Pedal for freebies on Bike to Work Day

May 18, 2010

City leaders will team up with local businesses and Cascade Bicycle Club to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 21.

The day kicks off with a Bike to Work Day booth at state Route 900 and Northwest Sammamish Road. Bicyclists can pedal in from 6-10 a.m. for free snacks, giveaways and mechanical help from Pacific Bicycle Co., a Sammamish bike shop.

From 3-6 p.m., outdoors retailer REI will host a Cycle Commuter Appreciation Picnic at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave N.W. The free picnic will offer free food from PCC Natural Markets and Chipotle, as well as giveaways from REI and the chance to meet other cyclists. REI hosted a barbecue at Pickering Barn last year to mark the end of Bike to Work Month.

Cascade Bicycle Club also uses Bike to Work Day to tally the number of cyclists on area roads. The organization hopes for official bicycle counts from cites in the Puget Sound region, but relies on the annual tally until official counts become widespread. Learn more about the annual event here.

Volunteers needed for cyclist, pedestrian count starting Tuesday

September 27, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 27, 2009

Volunteers are needed to count cyclists and pedestrians using bike lanes, paths, sidewalks and roads.

State Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club officials organized the count.

Volunteers are needed Sept. 29 to Oct. 1; two shifts are available each day: 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. To volunteer, call the bicycle club at 206-957-0689, e-mail organizer@cascadebicycleclub.org or go to the club’s Web site.

Organizers targeted key areas in and around Issaquah to count: Front Street South and Newport Way Southwest; East Sunset Way and Sixth Ave Northeast; Newport Way Northwest and state Route 900; 17th Avenue Northwest and 12th Avenue Northwest; East Lake Sammamish Parkway and Southeast 43rd Avenue; Southeast Issaquah‐Fall City Road and Black Nugget Road.

DOT officials will use information from the count to track progress of a state goal to increase cycling and walking.

“When people have safe and convenient places to walk and bicycle, they are more likely to leave their car at home,” state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said in a news release. “This count helps us to measure the demand for and benefits of existing paths and trails, and to identify new needs.”

Bike, board a bus or telecommute to avoid I-90 hassles

June 30, 2009

State transportation officials urged Eastside commuters to consider bikes, buses or telecommutes ahead of the July 5 shutdown of the westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge. DOT officials believe fewer drivers on the road will mean a less congested commute when the bridge shuts down for two weeks.

Travel times between Issaquah and Seattle could balloon beyond 60 minutes during the shutdown. During the morning commute, all westbound traffic will be funneled to the express lanes — reducing the number of available lanes from five to two. The westbound afternoon commute will be cut from three lanes to two.

Engineers predict the worst traffic will be from 6-11 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends.

DOT officials encouraged commuters to plan ahead for the closure. With the shutdown only a few days away, transportation officials suggested employees and supervisors talk about working alternate schedules or telecommuting to avoid peak travel times. King County Metro and DOT officials also advised for commuters to consider mass transit and car- and vanpools as options.

Though the westbound mainline will be closed for around-the-clock construction until July 20, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the bridge. Crews constructed two temporary bridges at each end of the floating bridge. Cyclists will have to dismount and walk across the temporary bridges.

“If we had to close the bike lane, that would only put more people on the roads,” DOT spokesman Jeff Switzer said.

Switzer urged commuters to check a DOT project Web site for frequent updates.

DOT officials initially said the shutdown would last three weeks, but the agency paid about $500,000 to the project contractor as an incentive to finish the $8.5 million project in two weeks. The contractor, General Construction Co., of Poulsbo, completed work on the bridge in May ahead of schedule.

Switzer said lessons learned during the May shutdown allowed DOT officials and the contractor to negotiate a compressed schedule for the July closure.

In May, during the first phase of construction, commute times from Issaquah to Seattle doubled from the usual 30 minutes during peak times.

About 71,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. Officials warned drivers that congestion would be severe during the shutdown. Expect bad weather and accidents to swell commute times as well.

During the shutdown, crews will install a pair of new expansion joints weighing 65 tons each. Joints — some of the largest in the world — allow the bridge to bend with traffic, weather and the water level in Lake Washington.

When the westbound span is closed to vehicles, four 12-person demolition crews will work 10-hour shifts to remove the existing, cracked joints and install new joints. Crews are already cutting into the concrete roadway to prepare for the project. The westbound span will be reduced to a single lane nightly from 11:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. through July 2.

Other construction preparations will cause daytime lane closures. Crews will close the express lanes from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. through July 2. The northern express lane will also be closed from 3-10 p.m. through July 2 near East Mercer Way.

During the full-fledged shutdown, two temporary bridges will allow cyclists and pedestrians to bypass the construction zones at the eastern and western ends of the roadway.

Cascade Bicycle Club launched the Bridging with Bikes initiative to educate commuters about getting across the bridge by bike. John Mauro, director of commute programs for the organization, said the shutdown presents a chance to get more commuters out of gridlock.

“Cascade’s Bridging with Bikes program is about making the physical connection for people during the construction to avoid major gridlock,” Mauro said. “But it’s also about making a longer-term and healthy lifestyle connection to the bicycle. Programs like Bridging with Bikes help us all stay fit and save money while building a stronger sense of community and having a lasting impact on the region.

“And it starts with a simple decision,” he added. “Begin the morning with a smile on a bike — and beat traffic on the bridge.”

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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