Thursday, December 19, 2013

WSDOT Endorses NACTO Urban Street Design Guide

The Washington Department of Transportation announced yesterday that they are the "first state DOT in the nation to officially endorse the new Urban Street Design Guidelines" recently published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

This matters to Bellingham because several major roads in town are actually state highways, including the Guide Meridian north of I-5, and Sunset east of I-5.

It means there's a chance for these important transportation corridors to be changed to facilitate mobility for everybody, not just trucks and cars.

So, there's hope!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Open House for Bellingham Bicycle Master Plan

The City has announced an Open House to gather public comment toward developing the Bellingham Bicycle Master Plan.

When: Tuesday, April 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m
Where: Whatcom Middle School auditorium, 810 Halleck Street
What:  At 6:30 a presentation on the planning process; stations with information and opportunities for input

everybodyBIKE will provide valet bicycle parking across Halleck Street from the school front entrance.

Everyone is also invited to provide input via an online survey (available until May 12, 2013, at 5pm).

"The Bellingham Bicycle Master Plan will take one year to complete and will identify a detailed strategy  toward creating a safe, well-connected network of bicycle facilities and supportive programs to make bicycling a viable transportation choice for all ages and ability levels."

Monday, April 1, 2013

WTA on Google Transit

SmartTrips posted this on Facebook today:

Guess what? WTA is now on Google Transit. No joke. Check it out:

It's really cool that our small system has been added to the big leagues!
Does this mean that real-time bus tracking is on its way? We can hope so...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Smart Trips tidbits

Last week I dropped by the Whatcom Council of Governments office to pick up my reward for logging 900 Smart Trips -- a tee shirt! Yes, I already have three Smart Trips tees, but I quite like them. The 900 trips reward was actually a pick-one-of-seven options, and my choice was the practical one.

While there I had a short chat with one of the Smart Trips folks about the trip logger on the website. As participants know, they had an issue this past summer that caused them to shut it down for about a month. When it returned, revamped and more secure, the programmers had made a change that confused some folks. On the old site, new members could log trips from before they joined, up to two months worth. When I joined back in 2008 I back-filled two months worth of bussing, biking, and walking trips that I could remember. On the revamped site, though, they count trips from the day you joined instead of with the day the Smart Trips launched back in 2006. This meant that anyone who backfilled trips suddenly saw their number of logged trips decrease. I lost about 40, I think.
But with perseverance I finally clawed my way back up, and have passed 900!

The other thing to note is that mileage reports will soon return. The person I spoke to said they have programmers working on a project since the first of the year to return that function to the site, plus some additional features. Can't wait to see it--then I can update my little logger on this blog.

Update March 6
Looks like the software update project has arrived, probably March 1. Mileage reports are back, as is $ Saved. Calories burned may be new.

In the re-set of the start date my stats dropped by about 40 trips. Now my reported mileage has dropped by 1,200 miles between last May and today. Interesting...
Later on March 6
Now the mileage looks correct again. Weird.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bike Racks: YMCA

The downtown YMCA on North State Street has a very interesting set of bike racks. I couldn't find any manufacturer's info. on the racks so I don't know where they come from, but I don't think I've seen this design anywhere else.

There are two racks side-by-side, and each rack is a double-decker.

That adds up to 28 parking slots, plus room for one bike on each side to lock to an upright, for a total of 30 spots in a relatively small space.
You roll your front tire up onto one of the built-in ramps and roll it up and through the wheel-grabber posts at the back. It looks like folks lock in a variety of ways: around the wheel-grabber bars with a cable; around the horizontal cross-bar with a long cable; and possibly to the small metal loops at the sidewalk side of the racks. Looks like u-locks would be a problem if the two spots on either side are taken.

When I took the photos (two different days) there weren't any bikes parked on the 2nd level, but I know I've seen some up there before. If it were me, I probably couldn't lift my bike up that high.

The racks are located just off the main entrance on the ground floor, right on the sidewalk. Cyclists probably access the sidewalk from the corner of State and Holly, then it's about 1/4 of a block to the racks. They're covered, in an alcove of the building, and the sidewalk has an awning over it, so it's quite decently protected from weather.

It's great to see 30 covered bike parking spots so close to the main entrance of a business. I applaud their creativity for really packing them in there. Obviously some folks can utilize the upper deck even if not everyone can, so overall that's a good thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Northwest/Elm/Dupont Project Update

Last time we checked in with the project to add bike lanes and pedestrian enhancements to Northwest/Elm/Dupont corridor between Whatcom Creek and I-5, it was going out to bid (project page). Well, the bids came in and Colacurcio Brothers got the contract.

And work has begun!
They're starting on Dupont with new curbs and improved accessible sidewalk ramps. The intersections all had accessible ramps before, but maybe they weren't good enough?
At F St. and Dupont it looks like they're installing curb-bulbs -- and apparently are taking away the turn lanes on F. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I sure wish the project page had some information about it....
And in a recent blog post, the City let slip that the street is going to be resurfaced. There are certainly spots that need it.
Update 6/17

Half of the curb-bulb curbs are in at the F St/Dupont St intersection, and now it does not look like they're taking nearly as much of the roadway. Maybe the turn lanes are staying?

One aspect of the project I have to give Colacurico Brothers credit for is maintaining pedestrian access during construction. When they've removed sections of sidewalks, they've been really good about putting in temporary fill to help walkers through the area. And when they started pouring concrete this week, they set up temporary walking paths in the streets, set off with construction pylons. Like so:

It's a step in the right direction. Maybe in the future they'll move on to including pedestrian detour signage as well, just to ensure there's no confusion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here's a good goal: Zero Traffic Fatalities

Chicago is going to give it a go. The "Chicago Forward Action Agenda  [PDF]", published earlier this month by the Chicago Department of Transportation, starts with "Safety First." Their first performance measure under Safety is:
1. Eliminate all pedestrian, bicycle, and overall traffic crash fatalities within 10 years.


Turns out Chicago isn't the first jurisdiction with this goal. Sweden beat them to it in 1997 when their parliament endorsed zero road fatalities as a long-term goal [PDF]. They call it "Vision Zero", and they are making some decent progress. Their per capita fatalities have dropped considerably.

One of The Atlantic's blogs has a nice summary of the idea.

See, things CAN get better!

Via, via