The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Friday, October 28, 2011

Auction Wrap Up

Whew!  The auction is history and, as promised, the event was filled with fun, friends and fundraising.  Thanks to the generosity of donors and attendees, we raised over $76,000 for bicycle advocacy and education Saturday evening.

Here’s a quick recap of the auction in pictures: 

Welcome to the auction! (Michael Conley photo)
Sculpture in silent auction (Michael Conley photo)

Guests browsed the silent auction tables.(Susan Hiles photo)
Volunteers Matt & Jeremy share a laugh. (Susan HIles)

Hula hoopers at the auction. (Michael Conley)
Music by the Na Hilahila Boys. (Louise McGrody)
Fat Tire Cruiser raffle. (Louise McGrody)
Live auction action. (Michael Conley)
Jack & Dad Jeff make a pitch for the next generation.
Bid cards are raised high! (Susan Hiles)
A special shout out to the nearly 100 volunteers who made this event possible.  Thanks, guys!  We couldn't have done it without your help!

And thanks to our generous sponsors:

John Duggan, Cycling Attorney
Seattle Children’s Hospital
SvR Design
Third Place Books
Todd Vogel & Karen Hust
Pike Brewing Company
H4 Consulting
Kat Marriner Graphic Design
Cyclists of Greater Seattle
The People's Coast Classic  
Field Roast
Rebecca Slivka Consulting

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Federal Bike and Ped Funds Under Attack Again

Updated 11/2/2011:  Thanks to all who took action on this one!  The amendment was defeated!

It’s happening again, folks.  Another US Senator is attacking Transportation Enhancements funding.  This time it’s Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.  He has offered an amendment that will strip all funding for Transportation Enhancements and shift it to bridge repair.

Please contact SenatorsPatty Murray and Maria Cantwell and ask them to vote against the Paul amendment (SA-821) to eliminate Transportation Enhancements.  The Senate is expected to finalize its Transportation appropriations bill on November 1, so please take action quickly.

Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking stated in a message:

We agree on the need to keep our bridges safe, but the lives of pedestrians and cyclists are important too. Thirteen people died when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed in 2007. Since then, close to 20,000 pedestrians and 2,800 cyclists have died on our nation’s highways, largely as a result of poor highway design and a lack of safe non-motorized infrastructure – exactly what the enhancement program was created to fix.
If Sen. Paul’s amendment is successful, it would eliminate approximately $700 million in federal funding for FY2012 that is used to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, bike paths, trails and other infrastructure that makes it safe for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around. Even if every penny of these funds is diverted to bridge repairs, Senator Paul’s plan will still take 80 years to fix the backlog of bridge repairs we have today — by which time all those repaired bridges would be falling down again.

Please use this link to the League of American Bicyclists Action Center to contact Senators Murray and Cantwell today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seattle Road Safety Summit

We invite you to participate in a Road Safety Summit, convened by Mayor Mike McGinn and members of the Seattle City Council.

The Summit will center around three basic questions:

1. What do you think are the highest priority safety problems to solve on Seattle roads?

2. What do you think are the most important things to do to make Seattle roads safer?

3. We often talk about what government can do to promote safety. What are the ways that non-governmental groups and individuals can promote safety?

Working together, we will develop a shared citywide commitment to safety and an action plan that will lead to safer streets for all.

This Road Safety Summit consists of three gatherings that are open to the public:

Public Forum #1
Monday, October 24th, 6-8pm in the Bertha K. Landes room at City Hall

Public Forum #2
Tuesday, November 15th, 6-8pm at the Northgate Community Center

Public Forum #3

Monday, November 21st, 6-8pm at the Southwest Community Center RSVP

The forums will consist of a short presentation of background data and then discussions about these three questions in smaller groups. You will submit your comments at the end of the discussion period. These public forums are identical in format; to give input and participate you only need to attend one.

Final Road Safety Summit Meeting: Next Steps

Monday, December 12th, 6-8pm in the Bertha K. Landes room at City Hall RSVP

This meeting is open to the public. The Summit Workgroup will present their proposed next steps for improving traffic safety on Seattle's streets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seattle Road Safety Summit on October 24th, 2011

Monday, October 24th, the Mayor and City Council will be convening the first in a series of three road safety summits. The meeting will be held in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall (on the ground level when entering from 5th Ave--600 4th Ave Seattle, WA 98104). The Mayor's office released a 'save the date' announcement, although the time of the event has not yet been announced.

The Mayor recently wrote this in a blog post:
"A transportation system with no traffic fatalities or serious injuries, where all users share responsibility for their safety and that of others they encounter in their travels. Can we do it? As a community we must try,"

We encourage participation in this event and are hopeful that there are some substantial and postitive developments that emerge from the summit.

Monday, October 17, 2011

National Park Service Makes Bad Design Proposal for the Spruce Rail Road Trail- Olympic Discovery Trail: Make Comment by October 21

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington and the Peninsula Trails Coalition are announcing that the National Park Service (NPS) has released the Environmental Assessment and preferred alternative for the Spruce Railroad Trail (SRRT) segment of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT)

The NPS will be accepting public comment on phase two of the project until October 21, 2011. Phase two is for the last four mile section of the ODT that will complete the shared use path through the Olympic National Park.

At issue is the fact that the NPS is proposing to use a 6 foot minimum width in the design criteria for the last four mile section. The NPS proposal contradicts the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board’s (Access Board) 2011 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for creation of shared use paths which cites the AASHTO bicycle facilities guide 8-10 ft MINIMUM as a MUST to ensure Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. If this proposal were implemented, the final section of the ODT would be considerably inferior to the 40 miles of AASHTO compliant shared use path that has already been built and would not be ADA compliant.

The Peninsula Trails Coalition and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington ask that you offer comment to the NPS on the width issue. Specifically, make it clear to the NPS that for a shared use path, the 8-10 foot minimum guidelines established in the AASHTO bicycle facilities guide is a minimum that must be adhered to and as experienced cyclists, we know, based upon our own personal experiences, that a 6 foot path is unsafe for all users.

For your review copies of the EA can be downloaded from the NPS at

Comments should be made online at

The Peninsula Trails Coalition, and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington thank you for your support. We hope that by sharing your personal experiences as cyclists on shared use paths we can demonstrate to the NPS the complete unanimity of the cycling community, and convince them to change their plans.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dispatch From The SPC: Density Is Good For Our Health!

This piece was originally posted on Monday October 10, 2011 on Citytank

Dispatch From The SPC: Density Is Good For Our Health!

by Kadie Bell Sata

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of an ongoing series of dispatches from the Seattle Planning Commission.

Thornton Creek in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood

The way Seattle is planned and ultimately shaped has an immense impact on the health of the population living, working and playing within its bounds. There are numerous reports and articles that cite residents of Seattle as being healthy overall compared to others across the nation. However, our area experiences vast health inequities. The disparities in rates of chronic disease in low-income and communities of color are the result of preventable, systemic, unjust social and economic policies and practices that create barriers to opportunity.

While many feel these health problems are the result of individual behavior, the issue must be considered in a larger context. Individuals make decisions based, at least in part, on their environments. If residents live in an area where it is uncomfortable to engage in daily physical activity because they feel unsafe due to traffic speeds, noise, a lack of appropriate infrastructure or perceptions of crime, they are less likely to participate in the physical activity needed to live a healthy life.

The update of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan and the work the city is doing in Transit Communities such as Othello, Mt. Baker, Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Roosevelt and West Seattle provide a primary vehicle to address barriers to opportunity. By creating healthy, sustainable and livable communities which provide housing opportunities not only for the privileged, but also for residents across the spectrum, we can ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to choose healthy behavior for themselves and their family.

Vancouver, BC: the Dorothy Lam Children's Center, the Elsie Roy School, and the playground in David Lam Park, with Yaletown in the background; photo by Catherine Benotto
In order to accomplish this goal, the City of Seattle should increase development capacity within close proximity to high capacity transit, schools and parks, and discourage development in areas which lack the essential components of livability or are in areas that can lead to poor health outcomes, such as freeways or places that don’t have access to open space, playfields, community centers, etc. We must plan communities where people can comfortably and easily walk, bike and ride transit to their meet their daily needs, such as their job, school, park and grocery store. Ensuring these opportunities for current and future residents can help to address some preventable health problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

Planning was once closely allied to the profession of public health in addressing concerns of population well being, safety and welfare. Over the course of the last century, planning and public health have diverged into separate disciplines lacking institutional ties. Emerging threats to public health arising from community design decisions are revitalizing the ties between the two disciplines. Seattle has played a key role in use health and equity to inform planning and investments. However health indicators reveal that there is more work to do.

KADIE BELL SATA is a member of the Seattle Planning Commission. She currently works for Public Health – Seattle & King County on a federal chronic disease prevention initiative. She has experience in health policy, social and racial equity as well as environmental sustainability. Community activities includes youth mentorship, neighborhood advocacy and serving as an affiliate instructor at University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Updates From the Statewide Safe Routes to School Program: Safety Skills Education at Middle Schools

this post was contributed by Seth Schromen-Wawrin

Fall is in the air, schools have started up again, and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington is helping teach bike and pedestrian safety skills. We are starting the second year of training for the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Education Program. This program trains physical education (PE) instructors in about 25 school districts across the state to teach a curriculum to 5th-8th graders about biking and walking safely in traffic.

This fall, Omak, Quincy, and Tekoa are already signed up to be trained and teach the course before the winter sets in. Last spring, our trainers traversed the state to train instructors in nine school districts (Bridgeport, Eatonville, Lynden, Pomeroy, Reardan, Sedro-Woolley, Wahluke, Waitsburg, and Zillah). If you live in any of these districts, your schools may need volunteers to help teach the curriculum.

Look for a flock of middle schoolers practicing bike handling skills and riding through mock intersections. As these youth become more comfortable and safer on bikes and on foot, we expect to also see more youth biking and walking to school, parks, and around their neighborhood. By next spring, about 20,000 students will go through this curriculum and be better equipped to make safe biking and walking a routine mode of transportation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go Play on the Viaduct!

Drivers often claim that the view from the Viaduct is one of Seattle's most scenic. Now you and 24 friends can decide for yourself. The State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is sponsoring a contest the chance to win exclusive access to the viaduct's downtown section for 30 minutes on October 22, the day after the southern mile of the viaduct closes for nine days of demolition.

To enter, answer the question: "What would I do with 30 minutes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct" in 100 words or less and send it to by Sunday, October 16th.

WSDOT is also sponsoring a walk on Saturday, the 22nd from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm beginning at 1051 First Avenue South. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Go By Bike Program Receives Tool Donation from QBP

Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), the nation's largest bicycle and parts distributor has donated $1,500 worth of tools to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington's Go By Bike program. The Go By Bike (GBB) program teaches safe bicycling to students at four colleges and parents of students at two elementary schools and is primarily funded by a grant from the Washinton State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Due to limitations of the WSDOT grant, tools could not be acquired using those grant funds. To work around this limitation, GBB program manager, Joshua Miller applied for and received a generous tool donation from QBP's Advocacy program within the Advocacy, Community and Education (ACE) division. The Go By Bike program extends a hearty thank you to QBP ACE employees Chuck Sween and Seth Nesselhuf for their excellent and prompt assistance and support.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Strategic Plan Adopted: shift gears, refine focus, and embrace new goals

Bicycle Alliance Strategic Plan Approved

Creating the 2011-2016 strategic plan was a herculean effort that began at a meeting in the cafeteria at the House of Representatives in March of 2010 and culminates this Thursday, October 6th with a party to celebrate. Stop by between 5-8pm at 309A Third Avenue.

Last year when I attended the National Bike Summit and the Alliance for Biking and Walking board meeting, I learned that there was grant funding available to plan and implement a strategic plan. The Bicycle Alliance applied for and was awarded the grant which included support for staff reorganization, and development of a draft mission, vision, and values document early in the spring of 2011.

In April, 40 stakeholders from all across Washington including representatives from health organizations, elected officials, bike clubs, planners, board members and staff, came together for two days to help the Bicycle Alliance shift gears, refine its focus, and embrace new goals for the organization.

Thanks to the many people who contributed to this plan, and who will provide guidance as we begin implementation.

By 2020, bicycling is an everyday, mainstream activity in communities across Washington. Bicycling is recognized, accommodated and funded as a legitimate and essential mode of transportation. Washington residents embrace a healthy and active lifestyle that includes safe and convenient active-transportation options. As a result, Washington communities enjoy lower health-care costs, a cleaner environment and more transportation choices. Washington is a national model for innovative bicycle-friendly transportation facilities and programs.

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington advocates for a bicycle-friendly state, educates people of all ages to increase transportation safety, develops more inclusive communities for cycling, builds a coalition of organizations, and seeks to make bicycling accessible to everyone.

• Bicycling is healthy, safe, affordable, and fun.
• Everyone should feel safe while riding a bike.
• Everyone has a right to transportation choices.
• More people bicycling more often make roadways safer for bicycle riders.
• Education, legislative changes, and improved infrastructure increase bicycle ridership rates.
• The bicycle provides a simple, elegant and inexpensive tool to achieve multiple goals.

G-1 The Bicycle Alliance of Washington shall develop and implement strategies that effectively increase bicycle ridership and helps Washington State achieve the highest bicycle ridership rate in the country.

G-2 The Bicycle Alliance of Washington shall develop and implement outreach and communications strategies that: emphasize bicycling as an everyday activity, successfully encourage more people to “go by bike,” and make bicycling appeal to a broader segment of the public, so that bicycle ridership more closely reflects the state’s demographic diversity by 2016.

G-3 The Bicycle Alliance of Washington shall continue to actively develop and pass strong, relevant legislation on behalf of bicycle riders and pursue increased funding to improve the environment for bicycling in Washington.

G-4 The Bicycle Alliance of Washington shall cultivate strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships with: State, county and municipal governments and organizations that advocate on behalf of bicycling, active transportation, health, the environment, diverse communities and business by 2016.

G-5 The Bicycle Alliance of Washington shall aggressively take action to increase the organization’s membership and unrestricted revenue each year.

The Bicycle Alliance board of directors voted to approve the Strategic Plan, objectives and tasks at its August board meeting. In the next steps, staff will develop action items for top priority objectives as part of the 2012 work plan, recognizing that every objective may not be addressed with an action plan until 2013 or 2014 based on resources. The plan document can be found here:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going by Bike in Tacoma

Today's guest blogger is Tacoma resident Carla Gramlich. Now that she is newly retired, she has more time for biking, photography, traveling, and guest blogging.  All photos by the author.

Since I am going to be out of town for almost a month, I decided to stay closer to town this last weekend.  There were some fun things to do in Tacoma and I was free to participate.  First up, was a Community Garden Bicycle Tour which met up at the Franklin Park Community Garden.  I noticed right away a different dynamic for this group ride--I was the oldest rider!  But that didn’t seem to matter to the rest of the riders and we went off to check out some Community Gardens.

The first garden was built on an old substation lot.  The fencing was recycled and was tall enough to keep out the deer that has been known to appear in this area.  It was a beautiful garden complete with a gazebo on a cement pad that was also a leftover from its former substation days.  A lovely sign over the gate was a welcome addition.

The second garden of the tour was the Orchard and Vine Community Garden and neighbors were having a bake sale to raise funds for the garden.  We were informed that the lot was vacant and unsightly before the transformation with raised boxes of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

We completed our tour with at the Baltimore Retirement Center.  This small garden included raised planting beds that were ADA accessible and volunteers that were excited to shows us art projects that were created by the seniors.  The ride ended up at the Proctor Farmers Market were I enjoyed lunch while listening to a jazz trio.

From the Farmer’s Market, I pedaled to the grand opening of the Tacoma Co-op.  It has taken lots of volunteer and recruiting many members to make this happen but it has finally opened.  It was interesting to hear about all the products that came from the Northwest and many that were from Tacoma.  The central location of the Co-op is a plus for bicyclists or those who prefer transit.  The City is helping with more bicycle parking and I parked at one of the newly installed bike racks.

I completed some errands, visited with some friends and had dinner at the Hub, a local bicycle hangout.  My grand total for mileage was 22 and I enjoyed riding with new and old friends on such a lovely day in Tacoma. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Beloved Bicycle--Elevated to Art Form for First Thursdays

This blog post was submitted Development Director JoAnn Yoshimoto.  

Inspired by our location in Pioneer Square, and the high-ceiling office space that was formerly an art gallery, the Bicycle Alliance has been hosting First Thursday Art Walks each month since June – and we plan to continue through October 6.

If you haven’t yet attended Art Walk at the Bicycle Alliance, you’re missing out on the creativity of the original bicycle-themed multi-media work. You’re missing out on the chance to have your very own “blind contour portrait” created while you wait. And you’re missing out on the opportunity to own some unique art, both decorative and functional.

Barb Culp and Andy Goulding are the proud new owners of a one-of-a-kind apple wood bench that features a vintage bicycle basket repurposed as a magazine rack. Artist Jesse Knutson is hard at work on a second bench that will hopefully be finished in time to display at the Bicycle Alliance office before it is put up for bid at our Auction on October 22.

Within five minutes of Sarah Young installing her acrylics on canvas, one of the pieces was sporting a green dot, indicating that it had been sold. “This piece just spoke to me, with its combination of Northwest native design and of course the bright red bicycle,” explained Josh Miller with a grin. “I feel a little guilty for jumping on it…should I return it and give others a chance?” Fortunately, Sarah has promised to produce more of this distinctive work, for First Thursday.

If the Bicycle Alliance ever needs a new motto, this work by Marie Zahradnik would get my vote! Marie is also the artist who creates blind contour portraits for guests at First Thursdays. I was about to include a picture of one of these portraits, but thought it better to entice you to come and see for yourself on October 6!

Our friend Craig Snyder works in Commuter Services at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He created especially for the Bicycle Alliance a June Drawing Cycle, a collection of drawings and paintings completed each day in June, on bicycle-related themes from daily observations. Each work is 4” x 6” graphite and acrylic on paper. Many works are already sporting telltale dots (meaning they’re sold) but some are still available for a mere $25 donation.

 When I presented this work by Lisa Reynolds to my son for his birthday, he said it was the best gift I’ve ever given him! Twenty-five years ago we used to pedal around Kilauea, Hawaii together, as captured in this encaustic piece.

Perhaps the “sketchiest” artist of all is our own Andy Goulding. He created a series of sketches of local bike shops for First Thursday, including this scene of Bike Port/JRA Bike Shop/Bicycle Alliance office.

You owe it to yourself to come on down and see the wonderful art for yourself. Our last First Thursday Art Walk of 2011 will be Thursday October 6, 5-8 pm. Hope to see you then!