Category Archives: bicycle neglect

reBertha: What To Do With Our Very Large Hole

photo modified under Creative Commons. Original available on flickr from the WaDOT (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/8260834957/in/set-72157631880763139)
As you’ve probably heard, our tortured tunneling titan, Bertha “the world’s largest and most expensive tunneling machine,” hasn’t moved in more than a month.

Armchair speculation says she’s likely over budget and certainly behind schedule.

I think it’s safe to say things are a mess.  Many of us alternative transportation nerds advocates have been against this mega project debacle since the beginning.  A mere $2.8B to move some cars at roughly the same speed and efficiency as if we tore down the doomed Alaska Way Viaduct and did nothing? “Sure that sounds like a great investment (air quotes over the great),” was my reaction all along.

Tweet: Bertha's Budget Busted

Nobody official wants to speak publicly about the growing quagmire, probably because the State and the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, are busy lining up their litigation teams for the lawsuit(s) of the century.

Meanwhile the same state leaders glady supporting the motor-vehicle-only tunnel also think that investing in bike and transit infrastructure is too expensive and/or too socialist. Right….

So it’s tempting (oh so tempting!) to play I-told-you-so and draft an initiative to require all State Legislators to write suitably conciliatory, daisy-scented, “I’m sorry” notes to hero tunnel obstructionist/former Mayor McGuin.

Bertha's Junk. A creative commons photo from the Washington State Department of Transportation http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/11828410274/in/set-72157631880763139/lightbox/

Bertha’s Junk

As much as I’d like to see how a liberal Tim Eyeman-style effort would play out in Ephrata, we’re instead going to join the moral-high ground freshly shoveled in by Tom over at the Seattle Bike Blog. In a post Thursday morning entitled “We can do better things with our new downtown tunnel,” he’s calling for a positive spin to install on our sinking Titantic. Continue reading

A “better” bike rack through dental technology

I love our dentist, Dr. Russell. He’s the kind of guy I can exchange snippy banter with while he takes better care of my mouth then the words coming out of it often deserve.

As many of you know, Anne and I are turning into bike rack zealots. So its no surprise that during my cleaning last winter, I spent some time berating him for his shoddy bike  parking.  The rack at his office is old, rattly, rusty, and not even secured to the ground!

To his credit, Dr. Russell didn’t jab me with one of those evil dental picks. Instead, he listened respectfully, asked a couple questions, and gave me a little hope he’d do something about it.

Last Thursday I was back for my summer cleaning. Approaching the still-in-place ratty old rack my initial disappointment quickly turned to  admiration for the way he had spiffed it up and secured it with the tools of his trade:

Waxed Floss Rack Security

Continue reading

Seattle Ride of Silence Deserves our Respect

Heading out with a small group on the 2009 Ride of Silence

Heading out with a small group on the 2009 Ride of Silence

As I mentioned, Wednesday was the 2009 Ride of Silence. Having been impressed by last year’s numbers  and the diversity of participants, I was really looking forward to paying my respects by riding with an even larger group this year.

Upon arriving at Gas Works Park, it was quickly apparent that I was a bit optimistic. In fact, riders were  so sparse, my first thought was that I missed the roll out and had showed up at a Cascade evening group ride.  Last year’s rider count was in the mid-hundreds (Wednesday’s ride leader mentioned “600” in past years), this year I counted 43 or 44 riders TOTAL.

I’m just going to come right out and say I’m really disappointed by Seattle cyclists. While other cities had growing numbers of riders, Seattle fell flat (Portland drew about 75 for their 2009 ride). Continue reading

News Flash! Cars are expensive

This just in: driving a car costs a whole bunch of money. Crazy as it may sound to all eight of our car-loving readers, puttin’ the pedal to the metal isn’t quite as cost effective as actually pedaling.

This according the American Public Transportation Association’s Transit Savings Report. They looked at what a car costs  to own and run (the whole deal from buying it, maintaining it, parking, registration, insurance and more) and then compared that with what transit use would cost the same family.

The PI says in Seattle such a comparison nets a$10,483 savings for those chucking their car keys. And that’s for transit use. A bicycle switchover would probably fare even better. Pretty impressive.

Continue reading

Merry Christmas

Sledding HomeMerry Christmas! We hope you enjoyed the holiday. We had a lovely day.

A rare snowy week in Seattle has paralyzed the city and kept us mostly confined to the one mile radius around our house. I guess 27 snow plows aren’t enough to keep the roads of an entire city clear.

I have to agree, snow in Seattle does force people to rediscover their legs. We’ve seen more people carless this week than normal. This seems kind of harsh, but it’s nice when people are scared or ill equiped to drive. The streets have been so quiet and serene. We could get used to these car-free roads. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get rid of the snow and have the roads to ourselves? Continue reading

Dear SDOT: A little Sand on the Univ. Bridge, please

The only stretch of ice on the whole commute

Day: The only stretch of ice on the whole commute

Glare Ice on the Bike Path

Night: University Bridge: Glare Ice on the Bike Path

To my friends at Seattle DOT,

If, by chance, you happen to read this little blog before heading out Tuesday morning,  I’d first like to mention how much me and my bike commuting buddies appreciate the great job you did clearing the University Bridge deck Monday morning. It was cold but you were out there working it.

Thanks!

With that out of the way, do you mind if I ask a small favor? Is there any chance that you could pretty-please finish the North and South approaches to the deck? It’s very slippery, especially at night.

I know it may not seem like there are many riders out right now, but you’d be surprised: I think more than a few of us would benefit from such an effort.

Keep up the good work!

-Tim

PS: I used your online contact form to report this issue, but it said I’d hear a response in 10 days. I figure it will be 55 F and raining by then, so this venue will have to do.

Times bike fee plan: Let’s get us some readers

By now, most of you have read the “bicycle licensing” nonsense in the Seattle Times by formerly ready-for-pasture James Vesley:

Seattle went through a lengthy process of enhancing the Burke-Gilman Trail through industrial Ballard. Among the pretzel routes, all were made to make cycling as easy as possible. Those costs, born by the industries of Ballard and the city, could be offset by a modest fee.

Pick your favorite James

Good James or Bad? Do you ride a bike or own a shopping mall?

Uh, you mean the trail project that voters levied themselves to pay for as part of  the Complete Streets/Bridging the Gap measures? Yeah, that one.

In the past couple days I’ve read a number of the comments in response to the editorial and for the most part they are fairly civil, reasoned, and lacking in the hate that the PI Soundoff seems to generate. Frankly, most people are shocked that Vesley could put forth such a stupid idea.

Personally, I don’t think the guy is stupid.

Instead, I see his tirade as a well-planned effort to show that even the aging dean of the newsroom can still can bring in the readers. Newspaper budgets are shrinking, after all. You’ve got to demonstrate your worth to the advertising machine, and Vesley did just that.

Of course, as a long-time crony of Kemper Freeman and the Bellevue pavement brigade, it’s not like he had to stretch to play the part. (Side note: Kemper Freeman doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry. Interesting….)

All this allowed James to score points with the pro-development community just when they were stinging from their election losses, while shoring up his big man on campus reputation with those whipper-snapper Gen-Y kids in the Times analytics department. Well played, James.

Never mind that some will use his pathetic ideas as an excuse to validate their hatred toward cyclists.

It’s just business, right?

– Tim

New Bike Lane on 9th: Safety (or is it mail?) First

New Bike Lane on 9th Seattle -- supposedly _much_ safer than Westlake.

You know that new bike lane on 9th? The one the mayor scrambled to say they had been planning all along but didn’t mention until cyclists started protesting the SLUT? The one that is supposed to be way safer than riding near the trolley tracks? Yeah, that one.

Um, apparently not everyone got the safety memo. This was just one of three vehicles I saw blocking the less-than-Nichol’s-sized lane in a mere three blocks. Lots wackiness along this stretch of bike lane—cars parked over the line, doors flying without a care in the world and people swerving in and out of parking places. Finally, Lance’s old team colors put me over the top. I grabbed a photo and bailed.

As one might imagine, I’m not a bit impressed with the engineering or enforcement for this project. Judging from the still impressive volume of bike traffic on Westlake, I think most in-city riders have voted. 9th isn’t going to be worth the trip until such time the city can bother to enforce parking regulations more seriously around bike paths. From what I’ve seen lately, I’m not hopeful.

I met some Cascade Bike Club advocacy guys at trolley talk at REI in March. They say when 9th is done it will be really cool. But they admit it could take a while. For now I think I’m going to take my chances with Westlake. At least I know where the tracks are and I’m unlikey to get doored.

-Tim