April 30, 2008

Bicycle cities

Unfortunately I can’t make it to this, but maybe you can:

Livable Copenhagen: The Design of a Bicycle City
May 9, 12 – 1:15 p.m.
University of Washington, Gould Hall, Room 435

Cycling is on the rise in Pacific Northwest cities, yet in Copenhagen, Denmark, more than a third of all commuters get to work on a bike. Alyse Nelson studied bicycle planning during the fall of 2006 and winter of 2007 to try to learn how the Danes created such a bicycle-friendly city. Her presentation will make the case for bicycle cities, present planning principles that make the bicycle a prevalent mode of transportation in Copenhagen, and provide details on how the bicycle fits on the street and in the city. The presentation will end with conclusions learned from Copenhagen and time for a broader dialogue with the audience.

(Lifted from the Cascade Bicycle Club “Braking News” email newsletter.)

Report back if you go!

Edited to add: If, like me you can’t make it to the lecture you can still read the paper this talk is based on:  Livable Copenhagen: The Design of a Bicycle City

April 17, 2008

4/16/08 GAIT meeting notes

We had 10 people at the Issaquah Brewhouse on Wednesday night for our meeting: John, Lisa, Don, Barb, Bob, Mary, Erik, Jeff, Becky, and Bev.

We checked in with folks who agreed to do stuff at our last meeting:

  • Jeff reported on progress on this year’s Complete Streets projects. We talked about the proposal to restripe SE 43rd Way. There was some frustration that relatively little money is being allocated to bike lanes even though we’re happy that the plans include many new sidewalks.
  • Jeff didn’t have anything to report about making GAIT a formal non-profit.
  • Erik talked about what he’d learned about the status of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST). In short, the county’s web site is far out of date, and he was waiting to hear back from county staff for an update.
  • Lisa and Jeff reported on the Kryptonite bike rack program. It seems to be an even better deal than we had thought with the company covering all of the logistics of placing racks once the locations have been identified. Other communities have had 20-30 racks placed. We brainstormed a few more locations and will be sending photos to Kryptonite so they can start their decision making process.
  • John reported sharing some preliminary artwork with Jeff who forgot to bring it to the meeting.

I reminded everyone that we’ll be staffing a table in the Pickering Barn at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday (snow or shine!) for the city’s Earth Day observance.

That was it for the “formal” part of the meeting and we gabbed about pedestrian right of way, bike racks in Corvalis (Oregon), Citizen Action Requests (the most traceable way to request that the city make a change), proposal of a periodic “Amble Around Issaquah” bike ride to make bikes more visible and show new riders how to get places, and lots of other stuff I didn’t write down.

The Brewhouse was jumping so we were again having trouble hearing each other. I’ll try to find a more inviting location for next month’s meeting.

April 14, 2008

CTC 4/10/08

CTC is short for Council Transportation Committee (and is part of the reason I’ve started a page here on the GAIT blog to decode some of the acronyms and mystery terms that crop up when dealing with transportation policy and our various government agencies)

The first thing on last week’s meeting agenda was a presentation by Steve Crawford from the Issaquah School District on the plans for a rebuilt campus at Issaquah High School. There will be one driveway for cars accessing the campus that will enter at the NW corner of the property from 2nd Avenue. There will be a traffic signal at this intersection with signal controlled crosswalks north/south on the east side of 2nd Avenue and east/west on the south side of the access road. A sidewalk will follow the south edge of the access road into campus. There is another driveway coming off 2nd Avenue farther south for bus access only. That entrance has a crosswalk with no signal across 2nd and sidewalks on both sides of the street running into campus. There will be nearly 600 car parking spaces on campus. There are bike racks in the plans. It is not clear how many bikes can be parked. I’d guess on the order of 50. When there were questions about pedestrian access, Mr. Crawford said, “There really aren’t that many high school kids that walk to school.”

Next was a presentation about plans for work on Newport Way west of SR900. This was the most complex item which a staff member whose name I didn’t catch was trying to de-mystify for the committee members. The gist of the discussion turned out to be about the fact that there are significant ped/bike improvements planned here as part of an agreement with the Talus developers. The original agreement was for fairly minor improvements (increase shoulders from 4 feet to 5 feet wide), but there is a move to instead create a 12 foot wide mixed use trail separate from the roadway. This plan is in negotiation but would result in a new mixed use trail from near SR900 up to SE 54th Street if I’m understanding correctly. The stretch at the beginning of Newport could go either along the existing course of Newport or along the extension of Maple Street across SR900 with a pedestrian bridge across Tibbetts Creek. This could be a pretty significant addition to our non-motorized transportation network if it can all come together.

Next was a brief discussion about changes to the Metro bus route 269. This was largely based on past discussions and it was not clear in this meeting what the changes are. They should go into effect in September, though ;-)

There was a discussion of ITS and someone’s going to have to help me out on what that stands for. It’s the traffic monitoring system they recently installed that I think encompasses the traffic cameras, signal coordination, condition signs, etc.

Complete Streets was next. It was confirmed that the Village Park Drive improvements that looked so expensive on the list before are off the list now. In its place, staff was proposing a full restriping of SE 43rd Way between East Lake Sammamish Parkway and 228th Ave SE to put 5 foot shoulders on both sides of the road rather than the existing 10 foot shoulder only on the downhill side. Estimated cost for this job was $77,000. There is some concern about parking for maintenance workers at a water district property on the north side of the road. Council members also reported that they weren’t aware of citizen desire for this link. These uncertainties kept this link off the recommended list at least for now. I believe the committee sent the list of improvements (new sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, two radar speed signs, and an audible pedestrian signal for front and sunset) to the full council for approval so staff can get on with design and implementation.

There were a couple of other brief issues rushed through to finish up the meeting by about 6:30pm.

Thoughts and actions:

  • It would be great to get some joint project going with the schools and GAIT, preferably led by students.
  • Folks interested in ped/bike connections along Newport Way west of SR900 should contact their council members as it looks like the Talus developer is ready and willing to do a lot of work at no cost to the city if we can just get the decision made. I think it’s the Land Use Committee that is the next hurdle so start with council members McCarry, Rittenhouse, and Traeger.
  • Folks who would use bike lanes on SE 43rd Way should likewise contact council members, especially those on the CTC (Barber, Butler, and Schaer) to express their desire to see that project added to this year’s Complete Streets improvements.
  • GAIT should come up with a prioritized list of improvements we would like to see. Complete Streets is budgeted at $500,000 per year and we should be working to guide that money to where it can do the most good.

April 10, 2008

State ped/bike plan

WSDOT is working on their long-range (2008-2027) plan for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Here’s a notice about the final public meeting on the topic. Note also the link and phone number for responding directly. I haven’t reviewed the plan. Let us know if you see anything to get excited about.

Final Public Hearing for State Plan—Mark Your Calendar

When: April 25, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
REI downtown Seattle

Join us for the Washington DOT’s last local public hearing for the 2008-2027 update of the state’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan. See what they’re thinking and add your voice for more and better options for bicycling.

The 60-day public comment period for the Draft Plan is open thru May 2008. You can review the background papers and the Draft Plan by visiting www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/bike_plan.htm. Comments can be submitted either through the website or by calling the toll free number: 1-866-375-6729.

Public Hearing Calendar Listing

April 4, 2008

Travel Differently

Next week is National Public Health Week, and part of the observance is the designation of Tuesday, April 8 as “Travel Differently Day”.

So if you’ve been looking for an excuse to walk to work or ride your bike to the store or ride the bus for a night on the town, here’s a little extra incentive. Lots more info at the link above.

In addition to NPHW, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is promoting ped/bike transportation with their Burn Calories, Not Carbon!™ Pledge. By telling them that you’re committing to get around under your own power you give them valuable ammunition to advocate for more trails all around the country. Win-win!

April 3, 2008

Transportation Committee

The city just posted the agenda for the 4/10 transportation committee meeting.

I had taken a group of action items at our last meeting relating to the Complete Streets projects for this year. After a quick meeting with Gary Costa and Rory Cameron from Public Works Engineering, I felt that enough of our issues were already being addressed that it didn’t make sense to do a formal letter from GAIT or solicit letters from our membership.

I’d welcome feedback about this decision. My rationale is that I want GAIT’s relationship with the city to be collaborative as much as possible. I’m sure there will be cases where we will need to be firm and disagree with some course that doesn’t serve ped/bike/bus needs, but I don’t think this is it.

Anyway, the CTC (Council Transportation Committee) agenda above still refers to the Village Park Drive project, but it’s my understanding that it’s on there so it can be removed from the list of bike lane striping projects.

I plan to attend the meeting this month (5pm April 10th in the Pickering Room at City Hall Northwest). If anyone else can make it that would be a great way for us to start showing the city the depth of support for ped/bike/bus issues in Issaquah.