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Capitol Hill bike notes | Big day for bike share, Broadway bikeway extension, Greenway meetings


Pronto at the 2014 Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park earlier this month (Images: CHS)

Pronto at the 2014 Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park earlier this month (Images: CHS)

On a big day for Seattle bikes, here are a few pedal-focused news notes for Capitol Hill and the multi-modal streets beyond.

  • Pronto’s first big hill climb: The first public bike system in the Pacific Northwest faces a major test Monday as memberships for Seattle’s Pronto bicycle share go on sale starting at noon.
    unnamed10633507_263541060512193_1299985923774099176_oCustomers will have the option of signing up for two levels of “founding memberships” —

    It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for! On Monday, August 25, be one of the first 600 to sign up for an annual membership online at pronto and receive the coveted status of a Pronto Founding Member. Besides bragging rights and all the street cred that comes with being part of Seattle history, Founding Members will receive an exclusive, limited-edition blue key to access the system. It’s no secret that these are going to sell out fast (Citibike’s 5,000 founding memberships sold out in just 30 hours!), so mark your calendars for noon on August 25th and secure yours before it’s too late!

    The new system will begin with 500 bikes serving the city with Capitol Hill, First Hill, the U-District, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, downtown, Pioneer Square and International District stations . Each station will have docks for 12 to 20 bikes and will feature a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multiday passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay $85 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly from their docks.

    CHS wrote here about the grocery store-friendly first wave of proposed Capitol Hill bike station locations:

    Pronto planners have not yet announced the final list of approved stations. UPDATE: Here are the locations currently listed on the map available on the Pronto member site:Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.14.41 PM

    Along with opening sign-ups, the service has also announced its start has been delayed until October.

    The $85 annual membership will grant Pronto riders unlimited 30-minute trips. There are also 24-hour passes for visitors that will cost $8 and three-day passes for $16.

    unnamed3-170x200In order for Pronto to operate in compliance with helmet laws, each station will also have a “helmet dispensing” device and a return bin. Helmets will be available to rent for $2, will be sanitized after each use, and cycled out after a certain number of uses. Expect to see more people walking around with their own bike helmets to beat the $2 fee.

    The memberships will join a $2.5 million, five-year sponsorship from Alaska Airlines in supporting Pronto operations and, eventually, expansion.

    Nonprofit Pronto joins a wave of shared services including for-profit ventures from Zipcar to Lyft to Uber to Flywheel to the corporate shuttles of Microsoft, Amazon, etc. in augmenting the city’s sometimes challenged transportation infrastructure. While regulators regularly struggle to keep up with the new services, customers are enthusiastic in their support of the ones that work best for getting around Seattle. With Seattle’s hills and rain, Pronto will face plenty of challenges. With Monday’s start of membership sales, we’ll get our first look at Pronto’s prospects for success.

    You can learn more and sign up at

  • Broadway Streetcar + Bikeway extension
    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 10.21.45 AMBroadway will be a much safer place to ride your Pronto bike in 2017. Last week, CHS reported on the plan to extend the streetcar up Broadway to Roy by 2017. The extension will, of course, also bring the bikeway north from its current Denny terminus. Along with eliminating most left-hand turning along Broadway, the extension is planned to feature the two-way bikeway on the street’s eastern curb all the way to Roy — and slightly beyond. According to an SDOT representative working on the project, planners are working out how the bikeway will extend all the way to Aloha where it will transition — for now — to a more traditional bike lane/sharrow alignment beyond on 10th Ave E. The Urbanist wrote more about the terminus — and the potential for a future extension toward Roanoke Park — here.
  • Broadway Bikeway reviewed
    What does this national bike lane advocate think of Seattle’s first separated cycle track in the midst of a bustling city neighborhood? Here are six things he likes about the Broadway bikeway:1) They use creative separation equipment
    2) Every intersection is marked with a green crossbike
    3) Every driveway crossing is marked in green, too
    4) It rises to sidewalk level behind streetcar stops
    5) It has a dedicated bike signal at every intersection
    6) Most signals have underground detection loopsYou can read more about what Michael Andersen has to say about those six elements here. Oh, and Andersen also points out an element in need of repair: drivers.

    The downside of dedicated signal phases is that many people in cars aren’t expecting them. Above was one of the four drivers I saw approach this intersection while cars had a red arrow but bikes had a green bike signal. Of those, three illegally turned right from their right-turn lane across the bike lane despite a “No turn on red” sign.

  • Greenway meetings: Upcoming community meetings will look at proposals for the northern stretches of the planned bicycle and pedestrian (and driver!) friendly corridor along 23rd Ave connecting the Central District, Capitol Hill, and Montlake:
    You’re Invited!Preferred alternatives for Phase 2 and 3 will be presented at upcoming public open houses. Please join us at one of the following meetings:Phase 2 (S. Jackson St. to Rainier Ave. S.) Open House
    Tuesday, August 26, 4:30 – 6:30 PM
    Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St.Phase 3 (E. John St. to E. Roanoke St.) Open House
    Thursday, August 28, 4:30 – 6:30 PM
    Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave. E.
  • SEA_DENNY_blog-1160x652The Denny: You can’t buy it — yet — but a super bike designed to serve the rigors of Seattle (and Capitol Hill) has won an international “bike design of the future” contest. Pretty sure I don’t want to ever have to ride The Denny up Denny but I wouldn’t mind Pike. The specs:
    —An electric motor in the front wheel helps power you up hills
    —The battery to power said motor is easily detachable and rechargeable
    —The computer controlled gears shift automatically based on the terrain you are traversing
    —The handlebars double as a bike lock
    —The pre-installed light on the bike is sensitive to outside light, and adjusts brightness appropriately
    —The bike also comes with brake lights and turn signals activated by flicking the brakes
    —A netted storage bed is built into the front of the bicycle
    —The fender has been reduced to minimalistic rubber bristles to fight rain
  • Finally, here’s Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things:
    When a bike blows a stop sign, though, we’re more likely to see it as evidence that “cyclists think they’re above the law.” The social psychology term for this bias is “fundamental attribution error”: the tendency to attribute the actions of others to their inherent nature rather than their situation, and the less we sympathize with their situation, the greater the bias. A 2002 study from the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory found that it plays a starring role in our perceptions of traffic behavior, with drivers far more likely to see a cyclist’s infraction as stemming from ineptitude or recklessness than an identical one committed by another driver. It may also help explain why I’ve been approached more than once while holding my bike by random strangers, asking me to explain the behavior of another cyclist they once saw doing something stupid. I ride a bike, therefore I’m one of them.



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15 thoughts on “Capitol Hill bike notes | Big day for bike share, Broadway bikeway extension, Greenway meetings

  1. Pingback: Capitol Hill bike share in Seattle will have helmet dispensers | Industrialized Cyclist Notepad

  2. Despite multiple attempts, i can’t get the credit card processing step of the Pronto Registration to work. I even called their support and they told me, “yeah, we’re having problems with that, I guess we weren’t expecting so many people to sign up today, just try again in a few minutes.” Let’s hope that the other aspect of their system work more reliably when they finally roll it out.

  3. Here’s hopin’ quite a few more bikers will start using the Broadway bike lanes; right now, my perception is, lots more bikers on 12th, and I see very, very few using the Broadway separated lanes. I think there are several reasons for this. As mentioned above, drivers unused to the unusual configuration of this lane are apt to make errors, so bikers have to look out even more so than on the usual city street when crossing intersections. Another issue is getting car-doored from someone exiting on the right side of the car, where car-riders aren’t used to watching for bikers. Car users do need training on these issues, but I doubt there’s any budget for that! (I haven’t seen signs along Broadway saying, passenger side, be careful when you swing open that door.) Also that separated lane is pretty narrow for two way bike traffic. What if you need to pass another biker?

    So, how about this, maybe we should wait and see how much use the bike lane and trolleys have, before spending millions of dollars more extending the exiting plan? There are going to be quite a few businesses hurt by the construction mess, in addition to the direct cost.

    Aren’t there are other choices, like putting designated bike traffic somewhere else than a main arterial, or spending some of this money on programs to improve driver awareness of bikes, or increased police bike patrol which could also be used to improve enforcement of traffic laws protecting bikers?

    • I support the bikeway in theory, but prefer taking 12th simply because it’s easier to turn onto and navigate in general. Usually I’m coming up Pike or Pine and then taking a right. On 12th I can take a right on red (not possible with the bikeway) or, when the light turns green, wait for pedestrians *without moving myself* and then turn. For the bikeway, I’d have to wait in an awkward position 80% of the way across the intersection for pedestrians before turning onto it – just doesn’t feel natural.

  4. All great ideas. And maybe some money to increase enforcement of laws governing bike usage. And some to increase biker education of said laws and customs. We could all use a little more education and/or a swift kick from the law if we do not abide by it.

  5. I live in the neighborhood and bike frequently in the neighborhood, especially between here and the ID/pioneer sq. 12th is a much better option for me for two basic reasons:

    1. Fewer traffic lights
    2. Less hilly.

    Combine the two and I bet there’s a 5 minute time savings every day.

    I’d love to see a protected bike lane on 12th!

  6. I live 2 miles from my job (but huge hills). Car to Go is actually cheaper than the bike program and I can get all the way home. What’s with that?

  7. Pingback: Seattle begins installing bike share stations — including a dozen around Capitol Hill | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle