July 29, 2008

National Bike Bill

Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon introduced House Congressional Resolution 305 (H.CON.RES. 305), otherwise known as the “National Bike Bill” and it was adopted by the House of Representatives back in May. This week it will come before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The bill is a marvelous laundry list of things the federal government can do to expand the use of bicycles for transportation and recreation and reasons why they should.

Senator Cantwell is Washington’s representative on that committee, you can contact her through her website.

Here’s what I wrote. Feel free to borrow liberally.

Dear Senator Cantwell,

I’m writing to request your support for the National Bike Bill (H.CON.RES. 305), scheduled to be considered by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee this Thursday 7/31/08.

As our country embarks on an effort to move away from our dependence on petroleum, it is vital that we recognize the role cycling will play.

Nearly half of all trips in the US are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile, distances easily covered by bike.

Every mile traveled by bike rather than by car keeps one pound of climate-damaging carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

And yet, of all the trips in the United States, just two-thirds of a percent are made by bicycle.[1]

There is a huge opportunity here and H.CON.RES. 305′s recognition of cycling as part of our transportation solution is a step towards embracing it.

Thank you for your support,
Jeff Youngstrom
founder of GAIT: Getting Around Issaquah Together

[1] This statement and those in the previous paragraphs are from the Sightline Institute’s book Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet.

May 6, 2008

Citizen Action Requests

speed sign on JuniperAfter we talked about Citizen Action Requests at our last meeting, member John wrote one up about the excessive speed of drivers on NW Juniper Street.

Two days later a temporary radar speed sign was placed at the problem area. How’s that for fast action? John speculates that there had been many other complaints about this street, so maybe the sign was already in the works before his CAR, but it’s still pretty cool that the city is responding to this need.

Let us know if you make use of the CAR process to address a ped/bike/bus transportation issue.

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.

March 25, 2008

Central Issaquah planning

The deadline for feedback on the land use options and transportation concept for the Central Issaquah Subarea is March 31st. If you couldn’t make it to the open house on the 19th you can still view the various option maps (particularly the Transportation and Open Space map).

To give feedback, fill out the form here.

March 22, 2008

Road angeling

Kent saw a woman picking up trash while walking her dog around Issaquah.

Isn’t that great? See a problem, go ahead and fix it. Don’t need to ask for permission. Don’t need any recognition. Be the change.

The comment thread on that post is full of other people who do similar actions. Nollij called it “road angeling” which looks like a typo, but catches the spirit of picking up trash just because you can.

If you see an act of quiet heroism like this around Issaquah, take a picture and put it in the GAIT Flickr pool (or send it to me and I will).

February 26, 2008

Complete Streets

The city recently passed a “Complete Streets” ordinance which essentially puts some teeth in the already existing requirements that new development include facilities for bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Barb Shelton passes along the following information about the city’s plans for striping existing roads this year:

At the Council Transportation Committee this past week, Councilors learned that the following locations could get bike lane improvements in 2008 within the Complete Streets program. These locations would involve restriping only of existing roads. They have not been cross-referenced with the Bike/Pedestrian section of the Transportation Element that we worked so hard to incorporate bike facilities into. So take a look & respond to Gary Costa & Todd Christensen with comments or additional locations.

  • NE Gilman from Front St to 3d Ave past bridge
  • Newport Way between Holly & Maple
  • Newport Way between Pinecone/Oakcrest & 54th
  • Village Park Dr
  • W. Lk Sammamish Pkwy
  • SE 43d Way (road to Providence Pt)

If you send feedback to the city, be sure to mention that you’re a member of GAIT. We’ll work out official membership soon, but for now if you read this blog, join the mailing list, or come to a meeting or event then you’ve got the right to call yourself a member.

December 11, 2007

Trash containment

One of the things that can strike you as you start moving around our town under your own power is how much trash ends up on the ground around here. And once you start noticing the trash you then see that one of the reasons it’s so prevalent is that there aren’t a whole lot of trash cans around.

Bus stops are an especially obvious place where trash collects. There’s a stop on 220th Ave SE near the court house where someone put up a sign saying “no littering”, but since there’s nowhere to put your drink cup or food wrapper, it hasn’t made any difference.

At the 554 stop by the library parking garage on Sunset Way, though, someone concerned with the trash took a different approach to the problem:

Trash bags tied to the parking garage

The bags are always full and there’s hardly anything on the ground. Amazing what happens when you just give people an alternative.

Metro actually has a program that allows people to adopt a bus stop. Metro will install a trash can and provide the adopter with liners so that they can empty it periodically. I’m going to adopt that courthouse stop in the name of GAIT.

November 12, 2007

Timing is everything

Naturally, the city went through the full length of the Pickering Trail with a leaf blower this morning. :-)

I’m still glad I did what I did. At the very least it saved the city crew some time and cut back the blower emissions a little bit. Plus, I got some exercise as I can tell every time I try to move my arms today.

What I really want to do in that spot is sweep away all the dirt on the sidewalk so it stops being a mudslick every time it rains. I’ll have to wait for a dry stretch to do that. Or maybe wait until spring when the flood season is past.