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Updated: 23 weeks 5 days ago

Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition hosts Council candidate forums, D6 is Tuesday

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:00

Screenshot from the first forum: District 6.

Seattle’s City Council is facing its biggest shakeup since, well, the last time the seven district-based seats were up for a vote.

An unprecedented 56 candidates are running for the City Council seats, and only three incumbents are seeking another term (Crosscut put together a handy candidate guide). So we are guaranteed at least four new members on the Council, one seat away from a voting majority (the two at-large Council seats, held by Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzáles, are not up for election until 2021 along with the mayor).

You can hear candidates talk about transportation, housing and sustainability at a series of forums over the next couple weeks that members of the Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition have organized:

If you don’t know your district, enter your address on this page to find out. The primary is not until August 6, but don’t wait to register. If you are new to King County, we vote by mail here, which is wonderful. Register now to avoid any hassles getting your ballot. Since primary votes happen in the middle of summer, it’s easy to get distracted or busy and miss deadlines. Voter turnout is much lower in the August primary than in the November general election, which means your vote is especially important.

The MASS coalition is not currently planning primary forums for Districts 1 or 5. Only three people are running in District 1 including incumbent Lisa Herbold, and two of them will make it through the primary. So West Seattle has the easiest job for the next couple months. Six people are running in District 5, the same number as District 3. But neither of those has as many candidates as the open seats in 2, 4, 6 and 7. District 6 takes the cake with a stunning 14 candidates for Mike O’Brien’s spot.

The big business lobby has said they will spend big this year to try to win a majority they see as favorable to their interests. Meanwhile, the democracy voucher system has empowered more grassroots-level candidates than ever before. Sprinkle some candidates with disturbing and dehumanizing ideas about homeless people into the mix, and we have the makings for one of the toughest Council campaigns in recent memory. It will be a true test of the city’s values.

There are few major transportation measures in the near future (the Transportation Benefit District will need to be renewed in some form, but there are no votes on the scale of Move Seattle or Sound Transit 3). Instead, Councilmembers will be tasked with fulfilling the will of the voters and enacting the plans developed and funded over the past decade.

In some ways, this is harder than passing grand measures because it requires getting dirty and working through the finer details of compromise and change that our city needs if we are going to continue shifting more and more trips to biking, walking and transit. Neighborhood streets need to change. The amount of housing, especially near frequent transit service, needs to grow. Economic, racial and disability barriers need to be torn down. None of this work will be easy, and we will need a Council that is ready to hold the mayor accountable for completing this work.

Below is the event description for the District 6 forum tomorrow (Tuesday):

Join us for a City Council candidate forum focusing on making Seattle a more affordable and sustainable community. We will be hearing from candidates for City Council in District 6 as they answer questions about housing, mass transit, ensuring everyone is able to use our streets safely and achieving Vision Zero, reducing carbon emissions, and centering racial equity in all of this work.

This forum will be moderated by Heidi Groover (reporter for the Seattle Times and formerly for The Stranger).

District 6 includes Crown Hill, Greenwood, Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Greenlake, Tangletown, and Fremont.

Transit Riders Union and our partners at the MASS Coalition (including Sierra Club, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Subway, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, 350 Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Rooted in Rights, The Urbanist), and the Housing Development Consortium are coming together to host this forum.

The forum will be held at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (lower building), which can be reached via transit on Metro route 5. Bike parking is available on the west side of the building. This event is wheelchair accessible and CART services will be provided.

Doors open at 5:15, forum starts promptly at 5:30pm. We hope to see you there!

With the paint barely dry on bike-lane-free 35th Ave NE, person driving strikes and injures someone on a bike

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 16:23

Just hours after a video of dangerous conditions for people biking on the new 35th Ave NE gained a lot of traction on social media, someone driving struck and injured a person biking on the street near the intersection with NE 70th Street.

News about the injury was posted to the Safe 35th Ave NE facebook page this afternoon, and Seattle Bike Blog confirmed the details with Seattle Police.

Around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, someone driving collided with someone on a bike. The person biking was transported to the hospital by ambulance with a knee injury, according to SPD. The person driving was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

As is typical for traffic incidents, the details of the collision are not yet available pending investigation. As such, it’s not clear whether the scrapped bike lanes would have prevented it.

Sending my best wishes to the person injured.

But news of the collision certainly adds to growing concerns about the safety of the newly redesigned 35th Ave NE. The street was planned, designed and contracted to include bike lanes, but Mayor Jenny Durkan removed them at the last minute due to opposition from some project neighbors.

Design concepts for this stretch of 35th Ave NE from SDOT.

Her decision to remove the bike lanes drew strong criticism from people concerned about bike safety and the mayor’s commitment to its bicycle, Vision Zero and climate plans. People also voiced serious concerns about the city’s planned street design, which includes problems like wide travel lanes known to encourage speeding.

The decision to remove the bike lanes was due to politics, not best practices for designing safe streets. It went against the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and against the original design created and approved by SDOT traffic engineers after years of planning and public outreach. I hope nobody else is injured here, but hope alone is not enough to stop traffic injuries.

Here’s the video posted about 12 hours before the collision that called attention to how unsafe the new street design feels to someone on a bike:

First morning riding 35th since the redesign, already seeing dangerous passes. First car passing while a bike was turning left ahead. When there is a car waiting to turn left after, a car also tried to pass me, then backed off. Of course I catch up to them all at the light

— Mitch (@mitchellplease) May 16, 2019

UPDATE 5/20: A reader who did not wish to be identified reached out to say that they were waiting at the light at 35th Ave NE and NE 70th Street on a bike Sunday afternoon when someone driving sidewiped them while trying to make a right turn on red. The reader was not injured, but read this story and wanted to share:

Hey Tom – I just wanted to let you know that I was also hit by a car at 35th NE and 70th, while standing at a red light; the car attempted a right on red around me and bumped/hit me with its mirror. I wasn’t hurt, but still not ideal. The driver stopped and was apologetic, so i chose not to pursue it further. For a variety of reasons I don’t want to post this on twitter publicly, but please feel free to mention it in any articles.

Tour de Pints 2019 is Saturday

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 14:56

You know what would be a great way to wash down all those donuts tomorrow (Saturday)? Beer.

The annual Tour de Pints starts 11 a.m. at Peddler Brewing. The Beer Week event is a casual tide to five north Seattle breweries throughout the afternoon. And it’s free to join (obviously, the beer costs money).

Details from the event page:

For the 11th Year in a row Tour de Pints will be visiting some of the best breweries and pubs around town in celebration of Seattle Beer Week! TdP is a free, open-to-everyone and ride-at-your-own-risk event. Enter or exit the ride at any point you like. We’ll be posting online and in person when making the last departure out of each stop.

The Tour begins at Peddler
Peddler 11:30AM – Extra long stop here to gather people to start the ride. We leave at 1pm!
Ride 20 min -Up the only major hill on the route
Flying Bike Coop ~1:15PM
Ride 30 min – Nice ride down past the lake and through Ravenna
Burke Gilman ~2:30PM
Ride 15 min to Floating Bridge, 30 to Rooftop
Floating Bridge ~3:15PM – Optional detour. Leave BG early to do The Feat of Strength, up a hill for an extra beer then get to Rooftop late
Ride 15 min – Across the Fremont Bridge and down the Ship canal trail!
Rooftop – ~3:45PM our final stop! Though I can’t stop you from going further! Maybe… Dirty Couch Brewing??

Bicycle Benefits launches Bike Bingo today, hosts Tour de Donut Saturday

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 12:20

Get your 2019 Bike Bingo card for $3 at any of the businesses listed or at Friday’s launch party at Conduit Coffee.

You already bike to local businesses all the time, so why not make a game of it? Bicycle Benefits is launching their annual Bike Bingo today, a challenge to bike to local businesses and fill your bingo card by June 30. You get prizes for each row you complete plus even bigger prizes if you fill the whole card.

Bicycle Benefits is hosting a Bike Bingo kick-off party 5 to 9 p.m. today (Friday) at Conduit Coffee on Westlake Ave a couple blocks south of the Fremont Bridge.

Bicycle Benefits is on a mission to encourage more people to bike by partnering with local businesses to provide year-round discounts to anyone who bikes there and has a Bicycle Benefits sticker. You can buy a sticker for $5 at participating businesses, of which there are many. Check out the map.

The organization also hosts special events, like Bike Bingo and the Mighty-O Tour de Donut. Speaking of which….

Tour de Donut is Saturday

The 2019 Mighty-O Tour de Donut starts at 8:45 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Ballard Mighty-O location.

Basically a self-guided, non-competitive alleycat race, the Tour de Donuts will send people on a biking tour of Mighty-O locations. It’s a great excuse to bike with friends, eat donuts, drink coffee and support a good cause.

You can register online for $20. Proceeds will go to Bike Works.

Bike Everywhere Day 2019 is Friday + Map of morning ‘celebration stations’ across the region

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 11:40

Click for the interactive map. Or download this spreadsheet of locations.

Bike Everywhere Day 2019 (formerly known as “Bike to Work Day”) is Friday, and there will be 113 celebration stations spread throughout the region to provide encouragement, smiles and maybe some coffee or donuts for folks biking to work or wherever.

Cascade Bicycle Club’s main station is at the south end of the Fremont Bridge near the Nickerson St Saloon from 7 to 9 a.m. There is no City Hall rally planned this year, as had become a tradition in recent years.

The stations are staffed by various groups and businesses all over the region as a fun way of celebrating a day when a lot of new or occasional bike riders give biking a try. Most stations are open from 7 to 9 in the morning, though there are a handful of all-day or afternoon stations, too. You can check out the official map via Google Maps.

Bike Everywhere Day is a wonderful glimpse into the near future, giving an idea of what the city would be like with a healthy boost in the number of people biking to get around. I definitely suggest starting your day early so you have time to hit up as many stations as you can.

‘Extreme disappointment’: Bike Advisory Board letter seeks big improvements to Mayor’s bike plan

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:00

The same week the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee wrote a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council and SDOT calling foul on the mayor’s “disproportionately large” bike plan cuts, the volunteer Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board penned a similar letter “expressing our extreme disappointment” with the draft short term bike plan.

But unlike the oversight committee’s letter, which gave high-level advice, the SBAB letter includes several pages of specific needs that would go unmet in the draft plan. Their letter could be read as an olive branch to the Mayor’s Office and SDOT leaders, providing a possible path to regaining the public’s trust in their ability and willingness to deliver on the city’s bike safety and mobility.

Rather than going through the highlights, below is the full text of the SBAB letter to Mayor Durkan, the City Council and SDOT (PDF). Skip to the bulleted list for their specific recommendations:

The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) writes to you expressing our extreme disappointment in the draft Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan (IP) for the years 2019 through 2024. Despite a significant increase in ridership following construction of new bike infrastructure and the introduction of electric-assist bike shares during the Seattle Squeeze, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has provided a draft IP that fails to further the BMP vision of a citywide connected bike network. It also ignores the implementation priorities SBAB developed and communicated to SDOT. Additionally, the cancellation of planned bike lanes on 35th Avenue NE and NE 40th Streets signals the City of Seattle (City) prefers to avoid political risks rather than complete the bicycle network for people of all ages and abilities.

SBAB is designated by ordinance to review and input on the required annual update of the BMP IP. Board members spent many hours meeting with people in the biking community, riding potential routes, and with SDOT staff to prioritize valuable connections. Many of the highest ranking projects do not appear in the current IP draft, nor the list of eliminated projects. It is discouraging to see our work ignored. While we do not expect the City to heed every recommendation that is given, we believe SBAB’s time and energy should be treated with respect and accounted for in the decision process. Many of the SDOT/Department of Neighborhood-led café style discussions within four City sectors confirmed similar prioritization of projects and themes as prioritized by SBAB, regardless of location. As such, we request that every project that SBAB initially prioritized be explicitly included in the IP document with an explanation as to whether it will be a funded project or not.

Vision and Guiding Principles An Equitable Network

SBAB advocates for transportation justice for the neighbors of South Seattle: every neighborhood deserves safe infrastructure, yet South Seattle, where many of our City’s immigrant communities, low-income communities, and communities of color reside, is crisscrossed with dangerous routes for bicycles and pedestrians. Furthermore, SBAB, committed to the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, wants to correct past inequities that previously enabled miles and dollars focused on projects north of the ship canal. In response, SBAB prioritized many projects in South Seattle. With only six years left on the Move Seattle Levy, the City must take the opportunity to invest in planning for the key citywide network routes of South Seattle. The communities most historically underserved by transportation projects have waited for safe connections to jobs, schools, and services should not be left even further behind due to insufficient funding in 2025.

A Connected Network

SBAB advocates for a connected network: citywide routes that are “all ages and abilities” between neighborhoods and that also complement and connect to the region’s urban villages, expanding light rail, and transit networks. The current draft IP excludes many projects that support these goals; instead, many projects are a patchwork of routes that stub-end or lead to roadways that are not all ages and abilities.

Our Asks Project Recommendations

As stated in our guiding principles, SBAB’s highest priority projects are ones that promote equitable transportation options and increased connectivity to complete a citywide bicycle network. We believe that the following projects and themes, many of which are missing from the current draft IP and reiterated by the community in the café style discussions in April, would be the most transformative in achieving these goals. Projects often meet several themes and are purposefully redundant to provide justification for being the most important for the City at this time:

  • Major north-south routes in Southeast Seattle: Both Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley have higher proportions of households without cars. Southeast Seattle also is home to streets with high rates of traffic-related injuries and deaths, especially along Rainier Ave S. Southeast Seattle lacks direct, all ages and abilities, north-south routes that connect Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley to the citywide network. The existing Greenway routes require challenging topographical grades and significant backtracking to access downtown. The projects SBAB continue to prioritize are:
    •  A complete north-south connection from South Beacon Hill to Little Saigon
      • Initiating at S Kenyon St and ending at Yesler Way, along Beacon Ave S, 15th Ave S, and 12th Ave S.
    •  A complete north-south connection along Rainier Ave S to downtown
      • A complete street from Rainier Beach/Columbia City to S Mt. Baker Blvd
      • A long-term development plan to increase right-of-way from S Mt. Baker Blvd to S Dearborn St/S Jackson St, with parallel facilities to be funded under this BMP that are of the highest caliber in terms of safety, routing, and signage.
    • Martin Luther King Jr Way S between Mount Baker light rail station and the I-90 Trail/future Judkins Park light rail station
      • Connect light rail stations and bicycle networks on the wide right-of-way along Martin Luther King Jr Way S that is currently underutilized.
  • Safe connections to employment opportunities in SoDo and the Duwamish Valley: The Duwamish Valley is one of the largest employment centers of Seattle, yet there are no safe routes for bikes and pedestrians nor reliable, frequent bus services to get people to and from these jobs. Between SoDo and Georgetown, the unsafe road conditions with high freight traffic and high vehicle speeds have resulted in one recent fatality. The people living throughout the valley in encampments – some of the most vulnerable people in Seattle – use bicycle transportation as their connection to opportunity and must risk their lives to do so. Throughout SoDo and the Duwamish Valley, there are numerous flat corridors with generous rights-of-way, all of which could be potential routes. Both the Georgetown and South Park communities have demonstrated support for bicycle projects generally, and the following specifically, in multiple outreach projects, including the recent Georgetown Mobility Plan:
    • South Park-Georgetown Trail project
    • North-south SoDo connection project from the SoDo Light Rail Station to Georgetown (Airport Way S, 6th Ave S, 4th Ave S, 1st Ave S, and the continuation of the SoDo Trail are all options)
    • S Spokane Street (east-west connection from the West Seattle Bridge Path/East Marginal Way to Airport Way), possibly using the wide north sidewalk as a multi-use trail.
  • Major citywide routes in West Seattle: West Seattle has few connected routes along and across the ridges to connect people to the urban villages at Admiral Junction, West Seattle Junction, Morgan Junction and Westwood and to routes to downtown, South Park, and the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal. These routes, which were included in the 2017 BMP IP, would create a robust network for circulation within West Seattle as well as connections to the rest of the City for a part of Seattle that is fairly isolated, and include:
    • E Marginal Way, Fauntleroy Way SW, Sylvan Way SW, SW Roxbury St, and the Delridge Way SW Multi-modal project
  • Safe connections to public transit: As Link light rail expands, safe access to the light rail stations will be a necessity and help increase ridership of theCity’s transit investments while improve door-to-door travel times for users. Safe first mile/last mile connections to transit should be prioritized, as we see King County Metro is doing. Many of the projects already mentioned will provide transit connections; however, we will include all stations where connections are lacking:
    • Future stations, namely Northgate, Judkins Park, West Seattle Junction, and Delridge Stations
    • Stations on Martin Luther King Jr Way S, namely Rainier Beach, Othello, Columbia City, and Mount Baker Stations
    • SoDo Station to/from areas further south of the station
  • High ridership corridors that lack all age and abilities facilities: There are high ridership corridors that lack all ages and abilities facilities throughout the City, but especially in the Center City. Protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E would create an all ages and abilities citywide network connection betweennortheast Seattle and downtown, allowing access to some of the City’s densestareas and largest educational institutions and employers:
    • Eastlake Ave E between South Lake Union and the University Bridge
    • Center City Bike Network
Additional Funding

Key to advancing the City’s vision of a network of bike routes connecting our City is funding to pay for the transformational projects listed above. While some programs funded by the Move Seattle Levy were on track to deliver close to expected outcomes prior to the reset, the bike program is slated to deliver only 60% of projects. In partnership with a letter passed by the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee dated May 7th 2019, SBAB asks the City to bolster funding, find ways to speed delivery of crucial projects, and to put project delivery on parity with other modal programs within the Move Seattle Levy. SBAB also requests the projects listed above be advanced in planning above all other projects listed in the current draft Implementation Plan to the point that even if there is currently no identified funding source, they would be ready to advance should grant or other funding opportunity arise.

Political Commitment

SBAB implores our political leaders to deliver on the commitments made in the numerous adopted policies and plans including the Bicycle Master Plan, Climate Action Plan, Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School Program, the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the Complete Streets Ordinance, and the Comprehensive Master Plan, as well as the voter approved Move Seattle Levy. These policies demonstrate the City’svalues – safety, equity, sustainability, livability, health, and vitality – and represent the result of countless hours of public process.

SBAB asks the City to honor the aforementioned commitments by making decisions that aligned with the City’s goals and policies and informed by feedback provided from City Boards, Commissions, and Committees. Based on recent reversal of projects mentioned in the beginning of this letter, public trust has eroded in the City’spolitical will to implement or support bicycle projects. We fear that a precedent has been set, that a loud, angry minority, who is not representative of our racially and socioeconomically diverse city, can overrule years of citywide public process and adopted city policy. Please prove us wrong.

We therefore encourage Mayor Durkan, City Council Members, and Director Zimbabwe to preface the Implementation Plan with a letter of commitment to use best efforts to deliver on the BMP Implementation Plan.


Amanda Barnett Co-Chair
Emily Paine Co-Chair
Alex Lew Co-Vice Chair
Kashina Groves Co-Vice Chair

Oversight Committee raises flag on mayor’s ‘disproportionately large’ bike plan cuts

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 10:42

The committee tasked with watchdogging the city’s delivery of the $930 million voters approved through the 2015 Move Seattle levy has written a strong letter of concern about the lack of bicycle network progress and SDOT’s big cuts to the bike plan for the duration of the levy.

“We respectfully request the Mayor and City Council seek to deliver the bike facilities contained in the 2015 Levy by assigning additional, non-Levy funds to the bike safety program and giving higher priority to bicycle use of street space,” the committee wrote in a letter last week to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe.

This is a big deal. This committee was created by voters as part of the levy vote to make sure the city was spending this money for the voter-approved purposes. And the committee sees the mayor’s bike plan cuts as “a disproportionately large reduction” to the bicycle safety program.

The levy was approved 59–41, and the bicycle plan goals were very clear. Under the mayor’s new, massively-cut plan, only 60% of the levy’s bike program promises would be fulfilled assuming every mile included in her plan is constructed.

There is room here to talk about mileage vs impact, and the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (“SBAB”) has been open to missing the mileage goals if needed in order to fully complete difficult and more expensive connections instead (like downtown, SODO and major SE Seattle projects). But the mayor’s plan cuts mileage while also shying away from many of the most difficult and impactful connections, and the city oversight and advisory boards are calling foul.

SDOT and the Mayor’s Office has touted their slashed bike plan as only a draft with a final version due to the City Council in the coming weeks. This is the first short-term bike plan annual update produced under Mayor Durkan after her administration failed to deliver a 2018 short-term plan (I have requested a copy of the never-released 2018 plan, but have not yet received it). The feedback has been clear: The next version of it needs to be much more bold than the first draft. Advocacy organizations and SBAB have even suggested big projects she could restore or add to show she’s serious about making progress on bike safety and mobility. The ball is in her court.

Here’s the text of the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee letter (you can also see the official PDF):

Dear Mayor Durkan and City Councilmembers:

When voters approved the Levy to Move Seattle in 2015, they were promised significant investments in bicycle safety with a commitment to protect our city’s most vulnerable travelers, encourage bicycling, achieve Vision Zero, and meet our City’s climate change goals. The Levy deliverables included building approximately 50 miles of protected bike lanes and 60 miles of greenways, thereby completing over half of the Bicycle Master Plan citywide network.

The Levy Oversight Committee received and has been briefed on the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Implementation Plan 2019-2024. As proposed, the plan would deliver roughly 60% of the mileage originally promised, falling well short of the original commitment.

We respectfully request the Mayor and City Council seek to deliver the bike facilities contained in the 2015 Levy by assigning additional, non-Levy funds to the bike safety program and giving higher priority to bicycle use of street space. Bicycle safety projects should also be combined with implementation of other projects, particularly from the paving and transit programs, to reduce costs and deliver projects more quickly. At a minimum, the bicycle safety program should not experience a disproportionately large reduction of deliverables when compared to all levy programs, and the Oversight Committee would support a discussion of funds being moved from other Levy programs to prevent this.

Sincerely and on behalf of the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee,

Ron Posthuma, Co-Chair (2019/20)
Betty Spieth-Croll, Co-Chair (2016-19)

The first Bicycle Sunday of 2019 is this weekend

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 15:20

It’s time for the first Bicycle Sunday of the year!

The classic car-free event will follow its usual route on Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Familybike Seattle is hosting a Cyclofemme Kidical Mass ride starting 11 a.m. at the Mount Baker Park playground.

As we reported earlier this week, Outdoors For All will be in Seward Park for some of the Bicycle Sunday dates offering free adaptive cycle rentals as part of a partnership with SDOT paid for using bike share fees. Take note that the first such event is not until June 16.

More Bicycle Sunday details from Seattle Parks:

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

The 2019 event dates are

  • May 12, 19, 26
  • June 16, 23
  • July7, 14
  • August 11, 18
  • September 1, 8, 15

City and Commute Seattle want you to bike to bakeries

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:48

Click for interactive map.

In case you were looking for an excuse to hit up a bakery, Commute Seattle and SDOT have got you covered. They have a Bikes and Bakeries challenge going all May.

All you have to do is bike there and then scan a QR code at the register. If you visit four during the month, you’ll be entered to win unspecified “amazing bike-related prizes.” As though a bike ride, a fresh-baked good or cup of coffee wasn’t already a good enough prize…

Details from SDOT:

May is #BikeMonth, and we’ve got just the sweet treat for you to get riding! Join Commute Seattle’s Bikes and Bakeries Challenge, where you can win amazing bike-related prizes just for riding your bike and supporting bakeries across the city!

Participating is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Ride a bike to one of the participating bakeries.
  2. Scan the QR code at checkout and let Commute Seattle know which bakery you visited. Forgot to scan the code? Click here to submit your entry.
  3. Visit four bakeries during the month of May and be entered to win amazing bike-related prizes from local bike shops! Each additional bakery gives you another chance to win.
List of participating bakeries:

  • Alki Bakery | 5700 1st Ave S | 6AM–3PM
  • Amandine Bakeshop | 1424 11th Ave | 7AM-4PM | 10% discount
  • Belle Epicurean Bakery | 3109 E Madison St | 7AM–5PM | 15% discount
  • Columbia City Bakery | 4865 Rainier Ave S | 7AM–7PM | 10% discount
  • Dahlia Bakery | 2001 4th Ave | 7:30AM–5PM | 10% discount
  • Flying Apron Fremont | 3510 Fremont Ave N | 8AM–7PM
  • Flying Apron West Seattle | 4709 California Ave SW | 7AM-6PM
  • John Nielsen Pastries | 520 2nd Ave W | 7:30AM–4PM
  • Kaffeeklatsch Seattle | 12513 Lake City Way NE #H | 6:30AM–5:30PM
  • Le Panier | 1902 Pike Pl | 7AM–6PM | 10% discount on any one item
  • Macrina Belltown | 2408 1st Ave | 7AM–6PM
  • Macrina Queen Anne | 615 W McGraw St | 7AM–6PM
  • Macrina SODO | 1943 1st Ave S | 7AM–6PM
  • Nuflours Bakery | 518 15th Ave E | 7AM–6PM | Free coffee or tea with purchase of a pastry
  • Sugar Bakery & Coffeehouse | 110 Republican St | 6:30AM–10PM | 10% discount

SDOT partners with Outdoors For All to offer free adaptive bike rentals all summer

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:21

Photo from Sofie’s story on the Outdoors For All blog.

Bike share is amazing. Just beep a bike with your phone, and you’re riding wherever you want to go for a few nickels per minute. That is, of course, if you are physically able to operate the app and ride a two-wheeled sit-up style pedal bike.

That’s why Seattle is using part of the permit fees collected from bike share companies to fun an all-summer partnership with Outdoors For All to provide free adaptive cycle rentals. People can rent bike between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. any day May through September from the OFA Cycling Center in Magnusson Park. They will also bring cycles to a handful of community events, including many Bicycle Sunday events at Seward Park and the White Center Bicycle Playground.

OFA has an incredible selection of cycles that help people with a wide range of disabilities get out on a bike. The organization is home to one of the largest fleets of adaptive cycles anywhere, including handcycles, trikes, and various styles of tandem bikes with lots of fitting capabilities. They also have knowledgeable staff who can help people find a cycle that will work for them and get the bikes adjusted and ready to go. They also offer standard pedal bikes so able-bodied caregivers can ride along.

Details from SDOT:

May is #BikeEverywhereMonth and we’re working to ensure everyone has access to get out and enjoy the great joys of biking.

Did you know one of the nation’s largest fleets of adaptive cycles is housed here in Seattle? Outdoors for All Foundation, a local non-profit, provides adaptive recreation opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and boasts over 200 adaptive cycles in its Magnuson Park Adaptive Cycle Center.
Now, a new partnership between our Bike Share Program and Outdoors for All will help more people access these amazing cycles.

This summer, a portion of our bike share permit-generated fees will go straight to Outdoors for All, allowing this great organization to better serve the community through the Adaptive Cycling Center. Read on to learn about the many opportunities for you to get out and bike!
Free rentals, extended hours, and bikes in south Seattle – here’s what our partnership is providing:

1. All adaptive cycle rentals will be FREE in Magnuson Park through September 30, 2019!This new partnership will allow all rentals in Magnuson Park to be free-of-charge for children and adults with disabilities! You can rent an adaptive cycle through September 30, 2019 at the Adaptive Cycling Center in Magnuson Park.
What are adaptive cycles? They include:

  • Handcycles for individuals with no or limited leg movement
  • Three- and four-wheel cycles for those who need more stability
  • Children’s hand and foot powered cycles
  • Tandem cycles for individuals who want a guide while riding
  • Hand and foot cranked cycles exercising your whole body
  • Standard cycles

2. The Adaptive Cycling Center will remain open 7 days a week from May through September. Now, you can cycle all week long! With our partnership, adaptive cycles will be available for drop-in rentals 7 days a week from 10 AM – 6 PM through September 30.

3. We’ll bring the adaptive cycles to 10 events in South Seattle this summer. We understand that Magnuson Park isn’t easily accessible for those living in the South Seattle. That’s why this partnership allows for Outdoors for All to bring their trailer full of adaptive cycles to 10 events this summer!
People will be able to stop by and try an adaptive cycle free-of-charge at these events, including Seward Park Bicycle Sundays and White Center Bicycle Demonstrations. Check out the complete list of dates here!

Locations, dates and times:
  • Seward Park June 16 & 23, July 7 & 14, August 11 & 18, September 8 & 15
  • White Center Bicycle Playground June 21st & September 21st.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cascade’s annual Bike Everywhere Breakfast is Tuesday

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 12:01

Hey, did you know May is Bike Month? I know, I know, every month is bike month in Seattle. I hear you.

May is filled with events and organizational efforts to help get more people on bikes heading into summer. As we see from Seattle’s bike counter data, bike trips spike in the summer as expected. But higher summer use turns into higher winter use as a lot of people who take up biking when it’s nice out get in the habit and continue year-round. That’s why many people find WA Bikes’ annual May Bike Everywhere Challenge effective: It keeps them honest for a month, helping them to build a habit. We may be a week in, but you can still sign up.

Cascade Bicycle Club’s annual Bike Everywhere Breakfast is tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the downtown waterfront. It’s free, but there’s a fairly spicy $175 suggested minimum donation.

Peter Walker, author of How Cycling Can Save the World, is the keynote speaker this year. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will also speak. You can register online or just show up and register at the door. Doors open at 7, program starts at 7:30. Will be done by 9. More details from Cascade:

“Around the globe this most benign of swarms is here. On their own, each cyclist is just flesh, blood and a machine of such beguiling simplicity and perfection that its fundamentals have stayed roughly the same for 140 years. But together, like the fireflies, they are a powerful indicator of the vitality and livability of the city’s streets. Together they can save the world.” Peter Walker, How Cycling Can Save the World

Throughout the morning you will also hear from our 2019 Doug Walker Award recipient, Barb Chamberlain, Director, Active Transportation Division, WSDOT and Seattle City Council member, Teresa Mosqueda.

Bike share parking still an accessibility issue, but it’s getting better

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:58

New Alki bike parking. Photo from SDOT.

In June 2018, 4% of bike share bikes were parked in a way that impeded a walkway or curb ramp. Today, that figure is fewer than 2%, according to the latest SDOT bike share audit, the Seattle Times reports.

Bikes impeding on the safety and accessibility of our sidewalks is a problem. Yes, people do far worse with cars all the time (and cars are a lot harder to move out of the way than bikes), but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for bikes to also block sidewalks or cause tripping hazards or obstructions for our neighbors with disabilities.

But in recent reporting, I feel like it is important to note that not only are there solutions in the works, but bike parking habits are improving fairly significantly. The improvement is likely due to a variety of factors:

  • There is more bike parking now, including some SDOT experiments with lower-cost painted bike parking spaces in congested areas.
  • Users are likely much better educated about parking rules now, since the companies and the city have been spreading the word for nearly two years now.
  • The bikes have better kickstands now. First generation LimeBikes and Spin bikes had faulty or unreliable kickstands that were prone to break, making them nearly impossible to park correctly. Those have all been replaced at this point.
  • ofo left town (and the continent). Though I don’t have data to back this up, ofo seemed to be less concerned with maintaining order with their bike fleet.

Annotations by Seattle Bike Blog. Base image from SDOT’s draft update for their Right of Way Improvement Manual.

In fact, the city has responded to the low non-compliance rates by (rightfully) moving the goal post to make the standard for bike parking more stringent. By their new metric, 14% of bikes are causing problems. This is important, because now there is a new goal to work toward.

And it is important that companies and SDOT work together to increase compliance through further public education and by providing more designated bike parking space. Much of the bike share permit fees, which are significant, have been earmarked for bike parking installation, which will be an ongoing effort to continue improving the bike parking supply over time.

And you all can help out by moving any bikes you see improperly parked as a favor to your neighbors.

A larger percentage of bikes are technically parking incorrectly, but aren’t in a place where they would cause an issue.

Designated bike parking is still grossly inadequate for the demand in most parts of the city. And the city needs to especially focus on on-street bike parking, since installing bike racks is more difficult on crowded sidewalks. The parking lane on a street is public space intended for the parking of vehicles so that they don’t impede space for people, so that’s exactly where our bike parking belongs. If there were a bike corral at every business district intersection, for example, that would take a lot of stress off limited sidewalk space. And if a bike falls over in an on-street bike corral, it likely won’t impede anyone’s walking path.

Bike share continues to serve a huge role in increasing the number of trips people are making in our city by bike. Thanks in largely part to these services, more people are biking in Seattle than ever before. And the numbers continue to grow. Along with this growth, though, comes the need to continue getting better about bike share parking. And I also hope people keep some perspective here, since cars remain the biggest impediment to safe walking in our city by a long, long shot.

Trail Alert 5/6: Burke-Gilman detour near Seattle city limit

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 08:00

Trail closure map from King County Parks.

The Burke-Gilman Trail will be closed for a stretch May 6 around Seattle’s border with Lake Forest Park so King County Parks can remove six hazardous trees.

The good news is that this stretch parallels Riviera Pl NE, which should be an easy detour route.

Details from King County Parks:

Trail closed between 42nd Pl NE and 40th Ave NE

A contractor working with King County Parks will be removing six hazardous trees leaning  out along the trail. The project is expected to take one full day to complete and will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2019 and be complete by 7 p.m.

Trail users may opt to use Riviera Place NE as a bypass for the duration of the closure. We ask that all trail users please obey all posted trail closure signs as the trail is narrow and the edge drops off quickly around the work site.

Please call 206-477-4527 or email with any questions or concerns.

New Roosevelt-to-Downtown Bike Train starts service Friday

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 10:07

Seattle’s newest bike train will begin service from the future Roosevelt light rail station, serving Ravenna, the U District, Wallingford, Fremont and Queen Anne en route to South Lake Union and downtown.

Started by Nick van den Heuvel, the route meets 7:30 a.m. Friday at Broadcast Coffee on Roosevelt Way just north of NE 65th Street. The ride starts at 8 and will arrive downtown by 9. The plan is to host the bike train every Friday morning.

I'm leading a new @Sea_BikeTrain line this Friday and every Friday after that! Start at Broadcast Coffee meet at 7:30 AM, leave at 8:00 AM. We will be riding via Fremont in case you want to join there. Click the link for more info and to RSVP! #SEABikes

— Nick vdH (@206Husky) May 1, 2019

This is the third bike train route, inspired by southend neighbors who earlier this year started bike trains from Othello to downtown via Beacon Hill and Columbia City to downtown via Mount Baker. The whole idea was inspired by bike trains in other cities, especially New York City, and by West Seattle neighbors who organized group rides ahead of the Viaduct shutdown.

Want to help start a bike train serving your neighborhood? Check out this FAQ and email for some help getting started. And, of course, let Seattle Bike Blog know so I can help spread the word. Feel free to use the comments below to get organized.

More details on the Roosevelt Line from Seattle Bike Train:

Map from Seattle Bike Train.

This route leaves from Broadcast Coffee on 6515 Roosevelt Way NE near 65th, travelling via the Roosevelt Ave protected bike lane to the Burke-Gilman Trail, stopping at PCC Fremont to pick up riders, traveling along the Westlake bike path, 9th Ave, Bell St., the 2nd Ave. protected bike lane, making a stop at Westlake Park, before returning to 2nd Ave and ending at Marion/2nd. The ride meets around 20-30 minutes before departing in case you need a refresher with basic cycling practices; however, more experienced riders are welcome to show up closer to the Ride Start Time.

Don’t have a bike? Read the FAQ for solutions!

  • Ravenna/Roosevelt – Start
    • Meet at Broadcast Coffee (6515 Roosevelt Way NE)
    • Depart at 8:00 AM on Fridays
      • Meetup as early as 7:30 AM
  • Fremont – Stop
    • Meet in the protected lane across from PCC Fremont. (600 N. 34th St.)
    • Depart at: 8:30 AM on Fridays [Estimated]
  • Westlake Park
    • Arrives approximately 8:50 AM.
    • We skip this stop if this is not a destination for the morning’s riders.
  • Occidental Square/Pioneer Square/Downtown – End
    • Arrival: 9:00AM [Estimated]
  • You can join the ride along the route by requesting a flag stop when you RSVP.

Bike News Roundup: NYC’s misguided crackdown on workers using e-bikes

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:54

It’s time for the Bike News Roundup! Here’s a look at some stuff going around the ol’ web lately. This is an open thread.

First up, New York City continues its misguided crackdown on delivery workers using e-bikes. A short documentary by Jing Wang shows how Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy hurts immigrant workers in the city:

Pacific Northwest News

National & Global News

Seattle needs a Car Master Plan

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 15:30

Cover image for the Seattle Car Master Plan, I assume.

Seattle has a Bicycle Master Plan, a Pedestrian Master Plan, a Transit Master Plan and a Freight Master Plan. It’s well past time our city give the same treatment to the many people who drive cars in our city by creating the first ever Seattle Car Master Plan.

I am only sort of joking.

Without a Car Master Plan, many of Seattle’s biggest transportation investments are being spent without a clear focus on how these public projects will help us reach our major climate change, race and social justice, public health, housing growth, and high-level transportation goals. All of the other modal master plans take these issues seriously, but those master plan projects are the exception to the rule at SDOT. The default mode of operation is that every inch of road space should go to cars unless an existing master plan says otherwise. And even then, those plans are only considered suggestions that can be ignored.

But more road space is not better for people in cars, either, though it sure seems like the mayor and SDOT’s leadership has forgotten that. Building a safe bike lane on a street increases safety for all road users, including people in cars. It’s not a zero-sum game. We are all in this together, and we all need to get where we’re going safely.

Like the other modal plans, the Car Master Plan could study best practices for designing roads to reduce injuries and deaths for people inside and outside of cars and make recommendations for how to most safely keep cars moving on our streets. After all, getting to your destination without injuring yourself or others is undeniably the most important priority of a car trip.

Some see a bike plan, others see a no-bikes plan

Map from the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. Face or vase image by Nevit Dilmen, shared via Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license as is this new image.

One big problem with having modal plans is that, depending on how the mayor or project team chooses to look at it, a master plan can either be a list of priority projects or a map of places where the safety and access needs of people biking can be ignored. After years of outreach and study, the Bicycle Master Plan includes a map of priority projects to be completed over 20 years. But project teams often cite the lack of a mention in the bike plan as justification for choosing not to make their street safer for biking.

The gray areas in the map above simply default to cars. They are reading the bike plan in the inverse, which is not how it was intended to be used. N/NE 50th Street, 25th Ave NE, and 24th Ave E are a few examples in design or construction right now that treat the plan this way. People bike on each of these streets all the time, and their safety matters even if they didn’t get a blue line.

SDOT folks like to say, “not all streets can handle all modes,” but it’s funny how that never seems to apply to cars. Which streets can go car-free? I’d like to see that map.

A case study: Repaving N 50th Street

NE 50th Street looking east toward I-5 from 4th Ave NE.

Project map from the N/NE 50th Street fact sheet (PDF).

Let’s take the street I used as the cover image for this imaginary document: N/NE 50th Street in Fremont, Wallingford and the U District. There is nothing unusual about this project, as streets like this exist in every part of the city (though the most dangerous ones tend to be located in less wealthy and less white neighborhoods). You can replace all references to “N/NE 50th St” with the four-lane street near your house.

This street is currently slated for a massive public investment as the city prepares to repave 1.7 miles of the street from Phinney Ave N to Roosevelt Way. There is no transit service on this street, and only the westernmost blocks have bike lanes. The street is very difficult and dangerous to cross on foot because it is four lanes for most of its length. The project will improve curb ramps and repair some sidewalks, as is legally required, but it will do little or nothing to help people cross traffic safely.

Why is this project happening, and why does it disregard safety in its basic road design? You can see how misguided the project team is by this section of the project Q&A (PDF):

Q: Can you widen the street to make room for additional improvements for all modes of travel?

A: Unfortunately, we are not able to widen the street to make room for additional improvements because in most cases we’d need to acquire property … As a result, we are designing the streets to be built within the existing curbs.

Q: Will the project eliminate travel lanes?

A: The current project design will not eliminate general travel lanes…

Did you see what happened there? The project team is saying, “We are going to continue giving all the road space to cars. And if you are asking for help crossing the street or getting around safely by bike then you must be asking us to buy and demolish people’s front yards, which is a very unreasonable request to make.” This is the bizarre response of a team that has lost its way and needs guidance. Nobody is asking them to buy people’s front yards, and they know it. People want to be able to walk and bike across and along this street in safety.

This response also points to the need for a Car Master Plan. Because any effort to get a safe crosswalk or bike lane or bus lane requires massive study and advocacy work to prove both its viability, need and public support. But extra general purpose lanes never need to go through such a process. How does the inclusion of double-barrel travel lanes help the city meets its larger goals? Will it decrease greenhouse gas emissions or help more trips shift to walking, biking and transit? Will it help the city grow equitably? Will it protect the health and safety of the people using it?

Why didn’t this project ever need to answer these questions?

Design study: Double-barrel travel lanes

From the Seattle Safe Routes to School Engineering Toolkit (PDF).

N/NE 50th Street is four lanes for most of its length, and at most points there are multiple through lanes in the same direction. I refer to these as “double-barrel travel lanes” because they create a well-known and studied traffic danger called a “multiple threat.” You may not have heard that term before, but you have experienced it. And it affects anyone trying to cross or turn left across two lanes traveling in the same direction, whether you are on foot, bike or in a car. It goes like this: You want to cross, and someone in lane closest to you stops to let you go. But you can’t see around that stopped car, and neither can the person driving in the next lane over. So you step or bike or drive out just as *BOOM*, someone comes barreling through at cruising speed completely oblivious to your existence.

This scenario is the cause of very serious collisions types, including t-bone car crashes, which are among the most dangerous and deadly types of car crashes (only head-on crashes are worse). Even a street designed solely with the safety of people in cars in mind would eliminate this scenario. And the good news is that we know how to do so: Build one through lane per direction. The space freed up can be used to build bike lanes or safer crosswalks or turn lanes or space for planting trees or stormwater-cleaning bioswales or car parking or loading zones or whatever the street needs.

There is no legitimate justification for double-barrel travel lanes on a city street, yet Seattle has no process through which the building of these dangerous lanes are forced to prove their value, viability and alignment with our other city goals. And it’s time for that to change.

People walking should be the default mode

Image from Wisconsin Bike Fed.

Right now, SDOT’s default transportation mode is driving. This is wrong, as I’m sure a Car Master Plan would note. Legally speaking, people walking have the default right of way, and our streets should reflect this. Did you know that nearly every intersection is a legal crosswalk whether it is painted as one or not? If you step off a corner into a four-lane street, for example, everyone driving is legally required to stop for you. But they won’t, and that’s due to the street design.

When repaving a street, SDOT should be required to design every single legal crosswalk to be safe to use. Or to put it another way, a person walking should always be able to cross the street. It is SDOT’s job to make sure their street design encourages legally-required yielding, and a great side-effect would be that many more trips in the area would become more viable by foot or other assistive mobility device because people would not need to walk blocks out of the way just to get to a safe crosswalk.

All crosswalks should be legally required to achieve some high compliance threshold (preferably 100 percent, though there are always a few jerks who just don’t care). But SDOT continues to design streets with legal crosswalks they know will not be respected by people driving. This is unethical, and it’s clear that nothing short of a change in law will shift the department’s anti-walking priorities.

The same goes for the use of beg buttons that are used as a way to skip walk signals entirely when nobody pushed the button in time. This results in dangerous situations where people realize too late that they are getting skipped and make a run for it. There are also walk signals where people are expected to wait far longer than is reasonable. There should be reasonable limits on how much time is allowed between walk phases.

And all this would fit perfectly in a Car Master Plan, because it is clearly in the best interest of people driving that they don’t hit somebody trying to cross an unsafe street.

Wow. This is powerful. Ghost traffic carnage. People are dying on our streets so in all kinds of ways. These collisions are preventable, we just need to stop being numb to it.

— Seattle Bike Blog (@seabikeblog) April 26, 2019


Vision Zero and complete streets with teeth

OK, this post have been mostly in jest because every point I have made about why we need a Car Master Plan has already been codified elsewhere, most explicitly in the city’s Vision Zero plan and complete streets ordinance. But these documents are not being seriously followed, and that needs to change. Perhaps it’s time for the City Council to pass a complete streets ordinance that actually has teeth. We need a law that requires the city to make streets safer for all road users, not one that merely forces the city to “consider” their needs. Because someone who is injured while crossing double-barrel travel lanes is not helped by the project team’s consideration.

Perhaps we also need to specifically identify dangerous road conditions that SDOT must eliminate when conducting road work, including double-barrel travel lanes, extra-wide travel lanes, slip lanes for fast turning and beg buttons that require a push to activate the walk signal. Because the department continues to ignore these safety issues unless projects are specifically safety projects, likely from a modal master plan.

Cambridge recently passed a law that essentially requires the city to build protected bike lanes that are in their bike plan when repaving those streets. Seattle could consider that, as well. And, as we’ve noted before, this would also help people driving because bike lanes aren’t actually for people biking, they are for people driving. Infrastructure that helps people driving avoid breaking the law or injuring other people is good for people driving.

That’s why eliminating bike lanes and cutting the bike plan is bad for people driving, too. Because the bike plan isn’t just for people who bike, it is a vision document for our city’s future. It is for everyone, even if they don’t bike themselves.

Last push to get block-the-box and bus lane enforcement bill through the Senate

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 15:23

Screenshot of the TCC web tool to tell your Senator you support the bill.

The Washington State legislature initially failed this session to pass a law to allow cities to use automated camera enforcement to keep bus lanes and intersections clear. But thanks to some great, persistent advocacy from organizations like Transportation Choices Coalition and Rooted In Rights, the bill is back as a part of the state budget.

HB 1793 has already passed the full House and the Senate Transportation Committee. Now it has a handful of days to get a vote on the Senate floor, and you can help.

TCC put out this call for help and a handy online tool to help you quickly send a message to your Senator:

HB 1793 passed the House floor and Senate Transportation Committee! Now it’s headed to the Senate Rules Committee and — with your help — the Senate floor for a final vote.

TCC has been working with Representative Fitzgibbon, Senator Saldaña, and Senator Nguyen, as well as partners Rooted in Rights and the City of Seattle to pass the “block the box” legislation, which would allow Seattle to use automated traffic camera enforcement to keep people safe and transit moving.

HB 1793 will help keep intersections and bus lanes clear, improving safety and transit reliability. When crosswalks and curb ramps are blocked, people walking or using mobility devices are forced to navigate around cars, often into moving traffic lanes. Our partner Rooted in Rights produced a videothat shows the impacts of blocked intersections on people who use wheelchairs.

This is our final push of the 2019 session to pass this critical legislation! Stand up for safe streets and transit reliability and help pass this bill. Simply fill out the form to tell your legislators to support House Bill 1793.  

Let’s keep bus lanes clear for buses, crosswalks clear for people, and ensure traffic can flow through intersections when the light turns green.

Thank you,

Transportation Choices Coalition


We have worked hard and attempted multiple strategies to keep this bill moving. We successfully added an amendment to make this bill “necessary to implement the budget,” or NTIB in oly speak.. When a bill is NTIB, it is not subject to any regular cutoffs and we can continue advocating for it until the very end of session. This path means that a portion of revenue from the amended block the block bill would go towards pedestrian and bicycle safety through the Washington State Transportation Safety Commission. We are grateful for partners like YOU who are helping move this legislation forward!

Padelford: Let’s build a better bike movement

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:43

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Mayor Jenny Durkan delaying or cancelling so many bike route plans, Gordon Padelford and I had a conversation wondering how the movement for safe streets and better bike routes should evolve from here. Padelford, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, then reached out with this open letter to people who bike in the Seattle area community. 

Feeling this: "We come today to mourn the loss of the Bicycle Master Plan, Vision Zero, the Seattle Climate Action Plan, & the Complete Streets Ordinance—& we look to you @SeattleCouncil for guidance, and advising @MayorJenny, the Mayor's office, & @seattledot to bring them back!

— Seattle Greenways (@SNGreenways) April 8, 2019

Video: Apu Mishra and Tamara Schmautz shredding Seattle’s Climate Action Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, Complete Streets Policy, and Vision Zero Plan, symbolizing the disregard the mayor places on these plans and goals.

Dear Seattle bike movement,

Apu and Tamara’s symbolic shredding of the city’s climate and transportation plans represents what a lot of us have been feeling: What good are plans if the mayor turns around and ignores them when the going gets tough? We have all learned the hard way from the cancellation of long-planned bike lanes on 35th Ave NE and N 40th St that political pressure matters most in this mayor’s decision making — more than our city’s shared values and goals for health, safety, climate, fiscal responsibility, and accessibility.

So, what should the bike movement do in an era when raw politics matters most? By “the bike movement,” I mean the people and organizations who care about making our city a great place for everyone of all ages, abilities, walks of life, and backgrounds to cycle for their everyday needs.

Let’s build a bigger and better bike movement that is politically powerful enough to hold our elected leaders to Seattle’s values and goals, especially when there are loud voices trying to drag them back towards a 1950s vision for our streets. Let’s deepen and broaden our relationships and the base of people involved, and recognize that the “bike movement” is only one piece of a much larger effort — advocacy for housing, affordability, transit, disability rights, climate, community-building, walking, safety, police reform, public health, and more — to make a better city for everybody. And let’s redouble our efforts to out-organize and out-mobilize those who would oppose basic safety changes to our streets.

Where We’ve Been

We should start by recognizing that the bike movement has already come a long way — even just since 2011 when Seattle Neighborhood Greenways got started. Back in 2007, a family biker who wanted protected bike lanes for her kids felt so unwelcome by the bike movement that she quit the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, but now, in a sign of the times, this board is led by two dynamite women who focus on equity and an inclusive movement. (EDITOR: This paragraph edited and a link added for clarity.)

Meanwhile, the leadership of Cascade Bicycle Club, at the time, laughed at people wanting to host slow rides for people new to cycling rather than athletic training rides, but now Cascade and others offer a variety of classes and rides for people who are just beginning to bike for everyday needs. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) was building a bike network of sharrows, mainly serving people who were comfortable riding in fast traffic; today, we have a Bicycle Master Plan that focuses on reaching the 60% of people who would like to bike more but don’t feel that it is comfortable, safe, and convenient yet.

Tonya Ricks Sterr with her family bike and child.

The movement toward all-ages-and-abilities cycling was helped along by the formation of Totcycle, FamilyBike Seattle, and Kidical Mass, people-powered efforts that helped make Seattle a more welcoming space for parents and their kids to cycle.

As for our part, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was founded to help the bicycle movement evolve, and did so by focusing on people and their everyday needs. We brought three critical ingredients to the movement: grassroots neighborhood organizing, pushing safety to the forefront of the conversation, and recognizing the importance of walking as well as biking in building a city that works better for everyone.

Deepening and broadening the movement

We are being held back by the perception that the only people who bike, and want to bike, present like me — young, white, male, cisgender, and wealthy. Ironically, the truth is that people of color are more likely to bike than white people, and people who have low incomes are much more likely to bike than rich people (see references at the end of this piece). And yet, the people showing up to advocate for safe streets don’t always reflect this. We can and should do more to lift up and amplify the voices of the young, old, families, women, people of color, queer, disabled, and low-income individuals. Toward this goal, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has recently completed a Racial Equity Action Plan and Strategic Plan, with significant commitments about how we operate both internally and with collaborators. What underlies these and other commitments is what Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ work has been about from the very beginning — caring deeply about people.

Here are our top recommendations (and SNG-wide commitments) for building a bigger tent:

  1. Strong Relationships: Let’s show solidarity, build relationships, and work collectively with parallel and interconnected movements, particularly those movements that work toward inclusion of under-represented communities in transportation advocacy. In particular, we should build authentic and trust-based relationships with organizations and informal groups that create welcoming spaces in the movement like Black Girls Do Bike, Brake the Cycle, Outdoors For All, Rooted in Rights, Kidical Mass, Friends with Bikes, WTF Bike Explorers, Senior Ladies on Wheels, and Seattle Family Biking. Through these relationships, the movement must become more responsive to the complexity of people’s lived experience and recognize that solutions that work for some communities might be less effective or even counterproductive for others (like police enforcement in communities of color).
  2. New Leaders: Let’s build a better talent pipeline for people of color and other under-represented groups in leadership roles in our movement.
  3. Multi-issue Alliances: Let’s build more strong multi-issue alliances and campaigns like the Move All Seattle Sustainably Coalition and the Community Package Coalition in recognition that people don’t live single-issue lives, and that we are strongest when pushing for a unified vision of the city we all want to live in. One part of this is doing a better job talking about cycling in the broader context of why it matters to the values and needs of people who don’t bike, so that everyone can share a piece of the vision.

Building a big tent is not just the right thing to do, it also builds our people power.

Three hopeful stories

I want to tell you three stories of how Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ neighborhood chapters are focusing on people power to win real improvements for their communities.

1) Bikes Mean Businesses:

While we know that empirically (see further reading) bikes are good for businesses in terms of sales and talent recruitment and retention, when working with Seattle’s small business districts what matters most is listening and building relationships, as SNG’s local chapter Central Seattle Greenways (“CSG”) has shown. CSG teamed up with the Capitol Hill Community Council, Capitol Hill Housing’s EcoDistrict and Renters Initiative, and other community groups to do door-to-door outreach along the Pike/Pine corridor. Volunteers fanned out across the hill and talked with business owners and employees to listen and learn what their issues and ideas around traffic safety were. This was followed up by a community design workshop where 150 people talked with their fellow neighbors about what they needed out of a redesigned Pike/Pine. Thanks to their efforts, the temporary Pike/Pine protected bike lanes installed later this year will better meet the needs of neighboring businesses while providing safety for people biking..

The community-led Pike/Pine workshop.

2) Biking For Basic Necessities:

When working in communities of color, Seattle Neighborhood Greenway strives to partner with community members and organizations, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in Seattle’s main Latinx neighborhood of South Park. In conjunction with the Seattle Parks Foundation and SNG chapter Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, we are contracting with Rocio Arriaga, a leader of the South Park Retail Merchants Association, who also runs a business focused on transforming lives of people through hands-on education. As she says, “South Park is a neighborhood with a lot of ill people because of pollution. It is a small neighborhood with a lot of needs but working together we can make our environment and spaces safe to live. With this project of A Safe & Healthy Route to Connect Communities & Commerce in Duwamish Valley, more people can cover their needs of transportation, exercise and work between neighborhoods feeling safe to do it.”

Through this partnership, she hired Spanish-speaking youth to talk to their neighbors about their transportation needs and to get input on the Georgetown to South Park Trail idea. This outreach and the trail itself are laser-focused on the basic necessities of people in the Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods, because each neighborhood has basic services that the other lacks (a grocery story, library, community center, bank, playfield, health clinics, etc.).

The youth outreach team showing off some of the surveys they conducted.

3) Building a Bike Network Neighbor by Neighbor:

The most glaring omission from the Mayor’s bike plan is lack of a single useful north-south bike route for Southeast Seattle. Beacon Hill Safe Streets, another SNG chapter, is canvassing the neighborhood to listen to what residents believe would make the spine of Beacon Hill (12th-15th-Beacon Ave) safer, more comfortable, and convenient for people walking, biking, strolling, jogging, etc. These neighbor-to-neighbor conversations help make sure any plan developed will best reflect the needs of the community, build momentum for the route, and identify supporters who are willing to advocate to complete this critical route.

The author with Mike (an interested neighbor) and volunteers Margaret and Sean

For those of you who may wonder if this kind of slow, person-to-person community-organizing is really effective for growing political power, the answer is yes — definitely. It’s critical not only to building community support for key projects, but it also helps build a base of people who can show up to testify, write letters, tell compelling stories, and put pressure on on our elected officials to do the right thing. It demonstrates that there are a large number of people who are so passionate about this issue that they are willing to spend their time talking person-to-person about why this is important —  a clear signal to politicians who are always hungry for volunteers to help knock on doors.

Get involved: This is your movement A Final Thought

Change in Seattle often feels painfully slow and incremental — especially when the challenges our city face around climate, affordability, and safety are so big and urgent. Other cities like, London, New York, Calgary, Paris, D.C., Chicago, and Vancouver are showing that it’s possible to quickly make transformational changes. We can, and should, demand bold leadership that makes our city into the sustainable, thriving, and equitable place we all want it to be. And I hope you will stay engaged and energized for the long haul, because we all need each other if we are going to build up enough muscle to make that big leap.

Thank you,

-Gordon Padelford

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways


Further reading:

Trail Alert: Chief Sealth Trail detour at S Graham St

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 08:00

The Chief Sealth Trail will be detoured for about two blocks along S Graham St and 31st Ave S starting today (April 22) and lasting up to one month.

The closure is for a project to make crossing improvements where the trail route crosses Graham, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that we confirmed with the project team there will be no temporary bike lane or trail for users on S Graham Street during this work.

More details from SDOT:

To complete the work safely and efficiently, we will close 30th Ave S on the south side of S Graham St as soon as Tuesday, April 23 for up to 1 month. To maintain access to the Chief Sealth Trail, we will place a detour for people walking and biking along 31st Ave NE for up to 1 month. This is shown on the attached detour map.

Those biking and walking northbound along the Chief Sealth Trail will join 31st Ave NE and proceed north to S Graham St, where they will cross to the north side. They will then continue westbound to 30th Ave S, where they will head north to connect to Chief Sealth Trail. Similarly, those biking and walking southbound will head south on 30th Ave S to S Graham St, where they will head east to 31st Ave S and then cross S Graham St heading south. They will continue along 31st Ave S to the connection to Chief Sealth Trail at just before S Morgan St.

West Seattle community group responds to bike plan cuts + Cascade, SNG outline their priorities

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 10:59

Bike plan map modified by West Seattle Bike Connections.

Neighborhoods all over Seattle have been hit hard by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed bike plan cuts. And as is depressingly typical, West Seattle got hit especially hard. They already had lackluster improvements in the previous version of the bike plan, but the latest version cuts the remaining big improvements, like vital Fauntleroy Way and Roxbury St bike lanes.

West Seattle Bike Connections, the same community group that did amazing work to help their neighbors get around by bike during the Viaduct shutdown earlier this year, is sounding the alarm about the cuts to improvements their neighborhood needs to keep people safe and encourage more people to get around by bike.

From WSBC:

We need safe bike routes on East Marginal, Avalon, Fauntleroy, Delridge, Sylvan/Orchard/Dumar and Roxbury.

Let’s tell SDOT to stop backpedaling. We voted for, we are paying for, and we all need safe streets now. Essential for safety, connectivity, equity, and for Seattle to meet it’s Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals.

Unable to attend a meeting? Send comments to by April 30, 2019.

The Mayor didn’t like what she heard from the Bicycle Advisory Board (“find funds and build it”) or what she heard from the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee (“find funds and build it”), so now she and SDOT are side-stepping the process mandated by City Council, hoping to get the answer they want from the rest of us. Please let them know how you feel.

You can attend an upcoming SDOT open house to push back against the proposed cuts:

6:00PM Doors open
6:15PM Short presentation
6:30PM Conversations

  • Tuesday, April 23
    Washington Hall
    153 14th Ave
  • Wednesday, April 24
    Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
    4408 Delridge Way SW
  • Monday, April 29
    Van Asselt Community Center
    2820 S Myrtle St
  • Tuesday, April 30
    Phinney Neighborhood Assoc.
    Community Hall
    6532 Phinney Ave N

Cascade Bicycle Club is also trying to turn out people at these open houses, and they have a list of priorities they want to see protected or restored:

From Cascade’s Vicky Clarke:

The plan is a decision point between incrementalism and acting with urgency.

Do we invest in a few key, and – let’s be real – challenging projects between now and 2024, to create meaningful connectivity around new light rail stations and along key corridors where people already bike in high numbers, despite dangerous conditions? We say yes. Add your voice at an upcoming open house.

Another decision: should half the city remain disconnected by bike from nearby neighborhoods, downtown and the rest of the city, and without meaningful places to safely and comfortably travel by bike. We say no. We need to fund – as one of the highest priorities – a South East Seattle connection on Beacon Ave S. Stand with us this month.

Don’t get us wrong; it’s not all bad. This draft plan gets some of the bike network right – like completing the Burke Gilman Missing Link, advancing almost all of the Basic Bike Network on an accelerated timeline (read that again!!), keeping on track a handful of important projects across the city – from Eastlake, to East Marginal Way, to Delridge. But we need to go further. And if the city is willing to seek grant funding – a promise to voters that underpinned the goals of the Move Seattle Levy – we absolutely can go farther towards a city where biking is a viable option for all – not just the bravest of souls. Adding a handful of projects will connect Seattle by bike.

UPDATE: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways posted their priorities, as well:

  • A convenient, safe connection for SE Seattle. The viable options are, in order of preference, Rainier Ave S, Martin Luther King Jr Way S, and/or Beacon Ave S. A spine along Beacon Hill connecting from Yesler to Way to Kenyon St on 12th Ave S, 15th Ave S, and Beacon Ave S may be the most viable option.
  • Safe Routes to SODO Jobs. Connect the SODO Trail to Georgetown and jobs along the way, and close the Duwamish Trail gap to connect to the Duwamish Longhouse.
  • Safe Routes to Transit. For Sound Transit stations opening in 2021 and 2024, this plan will make or break their accessibility and usability. Connect Central District to link via MLK, Admiral to the C-Line via 42nd Ave SW & Fauntleroy, and the Little Brook and north Bitter Lake neighborhoods to the new light rail stations.