Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike to Work and School Day!

Well, folks, it's Bike to Work Day and Bike to School Day today. I hadn't realized it was bike to school day until I got to the West Seattle Water Taxi dock in West Seattle and started chatting with a dad taking the boat with his daughter who was riding to school today. I'm really happy to see so local schools embracing the day for encouraging children cycling to school.

As I was heading out the door today with my bike, my neighbor across the alley was pumping up his tires.  He'd finally purchased the new tires he'd been meaning to buy, just in time to ride in to work and hit a couple commuter stations (I think he mentioned something about a station at Starbucks headquarters).

My bike commute these days is shorter, although where I live and work hasn't changed in a few years. My route to work, if I ride the entire way, goes through some industrial areas that are sketchy at best.  So, I do a real multi-modal commute:  Bike to the Water Taxi, then transfer to a bus for the rest of the trip.  Rather than the 12.5 miles one-way, I'm riding only about 2.5 miles.  It's all good though.  Any time on the bike is good time! 

Anyway, today was a neat trip in.  There were a few of the usual suspects with their bikes on the water taxi this morning.  There were also a few new faces with their bikes.  As I mentioned, we had the father and daughter going to school. We had a gentleman riding an old Trek (we're talking probably late 70s or early 80s vintage, US Made) and a couple others riding riding bikes that looked a bit like they'd not seen much time on the road in quite a while.  I also noticed more folks riding the Alki trail towards the West Seattle Bridge. Once downtown, where I usually see a good flow of cyclists, I saw many more today.

I did make a stop at a couple of commuter stations.  I stopped at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington office where I  said good morning to Barbara Culp (holy cow!  she's retiring?) and picked up a new, hot off the press, 2012 Seattle Bicycle Routes map.  Next stop was at Union Station (right across from my bus transfer to Tukwila) where Sound Transit was giving out patch kits (you can never have too many of them, right?) and Bike Month bandanas.  They were also having a drawing for a new bike.  Hmm...wonder if I'll win ;-)

The one disappointment was the bike cage at work.  Was I disappointed that I didn't get "my spot" at the bike rack?  Hardly.  In fact, I think I'd have been pleased if that were the case.  There were three other bikes there. Sigh...maybe next year I'll have to look for a spot to squeeze my bike in.  ;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Water Taxi saves the Commute during Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition

OK, so maybe the demolition of the Viaduct isn't quite like this (why, oh why can't we import Godzilla to do the job?), but those in Seattle have been feeling the pinch of traffic caused by the closure of the southern section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Since August, King County, the City of Seattle and the State Department of Transportation have been pushing us to look to alternate commute options.  Well, since April I've been taking the West Seattle Water Taxi in the mornings, and just added it in the evenings to avoid sitting on a bus on the West Seattle Bridge.

Well, Monday morning, I was joined by 149 other eager riders.   The numbers have dropped off somewhat since Monday, likely as people shift commute hours, or find other means, but the numbers are still good.  I'm hoping that they stay somewhat high so that the King County Ferry District can add more runs and routes.

Let's face it, taking a boat across the sound is a great way to commute!

Here are the ridership numbers for this week.

Morning commute addendum:  After three days of the media crawling all over Seacrest park in the morning, it looks like they've decided we're old news.  Not a camera or reporter in sight.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Seattle gets nation's first all-electric Vanpool vehicles

OK, so I'm late in posting this up.  You know how life goes.  I received this in my e-mail on August 30 and have been meaning to take the, oh, three minutes to actually post it, but have been a slacker.

Nation’s first all-electric-vehicle commuting program kicks off in Seattle
Metro’s electric-vehicle Metropool program debuts at Seattle Children’s Hospital
The nation’s first electric-vehicle vanpools quietly fired up their engines at Seattle Children’s Hospital today, as four Nissan LEAF cars were added to the commute options for Children’s employees as part of King County’s new “Metropool.”
These electric vehicles are joining King County Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet – the largest public vanpool program in the United States.
“Sharing a ride to work is an environmentally healthy way to commute, and Seattle Children’s employees just got greener by signing up for Metro new electric-vehicle vanpools,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “King County is adding alternative fuel vehicles to its fleet, specifically electric vehicles, to cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”
Constantine said Metro’s purchase of these cars will enhance what is already one of the cleanest and greenest transit systems in North America. Metro’s Rideshare Operations has committed to purchasing 20 Nissan LEAF vehicles to pilot electric-vehicle technology in a commuter application called “Metropool.” The agency will coordinate the installation of charging stations at major employer sites and multi-modal transportation hubs such as park-and-rides and ferry terminals.
The first phase of the initiative involves Children’s employees using four of the program’s zero-emission cars. ECOtality’s Blink charging stations have been installed on the Children’s campus to support the program.
“Everyday 60 percent of Seattle Children’s staff take alternative commutes to work, many of them in vanpools. Alternative commutes taken by our employees since September of 2009 have kept almost nine million pounds of carbon emissions out of the air,” said Lisa Brandenburg, Chief Administrative Officer at Seattle Children’s. “By adding these zero emission all-electric Nissan LEAF Metropool vehicles to our vanpool program, we will be able to reduce Seattle Children’s carbon footprint even further.”
The LEAF is a 100-percent electric, no gas, no tailpipe, no emissions vehicle with an estimated driving range of 100 miles on a single charge. It seats five people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Saddle up, Ladies!

Streetfilms has a new video focusing on women who are new to cycling in New York.

Check it out!

Women In Motion: New Lady Riders Reflect on NYC Cycling from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Hat Tip to BikeHugger for this one.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bike Boxes come to Seattle!

Do you remember this  How about this:

Well Seattle Cyclists, prepare to move to the front of the queue (well at three intersections) at stop lights in the near future.  Seattle will be creating bike boxes at three intersections coming up.  One will be in the International district (7th & Dearborn) and two will be on Capitol Hill (E Pine & 12th and where E Madison intersects 12th Ave and Union St).

Hat tip to the Seattle PI Transportation Watch

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!"

In the summer of 2000, I took a month-long vacation.  On the first day, I stopped off in Eugene, OR to meet up with a gal I met online for lunch at the Saturday Market and a bike ride.  She had a sticker on her bike's rear rack with the quote in the title.

Last night, my wife had the video below show up on her Facebook feed:

The video's ending statement got me thinking.  When it comes to our environment; the effects of our dependence on oil and our problems with pollution, we focus on cars (or our use of them) as the cause of the problem.  Simply stopping driving is not going to solve the problem.  It will not magically plug the well that's shooting oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  It won't heal or bring back all the marine and avian life destroyed by the spill.  It will help lessen the need for the gas and motor oil and tar for roadways that comes from this oil.  What of commercial farming that depends so much on petroleum and its by-products for fertilizers (not to mention to fuel tractors for working the farms and trucks to get the goods to market)?  What of fishing industries that need to fuel their fleets of boats to bring in their catches?  What of our use of plastics and other products made from that same petroleum that we use and dispose without a second thought.

Are we really paying attention?

Are we outraged yet? 

More importantly, what are we going to do?

Being aware is good and being moved is better, but without action, they are pretty impotent.