Bicyclists/Pedestrians

Bike dots, green bike lanes and sharrows are appearing on city streets in growing numbers. The Seattle Department of Transportation is adding improvements to ensure its transportation infrastructure meets the needs of Seattle’s growing cycling community, according to a news release from the department.

The new elements will be found in neighborhoods citywide (see attached sheet) and build on other upgrades already well underway, such as adding bike lanes and multi-user trail segments. These improvements stem from the Bicycle Master Plan and its ten-year goal of tripling the number of people cycling in Seattle.

“Guided by the Bicycle Master Plan, we are making extensive improvements to support bicycling in Seattle,” said Grace Crunican, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “Simple roadway elements like bike dots, green bike lanes and sharrows will help transform attitudes about bikes’ rightful place on city streets.”

04/23/2009
Sharrows.jpg
Photo credit: 
File photo

More sharrows, like this one installed on Beach Drive in 2007, are coming to Seattle streets.

If you’re at all like me (of an age and not city-bred) you may understand that the thought of riding a bicycle in traffic strikes fear into my very soul.

Now I have tremendous admiration for the number of fit adults using their legs instead of the gas pedal, and I watch out for them like a mother duck watches over her young. But I strongly suspect that if I tried it I would soon be another “Bike meets Car” statistic and that is not how I want to go.

I’ve been to Amsterdam, where bicycles are the most common form of transportation, and seen those sturdy single-gear bikes being driven by moms, a kid on the back and a pile of groceries in the front basket, negotiating traffic while holding an umbrella and talking on her cell phone. Impressive.

I did bring home one of those bikes, given to me by my Dutch uncle, but the fact is that having just one speed in hilly Seattle could kill me, or most likely have me calling Jim to come with the station wagon right away.

04/18/2009
Bike.JPG
Photo credit: 
Rhonda Brown

The authors zippy Zap Electric Bike.

Streets were closed Friday, April 10 and residents took to them on bicyles, skateboards and feet for a 22 block long street party in Phinney Ridge and Greenwood.

For three hours from 6 to 9 p.m., Greenwood Avenue North was opened up from North 65th to North 87th Street so that pedestrians and bicyclists could come out to play and explore local businesses.

The event was sponsored by the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seattle. It builds on the chamber's successful monthly art walk Art Up/Open Up. It offers residents a cheap way to do family activities and reconnect with neighbors.

It was also a chance for businesses to showcase products or services. So, bring your own interests to the street-play music, dance, ride bikes, or do art-let your imagination run wild, the chamber asks.

It's also part of "Seattle Summer Streets," a city-initiative to get people out of their cars.

From April to September, six city streets are being opened for residents to get out and have fun, celebrate the spirit of the community and explore local businesses.

04/11/2009
IMG_1662.JPG
Photo credit: 
Allison Espiritu

Seattle's Bubble Man attracts many art walkers by sharing his array of bubbles in front of Phinney Ridge's Metropolis. Click the image for more photos of the event.

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society (SWSHS) invites residents to bike into history as the second annual SWSHS Bike Tour returns to West Seattle Sunday, June 7, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. The Bike Tour accompanies SWSHS’ popular Walking Tour series, showcasing some of West Seattle’s most influential landmarks.

Beginning at the Log House Museum on Alki Beach, the Bike Tour is a casual 5-mile bike ride around the Duwamish Peninsula via Alki and Harbor Avenues and West Marginal Way. Featured sites on the route include the Log House Museum, the newly reconstructed Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza, Alki Beach, Anchor Park (formerly Luna Park) and the new Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way.

Bike Tour creator and Museum Assistant Sarah Frederick and Museum Director Andrea Mercado are excited about the Bike Tour’s unique format in reminding Seattleites of West Seattle’s central influence on the city’s history.

04/09/2009

(Editor's note: Dave Kannas is a regular columnist for the Ballard News-Tribune's sister publication the West Seattle Herald. His article is being reproduced here as it relates to the completion of the Burke Gilman Trail through the industrial area of Ballard.)

The struggle between “civil society” and bicyclists is nothing new. We had our battles before the turn of the 20th Century, when bicycles were relatively new on the scene but rapidly expanding in numbers, especially in France.

“As early as 1869, some of the larger French cities had passed municipal by-laws to control this new public hazard…” (Christopher Thompson, The Tour de France, University of California Press, 2006). Thompson goes on to note that in the city of Sens, bicyclists were required “to attach warning bells to their machines, a lantern when traveling at night, and a sort of license plate with their name and address.”

03/16/2009
Kannas.jpg
Photo credit: 
Provided by Dave Kannas

Dave Kannas.

The struggle between “civil society” and bicyclists is nothing new. We had our battles before the turn of the 20th Century, when bicycles were relatively new on the scene but rapidly expanding in numbers, especially in France.

“As early as 1869, some of the larger French cities had passed municipal by-laws to control this new public hazard…” (Christopher Thompson, The Tour de France, University of California Press, 2006). Thompson goes on to note that in the city of Sens, bicyclists were required “to attach warning bells to their machines, a lantern when traveling at night, and a sort of license plate with their name and address.”

This sounds like something right out of an editorial page. At least The Seattle Times editorial page editor, James Vesely, hasn’t referred to the bicycle as “…an instrument of chaos and degeneration…” which was a popular opinion in 19th Century France. I probably shouldn’t give him ideas for more anti-bicycle editorials, though.

03/16/2009
Kannas.jpg
Photo credit: 
Provided by Dave Kannas

Kannas writes a regular column about biking for the West Seattle Herald and westseattleherald.com.

In April and May two local events will aim to get people out of their cars to explore the neighborhoods.

To celebrate "Seattle Summer Streets," the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge Chamber of Commerce are organizing a car-free street on Phinney/Greenwood Avenue North from North 65th to North 87th streets, April 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. The next month, in Ballard at the Bergen Place Park, the Cascade Bicycle Club will host "bike to work day" May 15, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Mayor Greg Nickels today announced this summer’s schedule of street festivals. Celebrate Seattle Summer Streets will open up streets to pedestrians and bicyclists, and aims to celebrate the spirit and personality of their neighborhood, and support local businesses, according to the city.

Each event is organized by a local group.

03/02/2009
Rain, snow and Lance Armstrong at the Amgen Tour of California

The picture says it all. This year’s pilgrimage to the Amgen Tour of California was cold and wet. At least the part that I experienced was.

The Tour of California is a nine-day professional bike race. It covers about 750 miles from about midway in the state to around San Diego, all on public streets and highways.

This year 17 teams with eight riders each started the race. Eight of the teams were pro tour which means that they take part in races like the Tour de France. The others were professional but not at the pro tour level.

This was my fourth year at the race, and each year it has grown and improved.

Lance Armstrong came out of retirement this year and was racing on Team Astana. I don’t know how the race directors can improve on that.

Every year that I’ve attended has been an adventure. The stage routes change, the teams change and the weather changes. February weather in California, especially Northern California, is similar to Washington. It can be nice and it can be brutal. This year it was brutal.

02/22/2009
082.jpg
Photo credit: 
Dave Kannas

A cold and rainy Amgen Tour.

Construction on repairing Ballard Avenue sidewalks which began Feb. 9, continues, finishing up ongoing work for the past three years on the historic street.

The work, which was requested by the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, is meant to make the sidewalks safer and smoother for walkers and will last about five weeks, according to the city. Tree pits will also be elongated throughout the corridor where appropriate.

It's funded through the Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF), a community-based program that is administered by the Seattle Department of Transportation and funded by the “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2006.

Improvements include: replacing existing sidewalk pavers with exposed aggregate sidewalk as required by the Ballard Avenue Landmark District; elongating existing tree pits to improve tree health; and installing new curb ramps where appropriate.

What to Expect During Construction:
Pedestrian detours
Parking restrictions
Moderate to high construction noise and dust for a short period of time
Typical work hours 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
Business access at all times

02/17/2009
Ballard Ave Construction.jpg
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Repairs to Ballard Avenue sidewalks are expected to last into March.

Progress cited on Bicycle Master Plan

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced today that progress has been made toward completing goals in the city's Bicycle Master Plan.

Mayor Greg Nickels has said he wants Seattle to become the "most bike-friendly city in the nation."

The Bicycle Master Plan Progress Report is posted on the transportation department Web site.

During the past two years, the city has extended the network of bicycle routes, lanes and trails, and improved bicycle safety.

Nearly two miles of new multi-purpose trail have been completed, including adding a section to the Burke-Gilman Trail along Shilshole Bay to Golden Gardens Park. The trail's designed the “missing link” section of the trail in Ballard has also been designed and is going through a public comment phase now.

Two sections were added to the Duwamish Trail (one built by the Port of Seattle), and the Interurban Bikeway was completed.

New features added to Seattle streets include green bike lanes at locations where bikes and cars are most likely to be in conflict, and sharrows, pavement markings that remind motorists to look for bicyclists.

02/13/2009
ggalignmentmap2.jpg <