Seattle’s new traffic garden is the perfect place to learn the rules of the road

by on October 3rd, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Aerial view of the new traffic garden in south Seattle.(Photos: King County Parks)

Aerial view of the new traffic garden in south Seattle.
(Photos: King County Parks)

If we ever want bicycling to become mainstream, we must find a way to educate more people on the right way to ride in traffic. It can be tough though, because our streets make most people so stressed out that they adopt bad habits just to stay alive.

That’s where a traffic garden can come in: A place that mimics real-life street conditions and that’s out of harms way. These facilities have been used in northern Europe for many years (we reported on one in Utrecht in 2009); but the United States hasn’t fully adopted the concept.

Until now.

Seattle just passed a citywide 20 mph speed limit, and Portland could be next

by on September 27th, 2016 at 10:50 am

Seattle-area activists were key in pushing for this change.(Photo: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Seattle-area activists were key in pushing for this change.
(Photo: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Seattle transportation reform advocates are celebrating a major milestone this morning: last night Seattle City Council unanimously approved a measure that sets a default speed limit on some central city arterials of 25 miles per hour (instead of 30) and 20 miles per hour on all residential streets (instead of 25).

This is a big deal. Joshua Cohen reports on Next City that the new policy will effect a whopping 2,400 miles of neighborhood streets.

Woman dies after crashing near streetcar tracks in Seattle

by on May 25th, 2016 at 11:33 am

Screenshot from Capitol Hill Seattle.

Screenshot from Capitol Hill Seattle.

27-year old Seattle resident Desiree McCloud died yesterday from injuries she sustained from a crash on May 13th. According to reports she was biking with friends near streetcar tracks on E Yesler and 13th when she lost control and went down.

The incident highlights a major problem that has plagued both Seattle and Portland for years: Both cities have busy urban neighborhoods where streetcar tracks and unprotected bikeways mix and both cities have countless crash victims because of it. Track crashes are so rampant here in Portland that there’s an assumption among daily riders that it’s a matter of when not if you’ll go down on them.

Not only do these exposed tracks cause many broken bones and bodies every year, they are also just one more thing that scares some people away from cycling. (more…)

Riding Seattle’s first Emerald City ride: new Hwy 520 floating bridge, express lanes

by on April 8th, 2016 at 9:01 am

Friend @kitchen and I took the train to Seattle for the first annual Emerald City ride. CBC puts on good events, and getting the opportunity to ride the new SR520 floating bridge and the I-5 Express Lanes was pretty special.

Here’s a short “highlights” video: (more…)

Could it work here? How Seattle’s big new housing compromise came together

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 15th, 2016 at 9:44 am

separate signal phases bidirectional 2nd seattle
Seattle’s recent housing breakthrough may have lessons for keeping bikeable parts of Portland affordable.
(Photo: Adam Coppola)

Here’s one way to think about the political battle over housing in growing cities, spelled out Monday at an Oregon Active Transportation Summit panel: it’s got three main interest groups.

One group is social-justice advocates and tenants. These people are generally interested in keeping prices lower one way or another, especially for the lowest-income people.

One group is environmentalists, businesses and the development industry. These people are (for various reasons) generally interested in increasing the number of people living in the city.

The third group is a highly active subset of single-family homeowners. These people are generally interested in maintaining or increasing the value of their property, especially while keeping things the way they were when they bought it.


Could Pronto’s problems come to Portland? Here’s what experts say

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 1st, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Pronto bikeshare @king st station
Not ridden enough, but why?
(Photo: Diane Yee)

As we mentioned in this week’s news roundup, Seattle’s 16-month-old bike sharing system is in a very tight spot.

With the Pronto system taking in only 68 percent of the money required to meet its operating costs last year and the city considering taking it over in order to bail it out, many Portlanders are rightly wondering whether the upcoming Biketown system (which will be operated by the same company, Motivate) could face similar problems.

We talked to some of the country’s leading independent bike-share experts today to get their take. Here’s what we heard.


Seattle’s antidote to aggressive driving on neighborhood greenways

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 22nd, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Screenshot 2015-05-22 at 2.42.03 PM
It works.

I’m in Seattle today joining the second leg of a study tour for a group from Indianapolis that’s visiting Portland and Seattle to study neighborhood greenways, the relatively low-cost, low-controversy bike infrastructure Portland imported from Vancouver BC and has built into a pretty solid network on its eastside grid.


5 lessons for Portland in Seattle’s big bike-friendly ballot issue

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 19th, 2015 at 9:23 am


A few miles up the road, Portland’s big-sister city is doing something Portland hasn’t yet: charting a viable path to paying for its transportation goals.

The nine-year, $900 million “Move Seattle” property tax levy proposed Wednesday by Mayor Ed Murray would include (among many other things) 50 miles of protected bike lanes and 60 miles of neighborhood greenways over nine years. That’s about half of the projects that Seattle’s 20-year bike plan refers to as parts of the “citywide network.”

For comparison’s sake, Portland’s “paused” street fund proposal included, at one point, an estimated 14-20 miles of protected bike lanes and 40-50 miles of greenways over 10 years. But the possible lessons here for Portland aren’t just about scale (Seattle is bigger by most measures, after all) and the story here isn’t just that Seattle is succeeding where we aren’t (Seattle has a long way to go, after all).


Amtrak’s trains keep getting bike-friendlier, but its buses aren’t keeping up

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 20th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

bikes on Amtrak bus
It’s sometimes possible to talk bikes onto an Amtrak
bus, but the variety of contractors is an obstacle.
(Photo: Mark Hogan)

As Amtrak invests in improving its trains to carry bikes, some customers are warning that Amtrak’s buses are falling behind.

The Amtrak Cascades line, between Eugene and Vancouver BC, is both one of the most-ridden regional rail lines in the country and maybe the bike-friendliest. For $5 on top of your fare, you can easily check an unboxed bike to most stops on the line and reclaim it like any other bit of luggage.

The service has been so popular that the hooks in Amtrak’s baggage cars started filling up. So two years ago, the Cascades added more hooks, boosting its bike capacity by 67 percent.


Youth Bike Summit will bring Portlanders to Seattle next week

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 5th, 2015 at 9:44 am

Youth Bike Director Pasqualina Azzarello
speaking at the 2012 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you think about it, there’s little question about which disenfranchised minority has the most to gain from good bicycling: kids.

A national conference for people interested in the education, advocacy and organizing of young people who are interested in bicycling is about to kick off just up the road from Portland.

The annual Youth Bike Summit has taken place in New York City for the last four years, but this year Seattle will host its first year “on the road.” Portlanders will be presenting on three of this year’s panels: one by publishers/creators Elly Blue and Joe Biel called “Making Change,” and one from the Multnomah Youth Commission called “Youth Advocacy Initiatives: Transit Justice through Youth Organizing” and one by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and MYC called “Getting What You Want: Advocate.”

The City of Portland is sending Janis McDonald as a representative of their Safe Routes to Schools program.