News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Update: Public transportation – and a new City Council

January 30th, 2016 by Mike

Update on Mardi Gras:

The Seattle Times has an opinion piece here. It’s not supportive of Pronto.

Update Feb. 4:

The Stranger has a Pronto story here.

The Seattle Bike Blog has one here.

Update Feb. 3: Josh Feit over at PublicCola has an update on Tuesday’s hearing on Pronto rental bikes.

Bottom line: Not much happened. Any vote was postponed as apparently only two transportation committee members were present – including the chair, Councilman Mike O’Brien.

To O’Brien’s frustration, SDOT’s presentation didn’t come with a specific business plan other than the immediate pitch to stabilize the program—there are currently 50-plus stations with 500 bikes and 3,000 members—and then have the city put it out to bid again in 2017….

O’Brien’s committee didn’t take any action yesterday (Pronto will go under in March if the city doesn’t bail it out); O’Brien reasoned that his other council colleagues are likely to have questions. Indeed, letters have been coming in to city hall suggesting that the $5 million could go to homelessness programs.

Feit tweeted about the meeting here.

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A month into Seattle’s new City Council – in which council members are elected neighborhood by neighborhood – we’ll get a look at what this might mean for local public transportation.

Specifically, what will the council members – representing their districts – say about:

* Rescuing Pronto bike sharing rental.

* The apparent disappearance of much of our direct bus service to downtown.

On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss whether to spend $1.4 million to bail out the failing Pronto public bike rental  system.

Fifteen months after launch, Pronto is insolvent. Also, no one is riding the bikes.

As the map shows, there are no Pronto bikes available in Maple Leaf nor, for that matter, in all of Council District 5 (north Seattle), now represented by Debora Juarez.

There was a proposal to put a Pronto station at North Seattle College, but only if the feds paid for it. The feds declined.

Our earlier post is here. The Seattle Times has an updated story here: Seattle’s Pronto bike-share nonprofit teetering, seeks $1.4M rescue by city. (Note to “terriance”, in the +300-plus comments on that story: We don’t know what an “enterprise producer” is, either.)

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Transportation and Sustainability Committee, said he was disappointed to see Pronto “go financially sideways so quick” and said he’ll have to carefully consider whether to fund it.

“Just barely a year into it we’re going to throw a million and half into it to keep it alive and see what the next phase is.”

He said he believed bike sharing could work in Seattle, but O’Brien said, “If we’re not going to make it work, let’s figure that out as soon as possible and not spend money on it.”

The Seattle Bike Blog has posted here: With Pronto in the red, city outlines takeover and expansion plan.

The Times’ Danny Westneat has a column here.

In its first year, people took 142,832 rides on Pronto bikes. That’s only 391 rides per day. It’s about seven rides taken at each station per day. Each station brought in only an average $30 a day in revenue.  These are terrible figures considering the bike stations are dotted around places like the Amazon jungle, which we imagine should be meccas of alternative transportation.

Also, helmets.

Also, buses.

With the coming of light rail to the University District, there are proposed changes in Metro routes – but we’ll be damned if we understand them.

We weren’t at the Community Council meeting Wednesday evening, but reports on “Metro’s” presentation were not illuminating. [Read more →]

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Found – a girl’s bicycle

February 27th, 2012 by Mike

Nick emails: “A girl’s bicycle (for about a 10-year-old) showed up in front of my house recently. I’d like to get it back to its owner. My number is 206-327-2037. Call to describe the bike.”

He lives at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 105th Street.

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Found – a girl's bicycle

February 27th, 2012 by Mike

Nick emails: “A girl’s bicycle (for about a 10-year-old) showed up in front of my house recently. I’d like to get it back to its owner. My number is 206-327-2037. Call to describe the bike.”

He lives at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 105th Street.

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What’s wrong with this sign?

March 24th, 2010 by Mike

This is a “wayfinding” sign for bike commuters. It’s part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan. Signs like this are popping up all over the neighborhood, along with “bike dots” on the pavement.

The master plan is an extensive and controversial effort by the Department of Transportation to make Seattle “the most bike-friendly city in the nation.” Among cyclists and motorists alike, there is disagreement over whether such devices as “sharrows” – Shared Lane Pavement Markings – help or hurt.

I’m not sure there can be much disagreement over the wayfaring sign, above. The sign is on Northeast 88th Street at Eighth Avenue Northeast. Olympic View School is indeed a few blocks to the north, the direction that arrow points. And so is Northgate.

Any cyclist who follows the wayfaring arrow south to find Northgate is in for a leg-wearying surprise.

Cyclists, motorists, what are your thoughts on the city’s bike plans?

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What's wrong with this sign?

March 24th, 2010 by Mike

This is a “wayfinding” sign for bike commuters. It’s part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan. Signs like this are popping up all over the neighborhood, along with “bike dots” on the pavement.

The master plan is an extensive and controversial effort by the Department of Transportation to make Seattle “the most bike-friendly city in the nation.” Among cyclists and motorists alike, there is disagreement over whether such devices as “sharrows” – Shared Lane Pavement Markings – help or hurt.

I’m not sure there can be much disagreement over the wayfaring sign, above. The sign is on Northeast 88th Street at Eighth Avenue Northeast. Olympic View School is indeed a few blocks to the north, the direction that arrow points. And so is Northgate.

Any cyclist who follows the wayfaring arrow south to find Northgate is in for a leg-wearying surprise.

Cyclists, motorists, what are your thoughts on the city’s bike plans?

→ 4 CommentsTags: , , ,

Bike Google!

March 14th, 2010 by Mike

This long skinny map is what Google’s new Bike Directions produces when asked the best way to bike commute from Maple Leaf to downtown Seattle.

The bike-route mapping service, rolled out last week, was developed right here in town at Google’s Fremont office alongside the Burke-Gilman trail, according to our news partners at The Seattle Times.

It’s actually a new layer for Google Maps, and specifically picks routes to avoid hills, which is tough if you live in Maple Leaf  – the third highest hill in Seattle. And it’s not quite ready for prime time. Google is asking for cyclists’ help in fine-tuning the thing.

This 7.9-mile route, down Stone Way North and across the Fremont Bridge, then up Dexter Avenue North, is one of three Google suggestions to get to downtown from our neighborhood, and it’s a good one that’s commonly chosen by cyclists. [Read more →]

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