With Lowell to Meany route mostly in place on Capitol Hill, city to hold ‘drop-in’ on Safe Routes to School program

The City of Seattle will hold an online “drop-in” session Tuesday to provide updates on the Safe Routes to School program, an effort to increase “safe walking and biking to school” along select routes across the city.

A $2.2 million project to complete a Safe Routes corridor between Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School mostly wrapped up this summer even as the district’s campuses remain closed to COVID-19 restrictions. Continue reading

For more space to walk, run, and roll during COVID-19 restrictions, Seattle now issuing ‘Stay Healthy Block’ permits

Capitol Hill will not be getting a “Stay Healthy” street designed to give people more space to walk, run, roll, and spread out during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions but your neighbors might want to join you in creating a Stay Healthy Block.

The city has announced it is making the permitting process free for non-arterial, residential street closures to encourage more open space in the city during the pandemic:

If your organization wants to apply for a permit, keep these things in mind:

  • You can go to our Stay Healthy Blocks website to apply now.
  • You’ll be responsible for notifying neighbors, closing the street with barricades and printable signs we developed, and monitoring for safety.
  • You’ll also be responsible for ensuring compliance with public health guidelines.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is also giving the effort a boost by offering a limited number of free signs and volunteer support to organizations looking to create their own Stay Healthy Block.

The new initiative builds on the Stay Healthy Streets effort that has created routes closed to “through motor vehicle traffic to provide more space for distancing, exercise, and recreation. Officials also hope the routes can help connect people to services and businesses without the need for cars or public transit. The streets remain open to “local traffic” and deliveries and the rules are in effect 24×7.

In the Central District, the route includes 25th S starting near Judkins Park north to E Columbia, E Columbia between 12th and 29th, and a finger on 22nd Ave stretching north to E Howell.

In May, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure. The Stay Healthy Blocks, meanwhile, are only temporary.

Learn more at the Stay Healthy Blocks website.

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With no bike share in Seattle, sharing in the city takes another hit

Rarely does an industry have such a quick rise and sudden drop as the bikeshare business has had in Seattle. Last year it would have been odd if you didn’t see a mass of multicolored bicycles across the streets, from red Jump bikes to the yellow Ofos and green Lime bicycles.

Lime took its 2,000 bikes off Seattle streets in December and now the Jump bicycles will be temporarily absent, as well, with Lime taking over the red bike’s business operations this month. Lime acquired Jump on May 7 after Uber, which owned the latter, led a $170 million investment in Lime that “reaffirms Lime’s market strength and positions the company to build a long-lasting business that empowers people with sustainable, safe and affordable transportation options,” the company said in an announcement.

This comes as the bike rental business has fallen off a cliff during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were just 23,400 trips in April, compared to 158,600 trips in April 2019, according to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) data.

“We recognize that the COVID-19 has impacted all areas of life including new mobility companies, and we are evaluating our options with these impacts in mind,” SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson said in an email. Continue reading

Set to become permanent part of neighborhood, here’s how people are using the Central District’s Stay Healthy Streets

(Image: City of Seattle)

What does a lot of civic energy and a few signs do for creating safe neighborhood streets? As Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure, early numbers for the Central District’s stretch of “Stay Healthy Streets” show some promising results for walking, running, and biking.

Seattle Bike Blog reports that, just to be clear, the new Stay Health Streets are not “closed” — they’re repurposed:

Traffic volumes are down 91% on the Central District SHS compared to 2017 levels after the neighborhood greenway was installed. That 91% decrease far outpaces the the 57% decrease in overall car traffic since the outbreak began, a sign that the signs are working.

Durkan announced last week that “at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets” will become permanent. In addition, 3 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets were added in Rainier Valley and 1/3 mile of Beach Drive SW in Alki. Continue reading

‘CROWDED PARKS LEAD TO CLOSED PARKS’ — Seattle reopens busiest parks, to add 15 miles of ‘Stay Healthy’ streets for walking, running, and biking

Seattle’s busiest green spaces including Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park and Volunteer Park will be open to visitors this weekend following an Easter weekend shutdown due to overcrowding during the COVID-19 distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, the weekend will bring the debut in West Seattle and the Central District of a new effort to give more people more room to move across Seattle with the first Stay Healthy Streets welcoming walkers, runners, and bikers.

Mayor Jenny Durkan says the decision to allow use of Cal Anderson and the city’s other major parks comes with expectations.

“The Governor’s order is Stay Home – not stay out. The social distancing necessary to keep us healthy will mean a new normal for Seattle’s parks, farmers markets, and public amenities,” she said. “Stay home, but if you need to exercise or go to get groceries at the farmers market, please no crowds, no gatherings, and keep it moving.” Continue reading

SDOT improving north end of Melrose Connector Trail

A portion of the Melrose Connector Trail above I-5 is closed this week for a Seattle Department of Transportation construction project to improve the cycling and walking connection between the western edges of Capitol Hill and the Lakeview Blvd area.

SDOT says the project is taking place at the north trailhead and will create a new bike ramp and better wayfinding.

The existing ramp was scheduled to be closed for five days during the work. Cyclists are advised to detour along Belmont Ave E and Bellevue Pl E. Continue reading

With love for raised crosswalk, speed humps, curb ramps, curb bulbs, and protected bike lanes, Melrose next for Capitol Hill street overhauls

Empowered by a few million in funding, enthusiastic biking and pedestrian advocates, years of community meetings, piles of survey data, and a welcoming business community, the city’s Department of Transportation is set to remake Melrose Ave as a microcosm of Seattle street design circa 2020.

That means a raised crosswalk, speed humps, curb ramps, curb bulbs, and protected bike lanes in sections, repairing damaged pavement and sidewalks, and… back-in angle parking. Continue reading

Good Weather, part of strong pack of bike cafes around Capitol Hill, set to expand

(Image: Good Weather)

Slowly but surely, the area around Capitol Hill is becoming an easier place to ride a bike. The area’s bicycle-focused hangouts have also grown and, apparently, prospered. One venture in the heart of Pike/Pine has now cycled from a small shop tucked away on an upper floor above 11th Ave to the heart of Chophouse Row, and, now, an expansion in the development’s mix of food, drink, and retail.

Chophouse bike cafe Good Weather is expanding by 100%.

“Good Weather Bicycle & Cafe is doubling in size at the end of February and adding space to both the full-service bike shop and the cafe/bar,” co-owner Brandon Waterman said in an an announcement on the expansion. “We’ll warmly continue serving our delicious breakfast tacos as well as ramp up our beer selection, add seating for events and groups, and showcase a larger curated selection of bicycles and parts.” Continue reading

After criticism for route that included riding on sidewalk, city rolls out new plan for E Union ‘parking protected bike lanes’

The proposed layout for parking protected bike lanes between 14th Ave and 26th on E Union — the vehicles inside the outer white lanes would provide a buffer between bikes and traffic

Above E Union at 18th Ave

The Seattle Department of Transportation has responded to community feedback and has a new plan for E Union that will create unbroken protected bike lanes from 14th Ave to 23rd Ave. Construction is now on track to begin this summer.

The updated plans were presented at a community open house Wednesday night at the neighborhood’s Liberty Bank Building. An online survey will be collecting feedback on the updated plans through February 7th.

The updates follow plans shaped last year that drew criticism for trying to maintain area parking and existing traffic lanes by routing a portion of the planned bike lanes onto the sidewalk. The E Union bike lane project is being paid for by the Move Seattle levy to create an alternate for bicyclists away from the coming Madison Bus Rapid Transit corridor. CHS reported earlier this month that the future RapidRide G start of service has again been pushed back — this time to 2023.

The newly released plans would remove some street parking, shift a school bus loading zone, and consolidate Metro bus stops to add the “parking protected bike lanes” to both sides of E Union between 14th Ave and 26th Ave, and then transition to an uphill protected bike lane and a downhill sharrow lane from 26th to Martin Luther King Jr Way. Continue reading

Owning ‘nothing’ on Capitol Hill a little harder in 2020 with bike and car share pullbacks

(Image: CHS)

For Capitol Hill’s transportation share options, the end of 2019 feels a little like when you look at your app and see no available rides on your map. Those green and yellow bikes are following “floating” car share off the Hill.

This week, Lime announced it was pulling its rental bikes off Seattle streets for the winter while it negotiates a deal under the city’s new rules for scooter shares.

And Share Now, which was formed from a merger with car2go, announced before the holidays that it was closing its car-sharing services not just in Seattle, but in all of North America at the end of February.

“We want to say thank you to our customers, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Mayor and city council, who have supported us since we launched in the market in 2012,” the company wrote in an email to supporters. “We are saddened by this decision and deeply apologize for the inconvenience this will cause you when service ends.” Continue reading