Apr 14, 2016 jmp commented on How Seattle Gave Up on Busing and Allowed Its Public Schools to Become Alarmingly Resegregated.
While I'm no fan of segregation, I have to wonder -- what did having school an hour away from home do to parent engagement in the school community?

Wealthier parents on flexible salaried schedules, sure, we can take time off to drive to school when there's something going on, but what about parents who work hourly, or depend on transit themselves -- is it really good for their child's education to add two hours to every parent round trip to school?

It seems to me that integrating schools without integrating neighborhoods is a surefire way to disenfranchise lower-income parents, unless you somehow manage to only bus the children of upper-income families.
Feb 5, 2016 jmp commented on Will the City Council Save Pronto, Seattle's Bike Share Service?.
@31 yes, but that also means it's $8 PER RIDE for a new user who wants to try their first ride. That's a pretty steep barrier to entry. Especially since the new user probably isn't carrying a helmet and has to drop an extra $2 to dig through a bin of used helmets to find one that fits.

$10 for your first Pronto ride makes Uber seem like a reasonable option. And if you never get the user to take that first ride, it doesn't matter if the second one is free.

It's a rational pricing structure for people who already know they like bikeshare from using it elsewhere, not for a new system struggling to gain riders.
Jan 19, 2016 jmp commented on Distracted Pedestrians Are Not the Same As Distracted Drivers.
Drivers are already required by law to drive slowly and attentively enough to avoid other lawful road users, which includes people who are blind or visually limited, people who are short, people who move slowly due to age or infirmity, and people wearing ordinary street clothing instead of hi-viz construction gear.

"No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section, drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic ..."

If drivers simply obeyed this existing legal requirement, most distracted pedestrians really wouldn't be an issue. But they don't.

Most drivers consider the speed limit a minimum expectation, not a maximum legal speed that should be reduced in less-than-perfect conditions.

Very few drivers truly stop and remain stopped for pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks until those pedestrians are at least one full lane beyond the driver's side of the street.

The Basic Rule has been on the books for more than 50 years, but is almost never enforced other than as an add-on citation after a collision. SPD used to conduct rigorous crosswalk enforcement for drivers, but that seems to be a thing of the quaint old small-town past.
Oct 14, 2015 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
@50 - So what happens if the driver simply stops? The car explodes like the bus in Speed?

I can't see how a bicycle can possibly force you to abandon a right turn unless your brakes don't work.
Oct 13, 2015 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
@45 Seattle PD makes zero effort to enforce safe right turns by drivers, so it's no wonder they don't turn safely.

The law is clear, both the approach to a right turn, and the right turn itself, must be made from as close to the right curb as practicable.

To make a right turn on a street with a bike lane, the driver is supposed to signal well before the turn, merge safely to the right, yielding to anyone already in the bike lane, and then make the right turn, from a position where there simply *cant* be a bike hidden in their blind spot. (As long as the bike lane isn't physically separated, of course -- then drivers do have to watch out for bikes overtaking on the right. It's a tradeoff, more separation mid-block, but more hazardous at intersections, especially for faster cyclists.)
Oct 13, 2015 jmp commented on Bike Activists! I Have Seen the Future! You're Going To Hate It!.
Your mistake is in assuming all cyclists will be confined to those sidepaths. That's true in some places, but Washington is not a segregated state -- even when there are bike lanes, cycletracks, or entirely separate paths, people on bikes are still free to choose the street if it's safer, more pleasant, or goes where they need to go.

The Dutch are working to get faster cyclists off of cycletracks and into the street. The Dutch Cyclists Union says fast cyclists make sidepaths hazardous and unwelcoming for their intended audience, those slower, more vulnerable users who aren't comfortable riding in the street -- children, the elderly, casual riders on upright roadsters, etc.

Germany, too, has softened its mandatory sidepath law -- faster riders are free to ride in the street except where specifically signed to require them to use the sidepath. That's why you see the sidepaths full of slower riders, they're comfortable riding there, avoiding conflicts with faster vehicles.

You can already see this in Seattle, with our limited collection of bicycle facilities -- many riders choose the street over the sidepath on 2nd Ave, for example, because the path isn't safe at the speed many riders can simply coast southbound on 2nd. Broadway's cycletrack provides last-mile access to locations right on Broadway itself, but faster riders use safer routes for long-distance trips, diverting over to 12th, for example.

Supporting bicycling by people of all ages and abilities doesn't mean corralling everyone onto some one-size-fits-all path. Separated facilities provide comfort for slower and more vulnerable users over a limited selection of routes, while streets continue to provide access throughout the city.
Aug 12, 2015 jmp commented on Making the Ballard Bridge Safe for Cyclists: One of Us Has to Die or All of Us Have to Act.
When the Ballard Bridge was first built, the intent was that bicycles would use the travel lanes. (Sidebar: they're not "car lanes" and never have been. They're travel lanes, open to all legal vehicles, including bicycles.) The sidewalks really were just for walking.

But the travel lanes had lower speed limits then, and the drawspan didn't have hazardous steel grate decking.

The sidewalks are wide enough on the drawspan, where the decking makes the travel lanes hazardous for skinny-tired bicycles. It's the long approaches that have sidewalks only suitable for walking, and those lanes are paved well enough for bicycle use, as they were when the bridge was first built. The real hazard isn't the bridge, it's the drivers.

1. Reopen sidewalk access from the travel lanes to the sidewalks at the drawspan.

2. Lower the speed limit on the bridge approaches to 20 mph, and *enforce* it.

3. Use shared lane markings to encourage faster bicyclists to use the travel lanes where they're paved, and use the sidewalks on the drawspan if their tires are too narrow for safety on the steel grate.

4. If enough motorists are upset by driving at the safe speed of the existing bridge, let them find ways to fund a replacement bridge.
Feb 24, 2015 jmp commented on City Fails to Protect Cyclists from Broadway Smurf Turds, Again.
@9 just because the city made things worse for drivers on Broadway doesn't mean they made things better for bicyclists. The street is now awful for both. Most people on bikes now take other routes, 12th is safer, faster, and calmer.
Feb 24, 2015 jmp commented on City Fails to Protect Cyclists from Broadway Smurf Turds, Again.
1. They aren't really "bollards" -- a bollard is a vertical post strong enough to stop a vehicle.

2. They don't belong next to traffic, they aren't reflectorized or brightly-colored as standards would normally require for obstructions in the roadway, that's part of why drivers constantly run into them.

3. They're hazardous to people driving and people bicycling when they get shoved into traffic. Standard traffic delineators are tested for crashworthiness, there's a national standard for testing to make sure they aren't a hazard. Can SDOT produce crashworthiness testing documentation for the smurf turds?
Feb 3, 2015 jmp commented on I, Anonymous.
Cars must yield while merging into the bike lane, which they're supposed to do *before* beginning their turn.

As you approach the intersection, check for bikes, yield, merge into the bike lane when it's safe to do so, before beginning your turn. Once you've merged right, turn your attention back to the intersection so you can avoid running over pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Once a car has properly merged into the bike lane and is signaling a right turn, bicyclists should not attempt to squeeze through to the right. That's not just illegal, it's suicidal. Pass on the left or wait your turn behind the vehicle in front of you.