Tag Archive: District ALL

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!

Seattle’s Stranded Biking Families

Biking in Seattle today requires skill and bravery. For someone new to biking, not comfortable jockeying with fast moving traffic, or trying to bike with their children, finding a safe route to work, the store, or school can be incredibly challenging – if not impossible.

Despite repetition by mainstream media and SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation), Seattle is not currently a great city to bike in. The myth of greatness is part of what is holding Seattle back, and needs to be put to rest. To help bury this myth, let’s hear from mothers and fathers trying to bike with their families in Seattle.

Who is Shirley Savel?Shirley Savel

Shirley Savel is a mom from the Rainier Valley and bikes daily with her 12-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. She blogs about about biking with her family and shares her experiences below.

“Sure, we bike because it can be fun, healthy, and we need to get places, but more importantly it’s an economic necessity for our family. During two very rough periods of unemployment, rather than paying bus or train fare we biked. Biking saved my family from homelessness. Even after finding work, biking has remained an integral part of balancing our family budget.”

“After close to ten years biking in Seattle I am getting tired finding real viable bike connections to get me from place to place. I can now say that I have lived here long enough to see slow progress/process. In SE Seattle nothing connects. How do I get to places like the library, doctor, grocery store, dentist? No routes connect me to anything. I live in a void.”

“When I bike home from North Seattle I follow the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway south but don’t bike to the end because I value my life. I choose the greenway because it has all the elements I love in a slow street: speed humps, flashing beacons, low grade roads and all around less cars.”

SDOT has a way of ending this. It ends in a protected bike lane to Franklin High School and the Light Rail Station. Ha-Ha. Just kidding. It dumps you right into Rainier Ave. THE MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN SEATTLE. I made this 53 second video to show you.”

Tim Fliss is a father who bikes with his family in NE Seattle.

Tim Fliss is a father who bikes with his family in NE Seattle.

A Dad and His Data

Shirley’s lived experience is not unique. Families across Seattle face similar obstacles. To validate his experiences with data, Tim Fliss created a map showing the routes that families have available to them.

Tim’s map below shows all the routes that SDOT has completed (or will complete by the end of 2016). The green lines are routes that, generally speaking, are comfortable for families: neighborhood greenways, trails, and protected bike lanes. The red lines are routes that are almost always stressful for families such as sharrows on busy streets and door zone bike lanes.

 

Having trouble seeing the map? Click here to view it directly.

See full screen

What happens when you remove the red lines, and leave routes that are comfortable for families and people of all ages and abilities? You’re left with stranded lines scattered throughout the city. You’re left with stranded families like Shirley’s and Tim’s. It’s time for Seattle to own the fact that we are not yet a great city to bike in.

Tim Fliss Green Lines map

All families should be able to get around Seattle on a network of safe streets. To get there we must be honest with ourselves about our current situation, and work hard to improve the lackluster bicycle implementation plan. Stay tuned for part two of this series that will lay out how to build a network that families can use into the bicycle implementation plan.

20 MPH Streets Start With Schools

January 31, 2016
by Cathy Tuttle

Overwhelming Evidence of Speed Hump Effectiveness
Overwhelming Evidence of Speed Hump Effectiveness

It’s official. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will engineer safe streets around ALL Seattle schools!

Speed humps are highly effective, inexpensive, and quick to install. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been working closely with SDOT on a policy of engineered speed bumps around all schools, based on the Vancouver BC model of traffic calming on non-arterial streets in all School Walk Zones.

Speed bumps will be prioritized using the Vision Zero and Race & Social Justice lenses in the Safe Routes to School Action Plan. (That means the schools with the highest need get speed humps first.)

People who live in school zones that that are not highly prioritized for funding may request speed hump funding through Neighborhood Street Fund or Neighborhood Matching Fund.2016 SDOT Speed Hump Policy page 1

The policy states “To discourage speeds above 20 mph all day, speed humps may be routinely installed on all non-arterials that are signed with 20 mph school speed zones. SDOT has evaluated the effectiveness of speed humps and speed cushions in school zones and found they are effective at reducing … speed to near 20 mph; and they nearly eliminate top-end speeders who drive more than 35 mph that pose the greatest danger for children walking and biking in school zones.(emphasis added)”

Read the complete Speed Hump Policy here.