Tag Archives: bicycles

Give it Up: An open letter to my local and state representatives

Link light rail has made it easier for many of us to go without a car for the last couple of weeks. Photo by Wendi.
Link light rail has made it easier for many of us to go without a car for the last couple of weeks. Photo by Wendi.
by Willie Weir

(Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Willie Weir, cross-posted from his blog, Yellow Tent Adventures. Check it out!)

Mayor Nickels–give it up. Seattle City Council members. You too. As well as King County Council members, Governor Gregoire, State representatives and all candidates for the above offices.

I’m talking about your car. For a week. Just a week.

You see, my wife and I answered the call to help the region and the planet by giving up our car over four years ago. With climate change upon us, it was imperative that we transition out of our auto-centric society. Get on the bus. Get on our bikes. Get out and walk.

There were plenty of incentive programs offered by our city and county governments, including the Way to Go Seattle: One Less Car Challenge. We took advantage of the Washington State Vehicle Redistribution Program… our car was stolen. We opted not to replace it.

We were in a good position to give up our car. We don’t have kids. We live on Beacon Hill with frequent bus service (and now light rail). We have stores, restaurants, a library, and a park all within a ten minute walking distance of our house. We both do most of our work from home.


OK. Walking up the hill from the grocery store with a 20lb Thanksgiving turkey in an excursion-size backpack wasn’t easy. Waiting outside in a 40 degree drizzle for a bus that never came wasn’t fun. And taking 4 buses and a ferry to get to Sequim wasn’t convenient.

It didn’t take long to understand that for someone who owns a private vehicle, our city and region’s public transportation, bike paths and pedestrian corridors are top notch. Because when it isn’t easy, fun or convenient… you take your car.

When I joined the ranks of the carless, I began an education in how auto-centric our green little region is, and how far we have to go to get to be a truly livable place … for everyone.

How many of my neighbors park their cars across the sidewalk. How cracked and poorly maintained those sidewalks are. How fast the cars fly by on our residential streets. How few cars yield to me in a cross walk. How few bike racks there are outside the businesses I frequent. How poorly signed (or not at all) the bike routes are throughout the city. How terrifying biking can be in downtown Seattle. How little park space we have downtown and how much space we devote to parking.

So many issues and problems invisible to me while driving in my own personal vehicle.

Now I’m asking you all to give up your car. Not for four years. Just seven days.

For seven days live the life that few have chosen and many have no choice but to live.

Believe me, no matter how long you have lived in or served this region, you’ll learn things that will surprise you.

I know I did. And I’ve lived here for 25 years.

The best decisions about transit and neighborhood planning will be made by government officials who have taken the time to live a life without a car as an option.

Give it up.

We’ll all be glad you did.


Willie Weir
Beacon Hill, Seattle

Bike lane added to 15th Avenue S

New bike lane and sharrows on 15th Avenue South, just north of South Atlantic Street. Photo by Jason.
New bike lane and sharrows on 15th Avenue South, just north of South Atlantic Street. Photo by Jason.
15th Avenue South at the north tip of Beacon Hill has been restriped, with a bike lane added to one side of the street and sharrows to the other side.

This part of 15th tends to have drivers who drive excessively fast. Cyclists, remember the bike lane doesn’t guarantee your safety, so please be careful out there; drivers, please watch out for cyclists both here on 15th and elsewhere on the hill, and remember that it is illegal to drive in the bike lane.

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Google Maps shows this area as it was until recently.

(The dedicated bike lane does run only a few blocks before going back to “sharrows”, but it’s a start! — Jason)

Beacon Bits: liquor licensing, disaster preparedness, and a bike ride to Alki

OK, there really wasnt a bear on Beacon Hill yesterday. But if there had been, it would have looked like this! Thanks to Joel Lee in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool for the laugh.
OK, there really wasn't a bear on Beacon Hill yesterday. But if there had been, it would have looked like this! Thanks to Joel Lee in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool for the laugh.
  • A new applicant, Young Rae No, has applied to assume the liquor license at the M.C. Food Store at 4800 Beacon Avenue South (Beacon and Columbian). The license being applied for is “Grocery store — beer / wine”: a “license to sell beer and/or wine for off-premises consumption in bottles, cans, or original containers.” See the notice here.
  • A Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) disaster preparedness program is coming to North Beacon Hill, with a workshop on June 4. Presenters from the city’s Office of Emergency Management will discuss safeguarding your home before a disaster happens, quake-safe actions, and building neighborhood preparedness teams. The workshop is free and open to all, at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South, Thursday, June 4, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.
  • 37th District Representative Eric Pettigrew is hosting a community access meeting about health care issues on Monday, June 1, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Room 209, 1634 19th Avenue. The meeting is free and open to the public.
  • Hello Bicycle is hosting their first Beacon Hill group bicycle ride this Saturday. All are welcome. Be at Hello Bicycle at 10 am for a moderate speed bike ride with the group to Alki Beach, and return just after noon for tacos from El Quetzal. Hello Bicycle is at 3067 Beacon Avenue South.

Beaconian tells of bicycle journey through Thailand and Laos

Beacon Hill resident and KUOW commentator Willie Weir and his wife Kat spent three months in 2006 bicycling in Thailand and Laos, enjoying amazing travel experiences while discovering the differences and unique challenges of each country. Weir will present the story of their journey, A Tale of Twos: Cycling Thailand & Laos, at the REI flagship store on January 22 at 7:00 pm.

Hit and run of bicyclist at 21st & College: can you find the driver?

A bicyclist was struck and injured by a ’80s Oldsmobile Cutlass or Chevy, navy blue in color with a white top, that fled the scene at 21st Ave. S & S College St. this afternoon at approximately 1:49pm. The rider suffered life-threatening injuries from the impact and medics transported him to Harborview. Anyone with information about the vehicle (which probably has front-end damage) or its owner is encouraged to call 911 and report it.

More details at SPDBlotter.

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Beacon Bits: Veterans, bridges, and Metro, schools, and snow

Say “Hello” to Hello Bicycle

Hello Bicycle is now open!Earlier this evening, I stopped in at Beacon Hill’s newest neighborhood business, Hello Bicycle. Mickey, the owner, has some temporary signage up and the doors open for customers. Still to be worked out are lighting, phone, and additional display racks, but they’ll be happy to show you some bikes for sale, get you some repair parts, or fix and tune your old Schwinn, Mongoose, or Cannondale.

The grand opening is still a little ways off, but feel free to stop in during their “soft opening.” The shop is located at Hanford and Beacon, right across the street from Kusina Filipina.