City testing bikeshare parking areas in Ballard

Update: SDOT has published a blog post on the test project. “We’ve selected five ‘sidewalk furniture zone’ locations along NW Market St in Ballard where we’re encouraging bike share users to park their bike share bikes,” explains SDOT’s Norm Mah. The locations are:

– North side of Market just west of Ballard Ave (in front of Shakti Yoga).
– NE corner of Leary and Market (Ballard Beer Company).
– SE corner of Leary and Market (AT&T store).
– SW corner of Tallman and Market (All the Best Pet Care).
– North side of Market just W of Russel (Kangaroo and Kiwi).

SDOT says they’ll monitor the test parking areas and see if they help make the bikes in the area “appear more orderly.”

Earlier: Green, yellow and orange bikes have invaded Seattle over the last year or so, and we’ve all seen them scattered around the neighborhood — some even stacked in piles and occasionally thrown into Green Lake.

These are dockless bikeshare bikes from LimeBike, Ofo and Spin. Unlike cities like NYC — where you’re required to neatly dock your rented bikes — you can park them wherever you please.

A couple days ago, Thatcher Imboden spotted this freshly-painted bike parking area across the street from Matador along Market St. “Not sure if this is official paint, but this looks like a pilot for designated dockless bikeshare parking area in Ballard Seattle. Insight?” he asked on Twitter.

Sure enough, city traffic engineer Dongho Chang responded that it’s indeed a city test.

Will it help clean up the colorful bikeshare mess? Hard to tell, but we’ll keep you updated. Meanwhile, former SDOT chief Scott Kubly — who overaw the launch of dockless bikeshare in Seattle — has taken a job at Limebike.

Help the city decide how to spend $3 million

The city of Seattle has received over 1,000 ideas for small-scale improvements to parks and streets, and now it needs help sifting through them all. At stake is $3 million allocated in this year’s budget for the best ideas.

Here’s how it works: The city is holding several meetings in each council district. During these meetings, each district narrows down the list to 8 to 10 ideas. Then those ideas will be put up for a community vote, and a city steering committee will choose how much of the $3 million is allocated to each of the districts.

Got it? Ok, here’s the list of meetings in our district below. In each meeting, neighbors will evaluate ideas that are in close proximity to the meeting’s location (so pick your closest spot.).

“These meetings are simply conversations with neighbors about submitted project ideas in your community,” explains the city. “Participants will discuss the projects in small groups and then individually score ideas based on physical need and community benefit.”

February 23, 6:15 – 8:15pm
Crown Hill Community Center – 9250 14th Ave NW

March 1, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Ballard Branch Library – 5614 22nd Ave NW

March 6, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Fremont Branch Library – 731 N 35th St

March 28, 6 – 8pm
Greenwood Senior Center – 525 N 85th St

For more information, you can visit the Your Voice, Your Choice website here.

Cyclists take over 22nd Avenue

Cyclists from across north Seattle pedaled their way to downtown Ballard for the Bike to Work After Party and Summer Streets event on 22nd Avenue between Ballard Avenue NW and NW Market Street earlier this evening.

Hundreds of brightly dressed, helmet-wearing, Lycra clad riders took to the street, snagging free offerings from various vendor booths, including these Cliff Bar samples.

Many waited in line to ride the Dutch Bicycle Company’s humongous, seven-seat Conference Bike.

Some had their picture taken by Michael Stearns as part of his ByPedal Project.

In this clip, Michael explains his project and works with a rider to capture her image.

Madi, here in this picture, took off a few minutes later on the Kidical Mass bike ride, which according to their site is an “easy-going, and law-abiding family bike ride for kids of all ages.”

Alas, minutes after they left at 6 p.m., a drenching rain arrived, encouraging many of the riders to make a damp dash for home.

Here’s a clip of Kidical Mass heading out on their ride.

Share the Road, it’s Bike to Work Day

Thousands more bicyclists than usual will be riding today, because it’s the annual Bike to Work Day.

Cascade Bicycle Club has teamed up with a number of other businesses to provide 44 commute stations throughout the region, offering freebies like water bottles and snacks, providing information on cycling, and some even have bicycle technicians ready to fix your flat tire.

At the Ballard commuter station behind Hale’s Ales, Christa Michel of Ballard’s Bike Sport marveled at the number of riders this morning and in general. “It’s a lot of pepole. A lot more women this year. We sold out of our women’s bikes this year.”

In Fremont, hundreds of cyclists stopped to grab free goodies, including water bottles and safety lights from Bike to Work sponsor F5, as well as bike bells and socks from Smartwool (if you were willing to trade in the pair you were wearing).

At about 7:30, 100+ riders followed Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn up Dexter Avenue and into downtown Seattle for a Cascade Bicycle Club bike rally outside City Hall.

Later today, Ballard will continue the biking fun with its Summer Streets party. From 4-7 p.m. along 22nd Avenue between Ballard Avenue NW and NW Market Street, the street will be closed to cars and opened up to cyclists for free bike maintenance, a spin on the seven-seat conference bike by the Dutch Bicycle Company, booths with cycling-related giveaways, and more.

‘We are the Missing Link’ event Tuesday

Several organizations will hold a demonstration at the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman this Tuesday evening to show their support for completing the stretch of the trail. At 5:30 p.m. at 17th Ave. and Shilshole Ave., supporters will hold blinking red lights in a show of solidarity. “We wanted to do something positive and inclusive to demonstrate support for the Missing Link, which has become so embattled,” says Vic Opperman, founding president of Sustainable Ballard and co-founder of SCALLOPS. “This is a grassroots effort.”

The completion of the trail is currently held up in litigation. A coalition of Ballard businesses and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce are challenging the city’s plans to complete the trail. “As businesses who work with heavy equipment, safety is our number one priority,” Eugene Wasserman of the North Seattle Industrial Association tells us, adding that he welcomes Tuesday’s event. “It should give people the opportunity to look at our growing businesses, which provide family wage jobs and are represented by many unions. It should be clear to everyone visiting our area how hard it is to mix trucks, cars, pedestrian, and bicycles safely.” Wasserman says the NSIA has recommended that the city build a viaduct over the industrial area for bicycle and pedestrian use. According to Wasserman, SDOT refused.

The Missing Link is a 1.5 mile stretch of the Burke-Gilman Trail without an actual trail. Bicyclists currently ride along Shilshole Ave, sharing the road with cars and large trucks while maneuvering over railroad tracks. Both bicyclists and the large Ballard industries who work along the waterfront believe something must be done to improve safety along the missing link.

Bicyclist, pickup collide at intersection

A bicyclist and pickup truck collided this evening at 46th St. and 14th Ave, just to the south of the Ballard Blocks complex.

The cyclist refused medical treatment, but he suffered scrapes on his arms and legs. The driver of the pickup told us he was driving east on 46th St. when the bicycle hit him, just behind the driver door. The cyclist’s front tire was bent, and he was too shaken up to talk to us.

A security guard at Ballard Blocks told us that this intersection and the one immediately to the north, Ballard Ave. and 14th Ave., are the scene of frequent accidents. Both intersections have two-way stop signs. “It’s only a matter of time before someone’s killed,” he said. “This may have just been a prelude.”

Decision made for bike lane on Ballard Bridge

At the end of July the Department of Transportation met with a group of freight, bicycle and pedestrian advocates to come up with a plan for the south end of the Ballard Bridge, which is a challenge for bicyclists.

The bike path on the west side of the bridge currently curves along the exit at West Emerson making it difficult for bicyclists to merge onto 15th Ave. The 15-member group that met with SDOT came up with three options, including creating a new curb-cut (outlined in the above photo), reduce the size of the median at 15th & Emerson and add “turtles” (those little white bumps on the road) where stripes are painted, just to name a few ideas. They then asked for community feedback. It turns out that all of the proposed options were too expensive to implement. “An unplanned project of this magnitude with all of our fiscal constraints could not be implemented in 2010,” the director of SDOT, Grace Crudican, wrote in a letter to the Ad Hoc group. Instead, according to the letter, the following changes will be made:

  • Review sign placement for the southbound traffic to give motorists more advance notice that bicycles will be entering the road.
  • Trim trees in the area to improve visibility for traffic and bicyclists.
  • Paint the curb cut where bicyclists enter the road to help alert drivers.
  • Evaluate speeds of southbound traffic on 15th Avenue W. Depending on the results of the speed study additional measures may be taken including installing a radar speed sign, or lowering the speed limit.
  • You can read the full letter here (.pdf) (Copyright photo by Michael Snyder is republished with permission. More photos here.)

    Two cyclists injured in separate accidents

    Updated: It was a dangerous day on Tuesday for bicyclists in Ballard. At 4:30 p.m., a woman and minivan collided on Market St. near 19th Ave. My Ballard reader Angelatini posted the story in the forum, and we received an email from the woman’s friend, Kyla. “She’s OK,” she writes. “She suffered only a sprained ankle and some minor contusions. She’ll be on crutches for a week or two.”

    Then at 11:30 p.m., a cyclist and car collided at 15th and 51st. The news was posted in the forum, and My Ballard reader Harry sent us this photo. The bicyclist, who was wearing a helmet, did not appear to be serious injured. (Thanks everyone for your forum posts, email and photos!)

    New ‘sharrows’ on 32nd Ave. NW

    Seattle Department of Transportation crews are working to paint “sharrows” for bicyclists along 32nd Ave. NW.

    Jen emailed us last night. “At 6:30 p.m. these guys were at the 32nd and 65th intersection. Now two hours later they’ve made it up to 32nd and 71st! They are still moving up the street. Hard to believe they work this late. As a sometime cyclist family we appreciate having these on our street.”

    Sharrows are bicycle symbols indicating that drivers should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. From the looks of it this morning, they still have a few blocks northbound and most of the southbound sharrows to paint.