Bicyclists/Pedestrians

Nearly three years of work came to a conclusion Sept. 21 when the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass the Pedestrian Master Plan.

The goal of the plan, which was put in motion by the council in January 2007, is to make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation.

"This is about a cultural change and continuing that push to recognize that transportation is more than just figuring out what happens in the middle of the roadway where the cars are," council member Sally Clark said during the vote.

The plan includes objectives, strategies and analysis that can help the city increase the safety of pedestrians and the vibrancy of walkable communities.

Council member Nick Licata said the plan will create better opportunities for citizens to walk and use transit to move about the city safely.

It will give the city a more comprehensive approach to creating new sidewalks in the future, he said.

"We can now make substantial progress in bringing sidewalks to that 30 percent of the city that does not have sidewalks on either side of the street," Licata said.

09/23/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

On Sept. 21, the Seattle City Council approved the Pedestrian Master Plan, which seeks to increase the walkability of the city.

My “new” bicycle and I were born in the same year. The bike, a 1943 J. C. Higgins, recently rode with me from northern Minnesota on a rack on the back of my RV.

It was covered in dirt and grease accumulated over what appeared to be a large part of its life, so it wasn’t invited inside with my Trek Madone. It was, however, covered in a zipper bag because people who know bicycles know that this isn’t just any old bike.

The trip back to Seattle took us across the lake- strewn flat lands of Minnesota, over the rolling hills and farm lands of North Dakota and eastern Montana, then on to the mountains of western Montana and Idaho.

At last we reached the crop and scrub land of eastern Washington and finally to the Cascades and to the bike’s new home in Seattle.

This is the longest journey that this bike would take in its 65 years of life. From northern Minnesota’s lake country on the fringe of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area to the bright lights of the big city, a journey that thousands of Minnesota natives took during World War II to work at Boeing, must have been quite a shock.

09/22/2009
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Photo credit: 
Dave Kannas

The author's new bike made the trek to Seattle from Northern Minnesota.

The Pedestrian Master Plan, whose mission is make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation, will be voted on by the full city council Sept. 21 after being passed unanimously by the council transportation committee and special committee on pedestrian safety.

"The plan before you today is evidence that Seattlites care about the critical role walking plays in sustaining the health of people and our communities in addition to the environment," Tracy Krawczyk, a member of the Pedestrian Master Plan team, said during the Sept. 15 vote.

The plan includes objectives, strategies and analysis that can help the city increase the safety of pedestrians and the vibrancy of walkable communities.

Work on the Pedestrian Master Plan started six years ago, and council member Nick Licata said it has been created in a way that is thorough but also open to council change in the future.

"That was an extraordinary effort on behalf of the staff and Pedestrian Master Plan," council member Jan Drago said during the vote.

09/16/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Pedestrian Master Plan, which seeks to make Seattle a more walkable city, passed out of committee Sept. 15 and will be voted on by the full city council Sept. 21.

Some media outlets and Seattle voters have spread the rumor that if Mike McGinn is elected mayor, he will only use his bicycle for daily transportation. He said that's not true and wanted to set the record straight.

“Let’s put this story to rest,” said McGinn sporting a bicycle helmet with his two-wheeler at the ready with another day ahead filled with campaigning around the city.

“Even during my campaign I drive places,” said McGinn, a Greenwood resident. “Some places are too far to bike. But I do plan to bike when it makes sense. Short trips are often times faster by bike than by car. I started mainly for exercise. I discovered I really liked it, and saved money because I didn’t have to pay for parking and it's about as fast as the bus.

“But, yes, if elected, I do hope to bike as often as I can. You can just roll your bike on at a light rail stop, and also use those racks on buses. Of course there are some times you have to drive. That’s the way the city’s designed.”

McGinn also rides an electric pedal-assist bike.

09/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Mayoral candidate Mike McGinn on his battery bike near 15th Avenue Northwest, wants to set the record straight. He enjoys riding his bicycle and plans to pedal to appointments when practical if he wins the mayoral seat.

Some media outlets and Seattle voters have spread the rumor that if Mike McGinn is elected mayor, he will only use his bicycle for daily transportation. He said that's not true and wanted to set the record straight.

“Let’s put this story to rest,” said McGinn sporting a bicycle helmet with his two-wheeler at the ready with another day ahead filled with campaigning around the city.

“Even during my campaign I drive places,” said McGinn, a Greenwood resident. “Some places are too far to bike. But I do plan to bike when it makes sense. Short trips are often times faster by bike than by car. I started mainly for exercise. I discovered I really liked it, and saved money because I didn’t have to pay for parking and it's about as fast as the bus.

“But, yes, if elected, I do hope to bike as often as I can. You can just roll your bike on at a light rail stop, and also use those racks on buses. Of course there are some times you have to drive. That’s the way the city’s designed.”

McGinn also rides an electric pedal-assist bike.

09/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Mayoral candidate Mike McGinn on his battery bike near 15th Avenue Northwest, wants to set the record straight. He enjoys riding his bicycle and plans to pedal to appointments when practical if he wins the mayoral seat.

About 20 decorated nudists and a few scantily-clad cyclists peddled their messages of peace, joy, and sustainability as they glided north on California Avenue Southwest toward Alki on a loop tour on Sept. 13.

They painted their bodies in a back room of Aaron's Bicycle Repair at the Morgan Junction, then emerged in their glory at 2:15 p.m. to begin the ride.

The ride is part of the World Naked Bike Ride and was the 6th annual Seattle ride. According to the World Naked Bike Ride Wikipedia page, "It's time to put a stop to the indecent exposure of people and the planet to cars and the pollution they create."

09/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

About 20 decorated nudists peddled their messages of peace, joy, and sustainability as they glided north on California Avenue Southwest toward Alki on a loop tour Sept. 13. They painted their bodies in a back room of Aaron's Bicycle Repair at the Morgan Junction.

Feet First is orchestrating this year’s annual PARK(ing) Day held on Sept. 18 when vehicle parking spots throughout the city will, for one day, become parks.

The event shows how precious space can be used in a more fun, sustainable and exciting way, according to Feet First, an organization that promotes walkable communities and safe routes to schools.

Parks will highlight the creative expression of residents all across Seattle. The day event will conclude with an awards ceremony at the People’s Parking Lot at Summit and Pine Streets on Capitol Hill beginning at 6 p.m..

PARK(ing) Day began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art collective, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park. Since its inception, PARK(ing) Day has been established as an international event.

“This is a great opportunity for Seattleites to see the hidden potential in every parking spot and get people thinking about the way we use our public space,” said Lisa Quinn, executive director for Feet First.

Seattle residents first took part in PARK(ing) Day in 2007 with just four parks. This year the event has ballooned to more than 30 parks.

09/12/2009
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Photo credit: 
Image courtesy Feet First

Sept. 18 is annual PARK(ing) Day held when vehicle parking spots throughout the city will become parks for a day.

On Sept. 3, the family of Kevin Black, a University of Washington scientist who was killed on Feb. 4 while bicycling to work, filed a civil action against the driver whose Ford E250 van struck him, according to a release from the lawyer representing the Black family.

Black, 39, was riding in the bike lane in the 6400 block of 24th Avenue Northwest in Ballard when the van’s driver attempted a U-turn into the path of his bicycle.

The suit against Jonnie Lynn Wilbur of Gig Harbor seeks damages on behalf of Black’s family, including his two daughters, ages 13 and 10.

“Mr. Black was a respected and popular molecular researcher, and an avid cyclist,” said the family's attorney, James S. Rogers.

Rogers said the suit is being filed at this time because the police investigation just recently concluded.

He said, according to the investigation report, police found negligence on the part of the Wilbur, who was making a U-turn on a street that is not meant to accommodate them.

In the days following Black’s death, friends, family members and fellow bicyclists erected a shrine and held a vigil near the scene of the collision.

09/03/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Fellow cyclists mourn Kevin Black in February at a memorial set up along 24th Avenue Northwest. Black was killed Feb. 4 after a collision with a van. His family has filed a civil action against the driver for wrongful death.

Earlier this week, I decided to take advantage of a gorgeous summer day to do something I have never done before: bike along the "Missing Link."

Taking this bike ride gave me a much different perspective to this long-standing issue of contention in the Ballard community. After biking it, I realized that even though it is not the perfect solution, if it is built the way it is currently being proposed, it could end up being a tourist attraction for Ballard.

Because of where I live in Ballard, I have never really needed to bike along the Missing Link. If I want to go to Golden Gardens, I ride to the end of Northwest 61st Street and pick up the Burke-Gilman Trail down there.

If I want to go somewhere on the rest of the Burke-Gilman, I bike down to Fred Meyer. On this day, however, I pretended like I was a random biker who had to bike from where the trail ends currently by Fred Meyer at 11th Avenue Northwest and rode along Shilsole to the Locks, and then back down along Ballard Avenue to Shilshole.

The Missing Link is planned to run along Shilshole Avenue, Ballard Avenue and possibly Market Street.

08/22/2009
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Photo credit: 
Brian LeBlanc

The Missing Link completion could give residents and visitors a tour of Ballard.

The state is looking for volunteers in communities in Seattle and across the state to help count the number of people who walk or bike to their destinations.

The information being gathered this fall will be used to track progress toward the state’s goal of increasing bicycling and walking in Washington and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. 



The department of transportation and the Cascade Bicycle Club are enlisting volunteers and organizations like FeetFirst and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to count the numbers of people bicycling and walking on paths, bike lanes, sidewalks and other facilities on Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1.



“We had a great turnout of volunteers in 2008,” said Ian Macek, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the state. “This effort can not be done without their help, so we hope to see an increase in volunteer support this year.” 



08/12/2009
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Photo courtesy National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project

The state and Cascade Bicycle Club are looking for volunteers to help count the number of people who walk or bike to their destinations on Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1.

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