Wow is really the only word I have to describe Cascade’s Viadoom Energizer Stations this week. It was far from doom and gloom, and for that, you all deserve a high five.
Cascade Bicycle Club, WSDOT and Alki Bike and Board came out to support people new to bicycle commuting on both Monday and Wednesday morning. I have to admit I was a little nervous when I woke up to pouring rain on Monday morning, imagining that nobody was going to ride.
Thankfully, I was wrong. 381 bike commuters wrong! The city counted 308 bicyclists in 2008 at this particular location. Here we are three years later on a cold, dark October morning with 381 people bicycling. Wow!
Particularly inspiring was that so many of the people I spoke with were new bicycle commuters. One fellow had been training all summer to bike commute during the Viaduct closure, but realized he liked it so much that he was going to continue. Another made a donation to support the work Cascade does. Another woman gave me a hug. Another and another. Wow!
Let’s keep the fun going. To support people continuing to riding after the Viaduct opens, Cascade and Alki Bike and Board will be out again on Monday morning from 6:30 – 9 a.m. with donuts to cheer everybody along. It is Halloween so costumes are encouraged! I will be the one in the cape.
One of the many things I love about my job is that I am also continually learning and here are the top things I learned during the closure:
1. Bicycle trailers are amazing. I was able to get our complete energizer set-up from Southeast Seattle to West Seattle. Multiple times! And it didn’t suck.
2. Don’t wait until it is pitch black to turn your lights on. I noticed that even when the sun was up I could see bicyclists better when their lights were on.
3. “We don’t want no stinkin’s apples” People want sugar and caffeine in the morning. There will be donuts on Monday. Promise.
4. We need better bicycle infrastructure. I rode on the new SODO trail, with had front row seats to the viaduct being torn down. Because I wasn’t near traffic I could relax without the unnerving feeling of freight vehicles breathing down my neck. That said, a truck driver came out of his way to express to me that he doesn’t want to hit bicyclists that we need better ways to share the roads so the most vulnerable of us can be safe. It was an encouraging conversation, and I look forward to more like this. We need more facilities for people to feel safe bicycling on our city streets.
5. Bicycling is more fun when you know are part of something. Hey you out there who bicycled for the first time or for the thousandth time! We are part of a greater community having a positive impact on our community. Clearly bicycle riders had a big impact on the success of this morning’s commute was said in reference to the car traffic not being that bad on Monday. More bikes on the road means less cars which means less congestion which allows all of us, bikes, car commuters and freight to move faster.
How was your commute during Viadoom?