Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hello!


When you ride a bike you end up talking to more people than if you drive a car. It's hard not to get stopped by pedestrians. With every bike we have stopped to talk to strangers. You know what happens with this? You end up building community, people know you, they look out for you, they wave. Sometimes people stop their cars just to roll down the window and wave because we met at some point when you weren't in your car.

For the most part people in the south Seattle make me feel safe because we have a connection from meeting without the car barrier.

As short as this is, I want to thank everyone who says hi, shares their stories and is willing to engage me in a kind way. You know what's killing everything the car barrier.


Hello Rainier Valley, thanks for building community!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Misadventures as Pedestrians

We are also pedestrians and sadly I had a slight mishap with my Edgerunner and it needs mechanical care. Don't worry, we are okay. In any case, while I try to manage a day to exchange parenting duties with Mr. Peyos, we will be pedestrians.

"Hey Mommy, something just fell off your bike" UGHHH
I can't stop our daily task because I am without a cargo bike so we manage with either a stroller or a baby carrier. This also forces Mr. Peyos to do all our grocery shopping which I don't mind at all.

I need to make a cushion for a cargo bike so this forces me to make a choice. Take public transit to a fabric shop north or east. I choose east because I really like Pacific Fabrics but it forces me into a section of town that is a car sewer and the location of all the sportsball activities.

Multi-use car sewer, I meant 4th Ave.
We get out at the SODO light rail stop and proceed to walk north on 4th Ave. See the red dot, Pacific Fabrics. 4th has a sidewalk but it's used as multi use car sewer.
This map makes it easy

See the shop right in front of Pacific Fabrics? Parked on the sidewalk, blocking sidewalk, backing up into the sidewalk are the vehicles from a metal works. I had to scream so that we weren't plowed over by the guy with the forklift. I love love Pacific Fabrics but I HATE getting there.  The need for discounted foam outweighed common sense to attempt this by foot. This would have been worse by bike as this place has nothing solid to lock my bike to.

Discounted foam
After surviving a fabric store with a toddler we walked to find the new stage/creative space made for everyone but first we need to get across the street. Watch the video because you will see all the problems I see with this space, especially the amazing views the newscasters will receive.




Our walk there required we get across a road that is so wide but the second we are in the crosswalk we get 15 seconds. It's laughable. 4th has a high volume of large trucks. I would never ride my bike on the road here. I always find conversations with people who have to get to this area interesting. It must be mentally exhausting.

It's hard not to miss El Macho (Minions reference) in that poster.
Signs are blocking the corner so we could have instant car death. Luckily I am a bit paranoid and scan that corner with my lazer eyes, ready to throw a banana at your car. We survived but what I really wanted to do was check out the plaza that is outside that video you watched.


We like it so much we sit and enjoy the view but not without noticing what is across the street. I won't go into details but it has nothing to do with sport, news or online games. Nobody catches me touching the art. Those red things are flexible and I wonder if the function was to hide what really was across the street.

Plaza protection
I get the impression that the plaza was designed to have certain protection from the elements, like a random car suddenly making it's way there. See those planters. They were pretty solid.

You are allowed to watch It's a New Day but not listen

See what I'm talking about? King5, why did you cover the window? How will you see my advocacy signs now? You ruined my day! Just kidding. It would take a lot to ruin my day. 

We survived the stroad of death and manged to walk from here to downtown. I will be back King5 or someone worse will come along and do a little dance on that cement block protecting your studio from mindless metal machines. 

Covering your windows won't stop me!






Wednesday, February 3, 2016

PDX vs SEA Swing Gates: Who will win?

I hate being called a MANSPLANER. I'm am NOT. Most recently BikePortland featured an articled about how hard it is to open the swing gates across TriMet's tracks. The video of the the person in the wheelchair should have been enough to convince anyone that these gates are bad. What happens when people with front loading cargo bikes try to get across?

The task is not easy. Watch the video:


@TinyHelmets is so flexible and strong. When I see something like this I wonder how I would manage this exact scenario. Taking little kids out of the bike to maneuver is not helpful at all. So, if I would have to do this with a front loading bike I would also keep the kids in. Plus, it's raining. That only would add to the drama. I know. Then someone commented how this whole thing was exaggerated and how she was doing it wrong. Oh yeah!! You try it. Worse part, I commented. This resulted in me being called a MANSPLANER.

Why do people claim they can do anything better when they have ZERO experience? Lifting a cargo bike is not possible when loaded up with kids and stuff. Lift it over the fence. You are doing it wrong. So, I can sympathize with trying to hold the bike, open the gate and getting across before the choo choo comes.

I am a woman of action. Knowing Seattle has gates just like this I ventured out on a wet cold day to reenact this on my longtail bike. My Xtracycle Edgerunner has all the weight in the back so the challenge was going to be different. You should also keep in mind I have a BionX on there and my kid is a heafty human. In the trailer days I recall trying to get across these tracks and found it just as difficult.

Here is my video


The Seattle swing gates open out. When you finally make it across you push the gate. Unlike PDX I have three door options. It's like a surprise, which one will offer me a prize. I hope I win tacos with door #2. Actually, I had surveyed the other side and it's a tight squeeze for my long bike. Door 2 was going to offer me a better chance of making it across. Plus, I had 3 doors unlike the crossing in PDX.

As you can see I do a lot of dragging to get the bike positioned well enough for me.

Along this whole stretch this is the one crossing with these gates. I recall the gates at all intersections but when we looked we saw nothing. What does it look like without the gates?


It's nice and open. The Light Rail has other areas that require pedestrians to cross the tracks and those are in the Rainier Valley along Martin Luther King. In none of those locations do we have swing gates. It's plain open access. So, I am really unsure why we have swing gates at that one intersection. 

SODO Trail: Not beautiful but it's a separated path
Personally, this area of town is not in the middle of Seattle, not connected to anywhere and does not have places of interest for me. If you need to go to SODO it's for a purpose not for a stroll. It's an industrial area with a path that connects to nothing. We escaped by biking on some sidewalks and taking the Bus Only transit lanes on 4th because I do that.

S. Jackson biking West
Once getting across the streetcar tracks we can safely navigate ourselves to the core of downtown.

As you can see, bike issues are not just in one place and our respective DOTs need to do better for pedestrians and bicyclist. I don't go to SODO often but avoid obstacles like that stupid swing gate. By making walkable/transit friendly cities you need people with different abilities to access them. If anyone can explain to me the one swing gate we have along the light rail tracks call me, I want to know why.



Monday, February 1, 2016

How was your bikey week?

Outsiders looking in
We have gotten out of the house but now we are all suffering from some kind of cold that gives you a massive headache. Mr. Peyos got it first so I will just say that it was transmitted via his work office. Thanks work office sick people.

Monday: We biked to the library so it wasn't that far. Same old Rainier Ave.

Tuesday: We were pedestrians. We walked to the light rail and then experimented with the new Capitol Hill Streetcar line. Since I was wearing rain boots I slipped while trying to take a picture. It was humorous but left me with a bruise on my right leg.

Let's get more strollers and bikes here, what will happen?
The ride was smooth but the space that is suppose to contain bicyclist, wheelchairs and possibly caregivers with strollers is small. When we got on the streetcar a woman with a jogger stroller was also boarding. Two elderly women were sitting in the handicapped area and another woman was bringing her bike on board. Due to the nature of my toddler I have to stand strategically in places or he will try to pick or poke at whatever he can. Standing next to the wheelchair access button is a bad bad idea. So, the resulting picture is him in the wheelchair area away from stuff. To bad the chairs don't fold and the design was configured differently.


He's probably thinking where he can throw that ambulance
We also got to kinda hear the mayor give his blah blah about the opening of the new Light Rail stops. March 19th. Which means, we will maybe try it March 20th or if it's bad, Monday with all the commuters. I'm pretty excited about trying with the girl tween group. Let's pack a ton of moody girls on the light rail with their bikes. I'm excited. The toddler had taken off his rain boots and threw them a few times at that gate. We must look crazy. The final time he threw one in a puddle and this meant I had to buy him shoes that weren't wet inside. I'm not sure why he has to always throw stuff when we are in public. I suppose had someone let us in he would have aimed for the mayor or worse, the countdown poster.

It's not a picture of the bike but of Chicano Batman, better than gringo Batman
Wednesday: I biked to Capitol Hill to visit my build-a-bike project and was given the option to take it home while we wait for a bike part that will be switched out later. I can't tell you how tempting that was. It was also my first time really biking the bike around other than to Interlaken and back to 20/20 Cycle. I even used the future Central District Greenway. I'm kicking myself for not bring the bike home, awwww.

The Light Rail which means I stand here with my bike

Thursday: I almost biked over a pedestrian and got yelled out. Oh GAWWWWW.  Downtown 2nd Ave has an okay protected bike lane. Right now construction is everywhere so I hate biking there but in the interest of saving time and trying to pick up my daughter after her class I needed to make a quick trip. I was biking west on 2nd Ave and thought I would be smart and bike until it ends and make a right on Pike because I do bike on the street.
See the woman waiting in the crosswalk
The right on Pike resulted in me turning into a stray pedestrian. How does this happen? Well, the construction bike tunnel ends abruptly at the crosswalk. What this does, it gives pedestrians and extra area to stand and sometimes people just stand right in the crosswalk blind spot. Don't worry, I didn't hit anyone because I go slow. I just got chewed out which doesn't bother me. Okay, next time. I will bike better.
I know people hate to wait but seriously, right in front of the bike hole opening?
BUT.....This corner needs a pedestrian buffer so that bicyclist coming out of the tunnel have a better line of sight to see so this doesn't happen to someone who bikes fast.

Aww, so last week was productive and I got some exciting falling and almost crashing action. Horray for me. Biking and walking and some transit works and that's what keeps us car free.

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...