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Seattle Bike Blog Magazine

Issue #2

Table of Contents

Image from Washington Bikes

Washington Bikes opens store in Pioneer Square

Posted on December 18, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

It’s like a gift shop, a local bike products showcase, a bicycle information stand and a statewide bicycle tourism bureau all in one.

Washington Bikes (formerly the Bicycle Alliance of Washington) has opened a shop in its Pioneer Square headquarters (1st and Jackson), just in time for late holiday shopping.

The statewide bike advocacy non-profit is now searching for volunteers to help staff the shop. They are also looking to stock locally-made stuff, so if you make bike-related products, get in touch.

The shop is open Monday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

More details from Washington Bikes:

The site of the office in Seattle gives us a unique opportunity, located as we are just a few blocks from King Street Station in the heart of Pioneer Square. Hundreds of thousands of people pass our door each year bent on travel, shopping, exploration of historic Seattle, and the many sports events that bring Sounders, Seahawks, and Mariners fans down our street.

We hope to take advantage of the location to accomplish several elements of our mission.

1) Increase the number of people who support our work directly with their dues. Members will receive a 10% discount on purchases on the store and dues, as always, are tax-deductible. People stopping in to shop will be invited to join and get the discount on the spot.

2) Spread the word about bike travel/tourism in Washington state. We already distribute bike maps from all over the state. We’ll sell guidebooks—including our own Cycling Sojourner Washington, coming out spring 2014—and answer questions to help people plan great bike trips.

If you’re arriving by Amtrak or taking light rail into downtown from SeaTac, we can be your first stop in town to get rolling with a Seattle bike map and much more.

3) Share expertise with people interested in learning more about bicycling. We’re a bike knowledge hub—a great place to ask about upcoming rides in the area and around the state, pick up a copy of our pocket guide to Washington state bike law, get advice on lane positioning or whatever else you’ve been wondering about from our 3 League-Certified Instructors (Josh, Seth, and Jack)—you name it and if we don’t know it now, we’ll research it.

4) Increase the unrestricted revenues we need to accomplish our mission while we make bicycling ever more visible. The store’s mix will fill a distinct niche, not competing with the supplies, gear, services, and custom frames of Seattle-area bike shops or with the great bike-friendly fashion available at Hub and Bespoke in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. People looking for a gift for a biking friend will find what they need, from posters and notecards to books, jewelry, and art. We regularly have tourists stop in to ask if we sell “bike souvenirs of Washington” and now the answer will be yes .

We also want to showcase great Washington bike businesses. Bicycling supports a larger sector of the state’s economy than many people realize and we can put that on parade with future exhibits and information.

Photo courtesy of Fred Young

City will install two-way bikeway for part of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link

Posted on December 17, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

The city will build a two-way bikeway this month in an attempt to increase safety on a notoriously dangerous stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail Missing Link in Ballard.

Previously-planned advisory bike lanes on NW 45th Street have been scrapped in lieu of a two-way bikeway that the city hopes will be safer. To make space for the bike lanes, the street will become a one-way street eastbound for motor vehicles between NW 46th Street and 11th Ave NW. This is somewhat similar to an idea proposed on this blog in August 2012.

The city’s plans are aimed at making it much easier and safer for people biking to and from the abrupt end of the Burke-Gilman Trail near Fred Meyer to Ballard Ave and the Ballard retail core. If all goes according to schedule, work should be completed before Christmas (best present ever!).

Details from SDOT (UPDATED with slightly revised SDOT release and a map):

Shilshole Avenue Northwest/Northwest 45th Street between Northwest 46th Street and 11th Avenue Northwest is about to become one-way eastbound for motor vehicles, with a separate two-way bicycle lane to the north. The Seattle Department of Transportation is making the roadway change to address longstanding safety concerns.

Crews will install striping along the Shilshole Avenue Northwest/Northwest 45th Street segment and place new signage this weekend, Dec. 20-22. Westbound motor vehicle traffic will be detoured onto Northwest 46th Street at 11th Avenue Northwest. Eastbound traffic may experience intermittent slowdowns.

The one-way eastbound solution comes after collaboration with area businesses. Access to all businesses will be maintained, although some routings will change due to the one-way modification. New signage will direct those heading westbound on Northwest 45th Street, east of 11th Avenue Northwest, to head north to Northwest 46th Street instead.

The identified segment of Shilshole Avenue Northwest/Northwest 45th Street is one of the highest bicycle collision locations in the city and also a heavy industrial area. As part of this new plan, crews will also install all- way stops on 14th Avenue Northwest at Northwest 45th Street and Northwest 46th Street.

Other safety improvements made recently include:

  • Curb islands at bridge abutments at Northwest 45th Street and 15th Avenue Northwest under the Ballard Bridge

  • New intersection signage at Ballard Avenue Northwest and Northwest 48th Street, and at Ballard Avenue Northwest and 17th Avenue Northwest

  • New speed limit sign on Shilshole Avenue Northwest and Northwest 45th Street between Northwest 46th Street and 11th Avenue Northwest

The original South Ballard Corridor Safety Project called for installing advisory bike lanes and speed humps along Northwest 45th Street. Advisory bike lanes clarify with dotted lines where drivers can expect to see bicyclists within a driving lane. Because this roadway segment is so narrow, one-way motor vehicle travel with a separate bike lane was determined to be a better option.

Map of the planned bike lanes:

Bike Works seeks leader for job skills, BikeMobile program + Cascade hiring 2 for education department

Posted on December 17, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

Bike Works has posted a very intriguing job listing: Job Skills Training Project Coordinator and supervisor of the BikeMobile project.

The coordinator will lead a new and potentially ground-breaking project at the non-profit, whose mission is to empower youth and increase accessibility to bicycles in South Seattle. Their newest project is a BikeMobile truck that will allow Bike Works to serve more areas in South Seattle with poor access to bike shops and provide learning opportunities for youth who want to hone their bike mechanic skills.

Details from Bike Works’ Deb Salls:

We are embarking on a new project- We are creating a BikeMobile that will take Bike Works ‘on the road’ with this mobile repair unit which will allow us to serve more neighborhoods on the south side of Seattle and at community events, outreach opportunities, as well as serving popular biking areas.

As part of this project we will be launching a new Job Skills Training program for youth who will also help to staff the BikeMobile. We are hiring a full-time coordinator to assist with this project. Please pass this position on to anyone you think might be interested

For more information and to apply, see the listing on the Bike Works website.

Cascade hiring two in Education Department

Bike Works is not the only bike non-profit in town hiring for interesting positions. Cascade Bicycle Club is in the process of rebuilding its Education Department after recent staff shakeups, and the club is looking for a Classes and Camps Coordinator and a Program Coordinator.

Description of the Classes and Camps position:

We are looking for a talented Classes and Camps Coordinator, someone who will support Cascade Bicycle Club’s Education Department organizing, scheduling, and managing a variety of classes and programs for adults, youth, and families. We are seeking an experienced and energetic team member who would like to be surrounded by colleagues who are passionate about Cascade’s mission–building a better community through bicycling.

Description of the Program Coordinator position:

We are looking for a talented Program Coordinator, someone who will support Cascade Bicycle Club’s Education Department to deliver and support a variety of programming in schools and in the community. We are seeking an organized and experienced educator who thrives on working with youth and would like to be surrounded by colleagues who are passionate about Cascade’s mission–building a better community through bicycling.

For more details and how to apply, see the Cascade website.

Concept of Overlake Village bridge from Redmond and Sound Transit

Regional Council selects $17M in walk/bike investments

Posted on December 13, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

The Puget Sound Regional Council has announced $17 million in Federal funds for walking and biking investments in the area. Investments include $600,000 for the underfunded Northgate Station bike/walk bridge as well as key trail connections in Lynnwood, Bellevue, Renton, Redmond, Bainbridge and more.

Even more Seattle projects are on the contingency list to receive funding if any approved projects fall through, including the UW’s Hed Ec overpass that badly needs replacing.

Here’s the list from the PSRC:

Tacoma’s Prairie Line Trail — $1,919,372 and the Tacoma 13 Corridor – $95,000 Kirkland’s Park Lane Pedestrian corridor enhancements – $857,479

Seattle’s Canton and Nord Alleys repaving – $851,018 and the Northgate Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge – $600,000

Renton’s Lake Washington Loop Trail – $346,000

Bainbridge’s Sound to Olympics Trail / SR305 Corridor Enhancements, Phase 2 – $1,617,550

Redmond’s Overlake Village Bicycle-Pedestrian Bridge – $5,000,000

Bellevue’s Northup Way Connection to the SR 520 Trail – $2,215,820

Carnation’s SR 203/Tolt Avenue Central Business District improvements – $735,250

King County’s Missing Sidewalks in Skyway – $657,015

Lynnwood’s Interurban Regional Trail – Missing Link – $1,323,450

Sumner Trail-Main Street to Puyallup Street – $228,624

Lakewood’s 112th / 111th – Bridgeport to Kendrick – $156,000

Bonney Lake’s Fennel Creek Trail – Segment 2 – $273,600

Edmonds’ Sunset Avenue Overlook Trail – $90,903

Bike plan sails through public hearing

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

The Bike Master Plan sailed through a public hearing Wednesday with overwhelming support. Supporters of safe neighborhood streets packed the Council Chambers at City Hall to support the city’s plan for safe streets and bike routes in every Seattle neighborhood.

If you did not have a chance to speak, Cascade has created a handy online tool to email Councilmembers with your thoughts.

Of course there were detractors, but nearly all of them expressed concerned about a total of 5 miles or so in the 474-mile plan: Westlake Ave N and NE 65th Street. The core principles and goals of the plan received a warm welcome, with many speakers and families urging the Council to approve the plan quickly and get to work funding it.

Phyllis from Bike Works told the Council that south Seattle has largely been left out of bike investments, and praised the new plan for putting an emphasis on connecting low-income and underserved areas of the city that have disproportionately dangerous streets.

It’s important to understand why support was so strong. The plan’s authors spent thousands of hours reaching out to different stakeholder groups and neighborhood organizations around the city. Concerns about freight mobility and conflicts with transit expansion were taken seriously, and many miles of the plan shifted in accordance with top concerns.

The plan is not a dream list from bicycle advocates, but it is an ambitious and achievable list of investments that will dramatically increase safety, health and bike access across the city.

The plan authors also empowered neighborhood groups to suggest the best routes for neighborhood greenways that will improve safety and make it easier for people of all ages to walk and bike near their homes, schools and business districts. As a result, a huge number of people feel a sense of ownership and personal investment in the plan. This is unheard of in the often dry world of civic planning documents, and a sign of success.

So the message is clear: Let’s start making it happen.

Rainier Valley Greenways leaders spoke in favor of the bike plan

Westlake and NE 65th Street confusion

Most of the people who spoke in opposition to the plan were from an organized group opposed to a planned protected bikeway on Westlake Ave N. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion among this group, which said they are in favor of a “slow” bike trail in the area, but not a “cycle track.” One speaker suggested that people on the cycle track would be going 30 mph, a clear sign that the term “cycle track” is a confusing and clunky term that few people understand. It sounds like a place for high-speed racing, when in reality it is about creating a low-stress space where people of all ages and abilities can bike in safety and comfort. Really, I think we’re all interested in the same things for Westlake: Creating a space where people can get around comfortably and safely whether they are walking, biking or driving.

The Bike Master Plan is also not a logical venue for speaking out against the Westlake project since it already has funding. The Bike Master Plan is a high-level planning document to steer future investments, and there is little chance that it would meddle in the business of an ongoing and grant-supported project.

Some people spoke out against the NE 65th Street plans, which were significantly altered after a public hearing and series of public meetings this summer. The result was disappointing to many residents and bike advocates who wanted protected bike lanes running the entire length of the street from Magnuson Park to Green Lake. But it was an attempt at a compromise that mitigated some of the biggest concerns while still maintaining bike access to much of the street and keeping the bike network connected. Some people were still upset that bikes were in any way expected to be part of the street (and, again, several people expressed confusion about what a “cycle track” is, with one speaker suggesting it would occupy half the street. That, of course, is not true). I suppose you can’t please everyone.

Testimony

Below is the Seattle Channel video of the full hearing so you can listen to everyone’s stories for yourself. Perhaps my favorite testimony of the evening was by Richard Edwards and starts at the 106:00 mark. He starts by talking about getting hit while biking to Roosevelt High School as a kid:

“I’ve been riding my bike all my life,” he said. “I used to ride to Roosevelt High School just off 65th. I got doored once. I got hit by a car once. But I lied to my parents and told them I got beat up instead so they would let me ride my bike to school.”

Now, Richard bikes downtown to work, and his commute is extremely important to him. He has Parkinson’s, and his ride to work helps control his tremor enough that he can continue working.

“When I look at the master plan and see the dicey parts along my commute now, it really makes me happy that something may improve along those lines. So I urge you to adopt the master plan and fund it.”

His story is a reminder that everyone in the city has their own story, and the value of safe streets means so many different things to so many different people. This is a plan full of hope and goodness for our city. Let’s put it into action.


Photo by @FamilyRide

Seattle’s new bike corrals are more versatile, easier to use and cost 1/3 as much

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Tom Fucoloro

Here’s a rare story of government transportation efficiency: Seattle’s Department of Transportation has started installing on-street bike corrals that are easier to use, more versatile and expandable, and cost just a third as much as the ones they had been using.

The bike corrals are designed for use in high-density areas where the demand for places to securely lock a bike outpaces the space available on sidewalks.

A great example is the new corral on the Ave in the University District. Lots of people bike in the University District, and every inch of the space is heavily used by people walking, biking, driving and waiting for the bus and doing just about anything you can imagine. Bikes tended to be locked to just about anything.

And you don’t have to take my word for it. University Greenways documented the issue in a November 2011 report:

Presently, University Way does not offer an adequate supply of safe, convenient, and reliable bicycle parking. Unfortunately, this shortage is especially pronounced in the stretch of University Way that could be most easily accessible to potential customers on bicycle from the University of Washington, centered around 42nd St. and University Way. Customers on bicycle are currently reduced to locking their bicycles to signs, parking meters, and even garbage cans.

An audit of the 41st-42nd block of University Way revealed unmet demand for bicycle parking. Every bicycle rack was at its capacity, yet the majority of bicycles were observed to be locked to objects other than bike parking racks.

This situation is not unique to the U District. There are plenty of business districts where customers and employees are left locking to trees, fences and other structures, sometimes in annoying places and sometimes in places that are less secure than a proper bike rack.

A fascinating fact about bike corrals noted in the University Greenways report: A single bike corral occupies the space of about two cars and doubles the parking capacity of the entire block face. You can see why that might be appealing to business owners.

But the benefits of bike corrals extend far beyond just adding space for parking bikes. They also make it easier for passersby to see the storefront behind it from the street. This is obviously a good thing for retail shops and restaurants.

And yes, they can even make a street safer by reducing collisions caused by poor visibility when cars are parked too close to a street corner.

The old style of on-street bike corrals were heavy, arty metal designs. They are cool-looking and very secure, but they have some downsides. They can only be accessed from the sidewalk, making them a bit more difficult to use. This is the style installed near Bike Works, and Stumptown on 12th among other locations. The cost per bike for those racks was $257. That’s a steal considering how insanely expensive a single car parking space can be.

The new style, which is included in the pending Bike Master Plan, can be accessed from either side and is modular in design. Bike parking can be more easily designed to match the different needs of different streets, and it can be expanded as demand increases.

The price per bike parking space in the new style: $87.

Bike parking work picks up in winter months when weather prohibits a lot of road work. The city recently installed a handful of the new-style bike corrals in the Central District, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, and Wallingford. This brings the city’s total number of on-street bike corrals in the city to 15.

The city installed 400 bike parking spaces around the city in 2013, and they plan to increase that number to more than 500 in 2014. Here’s the list of existing on-street bike corrals:

  • Alder Flats 220 10th Avenue
  • Essential Baking 1604 N 34th Street
  • Kaffeeklatsch 12513 Lake City Way NE
  • Kaladi Coffee 517 E Pike St
  • Maritime Pacific 1111 NW Ballard Way
  • Melrose Market 1501 Melrose Ave
  • Montana Bar 1506 E Olive Way
  • NW Film Forum 1515 12th Ave
  • Peddler Brewing 1514 NW Leary Way
  • R&E Cycles 5627 University Way NE
  • Recovery Café 2022 Boren Ave
  • Starbucks 4147 University Way NE
  • Stumptown Coffee 1115 12th Ave
  • Von Trapps 912 12th Ave
  • Wallingford 4516 Meridian Ave N
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