Category Archives: Human Powered Politics

Town Hall Events, Biking Mayor and Party for Val

STHall

photo courtesy of Worldchanging

Worldchanging is hosting two events at Town Hall this Wednesday, November 11th  and Thursday, November 12 featuring Seattle’s own –Alex Steffen, executive director and co-founder of Worldchanging,  publisher of best selling tome on sustainability and internationally renowned speaker.

What’s not to like? Food and drinks provided by  Skillet, promises of live music, introduction by mayor-elect, Mike-likes-bikes, McGinn and a free glass of beer from Fremont Brewing Co. We’ll be there on Thursday – come on down and join us!

Click the event link to get the scoop and buy tickets Continue reading

Car Free Days Votes for Bikes

We miss election day. Most of you probably voted weeks ago and we’re just getting around to opening our ballots. It’s not the same since Washington went to an all-mail system.

So it’s probably not to going to help most of you that we’re putting in a last minute endorsement in our otherwise a apolitical blog for Mayoral Candidate Mike “bikes” McGinn.

As you expect, our pro-bike support of the pro-bike candidate is pretty  obvious.  Joe Mallahan also makes it an easy choice for a family who takes their voting seriously. Even if Mallahan didn’t promise to run the city like a phone company, he’d still fall short with us for his personal voting track record.

The fact that he’s missed 13 (thirteen!) elections since 2001 means we won’t be sending any hanging chads in his direction (Susan Hutchison, by the way has fared poorly, missing eight in the same time period).

You may have different hot-buttons and may make other election choices; that’s OK with us at Car Free Days..  Just whatever you do, don’t be like Joe and Susan. Vote. Make your voice heard.

-Tim

World Carfree Day is September 22

carfree day logoGet ready to leave your car at home on Tuesday, September 22 in honor of World Carfree Day:

World Carfree Day is an annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution of cars. Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets and neighbourhoods to celebrate World Carfree Day and to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated societies.

Come on, it’s just one day, give it a try. Take your bike or the bus or your feet instead of your car.

I took a peek at the events page and it looks as if (for most of the country) World Carfree Day doesn’t have many organized events. If you live in Santa Cruz or San Francisco, Broomfield, Boulder, Louisville, Ashland, Galveston or Roanoke, by all means get out and celebrate.

Otherwise, just leave your car at home on Tuesday and go about your daily business.

– Anne

PARK(ing) Day 2009

Parking Day 2009
Among many other things lately, Parking Day completely snuck up on us this year.

Originally created by Rebar, San Francisco art and design collective, PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

We at carfreedays think subsidized on-street parking is a waste of public space. That makes it easy for us to get excited about PARK(ing) Day. Green space where a stinky car would have been waiting between trips? We’re all for it.

I had a few free hours yesterday,  a lovely Seattle end-of-summer kind of day,  so I took some time to ride around and check out some of the impromptu “parks” in South Lake Union and downtown Seattle. I enjoyed a mini-South Lake Union complete with picnic area, sailboat and kayak, tried my hand at a  putting green, albeit badly, P1010135and enjoyed a delicious Michou sandwich at Pike Place Market (not a PARK(ing) day site but a prime location for car- freeness).

I intended to ride up to Capitol Hill where the bulk of Seattle’s “parks” were set up but I ran out of time.

What was your favorite PARK(ing) Day site?

How was PARK(ing) Day in your city?

more photos here

– Anne

Car Free Days is Clinging to a Bikey Summer

Faster, the Night is Catching Us

Faster, the Night is Catching Us

It feels like Summer is fading around here.

Quickly.

Maybe it’s the way it changed from tank-top weather to sweater weather in about two hours this afternoon. Or maybe it’s the way I’ve decided that lights are now a prudent addition to my evening commutes.

Whatever the reason, the Car Free Days family is feeling some serious pressure to do something, anything, fun in the last couple weeks of summer.

Luckily for us, the Seattle bike scene has stepped up to provide some pretty family friendly, bike on music action this weekend. 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

Seattle Ride of Silence Tonight (May 20)

The Seattle 2009 Ride of Silence quietly rolls out from Gas Works Park at 6:30 this evening. The ride, if you aren’t familiar, is an international event intended to honor those killed or injured cycling on roadways.

I participated last year and was marked by the ride. It’s a rather eery experience when a few hundred normally chattery cyclists string out along the road for a completely silent, solemn parade. Other than the whir of tires, ratcheting of freehubs, or squeals of wet, longbike disc brakes (sorry about that), it really is a ride of silence.

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

Could D.O.T. Secretary think bikes are for real?

I mentioned this on twitter last week, but I think it might be worth exploring in a little more depth here with our blog readers.

DOT Fastlane BlogThe US Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood is blogging.

These days a blogging politico is no surprise. However, the things he’s saying have kind of caught me off guard (in a good way):

  • “Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting”
  • “When I told the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit that “Cyclists are important users of America’s transportation systems,” I meant it.”
  • “And, when I wrote that “With DOT, bicyclists have a full partner in working toward livable communities,” I meant that as well.”

To  cyclists, these statements are pretty logical. We get all of this and many of us have been saying the same thing for years. But the problem hasn’t been saying, it’s been the listening. That is, getting the Beltway to listen, and take us seriously (remember last summer’s anti-bike rant by N.C. Rep Patrick McHenry?).

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.