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August 20, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Superb example for Seattle businesses
In my July 14 op-ed piece in The Seattle Times, “Building a Bicycle Renaissance in Seattle,” I specifically called on Seattle’s business community to support improvements in cycling conditions as evidence of their commitment to environmental sustainability, public health and the economic future of Seattle.
Thus, I was pleased to read on the front page of The Times that Amazon is investing in both protected bike lanes (cycle tracks) and improved bike parking. [“Amazon goal: safer, easier cycling,” page one, Aug. 16.]
Amazon has given a superb example for other Seattle firms, both large and small, to follow. It is now time for the rest of Seattle’s business community to step up to the plate and show they really care about the future of Seattle and the environment.
This is especially true for Seattle’s corporate giants, but even smaller firms can play an important role by providing good bike parking for their employees and customers. Heath-care firms have a special responsibility to promote active travel modes like bicycling, which promote public health while reducing health costs.
I hereby challenge the responsible business community of Seattle to follow Amazon’s example of investing in bicycling for daily travel. Although I live far away from Seattle, in the New York City metro area, I plan on increasing my purchases of Amazon products as a thank-you for their support of bicycling.
John Pucher, professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
June 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM
Bicyclists need to be licensed
I commuted to work via bus and foot for seven years. Seattle is a great walking city, and the bus service is good. [“Worse than Manhattan?” page one, June 26.]
When John Pucher says “I almost got killed five or six times,” he should try being a pedestrian in Seattle. I’ve nearly gotten hit many times when I’ve been on foot, and it’s usually been by bicyclists who weren’t paying attention.
Mayor Mike McGinn will likely use this “rattled” man’s bike ride to appeal for more funds for his favorite special-interest group, bicyclists.
How about getting funds for continued bike projects by requiring bicycle licenses (and tests on the rules of the road), like all other vehicles that use Seattle streets?
Nancy Groceman, Belfair
Bike riders need to step up and pay
Seattle and King County are spending millions for bike lanes and trails.
Auto lanes and parking are being negatively impacted. There doesn’t seem to be money to fix or maintain roads.
I propose a 25 percent sales tax on the purchase of bicycles, to give the users of the special bike accommodations the opportunity to participate in paying for them. Cyclists should also have the opportunity to purchase licenses for their bikes and to buy an annual renewal tab for it, just like car owners do.
Clydia Pappenfus, Shoreline
Bikes are a 19th-century solution to 21st-century problems
When the provision of amenities for bikes began, the reasoning was that carbon emissions and traffic congestion would be reduced. Neither has happened.
I have worked on Dexter Avenue North for decades, and the addition of bike lanes, bus islands and the consequential reduction of automobile lanes have brought about an incredible increase in slowdowns and congestion. These findings are there for all to see.
The biking community and the city no longer talk about carbon emissions or congestion; now, it’s bike safety.
Daily observation on Dexter Avenue North clearly shows that bicycles are a step backward, a 19th-century solution to 21st-century problems. We should be preparing to implement new technology, not fantasizing about what is happening in other, topographically different cities.
Aside from a taxpayer-funded exercise program, what is the justification for these accommodations?
Hugh Brannon, Seattle
June 27, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Seattle can do better
As someone who commutes to work by bike every day along Dexter Avenue North and Second Avenue in Seattle, I can attest to the fact that riding the signed, left-side bike lane on one-way Second Avenue downtown can often be a harrowing, literally death-defying several minutes of my hourlong commute from North Seattle. [“Worse than Manhattan?” page one, June 26.]
With car doors opening on one side, impatient and distracted drivers drifting into the bike lane on the other side, and then abruptly turning left directly into the bike lane, it takes constant vigilance, proper positioning, and assuming drivers will do exactly what they shouldn’t, for a bicyclist to stay out of harm’s way.
In contrast, I thank the city every day for constructing the effective, buffered bike lanes and creative road redesign on Dexter Avenue North that make that part of my commute a real pleasure.
The bicycle expert quoted in Lindblom’s article, John Pucher, is absolutely correct. For a major city, Seattle has woefully inadequate north-south bike connections downtown. What we need are separated bike lanes such as a “cycle track” on Second Avenue and Fourth Avenue that the city could study and design.
Do we really want to be called “worse than Manhattan”? I think not. We can do much better.
Steve Kennedy, Seattle
Bikers need to be more focused on safety
I appreciate the June 26 front-page story regarding bike safety in Seattle. I agree that riders should not be in danger.
However, I rarely, if ever, read about the riders obeying the basic rules of the road: speed limits, stop lights and right-of-way rules. When I drive in the Jackson-Broadway area, I am constantly at risk of hitting a bike rider because they have chosen to not obey these rules.
The situation becomes worse when I take my daily walk on the Sam Smith Park pathway. I have been nearly hit by a biker five times this past year.
Gary Clark, Seattle
Bikers aren’t getting a free pass
Regarding the licensing of bicyclists that seems to be proposed every time a bicycle is mentioned in your paper, just who are we talking about licensing? [“Northwest Voices: License cyclists,” Opinion, June 27.]
Seattle residents, King County residents, Washington state residents, U.S. residents? What about someone who brings their bike for a ride from Portland or Vancouver, B.C.? Do they have to buy a day-use permit? Are we going to waste Police Department resources on enforcement, or create a bike police branch?
I can guarantee that a government agency responsible for bike licensing would spend much more money than it takes in from license fees.
On the subject of making those who are perceived to be getting a free pass pay up, I would point out that in 2009, for example, the Seattle Department of Transportation received 4 percent of its budget from gas taxes. Most of the direct funding from residents came from the “Bridging the Gap” property tax and the general fund.
The idea that cyclists are getting a free ride is simply not based in fact. Most of the federal and state money received from motorists goes to fund federal and state roads (seldom used by bicyclists) and public transportation.
Be careful what you wish for. You may wind up with one more bureaucratic entity that has no hope of funding itself and becomes yet another burden on the taxpaying public in general.
Dennis Schroeder, Vashon Island
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