Spokespeople: Heritage trees and beautiful urban views in Seattle June 1 at 2pm

Hello Spokespeople!

Our Monthly Ride

Spokespeople at Little Free LibrariesSaturday, June 1, is going to be a great day for a ride. Don’t forget your sunscreen. We’ll meet on Densmore and 42nd in Wallingford and leave at 2 p.m. On our ride we’ll discover how majestic trees in parks and private yards make Wallingford a green and lovely place. Experience heritage trees and beautiful urban views in Wallingford on this pleasant early summer ride.

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Spokespeople at UWAll Spokespeople rides meet at the south end of Wallingford Playfield at 42nd & Densmore and ride on greenways whenever possible to an adjacent urban center. New riders welcome! Please come by 1:45 if you are new to riding in groups or if you need help with adjusting your helmet or bike. All ages and skill levels welcome! All rides are on the road with traffic, and include expert commuters who accompany us to offer encouragement and model good road riding techniques.

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Nuts and Bolts

You can see photos of past rides on Facebook or on www.spokespeople.us.

Expert commuters, please join us. We need you! As our rides grow larger, we welcome good bicyclists like you who can offer encouragement and model good road riding techniques for new, returning and reluctant cyclists. All ages and abilities are welcome. All Spokespeople rides are led by Cascade Bicycle Club certified ride leaders.

Contact information

If you want more information about this ride or about Spokespeople, please contact us!

Keep happy and keep pedaling!

Our Fantastic Spokespeople Ride Leaders:

  • Cathy Tuttle (206) 547-9569/(206) 713-6269 cathy.tuttle[at]gmail.com (Wallingford Spokespeople)
  • Michael Snyder (206) 781-7221 msnyder[at]zserf.com (Ballard Spokespeople and the Cascade Bike Club Board)
  • Madi Carlson (206) 612-4970 madidotcom[at]gmail.com
  • Michael Herschensohn (206) 412-0702 mh982501[at]gmail.com (Queen Anne Spokespeople)
  • Stu Hennessey (206) 938-3322 alkistu[at]hotmail.com (West Seattle Spokespeople)
  • Al Miller (206) 697-4603 amiller7x7[at]comcast.net (NE Spokespeople)

And our other leaders Cindy Riskin, Lee LeCroix, William Gerdes, Denny Kerr, Jim Mathieu, Norm Tjaden, Robin Randels, Madi Carlson, Mark Davison, Sander Lazar (Ravenna Bryant Spokespeople), Scott, Bill, and even more people who help out whenever you can. Thank you.


Spokespeople rides on the 1st Saturday of every month (since March 2007) linking people through neighborhoods along secure bike routes. Article in Worldchanging on Spokespeople.

Other Rides

West Seattle SpokespeopleWest Seattle Spokespeople Alki Vintage Bike Ride June 9 11am. Jack Block Park. Get out that vintage bicycle you have been storing away but were afraid to ride. This is a flat and easy ride along the Alki Beach path perfect for the oldest vintage bicycle. Last stop on the ride will be at the West Seattle Tool Library and the DIY Bikes free bicycle repair. Refreshments served.

Family Ride–Magnuson Park June 23 10am. Round up the kids and join Morgan Scherer of FamilyBike for a ride around Magnuson Park and environs. Children riding their own bikes or attached to a parental bike are encouraged to come.

See our calendar for more details on these June events.

  • May 31: Ballard Summer Streets 3:30-7pm.
  • June 1: Coffee with the Sallys (Bagshaw & Clark). U-District 9-10:30am.
  • June 1: Hopscotch Central District 9a-6p.
  • June 1: Spokespeople Wallingford Rides to beautiful views and trees 2-4pm.
  • June 2: West Seattle Farmer’s Market Walk to Alki 9a-12p.
  • June 2: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • June 5: Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • June 5: Seattle Bicycle Master Plan discussion City Hall Open House 6-7:30pm.
  • June 5: Queen Anne Greenways at QA Community Council 7:30pm.
  • June 6: Model Pedestrian Safety Programs Free webinar. 11a-12:30p.
  • June 6: Safe Routes to School Free webinar 11a-12p.
  • June 6: Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Lunch and Learn webinar 12-1pm.
  • June 7: Kirkland Walk & Roll Safety Fair 3-7pm.
  • June 9: West Seattle Spokespeople Vintage Bike Ride 11a-2p.
  • June 9: UW Stairway Walk 2-3pm.
  • June 10: Measuring Greenways Performance. Ballard 6:30-8:30pm.
  • June 12: Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • June 12: Maple Leaf Greenways monthly meeting 7:30pm.
  • June 12: Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Open House. Columbia City 6-7:30pm.
  • June 13: King County Transit Safety Summit. Downtown 8a-4:30p.
  • June 13: Sound Cycling: Mileage Celebration and Finale. NE Seattle 4-7pm.
  • June 13: Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Open House. Roosevelt HS 6-7:30pm.
  • June 16: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • June 17: Longfellow Creek Watershed Walk 6:30pm.
  • June 18: John Pucher Lecture. UW 6:30pm.
  • June 19: Bicycle Urbanism Public Reception. UW 7pm.
  • June 19-21: Bicycle Urbanism Symposium. UW all day.
  • June 21: Disaster Relief Trials. UW 3-7pm.
  • June 20: Safe Routes to School Free Webinar. 11a-12p.
  • June 20: Ballard Greenways monthly meeting 7:30pm.
  • June 22: African American Community Walks. Central District 5-7pm.
  • June 23: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • June 23: Family Ride Magnusson Park 10a-12p.
  • June 27: PSRC Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Board. Downtown 10a-12p.
  • June 27: Lake City Greenways SDOT Public Meeting 6-7:30pm.
  • June 29: Artcrank Bike Art. Downtown 4-7pm.
  • June 30: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • July 1: Livable Streets Mayoral Forum co-sponsored by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Madison Park 6:30pm.

A personal loss

As many of you know, my husband, David Notkin, passed away on April 22. Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large wrote a beautiful profile about David.

I am still very sad. But I am hopeful too. I will continue to run Spokespeople and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I believe strongly in the possibility of a city, indeed in the possibility of a world, filled with streets that are safe for people. I hope you continue to support me and make this your vision in whatever way you can.

Our Spokespeople family

Celebrity Spokespeople and FamilyRide mom Madi is featured in this month’s Parentmap! AND in this month’s CoolMom profile. She is everywhere!!

More Cargo Bikes

West Seattle Spokespeople Ride Leader Stu Hennessey, owner of Alki Bike and Board, is now a local source for Cargo Bikes and Xtracycles!

Seattle and Seattle Neighborhoods

  • Is safe biking coming soon to a neighborhood near you? Find out at a Seattle Department of Transportation Open House on the Bicycle Master Plan Update on June 5, 6, 12 and 13.
  • Seattle is playing host to local & international bicycle luminaries June 19-21. You can meet them at a public reception on June 19 from 6-9pm @BicycleUrbanism UW symposium $20 reception. Or you can register for the whole symposium online.
  • The keynote speaker for the symposium is Dr. John Pucher. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is sponsoring a free evening lecture with Dr. Pucher on “How to increase cycling and walking: Lessons from cities across the globe.” Tuesday June 18, 6:30pm
  • Ballard Neighborhood Greenway Project has started! The project includes ADA curb ramps, 460 sidewalk repairs, a wider sidewalk connection to the Burke Gilman Trail at Seaview Ave NW, and 18 asphalt speed humps to slow vehicle speeds but be gentle enough to accommodate bicyclists and other non-motorized vehicles including wheelchairs.
  • First 20 mph sighting on 39th NE! Thanks to Seattle Department of Transporation for the signs and Bicycle Alliance of Washington for working with the State Legislature to pass the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill in May 2013!!
  • Call it TOW — Transit-Oriented Wasteland. One possible solution: Rainier Valley Greenways Safe Routes 2 Transit?
  • Neighbors rally to move Eva’s beloved garden as much-needed Lake City Greenways helps as the Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk goes in.
  • Are you ready for Seattle to be on the list of “America’s Most Bikeable Neighborhoods“? We sure are! Maybe next year.
  • May was bike to school month. There were amazing Bike to School events all over Seattle in May. In response to the questions, “How many bikes at your school?” Shannon said, “Just counted 124 at Loyal Heights Elementary today!” Seattle Public School Superintendent Jose Banda said: “More students biking to school means lower transportation costs, which translates into more funds for our classrooms. Ultimately, supporting bicycling will help us find happier, healthier, more focused students at their desks.”
  • Mayor McGinn convened a School Road Safety Task Force in May. “Getting to school by walking and biking is fun – and research shows it improves children’s grades, keeps them fit, and happier during the school day. Let’s do more to protect our kids and give them the freedom to safely walk or bike to school,” said Cathy Tuttle, director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.
  • Take the survey on School Road Safety before June 30! The City’s goal is to increase safety on streets near schools and make it easier for children to get to and from school safely, however families choose to travel. Questions? please contact SchoolRoadSafety@seattle.gov.
  • Good news, the Bicycle Master Plan update will include a refresh of the end-of-trip facility choices. Since Seattle has already shifted to a vision of designing bike routes that accommodate people of all-ages-and-abilities, it seems like it would make sense to update the end-of-trip bike parking choices to accommodate the bikes used by people of all-ages-and-abilities. Bob from Madison Greenways has assembled a document with six criteria we could use to measure the user-experience quality of the different bike racks on the market in terms of how well they meet the needs of all people.
  • Thanks Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata for this great map of POPOS (Privately Owned Public Open Spaces)! and an interactive website of Critical Crossings that SDOT could re-engineer.

Safe streets improvements in other cities

  • Bikeshare started on Memorial Day in New York! And New York has some terrific new protected bike lanes. I’m looking forward to my summer vacation in the Big Apple! Don’t overlook this simple necessity for Seattle’s bike share program: safe streets to ride on. Whatever the appetite for bike share, NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has long argued that cycling infrastructure must be built in advance of demand as a way to encourage riding. In this way, the bike share program could be seen as an inevitable outgrowth, a plan that required years of investments before becoming feasible. “We didn’t just drop this bike share system in overnight,” she said. “We spent five years installing more than 350 miles of bike lanes.”
  • The idea cycling to work is on dependent workplace showers is another manifestation of the cycling-as-exercise image.
  • “Candidates can’t be legitimately pro-growth without being pro-complete streets,” @StreetsPAC says. “They’re a vital economic engine.” Candidates need to realize – as they never have in the past – people who want safer streets help them get elected. “As much as improvements to the public realm like pedestrian plazas, bike lanes, and slow zones make our streets safer, they also make, very clearly, for good politics,” says McClure, adding that that street improvements appeal to both liberals and pro-business conservatives who like their effect on real estate values.
  • Mayoral race in NYC focuses on livable streets. People are voting with their feet, they’re voting with their pedals, and they’re voting with their dollars.
  • Equity Good read: “Level the playing field when it comes to access to safe, efficient and well connected bike travel for all communities.”
  • Family-friendly streets. You feel relaxed, safe, powerful and confident. It’s that type of environment that allows kids to ride on their own.
  • Poor neighborhoods have more asphalt, fewer trees, and hotter microclimates. Maybe it is time for road diets to plant lots of trees?

Memorial Walks/Memorial Bikes

Seattle averages 12 fatalities a year of people who are killed by vehicles when they walk and ride bicycles. We’re building a timely response team for Memorial Walk/Memorial Bikes that you can join.

For the past five years of monthly Spokespeople newsletters I have never brought up the subject of serious injuries and fatalities because I want to encourage you to ride. I know many of you are of the “willing but wary” camp and may be intimidated by the risks of biking.

We can make our streets much, much, much safer. And make our traffic enforcement, investment in safe street engineering, and driver education much better too. Northern European cities have an order of magnitude fewer pedestrian and bicyclist serious injuries and fatalities.

However, the risk of not incorporating walking and not riding into your daily routine is far higher than sitting in a car because of the medical risks of inactivity. So please, be alert when you ride a bike and walk, and know that by walking and biking for daily life you are choosing the right thing to do for your health.

In May, we helped local communities organize a Memorial Bike Ride for Lance David and a Memorial Walk for Surinderpal Basra. Emotionally, this is one of Seattle Neighborhood Greenway’s most difficult endeavors – we bring together the victims’ families, local community groups, City of Seattle officials, and other groups representing public health, vulnerable people, and active transportation advocates to honor victims, raise awareness, and look for successful solutions.

Lance David
Mayor McGinn, who attended this event committed $900,000 to East Marginal Way road safety improvements!

Jodi Connolly (Seattle Bike Board/West Seattle Bike Connections) gave a moving speech at May 7 Memorial Ride on the site where Lance David died:

I am Jodi Connolly, a West Seattle resident, bike rider and commuter (also married to one), a mom, and a member of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

I am honored to be on the Board at this time and actively involved in the Bicycle Master Plan update with such passionate and capable people from SDOT and public groups like West Seattle Bike Connections.

We are here to remember Lance David – to say his name and hear his name and ride our bikes and be in this place.

His name is Lance David. His name is Lance David.

If your day was anything like mine last Wednesday, a good chunk of it was spent alternating between – and simultaneously feeling – grief… relief… confusion… grief…sickness… With every name I checked off my list I still wondered, “WHO?”

His name is Lance David. He rode from Federal Way.

Grief…relief…confusion… It could have been any one of us. But it wasn’t. It was Lance David.

I didn’t know him. Like many of us.

Thanks to some of his co-workers and friends, I have little to share with you about who Lance David was. We know he worked at Expediters, was a husband, a father of twins, and enjoyed riding. Let me share with you come of what his friends want us to know about Lance David.

“As a cyclist, Lance was a very strong rider, but one of the things that struck me was his perseverance. He never gave up, and always seemed to get stronger as the ride went on. His perseverance extended to others as well. He wouldn’t let anyone else give up either. (He nagged me into doing the final pass last year on the Death Ride.) He was also just a very down-to-earth person, and very straightforward. I don’t think I ever once said, “I wonder what Lance is thinking.

I would add that Lance loved adventure. He wasn’t a thrill seeker or adrenaline junkie, just an adventure lover. Sometimes that was on a bicycle. Other times it might be hiking or some other outdoor activity.

We talked about riding bikes frequently and when he learned that I rode up Mt Haleakela he would consistently ask me for details on the ride. He ultimately did the ride and had great stories to tell. I’m not sure that he understood how windy it gets on Maui because he did the ride on his deep dish carbon wheels and nearly got blown over due to the force of the wind. Another good example of his perseverance and love for adventure.” Thank you, Marty Sparks and Scott Noe for sharing these words about Lance.

From the poet, Rashani’s poem “The Unbroken”

There is a hollow space

Too vast for words

Through which we pass with each loss

Out of whose darkness

We are sanctioned into being…

As we move forward from here and through this place, let’s remember Lance David – and work together for improvements so that all ages and abilities can get home safely.

Today is still a great day to ride. Thank you.

Surinderpal Basra
Everyone knew her. The lady who crossed the street after work every day on her way to the bus stop. Surinderpal Basra.

“I was rolling silverware for lunch when I saw her go down,” said Jennifer from the Pig Iron Café. “I’ve worked here for eight years and saw her every day. I knew right away what had happened.”

Jennifer and I watched the world go by through big plate glass windows looking out on 1st Avenue South at the Pig Iron. The café was full of lunchtime customers. “It’s so sad,” she said, “the guy who hit her, he works right there. He knew her too. I haven’t seen him this week. How is he going to deal with this?”

As we talked, big semis, cars, and trucks streamed by, most all clearly exceeding the 35 mph posted speed by 10 to 20 miles over. “They give out tickets sometimes,” said Jennifer, “but mostly cars just put pedal to the floor to get through the light on Lucille.”

Traffic studies show that a person hit by a vehicle going at 30 mph has a 60% chance of surviving, while the chance of surviving drops to less than 10% with that vehicle travelling at 50mph. Speed really does kill.

“I ran out right after but I knew it was over,” said Jennifer. “I couldn’t talk to reporters that day, I was that upset,” she said. “The police told us cars are supposed to stop at corners for people who are crossing, but that never happens. We just want to cross the street.”

“Our Essential Baking staff is like family,” said Leslie. “Surinderpal Basra was reliable and very well-liked. We miss her.” Georgetown is full of small pockets of small businesses. “We were so shaken up,” Leslie said. “Businesses from all over sent flowers and checked to see if we were okay. We care about each other.”

Leslie said Essential Bakery had asked the City for a crosswalk years ago so people working on one side of 1st Avenue South could get to the other side without having to walk two long blocks north to the light, then two long blocks south to get to the deli art across the street.

“We’re really cut off but the City said they couldn’t put in a crosswalk so close to a stoplight,” Leslie said. The idea of slowing traffic to its posted 35 mph speed had not yet entered the conversation.

The bartender at Slim Jim’s, Tiffany, was pouring for a big lunchtime crowd but didn’t have the windows to see out and keep watch the way the Pig Iron Café staff does. She says cars and trucks “move really fast here.”

“This is a place where there are so many near misses,” said Jennifer. “In the past week, a car flipped just a block south, and there was a two-car crash just up at the light last week too.” This little stretch of Georgetown has a dozen small businesses – restaurants, bars, bakeries, small trade shops – just trying to become a community.

“You tell the Mayor to come down here,” said Jennifer. “Let him see what we have to deal with just to get across the street. We need some help here.”

What’s the best way to improve safety for people who walk & bike?

A surprisingly simple solution according to noted Active Transporation Professor John Pucher:

“Motor vehicles impose the most serious traffic dangers to cyclists,” explains Pucher.

“You’ve got to reduce motor vehicles speeds on shared roadways and provide physical separation of cyclists from motor vehicle traffic on arterials. You also have to restrict car use by implementing car-free zones, traffic-calmed residential neighborhoods, and lowering car speeds on city streets. This is crucial to increasing both cyclist and pedestrian safety.”

Thank you Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Cascade Bicycle Club for your work on statewide bicycle transportation issues.

And a final note…

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
-H.G. Wells

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