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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Stone Way Bike Protest

posted by on August 1 at 18:57 PM

Just got back from the bike protest against Mayor Nickels’s elimination of the long-plannned bike lane on Stone Way between 34th and 40th, where 300 to 400 bikers circled around Fremont two by two at rush hour to show that drivers aren’t the only ones who use the roads. The reception the bikers received was mostly friendly, with one ball-capped guy holding a “Biker Bullies” sign the lone exception. Cascade Bicycle Club’s David Hiller seized the opportunity to announce some great news: The Burke-Gilman Trail through Fremont, which was going to be closed for yet another year thanks to complaints by Fremont property owner Suzie Burke (who’s developing a project adjacent to the trail) will open later this month. Turns out the “easement” Burke said required the city to close the trail doesn’t do anything of the sort; according to Hiller, who contacted bike-friendly City Attorney Tom Carr about the trail closure, the easement only requires the city to figure out a way to make the trail safe for bikes and construction. If they can find a way to do that without closing the trail, that’s what they’re supposed to do. So the city will now follow the law, and open the trail. One down, one to go.

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Woohoo! My favorite starting point for an inline workout on the Burke is in Fremont. With a little luck, it'll be open by the time I get back from Japan.

Posted by lostboy | August 1, 2007 6:59 PM

Suzy Burke was the slimegolem responsible for the stop-sign ticket crap for bikes by her gym property. She's also the human-shaped dung-beetle-leavings who opposed the Fremont Market.
Why does she still live? Live indeed. Why does she still have any pull at City Hall? Does not the green talk of our fat mayor keep her at bay? Does she not fear the half-hearted city bike plan?
Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem ses effrenata iactabit audacia, bitch?

Posted by marcus tullius c. biker | August 1, 2007 7:06 PM

From a not too positive story about Suzie

In 1990, when Hegeman and his wife returned from a trip to Europe, eager to start a European-style outdoor market, they approached Burke, asking to use the parking lot behind the Red Door. "She said: 'Hell yes!,' " Hegeman says. "But she also told us at that point that she had plans to develop (the land) down the road. She's always been right upfront with that stuff." (The ouster came earlier this year, leaving the outdoor market and cinema series temporarily homeless and making room for the apartment/retail/restaurant complex.)

Burke has often let community festival organizers use her land or warehouses in exchange for a few days' work or cheap rent. This year, she agreed to display a chunk of the Berlin Wall under the Aurora Bridge outside History House, a nonprofit organization she founded to celebrate Seattle's neighborhoods. The piece, on loan from an Australian businessman, joins the odd assortment of other Fremont "treasures" that Burke has welcomed onto her land: a statue of Communist leader Lenin (now on someone else's property), the dinosaur topiaries at the foot of Phinney Avenue North.

Posted by whatever | August 1, 2007 7:47 PM

I think the sign actually read "Bikes are Bullies".

Posted by Michael in Ballard | August 1, 2007 10:30 PM

The one I saw said 'The Biker Bullies are here', but there could have been more than one. After all, there were two guys in this counterprotest, and their signs had 2 sides.

I only made it half way around the loop before I had to give up and haul my 4-year old biker bully to his swim lesson in N Seattle.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 1, 2007 10:36 PM

I think she's kind of stupid for opposing the bike trail, not just for environmental reasons, but for business reasons. I would think that she'd want to have a bike trail nearby since it's an amenity that would actually increase the appeal of her residential properties.

Posted by Gitai | August 1, 2007 11:03 PM

wait, you really tihnk suzie burke cares if bikers rent or lease from her?

as long as the bitch gets paid, bitch goes home happy and partially drunk.

doesn't take much to keep her lifted, just don't mention anything that potentially takes away from her "millions" she's been waiting for.

fucking cunt.

Posted by mike | August 2, 2007 1:31 AM

The "Biker Bullies Are Here" guy is named Gene Slagle. He owns AAA Mailing Service at 3540 Stone Way. Someone should mail him a clue.

Posted by DOUG. | August 2, 2007 7:42 AM

@6: Maybe she's concerned about liability. If a bicyclist gets hurt on her property she's potentially on the hook, and that's probably more likely during construction. It's a common concern for property owners when bike trails are put in.

Posted by Orv | August 2, 2007 8:36 AM


If only you could post his home address and phone number, then you all could really show him that bike activists aren't bullies.

Posted by elenchos | August 2, 2007 8:49 AM

mike@7 - nastiness like that is lame lame lame, especially when it includes sexist slurs. Please go away.

Posted by cdc | August 2, 2007 9:11 AM

Suzie is creepier than every nasty thing said above, and more that you can not even comprehend. She holds out open arms to artists so she can get her tentacles around them and into their back pockets to extract anything she can from their thin almost empty wallets. She's so good at the PR thing she knows how to make greed look good. Give out a pittance here or there under bright PR lights, and then take 10 times that when no one is looking. She is a glutton pure and simple, living off a dead families wealth and eating away at anything in the path before her.

Suzie is the essence of the part of the human race that senses our resources running out and begins to eat faster and faster to save themselves. She is sickening.

Posted by The Artist Republic of Fremont | August 2, 2007 10:04 AM

I liked how Hiller timed his announcement to make it seem, in canon, as if the protest had a direct impact on its reopening. Well, we know better, so don't try in the future and make it seem like protest ---> reopening, because I'll be here telling the truth.

I didn't expect a counter-protest at all, so seeing that one guy made it a point to do so is a bemusing surprise. Still, it seems everyone involved had fun, so good.

Also, re: the trail... she had no argument closing it in the first place. Urban construction goes on all the time, not 5-10 feet from city streets. If that's deemed safe for cars, I see no reason why doing construction trailside can't be safe for passing bikes.

Posted by Gomez | August 2, 2007 10:06 AM

Gomez: I'd sure like to know where you found your "truth". The timing was too coincidental to not be connected. A growing group has been rattling the city's cage for the past two weeks about both issues.

The city knew they had no right to keep this trail closed, but tried to get away with it anyhow. The opening was announced two hours before the ride so as to show cyclists and their friends and neighbors that they actually do care. Supposedly.

Posted by DOUG. | August 2, 2007 10:14 AM

Speaking of telling the truth, Gomez was predicting dire consequences of this protest beforehand, claiming that it would have no good effect and nothing would come of it. This is pretty much par for the course for the conservative 'you protestors are too extreme ' crowd.

But it turns out the mere threat of the protest got the city to back down. And no drivers went into a road rage frenzy (as Gomez implied might happen), primarily because we obeyed the law (contrary to what Gomez said we would do) and also because there is, as Cascade measured (and contrary to what the Fremont Chamber of Commerce says), not enough traffic on Stone Way to justify 4 travel lanes. So even with a few hundred extra bikers taking up an entire lane and merging to make left turns, everyone was traveling on Stone Way just fine. Just like Stone Way would be if they had built the bike lane as promised.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 2, 2007 10:25 AM

@15 - while I am glad the trail is open again, your ascertations about traffic are wrong.

I have seen tons of trucks on Stone Way N, because I walk across it, and sometimes along it, and sometimes drive on it, multiple times a day.

Look - a better bike path is either a couple blocks east or west. Just look at the terrain and the slopes. Look at the crossings and the obscured vision on Stone Way N. You're just asking for dead cyclists if it's Stone.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 2, 2007 11:01 AM

CDC @ 11: Right on. I agree 100%. There are plenty of things you can say to criticize Suzie Burke's position on bike lanes without calling her sexist names.

Posted by ECB | August 2, 2007 11:39 AM

@16: The only street that travels directly from the Burke-Gilman to Greenlake with signals at all crossings is Stone. This is why it was picked in the bike master plan. Streets 'a couple blocks east or west' don't go through, don't have lights, and are steeper.

The problem is that city promised something, and is backing out due to complaints from business owners frightened of change, backed by a faulty traffic analysis.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 2, 2007 12:14 PM

re: "a couple of blocks east or west", I've gotta add to what Greg Barnes said, by pointing out that side streets are far more dangerous for cyclists than main arterials, for the following reasons: Uncontrolled intersections, more driveways, more parked cars, poorer lighting.

I know that in my commute from along Lk Washington Blvd from Mt Baker to the UW, I'm encouraged (via 'Bike Route' signs) to avoid going through the arboretuem, and instead take a convoluted route through the residential area to the west. I don't. My safety is not trumped by the convenience of people in cars.

Posted by boydmain | August 2, 2007 1:01 PM

so also, i don't have the study in front of me right now, but there are more points of possible conflict on a four lane street than a street with one lane in each direction and bike lanes because with the addition of bike lanes, automobile travel lanes are wider (something like 3 vs 8 or 9).

i drove a trailer on Montlake over the bridge, etc to the Garfield COmmunity Center, and the trailer took up pretty much the entirety of the lane. If the necessity to merge left arose i would have had to rely on the charity of others to make the maneuver, something that is never guaranteed. Passing a cyclist safely would have been nerve wracking and fairly hellish. So, @16, cyclists are going to use Stone Way no matter what its configuration, and freight traffic will be much better off with the bike lanes present.

Posted by devo | August 2, 2007 3:20 PM

Come to think of it, as a cyclist, I'd rather ride with freight traffic (trucks) than car traffic. In my experience, truck drivers are more courteous and better drivers (probably because of the extra training).

So there's no reason why the presence of trucks should make a street unsuitable for bikes. The best southbound routes for bikes from downtown are the truck routes (Airport Way to Georgetown, and E Marginal to the West Seattle Bridge), not the routes most cars use (4th and 1st Ave S). In fact, Airport Way is the recommended bike route to the airport (SeaTac). Although perhaps not when I-5 is screwed up this month.

Posted by Greg Barnes | August 2, 2007 4:03 PM

SDOT should be more creative. Bike lanes created through three-lane profiles slow transit flow. Seattle needs both better bike safety and better transit flow. The comp plan objectives call for higher bike AND transit mode split.

On Stone Way North, consider the following profile. Four travel lanes and no two-way left turn lane. Retain parallel parking on the west or downhill side. Add bus bulbs at the bus stops, so transit (e.g., Route 16 between North 40th and 45th streets and routes 31 and 74 between North 35th and 40th streets. Add a bike lane on the east or uphill side. Delete parallel parking on the east side. Convert some side streets on the east side of Stone Way North to one-way with angle parking with time limits for short term business parking. Could add sharrows to outside lane going downhill.

In 1994, I biked in London and saw an outside lane marked in orange stripes and signs stating: transit, taxis, and bicycles only. I biked upstream from Greenwich.

Posted by eddiew | August 2, 2007 10:52 PM

"Delete parallel parking on the east side." Over Suzie Burke's dead body. That will never happen. Here's why. There's your bully.

Posted by DOUG. | August 3, 2007 6:54 AM

14. The CBC, like any political organization, is very deliberate and calculated about the announcements they make. Given his likely involvement in this event, it's unlikely he would've received any formal contact on the issue during the protest. It's likely he received this capitulation well in advance and held off announcing it until after the ride, for effect.

Posted by Gomez | August 6, 2007 2:19 PM

14. The CBC, like any political organization, is very deliberate and calculated about the announcements they make. Given his likely involvement in this event, it's unlikely he would've received any formal contact on the issue during the protest. It's likely he received this capitulation well in advance and held off announcing it until after the ride, for effect.

Posted by Gomez | August 6, 2007 2:21 PM

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