Spokespeople Rides Oct 5 to Craftsman Homes in Ravenna Park

Hello Spokespeople!

Our Monthly Ride

Be Super SafeSaturday, October 5, 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. for a favorite ride!

Oct 5 Craftsman Homes of Ravenna Park. Join restoration architect Larry Johnson of TJP on a tour of historic homes. We’ll travel along Greenways in Wallingford and proposed Greenways in Northeast Seattle on an easy ride to the historic Ravenna Park neighborhood. Noted architectural historian, president of the Queen Anne Historical Society, and former MOHAI Director Michael Herschensohn will also join us and provide commentary.

Ride details on the Cascade website.

Nov 2 Oh Henry! Public Art you can see along the Burke Gilman Trail or nearby. From the Canal Street substation in Fremont to the Wall of Death in the U-District, we’ll show how public art is integrated into our daily lives and adds value without our necessarily knowing it is there. Architectural Historian Michael Herschensohn is developing the tour with staff from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture.

Please subscribe to our monthly newsletter-SUBSCRIBE to by clicking here!

To see what our rides are like, photos of past rides are on Facebook or on www.spokespeople.us.

All 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.

Spokespeople is on Facebook and Twitter–please follow us! And check out and subscribe to our beautiful new website and blog: www.spokespeople.us.

I care about Cascade Bicycle Club and hope you do too. If you are a member of this organization, I wanted to let you know that online voting for the Cascade Bicycle Club Board of Directors closes at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8. As a local leader passionate about building safe, pleasant streets in Seattle, I want to share my recommendations because Cascade IS the big transportation powerhouse in Seattle. Who sits on the Cascade Board will influence how we will get investments in safer streets for people who bike over the next five years. There are eight candidates for six positions.

My three recommendations:

1. Daniel Weise is the current Cascade Board President. Daniel has been diligent in building a Board that supports local advocacy for safer streets and family-friendly biking. He has also been instrumental in building Cascade Bike Club as an organization that supports active transportation. Daniel’s support of local climate action groups wins my approval as well.

2. Merlin Rainwater is a new member of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, and a hardworking member of Central Seattle Greenways. Merlin has spearheaded citywide Greenways efforts in Safe Routes to Health, and has been a tireless advocate for bicycle parking and providing directions in online corporate websites in her “Transportation Nag” blog. She is outstanding to work with and will bring a great perspective to the Cascade Board.

3. Jessica Szelag is the new chair of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, and the acting Executive Director of Commute Seattle. I’ve worked with Jessica on several projects, including the startup of Greenwood-Phinney Greenways, and she is always on-message, a good listener, and decisive. A great set of skills for being on the Cascade Board.

I’ve met and like others who are running for the Cascade Board, but I wanted to share my perspective on the people I know and have worked well with. You can get more information about voting for Cascade Bike Club Board members here.

Spokespeople Events October 2013

See our calendar for more details on these October events.

  • Oct 1: October is Walk to Work and School Month.
  • Oct 2: Transportation Choices Coalition Summit. Downtown 2-4pm.
  • Oct 2: Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • Oct 3: Making Density Palatable. Downtown 4-6pm.
  • Oct 3: Parks Legacy Committee. Belltown 6-8pm.
  • Oct 5: Spokespeople Wallingford Rides Historic Ravenna 2-4pm.
  • Oct 5: Start of Coffeeneuring weekend java rides.
  • Oct 7: Hot Ideas to Cool Seattle. City Hall 5:30-8pm.
  • Oct 8: Cascade Bike Club Annual Meeting. REI 6-8pm.
  • Oct 9: International Walk to School Day
  • Oct 9: Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • Oct 9: Maple Leaf Greenways Community meeting 7:30pm.
  • Oct 13: Take a Walk on the West Side of Queen Anne. 2-4pm.
  • Oct 14: WA State Senate Transportation listening session. Downtown 6-9pm.
  • Oct 17: Ballard Greenways Community meeting. 7:30pm.
  • Oct 17: Ballard Greenways Community meeting. 7:30pm.
  • Oct 19: How to Train Your Bike Train. Magnusson Park 10a-12p.
  • Oct 20-23: Rail-Volution. Downtown.
  • Oct 22: Queen Anne Greenways Community meeting 6:30pm.
  • Oct 23: Regional Bike/Ped Advisory Committee. Downtown 10a-12p.
  • Oct 23: 21st Century Cities: Building Sustainable Futures. Town Hall 7:30pm.
  • Oct 24: City Budget Public Hearing. Garfield High School. 6-8pm.
  • Oct 25: Applications due to SDOT for $1000 Safe Schools grants.
  • Oct 31: Trick or Treat on your Greenway!

Spokespeople News September 2013

Bikes are the new sexy. Check out the seriously lovely photos with this essay about how young people are abandoning soul-deadening suburbs to enjoy car-free lives in the city. The auto-industry has made embarrassing attempts to brand transit and bikes as uncool. Such attempts have predictably back-fired. It’s not just that cars aren’t cool any more. Bikes are the new sexy.

Local news

Ballard Greenway Opens. Last month’s Spokespeople ride to the Grand Opening of Ballard Greenway brought out a dozen Spokespeople and Kidical Mass brought almost 50 riders!! Ballard Neighborhood Greenway bike counts skyrocketed after greenway opened! The Mayor cut the ribbon. Traffic Engineer Dongho made smoothies! What a fantastic day!

14th Ave NW will be a new street for people as it crosses the Ballard Greenway.

Lake City Greenways work party brought out 60 people and 25 goats, who turned tail and didn’t want to Join the herd. Kids (of the human variety) who had come to see goats had fun playing in the dirt and helping out with the work. The sun came out! S dependable goat rental concern will help at future work parties.

Queen Anne Greenways plans opening party for a new traffic signal! It links up a safe route around the Crown of Queen Anne.

Michael Herschensohn wrote a little poem:

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
LIGHT’S UP!

Can you believe it?
Maybe it pays to ride in the rain!
Six days until flashing yellow goes away and light is operative. Just waiting for stop line halfway down the block.
Installers complained about the dangers of working at the intersection! Everyone is happy.

Fund started for 15-year-old Trevon Crease-Holden. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways held a Vigil Walk in August with his family, community & Bike Works. Trevon was the victim of a tragic hit and run pedestrian incident on MLK in SE Seattle in July and is still recovering from critical injuries. The family has set up a fund to help with Trevon’s medical care and their family needs. Our thoughts are with Trevon, his mother Quianna, and all who love and care for this family at this difficult time. Thank you to all of you for caring about SE Seattle and working toward safer, healthier streets for everyone.

Rainier Ave S tops the sad list of residential/commercial streets with traffic fatalities in Seattle.

Safe Routes to School Mini Grant Program APPLY 10/25 Among other things, this grant can fund a biking or walking train, Undriving Station, crossing flags, repainting a crosswalk, or (news to us) creating a walk/bike to school map through school community meetings. Local Schools can fund small safety improvement programs or very small infrastructure improvements. The grant is quick, easy, nearly always successful in getting funding, and does not require a match. More importantly, even this small grant can make a big impact helping children safely walk and bike to school. Your group can do this!

Madison Park held a Vigil Walk for a man walking injured by another man riding a bike. The news media turned out and work is starting for a new crosswalk!

Bike & Truck Safety Fair. The Port and Puget Sound Regional Council held a morning hands-on workshop for people driving trucks see from a bike rider’s perspective and bike riders to experience how hard it is to stop and see from a big rig. Video.

Beacon BIKES has a survey for kids/parents who travel on Beacon Hill.
Know any? Ask them to test their street knowledge on this 7-question survey!

Vulnerable User Law passed in Washington State in 2011 after 3 years of hard work by Bicycle Alliance and Cascade Bike Club.

Unfortunately, enforcing it is still not happening.

Local Money & Politics

City Budget Season. If you plan to testify, make sure you let Seattle City Council know you support greenways that link us to places we want to go! Give Council specific examples of how streets you know could be safer places for people who walk and bike, as well as healthy places in your community. We’ve put the City Transportation budget on our website for your easy access. You can send written comments to Council@Seattle.gov, or go to the Public Hearing on October 24 6pm at Garfield HS.

Safety. Is it time for us to have an honest conversation about using our phones while we drive?

Seattle passes Urban Forestry Stewardship Plan. It is time to Green some Greenways.

In the war on cars in Seattle, bikes and pedestrians are winning as Seattle has become one of only five major cities in the nation where more than 50 percent of the commuters don’t drive solo to work. So how are Seattle workers getting there? The real sea change in commute patterns around here is in, believe it or not, bicycling to work (up 152 percent since 2000, to 15,000), working at home (up 76 percent, to 26,000) and old-fashioned hoofing it (up 56 percent, to 36,000). City leaders haven’t been obsessed with bikes or pedestrians enough.

New projects funded in Seattle for pedestrian & safe streets improvement projects with Bridging the Gap money.

Mayor McGinn proposes even more money–$14 million!–for safer streets!

Local Sightline guru Alan Durning is passionate about too much parking. He studies why we devote so much public space to car storage.

Great street ideas

Aging on Greenways. People who want to age in place need to easily travel without a car within a 10-block radius of their dwelling. Greenways and safe street crossings are needed!

Low cost + significant impact are the buzzwords for how we want to invest in our infrastructure. How do we set realistic priorities? In medicine, we vaccinate people for pennies and we end up not having to pay later to treat them for a terrible virus. Easy money. Streets can be easy to build and cost little to maintain as well. “We need to make these decisions at a level of community where people know their neighbor and have to look each other in the eye.”

McKinsey Global Consultants have similar advice for Mayors to “Achieve smart growth–Do more with less–Win support for change.” Video

We are committed to a 1950′s approach to transportation which we fund with 1990′s wishful thinking. We won’t get the economic results we want from our transportation investments unless we start asking a different set of questions. The toughest among them, and perhaps most critical, will be deciding what parts of our current system are no longer worth maintaining.

Lessons for leaders with EcoDensity and active transporation. Brent Toderian shows off Vancouver to Helsinki.

Put people first in Seattle with safe and frequent crosswalks for people walking and biking.

Urban thoroughfares can now have safer 10 or 11-foot lanes. That keeps cars moving slower than in traditional 12 to 14-foot lanes. NACTO & ITE/CNU guides were approved by Federal government before it shut down.

Bicycle inspiration

Be Super SafeActive Ballard Greenways leader Bob Hall is ready for cool weather commuting with new bike coffee holder & rain basket.

The Dutch inspire us by carrying ladders, passengers, biking with dogs–on infrastructure that supports them.

Food & Wine magazine article on Bike Food Carts!

Spokespeople, Bike Blog, Pedal-Stretch-Breathe, and Greenways went out for PARK(ing) Day and visited about half of the 40 PARK(ing) spots in Seattle. Lots of fabulous places including paint your own art student, mini golf, a pop-up cycle track, and an urban forest walk. My personal highlight had to be meeting the Ballard muralist Henry on the street outside Seattle Art Museum.

A bike ride we can all drink to! Coffeeneuring Challenge starts Oct 5. It is perfect for dark wet Seattle weekends.

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

Nuts and Bolts for Spokespeople Rides

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. This is a Bike Smart Seattle ride. All ages and skill levels 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 Herschensohn (206)412-0702 mh982501[at]gmail.com (Queen Anne 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
  • Merlin Rainwater (206) 769-6549 merlinrain[at]gmail.com
  • Stu Hennessey (206)938-3322 alkistu[at]hotmail.com (West Seattle Spokespeople)
  • Robin Randels (206) 446-7457 rkrandels[at]comcast.net
  • 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, Mark Davison, Sander Lazar (Ravenna Bryant Spokespeople), Scott, Bill, and even more people who help out whenever you can. Thank you.

facebook.com/spokespeople
twitter.com/spokespeople

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.

Spokespeople and Kidical Mass Go to Ballard Greenway Grand Opening Sat Sept 7

Hello Spokespeople!

Our Monthly Ride


Saturday, September 7, 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. for the Grand Opening of the Ballard Greenway!

AND, we’ll be meeting up with Madi Carlson and her Kidical Mass group who also going to the Grand Opening of the Ballard Greenway. Madi’s shorter ride leaves at 1 p.m. from the new Ballard Library.

Please subscribe to our monthly newsletter-SUBSCRIBE to by clicking here!

To see what our rides are like, photos of past rides are on Facebook or on www.spokespeople.us.

All 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.

Spokespeople is on Facebook and Twitter–please follow us! And check out and subscribe to our beautiful new website and blog: www.spokespeople.us.

Other Events

See our calendar for more details on these September events.

  • Sept 1: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6pm.
  • Sept 4: Seattle Police SDOT Traffic training. NE Public Library 6:30-7:30pm.
  • Sept 7: Kidical Mass Ride to Ballard Greenway Opening. 1-4pm.
  • Sept 7: Ballard Greenway Grand Opening. 2-5pm.
  • Sept 7: Spokespeople Wallingford Rides Ballard Greenways Grand Opening 2-4pm.
  • Sept 11: Maple Leaf Greenways monthly meeting 7:30pm.
  • Sept 14: Ride Seattle Center to South Park Fiestas Patrias w the Mayor. 8:30a-3p.
  • Sept 14: Walk2More Tours. Various Beacon/Rainier Valley. 10a-12p.
  • Sept 14: Kirkland Greenways Bike Tour. 1-3pm.
  • Sept 15: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • Sept 17: Rainier Valley Greenways Community Meeting. Bike Works Columbia City 6:30-8pm.
  • Sept 18: Walk & Roll. Seward Park 10-11am.
  • Sept 20: Park(ing) Day. Citywide exhibit/events. 9a-3p.
  • Sept 21: Lake City Greenways park restoration w goats. 10a-4p.
  • Sept 22: Designing for community health lecture. Downtown 10a-1p.
  • Sept 22: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • Sept 24: Queen Anne Greenways monthly meeting. 6:30-7:45pm.
  • Sept 25: Rainier Valley Greenways Community Ride audit. Columbia City 6-8pm.
  • Sept 26: Mayoral Forum on Public Space & Parks. Downtown 5:30-8pm.
  • Oct 1: October is Walk to Work and School Month.

October and November’s Spokespeople rides are so exciting! You need to get them on your calendar now!

Oct 5 Craftsman Homes of Ravenna Park. Join restoration architect Larry Johnson of TJP on a tour of historic homes. We’ll travel along Greenways in Wallingford and proposed Greenways in Northeast Seattle on an easy ride to the historic Ravenna Park neighborhood. Noted architectural historian, president of the Queen Anne Historical Society, and former MOHAI Director Michael Herschensohn will also join us and provide commentary.

Nov 2 Oh Henry! Public Art you can see along the Burke Gilman Trail or nearby. From the Canal Street substation in Fremont to the Wall of Death in the U-District, we’ll show how public art is integrated into our daily lives and adds value without our necessarily knowing it is there. Architectural Historian Michael Herschensohn is developing the tour with staff from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture.

Spokespeople News September 2013

Many of the bits and pieces of news clips in this month’s newsletter are about how people around the world, in cities around the US, and in Seattle are waking up to the possibility of using streets as our largest and most flexible public space. People are beginning to question why we have given over 25 to 35% of every city to moving and parking cars, not people.

I believe strongly in the possibility of a city, indeed in the possibility of a world, filled with streets that are safe and pleasant for people happening soon.

Seattle

Greenwood-Phinney Pop-Up Greenway is a creative way to try out greenways in your neighborhood

Bicycle improvements are happening quickly in Seattle!

We’re looking forward to a productive partnership with Cascade Bicycle Club’s new Executive Director Elizabeth Kiker! Thanks Joe Platzner, interim ED for your great support for bike advocacy!

Mt Baker stairway walk featured 8/30 Friday 6:35 & 8:35 AM on @KPLU 88.1 FM “Tourist in Your Own Town” segment. And did you know Seattle is blessed with over 650 stairways?

Seattle Help Wanted

Other areas

Riding a Bike

  • Bike Commuting Stats by the numbers.
  • The AMAZING INSPIRATIONAL Emily from Portland @1lessgmsuburban on a ride to raise money for ADHD writes: Before Sunday I had never biked more than 26 miles and never left the city of Portland except by plane. Haven’t seen the Pacific Ocean since I was 12. I’ve always wondered what my limits were, bikewise. Now I know: I can ride a 220 lb bike 63 miles a day and climb 3,000 feet. Not to brag or nuthin. Plus, I got to see the ocean! Yah, yah, I know… It’s a sound. Shaddup.
  • Creative use of bicycle-powered elevator–heavy going up, fun going down!

Bicycle Infrastructure

  • When a cyclist is hit by a car, a helmet may save their life BUT it’s not the helmet that causes the collision. Nor is it the LACK of a helmet that causes collisions when it happens to a cyclist without a helmet. The cause of the collision is usually the condition of the road and the actions or inattentiveness of the driver of the car. To even imply that the reason a cyclist who is HIT BY A CAR is hurt because they didn’t have a piece of plastic on their head is ABSURD. The issue here is the safety of our roads, NOT what we choose (or don’t choose) to wear.
  • “Women on a Roll” Showcases Power & Potential of Female Bicyclists
  • Widen Main Street? A community Had Other Ideas, and Thrived “If you build a place for cars, it will be a gathering place for cars. If it’s built for people, it will be a gathering place for people.”
  • No new roads. No new car parking. No new public debt. What it means to STOP building and start healing. Any city that wants to be financially strong and healthy needs to stop making investments that cost more over the long term to service and maintain than they generate in wealth. They need to stop accepting grant funding or “donated” infrastructure that they ultimately will not be able to sustain.
  • Take back your streets! @NACTO4cities Janette Sadik-Khan: Streets have been in suspended animation for 50 years. They haven’t changed because our streets have been seen as a way to get cars from point A to point B. Streets are cities most valuable resource. The NY City Transportation Department is the city’s largest real estate developer but we haven’t seen ourselves that way. The design guidance for cities is 50 years old, written for more rural America. The goal of cities is not about getting cars as fast as possible through the middle, it is to adapt to a complex series of ways of getting around A third of New Yorkers get around by walking, a third with transit, a third with cars, so we need a balanced approach to transportation. The new NACTO street design guide launching this September is a big permission slip for cities to use with their engineers to make changes they want to see but have not been formally written about.
  • The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Should be the Bike Route. To encourage cycling, bicycle routes should be as short as possible. Shorter routes require less effort and make cycling competitive with driving for a greater number of trips. Exposure to rain, heat, snow and cold is also less for shorter trips. Direct routes that avoid turns are more obvious.
  • Of course people want bike safety. But they want other things, too. When bike professionals make safety their only absolute value, they presume that physical safety is the most important value in people’s lives. And that assumption is demonstrably false. A restaurant doesn’t measure its success by the percentage of people who dine there without getting sick. It measures success by the number of people who come in the door, how much they pay and how often they return. A public transit line isn’t funded by the federal government based on its anticipated vehicle failure rate. It’s funded based on the number of people who are expected to use it. I’m not arguing that safety is unimportant. Obviously nonprofessionals are imperfect judges of whether a particular lane or intersection is safe, and cities must work carefully to design good, safe intersections with few bike-car conflicts.

Politics determines how investments are made in safe streets for people

Seattle is a leader in the Renaissance of family-biking

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

Nuts and Bolts for Spokespeople Rides

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. This is a Bike Smart Seattle ride. All ages and skill levels 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)
  • Robin Randels (206) 446-7457 rkrandels[at]comcast.net
  • 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, Mark Davison, Sander Lazar (Ravenna Bryant Spokespeople), Scott, Bill, and even more people who help out whenever you can. Thank you.

facebook.com/spokespeople
twitter.com/spokespeople

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.

Spokespeople Rides August 3 Newsletter

Hello Spokespeople!

Our Monthly Ride

Saturday, August 3, 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. We’ll bring kites and cupcakes and roll down the hill from Wallingford to Kite Hill in Gasworks Park. Bring whatever you’d like to drink (and your kite if you have one) for a fun-filled family-friendly meetup. We’ll meet Spokespeople friends for our annual NE Seattle Spokespeople picnic (Spokespeople NE will leave at 1:30pm from Hunter Tree Farm).

Please subscribe to our monthly newsletter-SUBSCRIBE to by clicking here!

To see what our rides are like, photos of past rides are on Facebook or on www.spokespeople.us. The Spokespeople Ride to Heritage Trees and scenic views of Wallingford on June 4 was without a doubt the most absolutely stunning ride we’ve done. Photos from that ride are attached.

All 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.

Spokespeople is on Facebook and Twitter–please follow us! And check out and subscribe to our beautiful new website and blog: www.spokespeople.us.

Other Events

See our calendar for more details on these August events.

  • July 30: Spoke & Food. All over Seattle Benefit for Bike Works 5-10pm.
  • August 3: Spokespeople Rides to Gasworks Park 2-4pm.
  • August 5: Rainier Valley Greenways meeting 6:30-8:30pm.
  • August 7: Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • August 8: Green Lake Greenways Ride 6-7:30pm.
  • August 9-August 30: Greenwood Phinney Greenways Pop-up Greenway.
  • August 9: PhinneyWood Summer Streets 6-10pm.
  • August 10: P-patches & Greenways: How Seattle Rolls tour 12:30-5:30pm.
  • August 11: Walk Uptown Queen Anne 1:30-3:30pm.
  • August 13: Big Green Community Festival & Picnic. NE Seattle 5:30-9pm.
  • August 14: Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board. City Hall 6-8pm.
  • August 14: Maple Leaf Greenways monthly meeting 7:30pm.
  • August 15: Ballard Greenways monthly meeting7:30pm.
  • August 17: Mt. Baker Stairway Walk 10a-12p.
  • August 17: Rainier Summer Streets 11a-4p.
  • August 17: Feet First Outdoor Movie 8:30-11pm.
  • August 24: African American Community Walks. Central District 5-7pm.
  • August 25: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.
  • August 28: PSRC Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Board. Downtown 10a-12p.
  • Sept 1: Bicycle Sundays Lake Washington Blvd. 10a-6p.

Spokespeople News August 2013

I’ve been running monthly Spokespeople Rides since March 2007. Since 2007, I’ve been joined by thousands of active volunteers in both Spokespeople and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I started Spokespeople right after returning from a year Sweden. In Sweden, I saw how streets could be places for people. I saw active street cafes, people walking to do their grocery shopping, 3rd graders walking and biking with friends to school, and reliable connected transit. I wanted to have all of these things in Seattle. I believed change was possible and desirable and safe streets were something worth fighting for. Walking and biking made me healthier too–I weighed a whole lot less when I walked and biked everywhere in Sweden!

Back in 2007, the first version of the Bicycle Master Plan had just been approved. I was not alone in protesting the Plan’s emphasis on sharrows and bike lanes in the door zone. As a timid “willing but wary” cyclist, I felt afraid to bike most places in Seattle. Of the 158 miles of bike “infrastructure” that have been added in Seattle since 2007, 53 miles are bike lanes (mostly in the door zone) and 91 miles are sharrows. Back in 2007, the Cascade Bicycle Club, the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB), and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) were vociferous in supporting investments in bike lanes that I would only use fearfully, my children would never use, and I could not use as I got older and less able.

Because of the focused and strong advocacy work of many of us, Cascade Bicycle Club, SBAB, and SDOT are now strong supporters of family-friendly, “All Ages and Abilities” bike lanes. We have many more women and parents in these organizations. We have a new Bicycle Master Plan that supports building “low stress” bike lanes. I could not be happier. I believe with continued strong support of these groups and others that there is more potential for getting the bike lanes and greenways we need.

There is still a lot to do. Remember in Sweden I saw active street cafes, people walking to do their grocery shopping, 3rd graders walking and biking with friends to school, and reliable connected transit? Really none of these are part our Bike Master Plan but they are all essential elements of healthy, connected streets, and streets as public places for people.

I have been writing a monthly Spokespeople newsletter since March 2007 with news from all over the world. I have seen a huge change worldwide in the past year as many people wake up to the potential of the places they live. Many of the bits and pieces of news clips that I have in this month’s newsletter are about how people around the world, in cities around the US, and in Seattle are waking up to the possibility of using streets as our largest and most flexible public space. People are beginning to question why we have given over 25 to 35% of every city to cars and roads, not people.

I believe strongly in the possibility of a city, indeed in the possibility of a world, filled with streets that are safe and pleasant for people. I hope you continue to learn more and make this your vision as well in whatever way you can.

A great many of the examples of safe and healthy streets we’d like to see in Seattle are already in practice in northern Europe and nearby in Portland and Vancouver BC.

Portland

  • New Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat was interviewed by BikePortland. Her top priority is safety that “starts with pedestrians because everyone is a pedestrian.”
  • The Doubletree Hotel in Portland dumped a vendor whose truck blocked bike lane. “The buffered bike lane needs more physical separation, more of those concrete planters, for example, or more plastic posts. The fact a truck this large is able to park in the bike lane indicates a serious design flaw, in my opinion.”
  • Watch how Portlanders reclaim gray streets as community space. A program with City Repair cuts through red tape to paint red roses! Video.
  • A large staff at Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) lead events to encourage & educate people to try active transportation. I wish we supported more of this in Seattle!
  • Absolutely beautiful street paintings are happening in Portland. Here are some Greg Raisman photos of a Portland rose.

Vancouver BC

Great interactive map of how our neighbor to the north is becoming the world’s Greenest City.

Northern Europe

Holland really is the gold standard of safe streets

Politics determines how investments are made in safe streets for people

  • 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.
  • Supporting people who bike has become politically popular. Vancouver BC Mayor Gregor Robertson boasts of “an unprecedented positive shift to sustainable transportation” including many more women & girls on bikes!
  • We share a dream with Copenhagen. “It gives me hope to know that there are places in the world where human beings live–and live well–without cars at the center of everything. Copenhagen was transformed back in 2007-2008 by a visionary mayor who had the guts to push revitalization that put people above auto capacity. That large reduction in auto traffic is key to understanding success. Fewer cars means more space, less noise, better air quality, and a safer, comfortable environment that fosters more business and social interactions. One thing it doesn’t mean is a lack of economic vibrancy. In fact, the opposite is true.”

Tactical Urbanism is defined as improving city livability with small activities that take back the streets and induce long term changes in towns: Think street painting, sandboxes, urban gardens, tree planting. More and more people are “reclaiming” streets this way. It is becoming endemic.

  • Seattle City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang made an extra effort to make sure the protected bike lane that suddenly appeared one night was replaced soon after with a lane that met traffic standards in the same location.
  • Essentially, people take it on themselves to make changes to traffic infrastructure by doing things like installing traffic signs or curb bump-outs without city oversight. This is happening in Canada.
  • And a recent rash of guerrilla-art sidewalk crossings and bike lanes popping up during late-night painting parties around the city has prompted Tacoma officials to take notice.
  • How the Dutch got their cycle paths. The Netherlands safe streets infrastructure was not created by the wave of a magic wand. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests, very deliberate political decision-making and tactical urbanism. “The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique. Their solutions shouldn’t be that either.” Video.
  • People are trying to make their streets safer. Sometimes they get charged with vandalism.
  • We have lost most public spaces of the city without knowing it. Here are some more examples of global actions reclaim it.

An American non-profit group started the Green Lane Project to lend political support to safe bike lane plans. Here are some thoughtful projects by the group:

Safety

  • What makes biking safe? An Oregon research study finds bike lanes matter less than speed in reducing severity of crashes. Conclusion: move away from striping bike lanes to building more “neighborhood greenways” using quieter side streets. We could have told them that 5 years ago!
  • Pedestrian safety is key to all road safety Brazil is getting hip to pedestrian safety. See Peatónito for more winning strategies.
  • Here is a humorous video showing how the pedestrian is treated like royalty in Brasilia, complete with fanfare and a crown.
  • The Seattle Bike Blog notes a shift of support people who bike for everyday transportation. We are thrilled at this shift in focus as well!
  • The human story of “serious injuries and fatalities” is more than statistics. Thanks to KUOW Ruby de Luna for telling that story.

Seattle is a leader in the Renaissance of family-biking.

Good Transportation Planning starts with good Urban Planning

  • In some cities, innovation and productivity don’t grow super-linearly. Populations grow, but the benefits don’t accrue with them as we would expect. This is likely because transportation infrastructure in those places is so poor that people aren’t able to connect across town to each other. This tells us that bad infrastructure that divides us has the potential to wipe out the most fundamental benefit of cities.
  • Let’s prioritize people first. “A complete streets policy should be a fabulous thing that elevates safety, the economy, and social equity in cities, but it can also amount to nothing more than a few new rules that are easily ducked if officials don’t want to follow the spirit of the law.”
  • Think of streets as public spaces–investments in the economy of a city that don’t need to cost much money. “The reason people visit Paris isn’t because it’s easy to park…They go because of the culture, the food, the history and the public spaces.”
  • Chicago’s 2013 Complete Streets Guideline is well worth a look because it prioritizes People before Vehicles. “All transportation projects and programs, from scoping to maintenance, will favor pedestrians first, then transit riders, cyclists, and automobiles. Street design…will not be limited by rigid engineering standards. This will allow staff to develop innovative solutions that meet the over-arching goal of a complete street. The safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, freight, and motor vehicle drivers shall be accommodated and balanced in all types of transportation and development projects and through all phases of a project so that even the most vulnerable–children, elderly, and persons with disabilities–can travel safely within the public right-of-way.” (p. 6). In Chicago Neighborhood Streets, traffic is slowed to 10 to 20 m.p.h.
  • We hope the new Public Space Management Program is just the start of streets for people. Trees, design, streets as places figure prominently.

The culture of the car is overwhelming

  • I’m looking to give up my car. But my experience shows we won’t do so until alternatives get better. Thoughful, well-researched Seattle Times column by Thanh Tan.
  • Think how much money we spend on products to make us healthy, happy, sexy. Invest in walking/biking @Walkscore
  • Millions of mandated off-street parking spaces turn sidewalks into danger zones, especially for children and the disabled. Parking rules can lead to absurd and unwelcome results…Requirements that builders provide ample quotas of off-street parking spaces worsen traffic, multiply collisions, push up housing prices, dampen business profitability, amplify sprawl, and pollute both air and water. Parking rules are a surprisingly potent hidden force shaping–or misshaping–our communities. Alan Durning writes a series of articles on “free” parking in Sightline.
  • New York Times story on The End of Car Culture written by Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, lays out a business plan for cities in which “pedestrian, bicycle, private cars, commercial and public transportation traffic are woven into a connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety.”

Bike Share is coming to Seattle

  • Bike share won’t replace other types of transportation. It’s not supposed to. Instead, it will work alongside other modes to make them better. It’s much easier to ride a bike in New York than it was five years ago.
  • Bikeshare started on Memorial Day in New York! And New York has some terrific new protected bike lanes.
  • On my summer vacation in the Big Apple I thought about 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.”
  • NYC Bikeshare works because 8th & 9th Ave miles of protected safe lanes. Other Bikeshare is not as connected or busy. (I’ve just visited Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington DC Bikeshare systems. Only NYC Bikeshare appears to be thriving–and used by lots of women–because it is coordinated with excellent, protected lanes. Other cities have hit and miss systems depending on the location of their Bikeshare racks.)
  • Bike sharing is opening up everywhere it seems! Now all we need is more women riding in safe, protected bike lanes. Here is Chicago’s story.

TREES

  • Let’s get planting Seattle! Friends of Trees in Portland has planted 450,000 trees in 10 years. Vancouver has planted 150,000 new trees. Seattle Urban Forest Management Plan will soon be approved. What are we waiting for Seattle? Trees benefit communities in so many ways!
  • Applications are open for the Free Trees in Seattle starting July 31st. Selection is limited. Trees can be planted on street planting strips or your home yards. Green up your Greenways. Though the application closes mid-October, apply early since choice trees go fast. Limited to 4 trees/household.

Greenways are starting to get built in Seattle

  • Seattle’s first 20 mph curb humps going in along Ballard Greenways! More work happening in Delridge too. So far, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has installed curb ramps at arterials, widened the sidewalk and installed a ramp at Seaview Ave. that connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail and is in the process of adding speed humps. The beacon to cross 24th Ave NW, signs and street paint are all scheduled to be installed soon and the project will be completed this summer. Check out Facebook photos or see SDOT’s website for more information.
  • Fremont Ave in Greenwood is getting a “Greenways makeover” too.
  • Great new website for Greenwood-Phinney Greenways! Pop up greenways planned.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a safe and livable streets organization. These past few months have been busy for us!

  • In June, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sponsored Disaster Relief Trials as part of the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium with Seattle Office of Emergency Management, FEMA, American Red Cross, and Seattle Police to see how bicycles could be used effectively in a natural disaster. Video.
  • In June Seattle Neighborhood Greenways hosted about 30 people on a Vancouver BC study trip to look at examples of excellent safe, lively, green streets for people. Flickr photos from Portland Bike Greenway Greg Raisman. The study trip was written up by Urban Systems, one of the Vancouver hosts. Find out how we are all re-imagining streets as places for. Urban Systems in Vancouver BC shares how Vancouver has become one of the world’s most liveable cities: “The places themselves were beautiful, inspiring, and indications of a vibrant, healthy city, but what we took back is the way that the government was willing to experiment and take chances. It really came across that the City, the people, and the consultants are on the same page. There is a clear vision of where the community as a whole really wants Vancouver to go.”
  • Should our safe streets maps that we are working on for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways include public restrooms? Night owl bars? Here are Seattle maps that show these important local amenities and more in Seattle.
  • Seattle Neighborhood Greenways also put on a Mayoral Candidate Forum in July. Don’t forget to mail in your ballot by August 6! The Mayoral candidates–Bruce Harrell, Charlie Staadecker, Ed Murray, Joey Gray, Kate Martin, Mary Martin, Mike McGinn, Peter Steinbrueck–showed up well-prepared and full of ideas for making Seattle a better place. Seattle Met article. Seattle Channel video.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways co-hosted Professor John Pucher’s visit in June.

He made quite a splash with keynote speeches, interviews, and an op-ed articles.

  • From his Vancouver BC talk: “I’m going to convince you to be a supporter of bicycling here in the Vancouver area because of three reasons. No. 1: The more people who get on bikes, the fewer people who are congesting the roads you want to drive on. No. 2: The more people you get on bikes, the fewer people are parking their cars in parking spaces you want. No. 3: The more people who get on their bikes, the less there is in the way of health care costs to the region as a whole. Also it turns out investing in cycling is a lot cheaper than investing in new roadways. So as a taxpayer you will be paying less taxes as a result of this new system”
  • John Pucher tells it like it is on 2nd Ave–so glad we helped bring him out for the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium!
  • Front page Seattle Times article by Mike Lindblom “Ten years ago Seattle was in the forefront of bicycle politics, but the city is so slow to get projects moving that it’s falling behind Minneapolis, Portland, Vancouver, Chicago, even Austin.” Time to turn that around Seattle!
  • John Pucher interview KIRO radio. “I think most Seattle drivers would not like to menace people on bikes and certainly the people riding would not like to be menaced by the cars… a lot of the design on the streets of Seattle seem to create problems. Vancouver and Portland are going way way ahead of Seattle.” Pucher comments Seattle has “the lousiest pavement I have ever seen in North America.”
  • Pucher’s Seattle Times Op-Ed. Seattle was once far beyond Portland as a bicycling city–and we can reclaim our leadership.
  • Follow-up article on Seattle biking. Can Seattle catch up again to Portland and Vancouver? Is Seattle the Number One Pretender in Bicycling?

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

Nuts and Bolts

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. This is a Bike Smart Seattle ride. All ages and skill levels 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)
  • 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.

facebook.com/spokespeople
twitter.com/spokespeople

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.