Streets For All Seattle

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by Byron on Apr 19, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Streets For All Seattle launched today

Cascade Bicycle Club, Sierra Club Cascade Chapter and Great City join a coalition of community, labor, transportation and environmental groups in proudly announcing Streets For All Seattle, a new campaign calling for adequately funding multimodal transportation initiatives in Seattle.

The Streets For All Seattle supporters believe that walking, bicycling and transit should be the easiest means of transportation in Seattle. But the current situation shows pending cuts in Metro service hours and insufficient funding for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans.

The Streets For All Seattle coalition has identified a number of potential funding sources - to the tune of $30 million dollars - for walking, biking and transit infrastructure. The group looks forward to working with the Seattle City Council, Mayor McGinn and partners to create dedicated funding mechanisms for multi-modal transportation initiatives in Seattle.

streets_for_all.png

Our take is Seattle is a City that has a problem getting anything big done and with the perception of itself. For those readers that don’t live here, there’s a Northwest passive/aggressive style. You’d think a City that has a B rating from Cascade and a Top 5 from Bicycing Magazine wouldn’t need another organization to lobby for pedestrian and cyclists monies.

While the press releases are going out about this, across the lake Mercer Island is trying to ban cyclists from riding in groups on their streets. Same people are fighting the Missing Link and Stone Way while other bikeways go apparently unnoticed.

We don’t want to buzzkill the announcement and will shake hands tomorrow with the people working on it at the Bike to Work Breakfast. It’s when we see sharrows where cyclists don’t ride we wonder how many lobbyists are spending their time in boardrooms instead of riding the streets with us.

No Bikes in Bike Lane

There is definitely a bike and pedestrian friendly change in the States. We noticed it when we started this blog, but we’re a long way from big Transportation Secretary statements to feeling safer riding down Alaskan Way.

Here’s an idea, along with your press releases to the traditional media, host a Bike Blogger Summit and hear their ideas on making the streets for all. Talk to them about what their blogging, where they’re riding, and get their input. They reach an alternative media audience. It started at the Seattle Bike Expo with the Bike Culture Panel and we’re up for it.

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Comments: 8

I so hear you on the passive/aggressive thing. It’s the one thing about this town that drives me nuts.

I will say I really don’t get the Stone Way and Missing Link issues. Why put bike lanes on busy streets when better alternatives exist? Why deal with the traffic on Stone when a few blocks away you have Wallingford which is more scenic, has less traffic, and is just as fast for the non-Lance crowd.

As for the Missing Link, I don’t understand why cyclists in Seattle seem to have such a hard time with railroad tracks. Try riding in SF or Boston sometime. On top of that I don’t understand why people bitch about the tracks when a better alternative exists. Go one block north to 46th and VOILA, no tracks and fewer cars.

24th is another example. Why risk your life dealing with all the traffic and traffic lights when you can ride down 28th instead.

I think cases like Stone Way and the Missing Link are more about organizations trying to prove a political point than actually making life better for cyclists. I think the other problem is people ride the way they drive. They assume major arterials are faster because in a car they are thanks to all that horsepower. What they forget is that on a bike a side street is just as fast (or faster thanks to the lack of lights) since most people have a hard time riding at more than 20mph.

Note my tone here is “hey what’s this about” and what it’s actually about is funding the gap between the Bicycle Master Plan and new projects like cycle tracks and that makes sense. Why they don’t just say that is where I get critical. It’s big thinking with old school PR and I think we as bloggers can help them. The Mayor is driving this and cool, but it’s wrapped up in other sound byte stuff so it’s hard to tell that.

Cascade does do a lot for this city and the new wayfinding signage is very well done, but that does not warrant a B or Top 5 and I point that out so we don’t get all Portland thinking we’re more than we are. I also want to note that Cascade is reaching out and we’re happy to talk and explain our opinion.

For another blog, check [SVR Design](http://www.svrdesign.com/blog/) and their take on Copenhagenizing our City.

I’m not from Seattle, but this looks like a smart move to me. From what I can tell, it’s not a new organization but a coalition of existing organizations. One thing we’ve focused on at the national level is broadening the base of support for bike/ped investment by finding common cause with environmentalists and transit advocates. This appears to be a similar movement building effort. I look forward to working with Streets for All.

Thanks for the comment—that’s semantics from me: an organization of existing orgs then.

Hey, it’s great that you think Seattle is passive aggressive, but Ballard’s best can’t hang with the Scandinavian stock here in Minneapolis. =)

FWIW, our system isn’t quite complete and has been standing still for a while. Are the gaps worth complaining about? Not really, they go through quiet residential areas or are a negligible jaunt from the natural route.

Nice as they are, I think the early onset of spring this year has done much more for the city’s livability…

We rode a bike lane right onto a highway onramp in MPLS!

The problem isn’t the activists not riding.  The problem is that we don’t have enough riders getting involved as activists.

Yeah, we have bad routes on the Bicycle Master Plan, we needed a lot more people involved in the process.  We didn’t have enough on-the-pavement knowledge.  When I started showing up at SBAB meetings as a guest, I was an oddity.  Now, at least we have 4-5 guests most meetings…but the parks board has 20-30 guests attend most of their meetings.

As a blogger, I hate to say it but some of us bloggers need to get off our bikes and start getting involved in boring meetings.

Comparing arterials and side streets, the city has no funding to keep side streets repaired.  At least for arterials, we have the bridging the gap levy.  What is worse, the city doesn’t even know the condition of the side streets, at least in map form, so they don’t know when looking at maps if they are proposing to put a bike lane on a hopelessly potholed side street or not.

Good point and I also heard it from City planners.

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