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.
Customers 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 cycleshare.com 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:
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.
In 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 prontocycleshare.com.
- Broadway Streetcar + Bikeway extension
Broadway 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.
- The 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.