEA pic.twitter.com/wlDr2R0LnQ

— null hypothesis (@Null_Hypothesis) November 17, 2018

Enjoying the great weather for #CranksgivingSEA pic.twitter.com/BPToqb2QxU

— Dave Goodell (@davidjgoodell) November 17, 2018

Other images from #CranksgivingSEA. We ended up in the top 3! pic.twitter.com/tlQVTFL9AB

— Nick vdH (@206Husky) November 18, 2018

Had an awesome time at my first #CranksgivingSEA during which ~150 of us donated 1,763 pounds of food to the @RainierValleyFB (Food Bank) which will feed 3,200 people – thanks to @seabikeblog @SwiftIndustries for hosting this #SEAbikes pic.twitter.com/Xxp9RnPgch

— Robert Svercl (@bobco85) November 18, 2018

 

Uber’s JUMP launches their lock-to, slightly cheaper e-bikes in central Seattle

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 11:28

JUMP bikes staged downtown over the weekend. Unlike with Lime, JUMP bikes need to be locked to a rack or pole.

After months of delays getting the new bike share permit in place and through environmental review, Uber’s JUMP launched in Seattle this morning. They join Lime, which has had a temporary monopoly on bike share in town since early summer when Spin and ofo left.

The company is launching 300 bikes initially with plans to ramp up “over the coming weeks and months,” according to a press release (see the full release below). During this initial phase, the service area is limited to 65th Street in the north and McClellan Street in the south (basically, the north end of Green Lake to Mount Baker Station). But the service area will expand as they add more bikes, the company said.

JUMP’s red bikes are a bit different than Lime’s e-bikes. They have gears, for one. They also have a keypad and RFID reader for app-less unlocking. So, for example, you could tie your ORCA card to your JUMP account, letting you unlock their bikes with the same card you use to board transit (though you still need to set up a JUMP or Uber account and pay through the company). Both the JUMP and Uber apps should give you access to the bikes. As a promo, your first five trips up to 30 minutes are free every day through December 12.

JUMP’s initial service area, from their Seattle webpage.

But the biggest difference between Lime and JUMP is parking. JUMP bikes need to be locked to a bike rack or street sign (UPDATE: The JUMP website does say bikes need to be locked to something, but they rarely are and there is no obvious indication to users that they need to do so). When you unlock it, the metal u-shaped bar is released similar to a normal u-lock. There is a slot on the rear rack where you can stash the bar while riding. When you get to your destination, just insert the bar back into the lock to end your trip. This does mean it could be slightly harder to find a locking place, but it could also mean that the bikes are less likely to fall over and block sidewalks. It could also mean that bike parking for personal bikes will get a little more scarce unless the city works hard to increase the bike parking supply.

So there are pros and cons between the JUMP and Lime parking styles. It will be very interesting to see them in action and at scale to see which one people prefer.

I tested a JUMP bike back in June, and noted that in addition to having gears and feeling a bit heavier and more solid, the bikes were faster than Lime’s e-bikes. But Seattle’s permit rules require that shared e-bikes stop giving riders an assist beyond 15 mph, so Jump has had to scale their 20 mph bikes down to 15 to meet Seattle’s rules. Hey, we should do the same thing to cars in Seattle!

JUMP has also changed its pay structure. Where the company formerly charged $2 for 30 minutes, they will now charge $1 to unlock plus 10¢ a minute. Lime charges $1 + 15¢ per minute for their e-bikes and $1 + 5¢ per minute for pedal bikes. So there’s already some price competition at work.

Like Lime, JUMP also has a discounted ride plan called JUMP Boost for people who already qualify for housing, food, utility or transit assistance programs. This includes ORCA Lift. People who qualify will be able to get 60 minutes of ride time every day for $5/month. And like Lime, people without a credit card can pay in cash at PayNearMe locations, such as 7-Eleven and CVS. Just scan or take a photo of your program card or documentation and email it to support@jump.com with the subject line “Seattle Boost Documentation,” then wait for them to get back to you with approval and more details.

JUMP was formerly known as Social Bicycles, an early innovator in creating shared bikes that can be locked without a docking station. SoBi provided the tech for Portland’s Biketown system, which is operated by former Pronto Cycle Share operator Motivate. Lyft has since purchased Motivate, so Biketown is now operated by Lyft but uses bikes that share the tech and look of Uber’s bikes. Lyft has its own dockless bikes now and has applied for a Seattle permit. We have yet to hear any details about a Seattle launch, though.

Have you used a JUMP bike yet? Let us know your thoughts in comments below. Here’s the full JUMP press release:

Uber today announced the launch of dockless electric bike share service JUMP in Seattle. JUMP bikes are electric and provide a gentle boost with every pedal, making it easier for riders to get around their city without breaking a sweat. The bikes have integrated “lock to” technology and feature GPS intelligence. They can be unlocked by entering an account number on the user interface or by using a linked, compatible radio-frequency identification (RFID) card, like an ORCA card.

“Seattle has been a leader in dockless bike share, so we’re thrilled to bring our JUMP electric bikes as the first step towards offering Uber customers a multi-modal transportation platform in this great Northwest city,” said JUMP spokesperson Nelle Pierson. “Bike sharing is an environmentally friendly, affordable way to get around, and a mobility option we believe should be a permanent cornerstone of a city’s transportation system.”

JUMP will launch in Seattle with nearly 300 bikes then incrementally ramp up the number of bikes over the coming weeks and months. The initial service area will span from 65th in the North to South McLellan in the Rainier Valley. The service area will expand as the number of bikes increases.

JUMP Bikes in Seattle will cost $1 to unlock and 10 cents per minute to ride. As part of a launch promotion, JUMP is offering riders five free trips up to 30 minutes long each day through December 12. JUMP ambassadors will also be handing out more than 1,000 free helmets through Dec. 18 at 1191 2nd Ave. from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week except Tuesdays and Sundays.

JUMP also offers a Boost Plan for lower-income riders. Those who qualify for the Boost Plan receive 60 minutes of free ride time per day at a cost of $5 per month. Details on how to enroll in JUMP’s Seattle Boost plan can be found at https://jump.com/cities/seattle/boost-plan/.

In 2017, JUMP bikes launched the first ever dockless electric bike share system in the United States. Dockless bike share expands transportation options for residents by making it easier to rent and park a bike anywhere within the community, instead of at designated stations. This spring, Uber acquired JUMP as part of its mission to expand the menu of affordable, reliable transportation options available within the Uber app, and make it even easier for residents to get across town without relying on their own personal vehicle.

JUMP’s pedal assist bikes are available in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Staten Island and the Bronx, Providence, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Santa Monica, CA, Washington, D.C. JUMP also has scooters available in Austin and Santa Monica.

How JUMP bikes work:

With both the Uber and JUMP mobile apps, users can find and unlock (and reserve up to 30 minutes in advance) JUMP pedal-assist e-bikes. It’s simple to use.

Via the Uber app:

  • Tap the “mode switch” on the homescreen of the Uber app, and select bike

  • You’ll see the available JUMP bikes around you, and can select one to reserve.

  • The app will give you a pin number so you can unlock your bike.

Via the JUMP app:

  • Download the JUMP Bikes app to create an account.

  • Use the in-app map to find and reserve bikes – or simply walk up to a bike and enter your account number and four-digit pin.

  • Want to make a quick stop without finding another bike afterwards? Press the “hold” button and lock the bike to a rack. Just enter your 4-digit PIN to unlock and continue your ride.

After deep review, SDOT reaffirms plans for Eastlake bike lanes

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 13:20

From a project presentation.

There may be no bike project north of downtown Seattle more important than Eastlake Ave. Connecting to the University Bridge today and the 520 Trail in the future, Eastlake is an already well-used bike route with huge promise for growth. The problem is that today, biking on the street is very stressful because there are no bike lanes.

But SDOT’s Roosevelt RapidRide project has the potential to transform the street into the multimodal neighborhood commercial street it should be, prioritizing walking, biking and transit. And plans, developed over years of study, public outreach and dedicated people-powered advocacy, have included protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave because they are vital to achieving that vision and connecting the citywide bike network.

But due to pushback from folks worried about losing on-street parking, the city went back to the drawing board this year to take another, deeper look at every option they could think of to see if there was any way to create a quality bike route through the area that provides access to Eastlake destinations and a direct route between the University Bridge and South Lake Union. And that effort only further supported what we already knew: Building protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave is by far the best option.

So in a project update email this week, the team announced that the bike lanes are staying in the plans.

To everyone who volunteered their time and energy to go to public meetings, send supportive comments or otherwise organize to support these bike lanes, good work! We’re still bit away from construction, but this feels like a significant step closer to a quality bike route east of Lake Union.

More details from SDOT:

Thank you to everyone who joined the October 23 Eastlake neighborhood briefing for the RapidRide Roosevelt project! Approximately 100 interested community members joined us to learn more about the planned protected bike lane and potential tools to manage parking in the future.

You can view the presentation shared at the meeting. You can also review the RapidRide Roosevelt’s bicycle facility evaluation and the draft parking and curbspace management analysis.

Why is there a protected bike lane planned for Eastlake Ave E?

Along with improving transit service between Roosevelt and Downtown Seattle, the purpose and need for the RapidRide Roosevelt also includes improving safety conditions and connections to RapidRide stations for people biking and walking along the corridor.

While bicyclists and pedestrians only make up 6.3% of all crashes, they represent a much larger percentage of serious (47.4%) and fatal (39.7%) crashes. In addition, the University Bridge has the second-highest recorded bicycle volume in the city. The RapidRide Roosevelt project includes approximately 3 miles of protected bike lanes (PBL) connecting Roosevelt, the University District, Eastlake, and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

In Eastlake, the protected bike lane is planned to be built in both directions along Eastlake Ave E. This bike lane is included to meet the project’s purpose and need by improving safety and access to transit, as well as contributing to improved transit speed and reliability in the corridor.

Other bicycle facility options for this area have been evaluated, but the protected bike lane on Eastlake best meets evaluation criteria.

What are the impacts to parking along Eastlake Ave E?

In order to meet the project goals and to install the protected bike lane, the project would remove on-street parking and vehicle load zones on Eastlake Ave E. Loading zones would be replaced near the removed loading zones where feasible.

SDOT will continue to work with the Eastlake neighborhood to develop parking strategies to better utilize remaining curbspace capacity.

Who approved this project? When was the decision made?

The Seattle City Council adopted the project’s Locally Preferred Alternative in 2017. That’s the approval to proceed with the project as currently defined, which includes the protected bike lanes.

The next milestone is the environmental assessment process and preliminary design. We are coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration on our environmental process.

Learn more at the project website.

Sunday: World Day of Remembrance will be a healing space for those impacted by traffic violence

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:23

People gather in City Hall for World Day of Remembrance 2016 surrounded by silhouettes representing people who died in traffic in recent years.

Every year, about 20 people die in traffic collisions in Seattle. Another 150 people are seriously injured, often resulting in life-changing health issues. And for every one of these victims and survivors, there is a community of loved ones whose lives are changed, too.

That’s why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is hosting Seattle’s memorial for World Day of Remembrance Sunday at the Impact Hub in Pioneer Square.

The organization wants the event this year to focus on creating a healing space for people impacted by injury or death on our streets, said Executive Director Gordon Padelford. Considering the scale of how many lives are impacted by traffic collisions, there is a lot of healing to be done.

Our society tells people that traffic collisions are just “accidents,” like they or a loved one simply won some kind of terrible lottery. But this is just a story we tell ourselves so it is easier to continue with our destructive car culture. Because truly changing how people and goods move around our city just seems like too heavy a lift.

But ask any room of people for a show of hands if they or someone they love has been killed or seriously injured in a traffic collision, and nearly every hand will go up. This is not OK.

More details from SNG:

Join us on the afternoon of World Day of Remembrance for a community memorial gathering for those impacted by traffic violence.

There are an average of 20 lives lost and 150 lives altered by major injuries each year on Seattle’s streets. But these statistics don’t share the story of a person’s life, of the way that a crash can effect a family, a friend group, and a community.

If you or a member of your community has been impacted by traffic violence, we welcome you to this space for a community moment of remembrance. This event is free, please RSVP.

Sunday, Nov 18, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Impact Hub Seattle (Pioneer Square) 3rd Floor

We will be in the 3rd floor learning space with snacks and beverages.

If you are interested in learning more information about an ongoing healing circle or other support, please contact clara@seattlegreenways.org.

ALERT: West Seattle swing bridge will be out from 7-9 Tuesday night, shuttles available

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 13:08

Attention folks who bike across the lower West Seattle Bridge: SDOT just announced a closure from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight (Tuesday). As with the previous closure, there will be a shuttle to help folks walking and biking get across, but this will add significant delay. So leave early or late if you can. Otherwise, be ready for delays waiting for the shuttle or add extra time to bike the long way via the 1st Ave Bridge.

From SDOT:

For 2 hours tonight, starting at 7 PM, the Spokane St Bridge (West Seattle Lower Bridge) and the bike trail will be closed, so crews can replace a power control cable. A shuttle van will be available both directions, to take interested travelers over the high bridge.

What you can expect:

During this project, barrels and barricades as well as message boards, will direct traffic. After cable replacement and successful bridge testing, the bridge will reopen to traffic.

November 13 | 7 – 9 PM

Impacts | 

  • Spokane St Bridge (aka Lower W Seattle Bridge) closed.
  • W Seattle Bridge Trail closed.

Assistance | A shuttle van will travel back and forth over W Seattle High Bridge, in 15-minute intervals, with the following stops:

  • East Side11th Ave SW & SW Spokane St.
  • West side SW Spokane St and Port of Seattle Terminal 5 Entrance.

Shuttle service is scheduled to run during the duration of the outage. Should this maintenance work experience unexpected challenges, the shuttle will run all night, as needed.

Questions?

Email paul.jackson@seattle.gov to learn more.

Huge fire burns lumber warehouses near SPU, expect Ship Canal Trail delays – UPDATED

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:51

Photo from the Seattle Fire Dept. As you can see, the Ship Canal Trail is in the middle of it all.

A huge fire destroyed lumber warehouses owned by Gascoigne Lumber Company and Northwest Millworks Saturday night, but luckily there are no reports of injuries at this time. We hope it stays that way.

Regular users of the Ship Canal Trail should recognize the building in the photo to the right, because the trail runs closely behind the building near Seattle Pacific University campus. Buildings were destroyed on both sides of the trail. I have asked Seattle Fire if they have an estimate for when the trail might reopen and will update this post when I hear back. But I think it’s safe to assume that it will be closed for a while, so give yourself a little extra time to get through the area. UPDATE: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kristin Tinsley confirmed that they have not yet assessed damage to the trail and do not yet have a timeline for reopening it: “Due to the amount of debris on the Ship Canal Trail, the trail is still closed for the time being until clean-up is complete. No damage estimate on the trail yet or ETA on reopening.”

Reader Rob Huntress said firefighters were still working as of Sunday evening, and Nickerson Street was the nearest detour option between 3rd and 6th Avenues W. Nickerson has a paint-only bike lane westbound, but no bike lane eastbound. There is also a sidewalk for folks who are not comfortable biking in busy traffic, but remember to yield to people walking. If the closure will be for an extended period of time and no other detour is possible, a temporary trail on Nickerson might be a good idea.

Sub-optimal shot of fire scene Sunday night at the Gascoigne Lumber warehouse on the Ship Canal Trail in N. Queen Anne. Trail was closed bet. 3rd and 6th Aves West, with firefighters still working. #SEAbikes pic.twitter.com/e4LEQmxw19

— Rod Huntress (@rodhuntress) November 12, 2018

 

Tell the City Council to protect red light camera funds for safe streets near schools

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 15:19

A huge bike train to Bryant Elementary on Bike-to-School Day 2013

In an attempt to balance the City Council’s 2019-20 budget, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw has eyed nearly $2.7 million in red light camera funds that currently go to the School Safety Traffic and Pedestrian Improvement Fund (see the budget green sheet PDF).

The city has the goal of making street safety improvements at every public school in the city, which also means safety improvements in every neighborhood. But it is going to take a lot more work and funding to build all the missing sidewalks, safe crosswalks and neighborhood traffic calming needed to provide all our city’s young students a safe way to walk or bike to class. We need more funding for safe streets near schools, not less.

Additionally, red light cameras are already a somewhat controversial, though effective, tool for enforcing traffic safety without requiring a police officer interaction. But perhaps knowing that your ticket funds are going to help make streets near schools safer will take some of the sting out of that ticket. If the money just goes into the general fund, that takes away one good argument in favor of the cameras: They can do double-duty by enforcing traffic laws and funding street safety improvements at the same time.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has created a handy online tool you can use to contact the City Council and tell them to reject this funding change. More details from SNG:

This funding would have helped children at 25 schools across Seattle walk to class safely by investing in projects like enhanced crosswalks, traffic calming, and walkways. Instead these projects will be delayed, adding to the 300-year backlog of sidewalk projects.

We need you to speak up now in support for funding sidewalks and crosswalks so that kids in Seattle can get safely to and from school.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has championed the Safe Routes to School program since our founding in 2011 as a core piece of our work. We’re committed to making every neighborhood a great place to walk and making sure every child can safely walk to school. But in order to do that we need our city leaders to increase funding for safe routes to schools and sidewalks.

We need you to act now and send a letter to your councilmembers asking them to ensure that Safe Routes to School are adequately funded and kids can get safely to and from school.

Bainbridge Island voters reject $15M safe streets levy

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 13:14

Planned spending for the failed SAFE Mobility Levy, from the City of Bainbridge.

Buried in the election results this week was a somewhat disappointing result over on Bainbridge Island. The city’s modest SAFE Mobility Levy lost, with the ongoing result sitting at 45–55 as of Thursday morning.

The levy would have raised $15 million over seven years to fund sidewalks, Safe Routes to School and wider shoulders, which serve as walking and biking space on the island’s roads.

The failure came as a surprise to Demi Allen, a Bainbridge resident who worked to develop and support the levy effort.

“I continue to believe that a high percentage of residents on the island want better facilities for walking and biking,” he said. But clearly more needed to be done to gather support for the levy vote.

“In retrospect, it seems more needed to be done to get out to people where they were and make sure they understood what was proposed and what was possible to achieve through the levy.”

The Bainbridge Mobility Alliance conducted a survey in the spring that showed a high level of support for a ballot measure like the one that ended up on the ballot, Allen said. Ten percent of island adults responded with 70 percent in favor. But respondents self-selected, so it was not a scientific random survey (those can be expensive to conduct).

One concern they heard often was that the levy was too open-ended, with the specific projects to be selected later.

As for now, supporters are taking some time to figure out what happened, who they didn’t reach and how they could make a levy more people would support.

“We want to make sure that the next time we go to voters that we have a package that’s really on-target,” said Allen.

Bike News Roundup: Biking to protect Seattle beaches

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 13:17

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some stuff going around lately that caught our eye.

First up, it may not be a carbon tax, but Seattle’s Jen Strongin was recently featured in a Lime promo video talking about her work to photograph Seattle beaches and why she rides a bike to get around as a way to protect the small creatures she finds:

Pacific Northwest News

Halftime Show! Bric TV profiled Brooklyn’s Courtney Williams, founder of the bicycle advocacy consultant service Brown Bike Girl:

National & Global News

This is an open thread.

Seattle’s Cranksgiving 2018 is November 17

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 10:27

Download the poster PDF and print it out to help spread the word.

A food drive scavenger hunt by bike, Cranksgiving riders bike to a secret list of unique food sellers around Seattle buying food to donate to Rainier Valley Food Bank. For the ninth year, Seattle’s Cranksgiving is hosted by Seattle Bike Blog.

The 2018 ride is Saturday, November 17, starting on Occidental Ave near the CenturyLink Field north parking lot. Register at 10:30 a.m. Hunt starts at 11 and ends back at the start by 2.

Invite all your friends via Facebook! The more the merrier.

You will get a list of needed food items and places to shop. You can go solo or as a small team (four adults max per team). The more you buy and the more places you buy from, the more points you get. There are also photo challenges and more.

New this year, Swift Industries is hosting a camping gear drive for neighbors experiencing housing instability through Just Say Hello. Donations at the start line will earn bonus points. Items accepted include: New adult socks, hats and gloves, and new or gently used (clean and undamaged) tents, tarps, backpacks, coats and rain jackets.

All skill levels welcome! Anyone can win a prize!

Free to enter, but expect to spend at least $20 buying groceries (more is welcome, of course). Bring a pen and a way to carry groceries.

Party at Swift Industries after the ride. Thanks to Olympia for sponsoring the party with some beer.

Last year, 125 people hauled an incredible 1,631 pounds of food to Rainier Valley Food Bank. Come have fun and spread the love.

Obligatory end of Daylight Saving Time bike lights post

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 13:40

Sunset is at 4:45 today. 4:45! That means the typical evening commute will happen in the dark and twilight hours for the next several months. So lets talk about bike lights.

Longtime readers may remember previous posts about bike lights like this one, and my advice remains largely unchanged: Buy a headlight bright enough to see bumps in the road, don’t put it on flashing mode and don’t point it in people’s eyes.

Biking at night is wonderful. But shopping for bike lights can be overwhelming because there are so many different options at a wide range of prices. Most people don’t want to spend any time thinking about their bike lights. But unfortunately, you need to. So here’s my advice as someone who has gone through a lot of bike lights in my time:

  • Make sure you have a way of keeping your lights charged. USB-charged lights are great. So are lights that can take AAs or AAAs, since those rechargeable batteries are common and cheap. Avoid lights that require annoying (and expensive) watch batteries, no matter how cute they are.
  • Keep your headlight on steady instead of flashing. Flashing headlights might make you feel more visible, but they may actually disorient other people and make it more difficult for them to pinpoint your location. Some people with epilepsy can be harmed by strobing headlights. A flashing headlight is also illegal (makes you wonder why they even have a flashing mode, doesn’t it?).
  • Don’t point your light in people’s eyes. It can be very easy to accidentally blind oncoming people. A lot of people just don’t realize how bright their lights are. You should angle your light slightly down so most the beam hits the ground in front of you. This splash of light on the road will make you more visible to people driving than shining the beam in their eyes, and it will help you better see potholes.
  • Use your lights in the fog, in the rain and when the sun is low in the sky. Lights are not just for dark.
  • Don’t leave your lights on your bike when you lock up. They will get stolen. Trust me.
  • Use your common sense, and do what feels safe to you. Some people prefer to get decked out in reflective gear and light up their bikes like a Christmas tree. If that’s you, then go for it. Others, like myself, feel comfortable with a set of good front and rear lights.

If you want to invest some money in lights that you will never need to think about again, ask your local bike shop about dynamo lights. These lights are usually quite powerful and mounted somewhat permanently so you don’t need to remove them when you lock up. And they are powered by your motion, so they turn on automatically when you start rolling and never need to be charged. But they will typically set you back a few hundred bucks and may even require building a new front wheel with a dynamo hub. So it’s not a simple upgrade. But as someone with a knack for destroying or losing battery-powered lights, I’ve probably saved money by investing in dynamo lights instead.

Do you have a favorite bike light? Talk it up in the comments below.

Missing Link design nearly complete, construction to begin this winter (unless the court intervenes)

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 11:30

Barring a court order, construction on the Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail is scheduled to begin this winter. So while an appeal is still working its way through the courts, the city is moving forward with a construction plan that would have the trail fully open by the end of 2020. That’s 18 years after the Seattle City Council first voted to build this segment.

The work has beed divided into two phases that will overlap. The first section, from the Locks to 24th and Market, is scheduled to begin construction in just a few months. If all goes as planned, it would be open in about a year. Construction on the second phase, from Market St. to Fred Meyer, is set to begin in the summer and would open in autumn of 2020.

The biggest sticking point of the whole route is the industrial driveway crossings along Shilshole. The latest design includes green paint and flashing LED signs warning trail users about trucks.

Many crosswalks have been significantly improved, as well. And there is now a biking and walking path to the 20th Ave NW Street End Park on Salmon Bay, which I did not even know existed. So that’s very cool. Here are the latest designs moving from east to west:

An appeal is still in process in King County Superior Court, where the appellants have a pretty tough case to make. They would need to convince the court that the Environmental Impact Statement and/or the Seattle Hearing Examiner process that ruled in the city’s favor were in some way legally inadequate. For example, the court recently denied an appellant argument that the Hearing Examiner was biased because he was promoted shortly after deciding in the city’s favor (the judge said that if an examiner pursuing career advancement were considered bias, that would “taint virtually all decision making by that body.”). Let’s hope the rest of the appellants’ arguments are similarly ineffective.

Because after this much delay, it would not be wise to assume this project will be completed until crews are pouring the cement. This is the closest the trail has ever been to construction, but appellants are still fighting hard.

Here’s the latest project update from SDOT:

Design of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link is nearly complete! The final design reflects ideas that we heard from key stakeholders, including an 11-member Design Advisory Committee (DAC), as well as community members from the Ballard area to design and refine the Missing Link and complete a multimodal corridor that supports all users.

We expect construction of the Missing Link will be split into two phases (see the map and construction timeline below).

  • Phase 1, including the portions of the corridor on NW 54th St and NW Market St, is expected to begin construction in early 2019.
  • The project team is continuing to work with property and business owners to further refine the design for Phase 2, which includes the portion of the corridor on Shilshole Ave NW and NW 45th St. Design for Phase 2 is expected to be complete by 2019, with construction expected to begin in mid-2019.

You can view the latest Missing Link design plans on the project website.

If you were not able to attend our outreach events, you can view event summaries and the complete outreach summary in our project library.

What is the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link project?
The Burke-Gilman Trail is a regional, mixed-use facility that runs from Golden Gardens Park in Seattle to the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell. The trail is complete except for a 1.4-mile segment through the Ballard neighborhood, known as the “Missing Link.”

The scope of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link project has evolved from a multi-use trail to a full multi-modal corridor that will accommodate all users for generations to come. Completing the Missing Link will create a safe, direct, and defined multi-use trail for persons of all abilities. It will also improve predictability for motorized and non-motorized users along the alignment and maintain truck and freight access to the industrial and water-dependent businesses within the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing and Industrial Center (BINMIC).

Through extensive community engagement during design, we’ve learned more about the corridor improvements that stakeholders would like to see. In addition to the trail, additional improvements include new street paving along Market St, new traffic signals on Shilshole, improved pedestrian crosswalks and sidewalks, a new access road, and new stormwater infrastructure.

The Missing Link has been included in the City’s comprehensive plan since the early 1990s, and is identified as one of the City of Seattle’s top-rated trail priorities in the 2014 Bicycle Master Plan.

Vote YES on Bainbridge Island’s SAFE Mobility Levy

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 14:34

As you may have noticed, Seattle Bike Blog does not have a voter’s guide this year. This is partly due to the limited number of local races and partly due to having a baby at home who occupies a lot of my time by being super cute and having a preference for sleeping in my arms.

We previously published a guest op-ed by Chris Covert-Bowlds in favor of I-1631. I just realized that Seattle Bike Blog never officially said we endorse this campaign, so here that is: Vote YES on I-1631!

But across Elliott Bay, Bainbridge Island voters have a very cool levy on their ballots that would invest $15 million over seven years into safe streets, walking and biking projects on the island. Proposition 1, or the SAFE (“Safe Access For Everyone”) Mobility Levy, would focus on improving roadway shoulders, trails, Safe Routes to School and sidewalks. From the City of Bainbridge Island:

Of course people on Bainbridge should vote yes, because this is all good stuff.

Many Bainbridge roads are designed like rural roads through the woods, so there are very few sidewalks and bike lanes. But outside of ferry rushes, traffic is typically pretty low. In this context, a good shoulder goes a long way to provide space for people walking and biking.

Biking on Bainbridge is often wonderful, and it’s easily the best way to get to and from the ferry. But there are some spots where it can get a little scary, especially during a ferry rush.  Investing to improve those areas of stress would not only improve safety, but would also make biking to Winslow or the ferry more inviting to more people. Combine this with the focus on Safe Routes to School, and this levy has a ton of potential.

So if you live on Bainbridge Island, vote YES on Prop 1!

In a return to its 1907 roots, UPS will deliver by cargo bike in downtown Seattle

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 12:19

Promo photo from UPS.

111 years ago, UPS began making deliveries by foot and bike out of Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Today, the company is returning to bikes, at least for some downtown deliveries.

The global delivery giant announced the pilot today along with Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“As Seattle grows and public and private megaprojects limit capacity on our downtown streets, this pilot will help us better understand how we can ensure the delivery of goods while making space on our streets for transit, bikes, and pedestrians,” said Durkan in the UPS press release. “We are eager to learn how pilots like these can help build a city of the future with fewer cars, more transit and less carbon pollution.”

The company has been experimenting with cargo bike deliveries in a handful of cities, mostly in Europe. The UPS bikes are electric-assisted cargo trikes with a rain cover for the operator and an enclosed box for the cargo.

They are not the first company in Seattle to make deliveries with such a bike. Freewheel has been operating for years, and established bike messenger companies like US Dispatch also have cargo bikes in operation.

Using cargo bikes for deliveries won’t just help reduce congestion, it also makes more sense for UPS assuming they can get the logistics right. Finding a place to stop a truck or van in dense areas of town is really difficult, so drivers often either have to park far away and haul packages by foot or choose to break the law by double parking or stopping in a bike lane.

Cargo bikes, however, can ride straight to the front door or loading dock. They are also much more mobile when traffic is heavy because they can use bike lanes. Of course, this only works when there is a bike lane to use, which is yet another reason why Seattle needs to build the Basic Bike Network downtown as soon as possible.

Depending on how the downtown pilot goes, UPS says it may expand its use of bikes for deliveries in more parts of the city.

Here’s the full press release from UPS:

In an effort to address growing traffic congestion and air quality concerns, UPS (NYSE: UPS) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan today announced the deployment of an innovative downtown delivery pilot project using pedal-assist cargo eBikes and customized, modular trailers. The cargo eBikes will operate in the historic Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle area on sidewalks and in designated bike lanes.

“While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations. “The modular boxes and trailer allow us to expand our delivery capabilities and meet the unique needs of our Seattle customers. It’s exciting to return to our roots – UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company. We’re looking forward to being able to offer these customizable urban delivery solutions to other cities nationwide.”

Developed in collaboration with Silver Eagle Manufacturing using Truck Trikes, the cutting edge cargo eBike system will have removable cargo containers that are deployed via a specially designed trailer. This unique, “plug and play” design will provide greater flexibility to meet varying delivery needs. It will also be able to make deliveries to areas conventional delivery trucks can’t access directly and currently require that trucks be parked on the periphery for long periods of time. This will reduce congestion in these areas by reducing truck dwell time, instances of double parking and other unintended consequences associated with downtown deliveries.

UPS partnered with the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop plans for the new pilot program. If successful, UPS will expand the route and consider additional cargo eBike deliveries in other areas of the city. This is the first tailored urban delivery solution to address growing traffic congestion in Seattle’s downtown corridor, and is part of UPS’s Cycle Logistics Solutions that help reduce carbon emissions, noise, and traffic.

The UPS® cargo eBike is equipped with a battery-powered electric motor that can travel longer distances than traditional bikes, carry substantial loads and navigate hills and other terrain. The modular, detachable boxes on the trailer can hold up to 400 lbs. and have a 95 cubic foot capacity. The bikes can be operated with human pedal power or battery power, providing drivers with the flexibility they need to navigate changing terrain and energy efficiency.

“Seattle has always been the city that invents the future, and now we are partnering with one of our hometown companies to help drive innovations in transportation,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “As Seattle grows and public and private megaprojects limit capacity on our downtown streets, this pilot will help us better understand how we can ensure the delivery of goods while making space on our streets for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. We are eager to learn how pilots like these can help build a city of the future with fewer cars, more transit and less carbon pollution.”

UPS and the University of Washington Urban Freight Lab will evaluate the cargo eBike’s reliability, design and integration into Seattle’s infrastructure over the next year. The Urban Freight Lab is an initiative that brings together transportation engineers and urban planners who manage public spaces with retailers, freight carriers and technology companies supporting transportation solutions. UPS will share data and analyses from the pilot for assessment against two of the lab’s key objectives: improving first delivery attempts and reducing “dwell time,” both of which should reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

The success of the UPS eBike was first demonstrated in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, and serves as a prototype for the company’s newest cargo eBike in Seattle. The company also operates inner-city delivery projects with delivery on foot and by bike in more than 30 major cities worldwide, including Leuven and Mechelen, Belgium; Paris and Toulouse, France; Frankfurt, Hamburg, Herne, Offenbach, Oldenburg and Munich, Germany; Dublin, Ireland; Rome and Verona, Italy; and London, U.K. in addition to the one other eBike previously operating in the United States in Pittsburgh.

Using its “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS deploys approximately 9,300  low-emission vehicles worldwide to determine what alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles work best in various routes and duty cycles. This includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and propane. In Washington, UPS uses 10 electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The cargo eBike is part of a broader UPS strategy to continue to electrify its delivery fleet.