Cuz’ The Northwest is Rocking the Cycling and Seattle is Starting to Lead the Pack!

Recently Seattle stepped up its game even more. Not only is a streetcar line soon to open between King Street Station, First Hill and Capital Hill but also a cycle track is going in on Broadway. I knew all about the streetcar line going in but holy moly I’d no idea they were getting a cycle track too. A trip will be scheduled and I’ll be aiming to bring some of the cycle track and streetcar action to you via Transit Sleuth TV once they’re both open! Here’s a sneak peek via Streetsblog.

The streetcar system is connecting three major points in Seattle, this is going to be a pretty big deal. Here’s a summary of the four places. For more official information about the streetcar service, check out Seattle Streetcar.

King Street Station @ Pioneer Square area to Chinatown then thru First Hill & Capital Hill

King Street Station is the Amtrak Station¬†that has recently been returned to it’s proper magnificent glory of yesteryear. In some ways it is also the northern terminus for Sounder¬†commuter rail service from Tacoma and the southern terminus for Sounder service to Everett. It’s a gorgeous station, worth a trip by itself. There are a number of other things in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle that are worth checking out. This area along with King Street Station is basically the southern terminus of the line. The line then traverses part of the International District (or still commonly referred to as Chinatown in Seattle) and then turns in the First Hill area. It continues through the First Hill area and into Capital Hill, which is one of the dense urban areas of the city where music, art and livability thrive. It also is partly rooted to the future Link Light Rail Station for Capital Hill. This connection point is poised to be one of the busiest areas of the city in the coming years, easily transforming the very vibrancy and life of Seattle.

The Broadway Cycletrack

If there is a sure fire way to avoid streetcar tracks on a bike, it’s to have a cycle track right next to them! Seattle has planned for this and the Broadway Street segment is going to have just that. Here’s a cross cut view of the cycle track next to the streetcar and road traffic on Broadway.

Seattle Transportation Department also has more information about cycletracks going in around Seattle along with some information about ones elsewhere.

Streetcar Mobile Music Fest #SMMF 2013

The Streetcar Mobile Music Fest 2013 is happening this Saturday (that’s tomorrow). The last one was great, careening around the CL Line and the one before that (or was that just bands on streetcars?) was great too! Either way it’s going to be a great time, so come ride a CL Line Streetcar and enjoy the scenery and music! I’ll be there video recording and photographing the event for fun (thus, say hello) and the intent afterwards is to get a crew together afterwards for dinner and drinks. Of course, somewhere on the streetcar line! ¬†ūüėČ

For a quick idea, here’s a video montage from last year.

Cycling, Transit and Sleuthing News and Updates

A few things going on with the sleuth activity as of late.¬† First and foremost I’ve setup a schedule I’ll be aiming for with Transit Sleuth TV. The idea will be to publish an episode every 3 weeks on Monday morning at 7:30am. This frequency is starting as of today, Monday the 7th. So the next episode I hope to publish on the 28th, parts are coming together already. For the latest episode, check out “To Orenco, Mobile Ticketing, Powell‚Äôs and Introducing Jonathan Scheff!“. Episode 1 is out too, check it out “Transit Meet n’ How to Carry Wine & Gelato“.

In upcoming episodes I’ll be covering PARK(ing) Day from a few weeks back, commentary included. I had a great ride out and met a number of excellent individuals; Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, Hart Noecker and many others, Cheers & great job on the event!¬† Interviews with more Portlanders and their ways of getting around; jumping the bus, rolling with the MAX, or how to know a bike boulevard from a bike lane while pedaling along at pace. I’ll also continue the frequent coverage of trip tips & tricks. The aim is to answer the questions like, “how do I get my beer, unbroken, from store to recliner for the big game?” or “how do I carry 40 lbs of groceries home without busting the eggs” and one of my all time favorites, “where are the best” If there is something you’d like to see, leave a comment or ping me directly I’m totally open to new segments, stunts or other bits.

Transit & Biking Round Up

I’ve been reading blogs in the Portland area for a while now, specifically around transit and bicycling. Here’s a collection of the top sites and blogs with some additional sites I’ve researched and collected together. This is similar, and maybe I can light off some similar posts by others in the city that outline other sites they use for their day to day transit, cycling and related lifestyle matters.

If you know of any other blogs, websites or others out there that provide event information, helpful tips or other information please post a comment and I’ll get a page put together that is dedicated on Portland resources for this.

Tactical Urbanism, 18-Wheeler Drives into Streetcar…

Recently I was curious about one of the streetcar¬†disappearances¬† To put it more simply, why did it say “technical problem” on the reader board with no known streetcar arriving or operating. Streetcars and electrical motors that power the streetcars are some of the most reliable, capable, powerful and long lasting components that humanity has ever put in a motorized vehicle. So why had the street had “technical problems” again? It seemed this happens on a somewhat frequent basis, contrary to the fact that the streetcars (and most electrical rail vehicles) are some of the most reliable vehicles on earth!

I passed this thought back of my mind. I was on my bike, it didn’t matter to me or prevent me from doing the things I needed to do at that very moment. So I continued onward, unobstructed. Then a few nights later I stumbled across this blog entry by Hart Noecker “Veloprovo: Flower Petals and Parklet Fun ‚Äď Round One” (read his blog entry, as it contains a lot of great info that pertains to the rest of my blog entry). I then find this video and pictures of why the streetcar was out of service!

…and the pictures…

18-Wheeler smashed into Streetcar

18-Wheeler smashed into Streetcar

Smashed up Streetcar

Smashed up Streetcar

…and keep this in mind. This is EXACTLY why I took this photo a few mornings ago and labeled as I did. Some might have thought, “oh you’re such a jokester…” but no, seriously. The majority of incidents in Portland over the last decade have been almost entirely related to trucks killing cyclists. Sure there is the errant car, but considering trucking is a small percentage of traffic (7-15% depending on day, hour, etc) but contribute to about 50-80% of fatalities for the year… ¬†that’s pretty messed up.

Murder Wheels of 18-Wheeler

Murder Wheels of 18-Wheeler

I wrote this “murder wheels” somewhat tongue in cheek. But in reality, more than a few people have been crushed by large trucks in Portland. The fact ¬†is that in the last decade pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, children & others have all been killed by these big trucks – and often because of this very inability they have to NOT be able to¬†maneuver¬† Many of these trucks do NOT even need to come downtown. Many of them are NOT actually even delivering something to downtown. They’re risking everybody’s lives. Entire cities, vastly bigger and more active than Portland exist that do NOT allow these trucks. Instead the focus in those cities is on people and what people actually want and need. What we don’t need is these massive trucks traversing downtown.

In this case above that Hart captured, how much damage is that? I’d bet it is somewhere between 10-25k dollars of repair damage to the individual streetcar, the truck also didn’t make its delivery, is probably a $1000 loss, it stopped traffic which could have caused somewhere between 5-20k in delay costs, and the riders that couldn’t travel, probably several thousand in revenue for the streetcar and even more in loss effort and revenue for local businesses. Overall, it was easily a quarter of a million dollars when one thinks of the holistic problem that¬†occurred¬†because someone couldn’t handle their truck.

How much has to come out of the city budget now? What would have happened if someone was on a bike when that driver screwed up like they did and smashed into the streetcar? I’ll tell you what would have happend. Your son, or daughter, mother or father, grandpa or grandma, whomever was on that bike would be dead. D. E. A. D. Horrible enough for you yet? Well, I got to feeling a little bit better by watching the exasperated and¬†exuberant¬†Jason Roberts. He actually helped to fix a part of Dallas. Yup, that’s right. A city that is known for being wretched on so many levels, unlivable in many place and downright inhumane by most civilized nation’s standards. But he helped to start bringing livability back into a neighborhood.

The simple fact is, we shouldn’t be putting up with things like massive trucks charging around downtown. We can live better, safer and healthier without this nonsense. If Robert can do it in Dallas, Texas we can sure as hell fix this issue in Portland! As Robert says, SHOW UP!!! Per Hart’s blog entry, come help with tactical urban parklets! Until next time, I’m off to sleuth up some more history, more ideas & plan the next move towards better living.


Transit Sleuth

The Side Door


Barista, classically amazing coffee.

Today I headed to The Side Door as my second office of the day. After making my postal pick up at the UPS Store and enjoying a good Barista espresso & cappuccino to kick off the day I wanted a different side of the Willamette. I cut through along Yamhill to Naito Parkway and then along the water front and over the Hawthorne Bridge. Once on the other side it was a loop under the bridge and out to Water Avenue up to The Side Door.

At The Side Door I had a great working session before heading back out for an easy commute back to the home office via the Portland Streetcar CL Line. Yup, that’s right, two trips confirmed on the CL Line.

The working session at The Side Door was great too, in that I was able to get a lot of work done, but also got introduced to a lot of rocking doom metal via the rocking staff. Thanks Side Door staff!

…with that, I’m at the home office and it’s all foot traffic for the rest of this day.