Judkins Park Station is a golden opportunity to improve Rainier Ave, I-90 Trail transit access

Concept image facing west from the I-90 Trail at 23rd Ave. The bike cage is located behind the station name.

Concept image facing west from the I-90 Trail at 23rd Ave. The bike cage is located behind the station name.

The design for Judkins Park Station is getting closer to final, and Sound Transit wants feedback from people who bike.

So get to their open house 5 – 7 p.m. Tuesday (tomorrow) at the nearby Northwest African American Museum.

With the I-90 Trail essentially leading straight into the station, biking will be one of the easiest ways to get to Judkins Park Station when it opens in 2023. The location is set up to work well, but the devil is in the details. Will there be enough secure bike parking? Will the west sidewalk design keep trail users separate from people coming to and from the station or waiting for the 48 bus? Will it be easy and direct for people to bring their bikes on the train?

And those issues are just about 23rd Ave. There will also be an entrance under I-90 on Rainier Ave where the current freeway bus stops are. As much potential as the I-90 Trail holds for bike access to the station, safer bike connections on Rainier Ave could be even more important.

Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2017-18 budget includes funding for a multimodal corridor project on Rainer Ave and Jackson St in coming years (and the Council is looking into speeding up the Accessible Mt Baker project, which could be a vital part of a safer Rainer). Coupled with Sound Transit investments to improve access to Judkins Park Station, the potential here is enormous. But it will take partnerships and cooperation between SDOT, WSDOT, Sound Transit and King County Metro to make it happen.

But these agencies don’t really have a choice. Today, walking and biking to the freeway bus stops is pretty miserable and dangerous: Continue reading

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Sound Transit 3 is not about light rail, it’s about bringing our region closer together

st3-mass-transit-guide_mailer-2016_090216-mapSo much of the debating over the Sound Transit 3 vote has been about taxes or traffic or whether buses are better than trains or whether the size of the package is too ambitious. These points are all missing what’s really are the core of this decision: Loving our neighboring communities and wanting to be closer together.

Major investments in 20th Century freeways fueled sprawling growth across the region, encompassing old cities and towns while creating new ones on farm land and wilderness. In a literal sense, those freeways connected these homes to Seattle and to each other.

But those freeways also divide us. They physically cut through communities, creating barriers for everyone trying to get around by walking, biking and taking the bus. This need to buy, fuel, insure, park and maintain a car levies a de facto toll on access to these parts of our region.

The need to own a personal car to get around in so many communities also creates miserable traffic. And traffic makes neighbors hate each other. Road rage is socially acceptable and almost routine. It’s a seemingly natural result of people hopelessly trapped in their cars with no other option for getting around. If that asshole in front of me would just drive five mph faster or if that bike lane weren’t there or if that kid in the crosswalk would stop lollygagging, I’d be there by now.

If it is miserable to get to another part of the region, you won’t want to go there. This creates even more divisions between us.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Voting YES on Sound Transit 3 is about creating a very different future for our region. Continue reading

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Council faces a choice: Kill Pronto now or make lemonade out of the existing stations?

IMG_3237-1Pronto Cycle Share turned two years old last week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of celebration.

At this point, the system has spent more time operating in a state of uncertainty and controversy than it has operating normally. And that uncertainty has had a huge impact on membership and ridership. After all, few people are going to invest $85 for a year pass if they are not even sure the system will exist for that year.

We’ve already reported on the series of unfortunate political and bureaucratic missteps and unforced errors that led the system to this point. Without corrective action, there’s no reason to expect this downward spiral of bad press and declining membership to fix itself.

While the city negotiates and plans for an all-new expanded and electrified system, there seem to be three options for the existing system: Shut it down in January, continue operate at a loss, or reimagine the existing system to try out new ideas. The Council needs to choose which option to pursue in coming weeks before voting on the 2017-18 budget.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold — with the strong support of Councilmember Tim Burgess — took a big step towards killing the current system Wednesday, proposing a change that would redirect the $600,000 for 2017-18 Pronto operating funds to go to biking, walking and school safety projects instead (see the discussion starting at 23:20 in this video).

“The replacement bid that has come in does not include funding for operations,” Herbold said, referring to the leading bike share expansion proposal by the Quebec-based Bewegen. So her redirect of funds would not necessarily impact a relaunched system.

But the existing Pronto system does need those funds. The new system is aiming for a spring/summer 2017 launch, but that timeline may prove too tight. If the launch slips too far into summer, the city will (wisely) hold the launch until spring 2018. Pronto was supposed to stay in operation until a new system is ready to launch. Continue reading

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$10M committed to rehab historic trestle. Can the Eastside Trail open by 2020?


Governor Inslee checks out a concept for a completed trail on the trestle.

Governor Inslee checks out a concept for a completed trail on the trestle.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Governor Jay Inslee shared the podium Tuesday to announce $10 million dollars in funding commitments from local, regional, state and private partners to rehab the most difficult and stunning parts of the planned Eastside Trail: The Wilburton Trestle.

The historic trestle towers above local streets and I-405 with sweeping views of the Eastside, including downtown Bellevue. Its value extends even beyond the major walking and biking improvement it promises. Once saved, rehabbed and connected to a complete Eastside Trail from Renton to Woodinville, the trestle will likely become an iconic place in the City of Bellevue.

I mean, check out this drone footage and imagine that this is your bike ride home: Continue reading

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Cascade: Support the E Lake Sammamish Trail tonight

From a King County mailer

From a King County mailer

King County’s plans for a complete and glorious E Lake Sammamish Trail made it past a major legal hurdle this spring, and now the plans are moving forward.

The trail has been a long time coming, drawing big public support as well as some wealthy opponents and the City of Sammamish. The trail is a major link in the regional biking and walking network, but it is also a fantastic linear park.

The northernmost section of the trail was completed in 2015, showcasing the potential for the rest of the route. It will be a wonderful addition to the City of Sammamish, but the city’s Council needs to hear that support from the public.

It’s time to stop fighting and work with the county to create what could be the city’s premiere public asset. A lot of community input has already been considered in the design, which even went tree-by-tree to maintain what can safely be maintained. This is what compromise looks like. Now it’s time to move forward.

So if you can, Cascade is calling on trail supporters to voice their support before the meeting today (Tuesday). More details: Continue reading

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SPD: Interbay collision critically injures man biking Monday evening


Approximate location of the collision. Image via Google Street View.

A man in his 50s was critically injured Monday evening when he and a man driving a Chevy Blazer collided in Interbay.

We send him and his loved ones our best wishes.

Seattle Police are investigating, and have not yet said how the collision on Elliott Ave W near the W Galer Street Flyover bridge occurred.

A post to the department’s Blotter says the man biking was headed southbound and the man driving was headed northbound. Standard evaluation found the man driving was not impaired.

While it is not clear where the injured man was trying to go, the Galer overpass is one of very few opportunities to cross the railroad tracks that separate Elliott and 15th Ave W from Magnolia and the Elliott Bay Trail. A photo posted by KIRO’s Peter Frerichs suggests the collision happened in the middle of the street near a southbound left turn lane for people accessing the Galer bridge. There are also RapidRide bus stops on both sides of the street. Continue reading

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Shoreline plans some key bike connections in 2017, open house Tuesday

bpi_publicopenhouse_flyer-2The City of Shoreline is set to make significant connections in its piecemeal bike network next year, and you can get a look at the changes and weigh in at an open house 5 p.m. Tuesday at Shoreline City Hall, Room 301.

Seattle’s northern neighbor has a lot of challenges for biking, many caused by an inconsistent street grid cut off by two major highways and some serious hills. But it also has some major assets, including the Interurban Trail that connects the south end to the north end of the city limits.

But too many homes and destinations remain disconnected from this major bike route and from each other. So it is great that the city is looking to make some significant changes in 2017. Let’s hope they keep this momentum going in coming years, as well.

More details from the open house flyer (PDF): Continue reading

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