Bike Business – Buffered Bike Lanes

BikeIconA buffered bike lane is a bike lane separated from car traffic and/or parking lane by a cross-hatched striped area called a  ‘shy zone’. In the bike lane you’ll also see the familiar white outline of a bike with an arrow that also designates sharrows. You may have seen a buffered bike lane on N 130th between Greenwood Ave N and Linden Ave N, as shown in the photo on the right.

This design makes it safer for both bicyclists and vehicles. With the shy zone, the buffered lane offers a more comfortable place to ride for cyclists who prefer not to ride so close to traffic. It also allows motorists to drive at a normal speed; they only need to watch for cyclists when turning right at cross-streets or driveways and when crossing the buffered lane to park.

Motor vehicles may not drive in the buffered bike lane, but they may, as indicated above, cross the shy zone and the bike lane to turn or park. Generally the bike lane stripes are solid white lines where crossing is discouraged, and may be dashed where cars are expected to cross at driveways.













More benefits of buffered bike lanes include:

  • Space for bicyclists to pass another bicyclist without moving into the motor vehicle travel lane.
  • Encourages bicyclists to ride outside of the car door zone when the buffer is between parked cars and bike lane.
  • Provides a greater space for bicycling without making the bike lane appear so wide that it might be mistaken for a travel lane or a parking lane.
  • Appeals to a wider cross-section of bicycle users, i.e. super-user cyclists may be comfortable in normal traffic, but casual cyclists feel safer with a buffer.

Buffered bike lanes are especially good on streets with high travel speeds, high travel volumes, and/or high amounts of truck traffic.

Note: the NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) standard is for the shy zone to be cross-hatched, as it is on Greenwood, only if it is at least 3 feet wide. I don’t know if Seattle is going to cross-hatch no matter the width, but if not, we may be seeing some shy zones that are just two solid parallel lines between the motor traffic lane and the bike lane.

Kids Art at Pinehurst Pocket Park


This month’s art in the park is drawn by Hemani. She made this creative picture of her hand at last summer’s Pinehurstfest. The pocket park is at NE 117th St & 19th Ave NE. Visit it to take a look at Hemani’s work, then check out the little free library across the street.

If you would like to submit your child’s artwork for the Pocket Park, please email We’ll put it on mat board donated by FRAMEIT Ltd, 10712 5th Ave NE.

How Was Your Pinehurst Halloween?

Disclaimer: I grew up with Halloween as my favorite holiday so I’m a bit overly excited at the moment. And this isn’t really a news post. Just sharing my excitement. I loved trick-or-treating as a kid (even if most of the candy went bad because eating it wasn’t as much fun as getting it) but I got really excited to decorate the house with my dad and hand out candy. Getting on the news regularly (KIRO’s bunny suited John Procaccino) to show off my costume didn’t hurt either. My dad still decorating the same house on Queen Anne. And now I’m decorating my own now. And hoping to encourage others to go crazy…

So did people get many trick-or-treaters this year? I got over 40.

There’s a lot of fun discussion in the Facebook group right now with some who got a lot more.

Sounds like it really depends on where you live. And north-south streets are apparently gold. So next year I’m personally adding more lights (and a fog machine!) to pull people down my street. Others in the Facebook group have talked about going all out as well. Who’s interested in joining me and making a neighborhood event of it?

We could even make have events to make decorations in advance. We used to make all our stuff because the store-bought things were way too overpriced. Some of my tombstones are 20 years old and insanely heavy. I need to make new ones. And I need an easier-to-setup monster for my roof.

And apparently the Pinehurst shelterhouse was used for a Halloween party years ago, before the renovation. There’s interest in starting that again too. I think it would be great to have a neighborhood party serve as a kicking off point for trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. While I certainly love our summer festival, Halloween will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Join Library Community Conversation Nov. 16

librarySeattle Public Library provides many resources both at our branch libraries and online. However, it wants to know if there are other programs, resources, books or materials that would more effectively support our community. To learn more about how the Library can better serve the community, the City Librarian will be hosting 12 Community Conversations around the city. (You can find the full schedule here.) Light refreshments will be served.

The conversation in our area is 1:30 – 2:45 pm on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Lake City Library, 12501 28th Ave. N.E.

Bike Business – Sharrows

BikeIconSharrows are shared lane pavement markings. You’ve all seen those white outlines of bicycles with double arrows painted near the edge of the road. They show cyclists the best place to ride on the road to avoid parked car doors, and they remind motor vehicles to share the road with bikes. The sharrow markings do NOT designate a place on the road for exclusive use of bikes.

Sharrows are typically used where the road is not wide enough to provide dedicated bike facilities, or on downhill lanes where cyclists might travel similar speed as motor vehicles.

Sometimes you will see sharrow markings next to a solid white line, as pictured below, right. The white line delineates a parking lane. Though a cyclist CAN ride in the parking lane, it is recommended that they remain in the traveling lane where the sharrow markings are, to be more predictable to motorists and so they aren’t weaving between the parking lane and the traffic lane. Motor vehicles should not drive in the parking lane, either.

Both motor vehicles and bicycles should follow the rules of the road just as they would if there were no sharrows. Drivers should remember to give bicycles at least 3 feet of space when passing.


How Candidates Stand on Walkability

This is a general reminder that you should already have you ballots and they need to be postmarked by November 5th. And given that sidewalks and walkability are often one of the primary concerns in the area I thought people might be interested in FeetFirst’s guide to the candidates. The full link is above but I also pulled out two quotes on the pedestrian and bicycle bridge that members of the community helped secure funding for earlier. We got Sound Transit and the city to commit to funding for pedestrian improvements like this to go along with the planned parking garage. But the funds still aren’t secured and could be in jeopardy.

Mike McGinn, Seattle Mayor (incumbent)

1) Sound Transit has agreed to help fund a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across I-5 to connect North Seattle Community College to the Northgate light rail station.  The City of Seattle needs to come up with the rest of the money for the bridge to be built.  How would you do that?

There are several potential funding sources, such as real estate excise tax, Bridging the Gap funds, other tax revenues, grant funds, or a combination of those options. I will work with our central budget office to determine the best way to allocate the $5 million commitment by the 2015 “due date”, so that we can take advantage of Sound Transit funding and build this important connection.


Ed Murray, Seattle Mayor Candidate

1) Sound Transit has agreed to help fund a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across I-5 to connect North Seattle Community College to the Northgate light rail station.  The City of Seattle needs to come up with the rest of the money for the bridge to be built.  How would you do that?

Sound Transit and the City of Seattle have each pledged $10 million for pedestrian and bicycle improvements around the Northgate station, half of which will be devoted to the proposed bridge connecting the station to NSCC. Even so, the bridge is currently underfunded by $8-10 million, and Sound Transit will reallocate any unspent funds if this project remains underfunded by July of 2015.

 It’s an unfortunate reality that Seattle cannot fund every beneficial project. We simply do not have the money. We need to get clear on our priorities, rather than relying on half measures.  We have a Pedestrian Master Plan, a Bicycle Master Plan, a Transportation Master Plan, and need a Freight Master Plan.  What we lack is a unified plan and coherent set of priorities. I will address this with my Move Seattle Initiative, which will harmonize different transportation modes and clearly lay out what we need to do most. This will allow us to more effectively lobby the state legislature for additional funding.

 Locally, Seattle has a set of financial tools available to generate funds for public works projects. I am interested in exploring the expanded use of Local Improvement Districts, which assess taxes on nearby properties that stand to benefit from a proposed project. If a project is backed by the majority of local businesses, we can work with them to form a Business Improvement Area to generate revenue for project funding.

Return your ballot by November 5

Latvian Christmas Bazaar

11710 – 3rd Ave NE
(East side of I-5 Freeway)
Washington State Latvian Association 2013

10am to 4pm
12pm to 4pm

LatvianChristmasYou will find:

  • latvian ethnic bakery & foods
  • christmas specialty foods
  • latvian and modern jewelry
  • decorative pillows
  • knitted articles
  • stuffed toys
  • hot meals
  • latvian linens
  • latvian books
  • etched crystal
  • and much much more







Washington State Latvian Association 2013

Bike Business – What’s That Signage Mean?

BikeIconToday we’re starting a new series on bicycle infrastructure, or what Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) calls bicycle facilities. The City encourages bicycles for transportation and has been implementing various signage and street striping to increase safety. These things appear, but there is not much education about what they mean and how to use them. This series will explain the usage of all the types of bicycle facilities, as well as go over some laws pertaining to bicycles and the responsibilities of drivers of vehicles around bicyclists.

In 2007 Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan was adopted to attempt to build as many bike facilities as possible quickly and with low cost using Bridging the Gap money. The limited funding resulted in mostly street painting, such as sharrows (we’ll cover these later). The Master Plan project is about half complete now. SDOT has learned a lot from observing the results and getting comments about what has been done to-date. SDOT believes that what’s in place now works for superuser cyclists, but that casual cyclists are still uncomfortable riding in traffic and don’t feel safe. Now the focus of the project is on connecting neighborhoods for casual cyclists and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, best practices for bicycle facilities, safety, and design keep evolving in the U.S. and around the world (such as greenways and cycle tracks – we’ll explain these later), so Seattle has drafted a 2013 Bicycle Master Plan.

For the most part, each post will cover one type of bike facility. The next post will be on sharrows since we see a lot of those bike images painted on the streets around here.

Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting Oct 24


Meadowbrook Haunted Bounce October 25

pumpkinHead to Meadowbrook Community Center for a Haunted Bounce 6:30-7:30 p.m., including ghostly lighting, glow sticks, bounce toys and “Halloweenspirational” music.

Then bounce up to the pool from 7:30-8:30 p.m. for carnival games and prizes like “ride that pumpkin”, deep sea fishing and our special glow-in-the-dark room. It features fun, not fright!

Ages: All (children under 4’ and 6 years must be accompanied by an adult in the water.)

Location: Meadowbrook Community Center and Pool, 10517 35th Ave. NE

Date and time: Friday, October 25, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Cost for youth: $2 for the bounce, $3.75 for the pool

Cost for adults: free at the bounce, just $2 for the pool