Tag Archive: bicycle

Don’t Delay Downtown & Connect Our Neighborhoods

May 12, 2016

Shirley & Tim struggle to bike with their families in Seattle

Shirley & Tim struggle to bike with their families in Seattle

Just looking to help make a difference? Jump right to the call to action!

In Part 1 of our story, we left Tim wondering how to commute by bike with his baby daughter and left Shirley stranded with her children trying to cross Seattle’s most dangerous street, Rainier Ave S. In Part 2, we’ll explain how to rescue them.

The city has a good plan.

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan is a 20-year plan (2014-2034). The plan “Proposes a network of bicycle facilities throughout the city that provides a way for people of all ages and abilities to travel by bicycle within their neighborhoods, from one neighborhood to the next, and across the city.” The plan’s performance targets include quadrupling the ridership by 2030, getting to zero traffic fatalities by 2030, and having “100% of households in Seattle within 1⁄4 mile of an all ages and abilities bicycle facility by 2035.”

Unfortunately, when it has come to implementing the bike plan, the public feels the city is falling short. Much has been written about the implementation plan already (Stranger, Bike Blog, CHSBlog, etc), but to recap why people are disappointed:

  1. The bike implementation plan pretends downtown doesn’t exist. The city makes no commitments to connect our major job center and our densest neighborhoods.
  2. Less is being built after passing the Move Seattle Levy than was originally projected before the levy was passed. This may be due to simple over-promising, but now people like Shirley and Tim are understandably disappointed.
  3. It seems that the routes which have been selected to be developed first in neighborhoods are low hanging fruit rather than the routes people need most to be able to safely get around.

So what would a robust implementation of a bike network look like?

Our city is growing fast. Our urban villages, the places our city has designated to grow the fastest, desperately need better transportation connections. We must build a network of trails, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood greenways that link our fastest growing neighborhoods together. We must provide safe, time competitive, and comfortable routes that entice people of all ages and abilities to try biking for some of their daily transportation needs.

Here’s a concept of what a connected network would look like that links all of Seattle’s Urban Villages:
Urban Village Bike Map small

We can build this. This represents about 60 miles of high quality safe routes for biking – or about the same number of miles the Move Seattle Levy promises over the next five years.

We can’t wait any longer to build a network downtown. We can’t wait any longer to build the important routes that people like Shirley and Tim need most to get between neighborhoods. Join us and the Cascade Bicycle Club in calling on the city to improve the bicycle implementation plan!

You can make a difference!

Here’s how:

Take Your Bike to Lunch Day at City Hall

What: RSVP Bring your sack lunch & your bike to City Hall at 12 p.m. Let Seattle City Council know we can’t wait longer for safe connected streets. Help fill the main 5th Avenue entrance of City Hall with your bikes and write postcards to Seattle City Council telling your stories.  
When: Tuesday, May 17 at 12 p.m.
Where: Seattle City Hall main atrium [Get Directions]

Testify At Seattle City Council

What: RSVP to testify on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee to let Council know we can’t wait for safe streets. Cascade will help you sign up to exercise your democratic rights to speak to our elected leaders.
When: Tuesday, May 17 at 2 p.m. Arrive at 1:45 p.m. to get on the speaking list, meeting begins at 2 p.m.
Where: Seattle City Hall – Council Chamber [Get Directions]

Really fired up? RSVP now!

City Hall

See you at City Hall!

Biking experience in Seattle by a Dutch student

foto (1)

Hi!

My name is Max Albert, I am a Dutch student who is currently doing an internship at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I have ridden my bike on a daily basis ever since I was 4 years old and would say I am extremely comfortable on it. In case you haven’t heard of the Netherlands, its literal translation from Dutch is “low lands”, meaning that there are almost no hills.

When coming to Seattle I naturally had the intent to ride my bike everywhere, without a helmet of course. However, this quickly changed as I first explored Downtown. The sight of people blending in with cars on the busy roads and flying down the hills was a completely different sight from what I was used to, and made me think twice about my previous made statement about riding my bike everywhere. I had been warned that it could be dangerous but this was truly something else.

I received a bike from one of my colleagues at the office where I am doing my internship which is located Downtown near Pioneer Square Station. The bike was waiting for me in the basement and ready for use. On my first day one of my colleagues and I went on a trip by car, with bikes on the bike rack, to evaluate two of the recently finished Greenways in Delridge and Ballard which were quite comfortable, definitely something I could get used to. Read the rest of this entry »

Family Bikes Belong on Transit

Want to help Family Bikes get places? Sign this letter!

To Sound Transit Board and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray:

Bringing bicycles on Sound Transit LINK light rail can be challenging, especially for families. Parents with young children often find it difficult to lift heavy bicycles onto train hooks. Bicycles with attached childrens’ seats, bicycles with front baskets, and bicycles with long tails often do not fit on bicycle hooks provided in the bicycle area of Sound Transit LINK light rail cars.

Some parents might choose to leave their bicycles at light rail stations, but bicycle parking at Sound Transit light rail stations is often challenging for families as well, with bicycle racks and bike boxes that are not designed to fit larger-sized family bicycles.

Therefore, we encourage the following actions from Sound Transit LINK light rail:

  1. Provide secure bicycle parking for bicycles of all sizes at every Sound Transit LINK light rail station.
  2. Purchase some open “flex” cars when Sound Transit makes its next light rail car purchase, to allow people with bicycles, oversized luggage, mobility devices, strollers, and other non-standard equipment more flexibility in their use of light rail space – open space can also hold more passengers who can stand at peak travel times.
  3. Develop a policy to encourage people using family bikes and cargo bikes to allow them to use light rail during off-peak hours (for example, family bicycles may use light rail at any times other than 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays and at times posted as high-capacity travel times such as major sports events).

It is particularly families who bike that benefit most from the expanded range of combining light rail with biking.  For an individual on a road bike, biking 10 miles each way is usually not as much of an undertaking. However, that same 10 mile trip with a few kids will involve bathroom and snack breaks, and much more energy output by the parent (who is piloting a combined 100-150lbs of kid + bike, instead of just a 20lb bike).  For parents biking with children, transit is a godsend. If transit can replace a portion of that trip, that can make a huge difference in how mobile a family can be without relying on a car.

People who use bicycles with their children need accommodation. We all want to do our part to be a multi-modal, climate-healthy, safe region and taking Sound Transit LINK light rail will help us reach our goals. Thank you!

 

Multi-Use Trails Reviewed By Expert User

by Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections
October 15, 2015 (original letter 9/11/15)
The City of Seattle is in the process of updating both its Pedestrian Master Plan and Trails Plan. There are several opportunities for public input. As an everyday bicycle commuter, Don Brubeck, co-leader of West Seattle Bike Connections, has had a lot of experience as a trail user. Don is also a great thinker and writer. We were so impressed with Don’s suggestions that we got his permission to reprint his letter, below. Thank you Don!

Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections

Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections

We are happy to know that SDOT is doing a comprehensive study of the multi-use trails. The trails are valued community assets. They are essential in providing mobility and recreation for people of all ages and abilities. The trails vary widely in age, design, condition and use. It seems timely to step back and look at them as a whole, for safety with Vision Zero, and for connectivity and equity as part of the region’s transportation network.

West Seattle Bike Connections is a volunteer community organization advocating for safe and effective bicycle transportation in, to and from West Seattle. We advocate for pedestrian safety as well, and for use of city streets by all modes of transportation. We represent West Seattle and South Park in the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition. We are the West Seattle branch of Cascade Bicycle Club’s “Connect Seattle” groups. We are part of Sustainable West Seattle. At our last meeting, we developed some suggestions for the Trails Upgrade plan, and followed up with other members in an online brainstorming session. Here are our thoughts.

General issues for all multi-use trails and off-street bike paths:

  1. Vehicle drivers entering and exiting driveways frequently fail to stop and look before crossing multi-use paths, creating serious hazards and causing serious injuries. At all public drives, e.g., into parks, public parking lots, Seacrest marina:
    1. Install stop signs and stop bar markings on pavement for exiting drivers.
    2. Restrict curb cut widths to minimum workable, with required sight triangles.
    3. Hold parking lane parking back from entries.
    4. Add trail crossing warning signs to entries to public and private drives.
  2. Posts and bollards are hazardous to bike riders, especially when trail traffic is heavy, and in hours of darkness. Remove posts where not really necessary to prevent vehicle traffic from entering trail. Mark all bollards and posts and mark pavement at posts per national trail standards. Follow WSDOT Design Manual Chapter 1020 – Bicycle Facilities for setback, daytime high visibility paint and nighttime retro-reflective markers, and pavement warning markings per MUTCD.
  3. Pedestrians, dogs on leashes, skaters, skateboarders, people pushing strollers, and tourists on rental bikes and surreys tend to use the entire trail width when in groups, making it difficult to yield and hazardous to all parties for people on bikes or skates to pass in either direction. Even solo pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists are often encountered on either side of the trail, at random. We recommend design and education to encourage travel on the right, with passing on the left and yielding to oncoming traffic, for all trail users.

Read complete letter here

Read the rest of this entry »

South Lake Union by Bike?

October 1, 2015

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

In July 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought together a group of stakeholders to scout and recommend better east‐west connections between the Cascade and Uptown neighborhoods for families and people of all ages and abilities to navigate the fastest growing part of Seattle by bike.

The scouting ride had representatives from the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Parks, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Lake to Bay Loop Coalition, Seattle Bike Blog, Queen Anne Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club, Lake Union Greenways, Central Seattle Greenways, and the Seattle City Council.

Top Four Recommendations

  1. Roll Out the G​reen Carpet:​T​he Mercer Street Underpass is an excellent and important all ages and abilities route across Aurora. Extend the “green carpet” east, west, and south in order to connect South Lake Union, Uptown, and Seattle Center.​

    top four Lake to Bay reccomenations

    Top Four Recommendations

  2. Lake to Bay Broad Street must be all ages and abilitiesSharrows on Broad Street are not an acceptable level of safety or comfort for this major redesign proposed by the Lake to Bay Planning effort. While confident adults may feel comfortable taking the lane on bicycles in traffic, the majority people do not.
  3. Upgrade the Thomas Green Street to neighborhood greenway standards. Thomas Street between Eastlake Ave E and 5th Ave N could be a world‐class east‐west bike route once the Aurora overpass is built.
  4. Build a Greenway from the Thomas St Overpass to the Seattle Center.​ How to get from the waterfront to Seattle Center by bike? The best route scouted between the beautiful Thomas Street Overpass and Seattle Center’s August Wilson Way is a zig‐zag route.

Scroll, zoom, and click the map recommendations below to learn more or view in a new window. Read the rest of this entry »

PARKing Day 2015 Makes Successful Streets

Five local neighborhood groups changed their streets on a grand scale on Friday September 18.

People in Rainier, Ballard, Ravenna, Bryant and Fremont were winners of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition.

Instead of endless public meetings, design charettes, and flat conceptual drawings, we helped these four groups build protected intersections in Ballard and Bryant, and thousands of feet of protected bike lanes in Rainier and Ravenna. Here’s a look at what happened.

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier

The Grand Prize Winner was an ambitious idea to make Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street, safe enough for a parent to bike with their four-year-old (you must watch this YouTube!)

A crew, led by visionary Shirley Savel, and leaders Adam Dodge and Travis Merrigan, built 2000 linear feet of bike lanes out of white chalk, white duct tape, green butcher paper and traffic cones on both sides of Rainier between Columbia City and Hillman City.

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard

The co-leader of Ballard Greenways, Chris Saleeba, also works at one of Seattle’s best bicycle and pedestrian design firms, Alta Planning and Design. Chris, Fred Young, and Steve Durrant of Alta created a protected intersection that was extremely effective at slowing vehicles and allowing people to safely walk and bike across NW 65th and 6th Ave NW, just where the next north-south greenway in Ballard is planned.

The Seattle Department of Transportation concurred NW 65th and 6th NW was a high priority for safety improvements and added a permanent crosswalk in record time.

Chris said the bar owner of Molly McGuires – the most active business in front of the new intersection – came out during the day and talked about how much he loved the improvements and wondered if he could get the crosswalk painted in Irish flag colors as part of Mayor Murray and the Department of Neighborhood’s new community crosswalk program. Read the rest of this entry »

Greenways Receives Major SDOT Award

Cathy Tuttle
September 12, 2015

SDOT Director Scott Kubly awards SNGreenways 2015 Transportation Team Award

Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly presents Seattle Neighborhood Greenways with the 2015 Transportation Team Award

On September 10, 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) received the Transportation Team Award from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). SDOT gives just one annual award to “individuals or teams from other departments/groups or citizens not employed by the city, such as volunteers or non‑profit groups who help to advance SDOT’s mission, vision, and goals.”

Before the awards ceremony, in true grassroots activist fashion, nine SNG leaders spread out among the SDOT managers at tables filling City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes room and learned more about various SDOT functions and discussed how SNG can help to advocate for future funding and safety improvements for a variety of new street projects including signals, paving, sidewalks, and safe routes to school.

Here is the complete text from SDOT of why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways organization was nominated for and received this coveted award. Thank you for the honor! We look forward to many more years of productive collaboration!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) has changed, and improved, the way Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) works with community partners in doing outreach and public engagement. The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was an innovative combination of staff, consultant, and community resources, which led to a final product that had broad public, and Council, support.SDOT 2015 Transporation Team Award Plaques

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is being nominated for their proactive and innovative community support for the development, and adoption of, the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took an active and critical role in developing the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), which was approved by City Council in April, 2014, after a 2-year planning process. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways groups took the initiative, in small neighborhood-focused groups throughout the city, to identify good greenways streets in their own neighborhoods, share that information with SDOT (including a map prepared in GIS), and attend community meetings on the plan update. This resulted in significant resource and cost savings for SDOT’s efforts on the BMP. Over 200 miles of greenways were included in the final BMP.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took the initiative, on a volunteer basis, of organizing community members to do walking tours and fieldwork on streets in their neighborhoods, which contributed significantly to the development of the final Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). These efforts supplemented the work by City staff and consultants, and allowed a level of detailed effort and analysis that would not have been possible with City resources alone. SNG staff and volunteers also participated actively in community meetings relating to the development of the BMP, helped develop thinking around an “all ages and abilities” bicycle network and helped advocate for the Plan’s adoption with City Council.

SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis with SDOT Director Scott Kubly

SDOT Director Scott Kubly with SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers exceeded the usual expectations by community groups in terms of not only participating in SDOT-led community events on the BMP, but also organizing their own events, including neighborhood walks and bike rides. They also presented information on their own initiative to District Councils and other larger community organizations. Finally, they documented and presented information to SDOT in Geographic Information System (GIS) form, which SDOT was able to use in preparing maps of the final system network for the BMP.

Rasmussen Stands Up For Sidewalks

Councilmember Rasmussen at James St Clair Memorial Walk @WestSeattleBlog.com photo

Councilmember Rasmussen at James St Clair Memorial Walk @WestSeattleBlog.com photo

September 3, 2015

Tom Rasmussen has chaired the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee for years. While Bertha, streetcars, unprecedented traffic congestion, and freight take a lot of his attention, the Councilmember has remained attentive to the needs of people who walk and bike.

Most recently, Rasmussen has weighed in on Sound Transit’s construction closure of the 12th Ave NE Greenway. Construction closures are a hot item right now in Seattle. Here’s what Councilmember Rasmussen had to say:

I have requested [Seattle Department of Transportation] SDOT to continue to work to improve mobility and safety for everyone around construction zones.  One of the first tours I organized for Mr. Kubly [SDOT Director] was of one epicenter of construction: the Pike/Pine neighborhood on Capitol Hill.  We have had a number of updates and briefings from SDOT about their work to ensure compliance by contractors and progress is being made.

SDOT should not give permission to close a sidewalk or street or part of one until SDOT has approved the detour plans and routes.  Even when a plan is approved some contractors or their workers will arbitrarily move barriers to the detriment of the public.  This requires regular site visits by SDOT inspectors.  One of the challenges is that there are not enough inspectors to keep up with the volume of construction.  I have requested SDOT to hire more as soon as possible

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Chair, Transportation Committee Seattle City Council

Thank you for speaking up for people who walk and bike. We need strong support from our leaders all over Seattle!

Spoke & Food Was A Great Success!

Spoke & Food Founder Heather Sletteback with son Jordon

Spoke & Food Founder Heather Sletteback with son Jordon

While they were courting, Heather & Garett Sletteback discovered that riding their bicycles together as they went out for dinner was one of their favorite activities. The Sletteback’s turned their passion into an annual fundraiser and “friend-raiser” for one lucky beneficiary each year. This year, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was the lucky organization supported by Spoke & Food!

KING5 Lori Matsukawa introduces Natalie Swaby Spoke & Food story

Click here to see KING5 Lori Matsukawa / Natalie Swaby Spoke & Food story

Between local Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers who acted as hosts, 12 restaurants around Seattle (most donated 20% of their evening’s take), group ride leaders, and a whole community who turned out to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and our work for Vision Zero and safe streets, we can say without a doubt that we agree with Heather & Garett, that Spoke & Food is a most excellent summer activity!

King-5 reported on Spoke & Food and our safe streets advocacy. Read the rest of this entry »

Spoke & Food Benefits SNGreenways 7/28/15

Bike with your friends & family to your favorite restaurants to benefit Seattle Neighborhood Greenways on Tuesday, July 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. (riding your bike is not a requirement for participation in this fun evening charity event).

Click on the poster to let us know you plan to attend.
Spoke & Food poster

12 Great Reasons to Bike to Dinner!

Bike and dine at one or more of the many great Seattle area restaurants or breweries that will each donate 20% of their total sales from the evening to this year’s event beneficiary, the non-profit road safety group Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Ballard (North) – Barking Dog Alehouse
Ballard (South) – Maritime Pacific Brewery
Capitol Hill – Canterbury Alehouse
Fremont – Fremont Brewery
Greenlake – Lucia
Greenwood – RAZZI’s Pizzeria
Interbay/Magnolia – Highliner Public House
Northgate – The Watershed Pub & Kitchen
Ravenna – Vios Café at Third Place Books
Seward Park – Flying Squirrel Pizza
West Seattle – The Westy
White Center – Proletariat Pizza

Event Co-sponsors include Whole Foods, Kinetic Sports Rehab, Queen Anne Eye Clinic, New Roots Organic, and Gregg’s Cycle.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is your safe street advocacy coalition representing 20 local neighborhood groups across Seattle. Volunteers in each neighborhood plan and advocate for safe and comfortable streets connecting people to the places they want to go. Volunteers lend their support to citywide projects including Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, Pavement to Parks, Complete Streets, and Memorial Walks.

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