Seattle’s Oil Pipelines

A few months ago,  everyone in government and politics came to cut the ribbon on the new oil pipeline. Even the governor running for president came. But he didn’t mention carbon pollution or climate change. No one did in the endless speeches faithfully relayed to twitter where I tried not to read but could not turn away. We even had tours of the new facility!

Why were they so overjoyed about a late, over-budget, expensive oil pipeline?!?!

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What’s in HB 1453 to better protect tenants?

I get a lot of political advocacy email. I got one asking me to comment in favor of Washington House bill 1453 to better protect tenants. It’s primary sponsor is Nicole Macri who by all accounts is awesome and the advocacy group’s summary sounded like a great thing for us to change, so I commented and expressed the sentiment that tenants should be as secure in housing as home owners are. Anyway, I couldn’t find any articles quickly when I did comment, so here I am reading the full text the next day. 🙂

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November 2018 Ballot Guide: Voter for Clean Air

Seattle folks (and some online folks) may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from politics, especially cheerleading folks to get out and talk to voters and so forth. The reason is simple: health. I’ve had a progressive (and so far unknown) eye issue. At first it was just my left eye and I dealt with it, but I gave up driving early in the summer and gave up biking a few weeks ago as my right eye got worst. I have surgery coming up next week where maybe they figure out what it is (and repair some damage), but there are no guarantees. It’s been very hard to keep up with very many things, both due to actual physical (and variable) disability, but also the emotional and mental load of it. I eventually was able to make myself give a bunch of things up, at least for a while. It was hard.

Anyway this ballot guide is going to be relatively short and lack detail. Some other endorsement lists you might read: The Stranger’s (note I disagree with some!), The Urbanist’s, Washington Conservation Voters. We’re subscribers to the Seattle Times for their investigatie journalism, and while their endorsements this year don’t suck as much, they did make a couple really bad ones, so I refuse to link them.

So let’s get started! The most important thing on your ballot though is:

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Speed limit contradictions with the Seattle Parks trail pilot

People have been using “ebikes” on Seattle’s multi-use trails for some time.  These are primarily pedal assist ones capped at 15, 20 or 25 mph. Our household recently got an electric cargo bike with this feature. It’s great because it’s insurance that you can get where you need to go, even if a little tired or the hills are bigger than you realized on the route you picked (a critical need in a city where we have not yet put protected bike lanes on major flat and direct arterial routes).

Technically, ebikes on trails only became legal at the state level recently and so the parks department is doing a pilot (for which they want your feedback). The pilot includes a maximum 15 mph speed limit for all users, on ebikes or not. This is likely due to concern that people will blast past people on foot or slower or less confident trail users. Unfortunately that’s been happening for some time and in my experience has little to do with whether the person is on an electric bike or not.

But this pilot points out a big contradiction in how we treat speed limits: for a trail, we can just lower all speed limits for all. For a road, we won’t, at least not without studying each road and spending money.

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