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.

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‘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

‘Café-style conversation’ Tuesday on ‘Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects’

Seattle Department of Transportation representatives will be at 14th Ave’s Washington Hall next Tuesday, April 23rd, as part of a series of “café-style conversations” to collect feedback about the city’s latest short-term bike plan. From SDOT:

Join us for cafe-style conversations with transportation planners and Department of Neighborhoods staff to discuss a draft six-year plan to build facilities encouraging and accommodating more people riding a bicycle. Read our recent blog post to learn about the projects being recommended. A variety of travel options are needed as Seattle grows to benefit livability, affordability, public health, economic competitiveness, and natural environment. Bring your thoughts and questions about how bicycling can be a part of the solution.

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Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects include seven across Capitol Hill, CD — UPDATE

This page from the council presentation on the bike plan implementation update oddly includes an image of a Capitol Hill rider on perhaps the most un-pedal friendly in the neighborhood.

Seattle is criss-crossed by 1,547 lane-miles of arterial streets and 2,407 miles of non-arteries. In recent years, the city has added new bike infrastructure to only about 10 miles of those streets per year.

Tuesday afternoon, the Seattle City Council will begin the latest process to shake out the next five years of Seattle bike infrastructure investments. Following the relatively paltry output of the last couple years, the proposed plan includes projects that will likely add up to even less than 10 miles per year. But there are still some new improvements on the list for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the nearby. Continue reading

With city nixing plan for car charging station on Broadway, extended bikeway still no closer to reality

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

City officials are backing off the plan to add a new electric vehicle charging station to Broadway outside Capitol Hill Station that would have kinked up any future plans for extending the Broadway bikeway. Here — we’ll let Seattle Bike Blog and its infographic goodness tell you the news:

In an email to people who submitted feedback on the plan, the agency cited public concerns about the bike lane (and increased costs related to relocation) as primary reasons for the change. As Seattle Bike Blog and many others noted, the presence of a car charger would likely serve as an additional barrier to a sorely-needed bike lane extension on Broadway. Moving the charger if/when a bike lane is completed would also cost City Light unnecessary expenses.

In its update, Seattle City Light said it heard three priorities from feedback on the proposal:

  • There is a preference for the City of Seattle to focus on transit, pedestrian, and biking options for this intersection.
  • Installing the EV chargers in a location where the community desires a protected bike lane extension would create a hurdle for the community’s continued appeal for the protected bike lane extension.
  • Installing the EV chargers in a location where future uses possibly include a protected bike lane or a loading/unloading zone could result in unnecessary expenses for City Light.

In selecting the location, City Light points out that extending Broadway’s protected bike lane was not included in the Seattle Department of Transportation’s six-year project list.

Seattle City Light could choose a new location for a Capitol Hill charging station. “If we find a feasible site in the Capitol Hill area, we will engage the community and stakeholders again,” City Light says. Continue reading

City collecting final feedback on proposed Broadway electric vehicle charging station

(Image: City of Seattle)

City of Seattle officials continue to collect community feedback on a plan to install an electric vehicle charging facility on Broadway near Capitol Hill Station.

CHS reported on the plan and official insistence that the installation would not pit Tesla owners vs. bicyclists by sabotaging future extension of the Broadway bikeway prior to a Seattle City Light-hosted open house last week.

The city says it continues to collect feedback on “the proposed EV charging location” through this Thursday, March 14th. You can add your thoughts via email at SCL_ElectricVehicles@seattle.gov.

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City officials say electric vehicle charging station won’t pit Teslas vs. bikes on Broadway

Leave it to Seattle City Hall to somehow pit proponents of electric vehicles against bicycling advocates. But a plan for a new charging station to be installed on Broadway near Capitol Hill Station has sparked a debate over the street and the city’s competing priorities for how to best put the right of way to use.

RESCHEDULED: Electric Vehicle Charging Open House

An open house originally scheduled for February but postponed by the snow will take place next week at Seattle Central to discuss a Seattle City Light plan to install two direct current (DC) fast chargers capable of powering most electric vehicles in front of the Capitol Hill Station mixed-use developments under construction at Broadway and E Denny Way.

While the city-owned chargers would power a typical car for “approximately 80+ miles of range in 30 minutes” at reasonable rate of 43 cents per kilowatt-hour, transit advocates who hope for future extension north of E Denny Way for the Broadway bikeway have noticed the station would be directly in the path. Seattle City Light says be flexible.

“In the absence of a bike lane currently, we believe this is a great location for an electric vehicle charging station,” Scott Thomsen, spokesperson for City Light tells CHS. “Should there come a time, we will be able to move our infrastructure.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation describes the situation a little differently. Continue reading

22 projects that could make Seattle District 3 streets and sidewalks safer

You have until Friday to help winnow the field of Neighborhood Street Fund community proposals for improving streets and sidewalks across District 3.

The annual process allocates funding to projects identified by citizens and often includes efforts with relatively significant budgets of $100,000 or more. Work to make John/Thomas intersections safer from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park is one recent example of a Neighborhood Street Fund-boosted project. Continue reading

LimePods join Seattle’s crowded shared transit fleet

(Image: Lime)

We’re well on our way to a Wall-E future where everybody rides a chair.

This week, Lime — after announcing its share bikes will soon be an all-electric fleet — also rolled out its LimePods for the general public in Seattle.

“Until now, the LimePod has only been available to a select group of super users and influencers,” we’re told.

LimePods, by the way, are cars. Eventually, the plan is for an electric ‘pod fleet, too. But, for now, Lime is just another floating car share gas guzzler in this town joining BMW’s ReachNow and Daimler’s car2go floating car share brands. Continue reading

Central District e-bike showroom Electric Lady shutting down

Alex Kostelnik is getting out of the e-bike biz

One of the more future-looking retail ventures in the area is calling it quits. Here is why Electric Lady, the Central District e-bike shop in a building part of the wave of new development at 23rd and Union, is going out of business.

“(T)he business is doing well financially, but he is not enjoying the work needed to navigate what he sees as an unreliable industry where companies start up, go under, fire staff and get bought constantly,” the Seattle Bike Blog writes aboutowner Alex Kostelnik’s decision.

But Kostelnik tells SBB he was also having trouble connecting with his customers:

“They’re first time riders, but they’re not first time riders that are stepping up to the plate to hear about the community or join the community. They’re sort of strange outsider, know-it-all lonely people who aren’t really part of our community, and I don’t know where to begin with them.”

It’s not all sour grapes. Kostelnik will continue to run 20/20 Cycles just up the E Union hill and plans to include some electric bike models in his inventory. Continue reading