Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bicycling: A Sustainable Choice

Attention all bicycling enthusiasts!

Friday, February 27, 2009 at the Seattle Central Library downtown Cascade Bicycle Club is hosting the next in their presentation series.

The event will be from noon to 1 PM in the Microsoft Auditorium.
The speaker will be Niels Tørsløv--Director, Traffic Department Technical and Environmental Administration for the City of Copenhagen

More details can be found here.

This is one not to miss for a glimpse at what we can do to promote cycling in our city.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Funding new ferries with tourism dollars

In reading the sound off on an article on the Seattle PI website, I found a reference to this topic. It seems that a handful of state senators have realized that in addition to being a vital piece of the state highway system (let’s be honest, it’s the only road onto some of the islands in the Puget Sound, and considerable time-saver to get back and forth to the Olympic Peninsula from the Central Puget Sound area), it is also a very popular tourist attraction. Based on this realization, they have introduced Senate Bill 6005 this week.

I’ve read the bill, all 7 pages (small as fiscal and transportation bills go) of it. The bill would tap tourist revenue such as stadium and exhibition hall funding to pay for the replacement of ferries in counties with over one million residents. To be honest, a lot of the technicalities went a bit over my head and I don’t fully understand the entire thing. It appears to me, though, that the bill will tap currently unallocated tourist dollars in these counties to fund ferries. In counties like King County, with two stadiums to pay off from these funds, the money won’t be touched until the current obligations are paid, and then the money will be allocated to paying principal and interest on the purchase of new ferries.

I hope that this bill goes before the Senate Transportation committee soon so I can see a bill analysis that explains the details in more layman’s terms.

From what I understand of the bill right now, I do have some concerns:
  • Will it divert funding from existing tourist attractions such as museums, parks, galleries, and other publicly funded tourist facilities?
  • There is a potential imbalance in funding the ferry purchase; what if one county has over one million residents and taps that funding, but a county at the other end of a ferry line from it does not, it would seem that the larger county pays the entire bill, and the smaller county reaps the benefit.
  • Is this a replacement or supplement to Department Of Transportation funding for the replacement of the ferries?

In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Metro Transit expands bike loading downtown

Maurie saw this rider alert yesterday while on the bus. Starting February 7 (hey, that's today!), cyclists can load and unload their bikes at any bus stop in the downtown area, during off-peak hours only. Metro is also allowing bike load and unload at any stop in the transit tunnel, whenever it's open. During peak commute hours, however, cyclists will still be limited to loading and unloading their bikes at the first and last stops in the ride free area. I'd love to see this change so we can load and unload anywhere in the downtown area, at any time, but baby steps, you know...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Enhancing cycling in NYC

Here's an older video I came across on Watching it and seeing what New York has done on ninth avenue to accomodate cyclists gives me some hope for what other cities can do if they make it a priority. Looks like it's time for me to download and read the bicycling master plan for Seattle. I would love to see how many similar items will be incorporated. I know that there are areas that grade separated routes for bikes are in the plans (the 520 corridor, Alaskan Way).

Anyway, here's the video...enjoy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Take a moment for the beauty around!

Since my daily "commute" right now is across the apartment to the den, I am trying to get some exercise first thing in the morning. I'd been grumbling about cold toes when I ride, so we got me some cycling booties this weekend, and I'm back to taking a quick morning ride.

This morning, I got out a little later than normal, and could see the light breaking over the top of the cascades as I looked out the apartment window.

This morning's ride was a quick coast to the waterfront, and then a fairly quick paced ride up the Elliott Bay Bike Trail. I rode to where the path leaves the waterfront, at which point I turned around. Heading back south and towards home, I got to the end of the waterway that comes off the bay to see Mt. Rainier in all her beauty. She was looking like she rose right out of the bay and was shrouded in all sorts of colors. It was absolutely beautiful to if I needed another reminder of why I love where I live!

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so no picture to post. I'll have to just savor it in my memory.

Challenge for today: Slow down and find at least one thing of beauty to admire!