Downtown ribbon cutting includes good vibes for new bike projects including Pike protected lanes

Now on 8th Ave (Image: SDOT)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe weren’t out for a ride but they did come out to celebrate Wednesday’s opening of a new 8th Ave protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The redesigned 8th Ave includes a “one-way northbound protected bike lane between Pike St and Bell St, one travel lane, paid parking and load zones, and new bike signals at busy intersection,” SDOT reports. “This project completes a two-way couplet for people biking with the existing one-way southbound 7th Ave protected bike lane.” Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

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District 3 candidates for Seattle City Council talk safe streets

Transportation equity and city government transparency were the top concerns at Monday’s District 3 candidates forum at Central Cinema hosted by Central Seattle Greenways after a walk through the community featuring a number of specific issues, including bike lanes and automobile speed.

All of the candidates were in attendance at the evening forum and five of the six made it for the hour-long Central District walk beforehand as Seattle Public Schools Board member Zachary DeWolf was busy attending a graduation event. Incumbent council member Kshama Sawant got there a few minutes late walking because of what she called pedestrian deprioritization as the lights were not going in her favor.

Crosswalks came up as the attendees stood on 23rd and Union with talk that they are not always convenient and may not last long enough, which is why one organizer called for a signal policy directly from the city.

“It’s deeply important that we are making sure that our crossing signals prioritize pedestrians and people who bike, but also that they are long enough both for seniors, families, and [young people] to get across,” DeWolf said during the forum later. Continue reading

Hundreds rally at Seattle’s Ride For Safe Streets ‏– D3 candidate safe streets walk and forum tonight

Hundreds rolled and walked from Seattle neighborhoods to City Hall Sunday to protest inaction on street safety issues under the Jenny Durkan administration and to call for a new “Green Transportation Package” for the city.

Organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the MASS: Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition, the Ride for Safe Streets event came after the latest implementation schedule for the Seattle’s bike plan revealed watered down plans for new bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure across the city.  Continue reading

Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects remain mostly modest despite community feedback — UPDATE

Sadly, the bravest father in Seattle (Image: SDOT)

The result of those spring café-style conversations on Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects?

The Seattle Times reports “tweaks” after “backlash from cyclists” but says “construction will remain limited.”

Following outrage from cyclists, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will make some small changes to its near-term plan for building bike lanes and slow streets known as greenways. But those hoping to see a dramatic increase in construction of safe biking infrastructure are likely to be disappointed. In the latest version of its six-year bike work plan released Thursday, city officials added back several bike lanes and greenways they previously cut. But nearly all of the projects being resurrected are identified for early planning work, indicating their construction is still unfunded and could be years away.

The full report from the Times is here.

SDOT’s take on those “tweaks” is here: Continue reading

With short-term plans for new protected bike lanes by end of 2019, report released on long-term community priorities for Pike/Pine

(Image: Central Seattle Greenways)

The next hill has been summited in the process to add protected bike lanes to Pike/Pine has wrapped up as Central Seattle Greenways published its outreach findings and recommendations focused on the desire for a continuous and sensible route, safety, and predictable traffic flows.

One message clearly emerged. Community members who responded to the survey including riders, residents, and business owners said a continuous, unbroken eastbound bikeway on Pike and another westbound one on Pine should be a priority. It’s called the “Pike Pine Renaissance design.”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, despite not being an option on the questionnaire, many said they would like to see the Renaissance lanes — a continuous eastbound street on Pike and a westbound one on Pine.

“Creating a couplet of one-way streets all the way to Broadway provides clarity for people walking, biking, and driving; delivers a more intuitive route that cyclists are more likely to use; and shares the perceived burden and benefits of a bike lane for business owners on both Pike and Pine,” CSG writes on its website.

While it would take more outreach to make this happen, Brie Gyncild, co-leader of CSG, said this is her favorite option, although she was not originally a believer.

“Over and over again, what we heard people saying is ‘we just want to extend the Pike/Pine Renaissance all the way up to Broadway,’” Gyncild said. “It’s more intuitive for people biking; it’s more intuitive for people walking; people like the Pike Pine Renaissance design, they like the more pedestrian-oriented feel.” Continue reading

Man suffers head injury after struck by cyclist in the Broadway bikeway

A man in his 60s was struck by a bicyclist in the Broadway bikeway and had to be taken to Harborview in an incident early in the Wednesday morning commute on Capitol Hill.

According to Seattle Fire and Seattle Police radio updates, the man was struck around 6 AM in the 1700 block of Broadway across from Seattle Central and was reported bleeding from the head and groggy but conscious. Seattle Fire says the man was transported by medics to Harborview in stable condition.

There were no reported serious injuries to the bicyclist and SPD did not have further information about the collision. Traffic on northbound Broadway was closed briefly during the response.

(Image: SDOT)

Broadway’s partially protected bikeway was installed as part of the Sound Transit-financed, SDOT-built $132 million First Hill Streetcar project in 2013 as a necessary enhancement to move riders away from the two wheel-dangerous streetcar tracks. A plan to extend the bike route north on Broadway was scuttled along with a proposed extension of the streetcar.

City collecting feedback on plans for E Union protected bike lanes

While the department says its designs for the project are only at the “10%” conceptual stage and big decisions about things like whether part of the route will require riders to cross sidewalks and how many if any parking spots will have to be removed, SDOT is collecting feedback on what has become a current flashpoint in Seattle’s struggles to create useful bicycle infrastructure in the city — the planned E Union protected bike lanes.

Through May 31st, the Seattle Department of Transportation is running an E Union St Protected Bike Lane Survey. The short survey asks about your current transportation habits around E Union and how you think protected bike lanes might impacts your behavior.

It also gets to the heart of the matter for many who are criticizing the plan — choose 3! Continue reading

City Hall looks to Portland to sort out how best to bring scooter shares to Seattle’s streets

When it comes to big city bike share systems, Seattle is a freak. When its hobbled, city-funded docked system was a bust, it pioneered the U.S. rollout of floating bicycle shares from providers like Lime and Jump. Its relatively robust floating system is a rarity. Rarer still, Seattle hasn’t added scooters to its floating fleet.

Mayor Jenny Durkan now says the city is ready to join the wave of cities legalizing scooters to join the shared fleet — but the approach will be lawyerly.

“Seattle was the first city in the country to pilot free-floating bike share – and it’s taken off,” a statement from the mayor on scooter shares reads. “Now, we have a permanent program for companies to operate bike share in Seattle. Up next: let’s try scooters in Seattle. But let’s do it right by promoting safety, requiring fairness for riders and indemnification for the City, focusing on equity, and by building on – not losing – the best of bike share.”

Thursday, chair of the City Council’s transportation and sustainability committee Mike O’Brien is hosting a “Scooter Share Demo, Lunch & Learn” at City Hall. The session will include “a panel presentation of experts in the field who will describe the ways in which scooter share has enhanced mobility in major cities all over the world.”

How can Seattle integrate this transportation option into our city safely and thoughtfully, taking into consideration the needs of all people in our city? The Lunch and Learn aims to answer that question. The presentation will feature panelists from the City of Portland, Multnomah County Health Department and two scooter companies. The luncheon will also look at other cities across the U.S. who have scooter programs implemented, and feature examples of the ways in which scooters provide transportation to residents and tourists nationally and internally.

Continue reading

‘Conceptual’ — SDOT says now is the time to shape E Union’s 2020 plan for protected bike lanes

E Union from above 18th Ave — just add PBLs (Image: CHS)

Tuesday night, Seattle Department of Transportation officials will be at Washington Hall as part of a series of “conversations” in neighborhoods across the city about — and, yes, we know the Seattle is Dying crowd loves this — the plan for implementing Seattle’s bike plan.

SDOT Bike Master Plan cafe-style conversation

One topic newly installed SDOT head Sam Zimbabwe’s crew knows will be on the minds of neighbors and business representatives in this plan for the plan is a pretty solid embodiment of Seattle’s increasingly modest bike projects circa 2019: new, semi-protected bike lanes on E Union hoped to be under construction by the end of the year and, some advocates say, disappointedly compromised by a City Hall unwilling to take on a serious commitment to new bike infrastructure.

First, SDOT wants you to know the whole bike riders can ride on the sidewalk thing at the busy intersections of E Union and 23rd and E Union and MLK is only an idea right now — one of many planners need to sort through, SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells CHS.

“We realize because there is a gap, people could potentially ride on the sidewalk. One potential thing is widening the street but with all the development that probably isn’t possible,” Bergerson said.

“This is all conceptual.” Continue reading