KFnet in T-Town

Sep. 28, 2009 at 6:40am

30th Street Up Next for Bike Lanes

I'm happy to report that bikes lanes appear to be in the works for N. 30th Street between Proctor and Old Town. A fresh set of dashed lines traces the route that leads up/down the hill.

No final paint has been laid down here (or on the new 21st Street lanes yet) but I'm happy to see it as this is part of my preferred route to work. Not from, mind you, 'cause that would mean I'd be biking up that hill which I'm not quite ready for just yet. Nevertheless, I often find driving or biking this route stressful because many folks try to drive 35 or 40 MPH when this is a neighborhood with a 30 MPH speed limit. I'm hoping the new lanes will help calm traffic a bit as well as obviously adding another safe path for cyclists to use.

I'm hoping they get this route connected between Proctor and Stevens to link up with the lanes there since that stretch is also plenty wide for parking, bike lanes, and the two lanes of traffic. Whatever the case, this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood indeed! Good on ya, City of Tacoma, and thanks for continuing to encourage alt ways of getting around town!

comments [42]  |  posted under 30th street, bike lanes, old town, proctor, tacoma, urban development


by Dmitri on 9/28/2009 @ 6:44am
Oh, the bike haters will be out in force, screaming about the "war on cars."

by KevinFreitas on 9/28/2009 @ 6:58am
You're so right Dmitri. At least in this case they can't complain that any lanes or parking are being taken up.

by tacoma1 on 9/28/2009 @ 7:34am
30th had bike lanes before it was dug up for the gas lines to be redone, and then resurfaced. Granted, they were badly faded, but they were there. This just restores the street to as it was about a year or so ago. None of the bike haters complained about their tax dollars being spent to cover up the bike lanes that were already there.

On a semi related topic, this is a cool bike related link. David Byrne (Talking Heads) is an avid cyclist, and artist, and author. He takes his bike to every city he tours in. This link shows the cool bike racks that he designed that are all over NY city.


by fredo on 9/28/2009 @ 7:52am
It would be nice if the bicycling community would recognize that paved bike lanes just like paved streets in general cost money. A lot of the wear and tear on streets is not vehicle related, its just a function of the weather. If there were no cars in your Utopian fantasy world who would be picking up the street costs that automobile owners do now? Don't bicyclists have a moral obligation to pay some of the costs? For the record, I own 4 bicycles so could not be appropriately described as a "bike hater."

Here's post script to my comment. Bicyclists could win more support for their cause if they would do a better job of observing the rules of the road. Quite a large proportion exhibit boorish, even dangerous, behavior.

by tacoma1 on 9/28/2009 @ 8:32am

Yes cyclists should do a better job of obeying the rules of the road. I agree, but I have four quick questions for you regarding driver behavior:

Every time you drive down 30th street, you always drive 30mph or less?

Every time you drive down Schuster Pkwy, you always drive 40 mph or less?

Every time you see a green light turn yellow, you slow down and stop, you never speed up to just barely make it through?

When your at a stop light, and want to make a free right turn, and there is a pedestrian crossing in the crosswalk, you always yield to the pedestrian, you always wait for them to safely get out of the intersection and you never cut them off?

If a cyclist isn't watching what they're doing and run into another cyclist or a pedestrian, it will certainly hurt, but death is unlikely. If a cyclist runs into a car, well then, Darwin's theory of evolution has to apply in that case. If a motorist runs into a cyclist, pedestrian, or even another motorist, someone is likely to be injured, possibly very badly, or to be killed.

As the motorist is in control of a potentially deadly machine, the responsibilty for public safety has to rest upon the motorists shoulders. Not the cyclist or pedestrian.

by KevinFreitas on 9/28/2009 @ 8:32am
@tacoma1: I didn't know there were lanes on 30th before even driving that everyday for the last 4 years. Must've been seriously faded! The bike map for that area doesn't even show them but just wide enough lanes for biking.

@fredo: I'm sure someday once there's a critical mass of riders the gov't will find some way to up their contribution. In the meantime, there's no reason to discourage this kind of use of the roads. I do agree, however, that I hope every cyclist is as courteous and conscious as I would expect any driver to be.

by tacoma1 on 9/28/2009 @ 8:49am
Just another thought as to why motorist may see a cyclist not wait for a red light to change. If a cyclist is at a stop light waiting for the light to change, but there is no car waiting also, the bike is not likely to trip the light sensor.

So three choices are presented to the cyclist.

1) Go through the light, 2) wait for a car to come by might take a minute or two might take 20 minutes, 3) Buy the heaviest steel bike you can find, which will help with the light sensor, also makes downhills really fast trips, but you can forget about going uphill.

by izenmania on 9/28/2009 @ 8:50am
@fredo - I think you will find that the vast majority of cyclists you see on the road also own cars. They may avoid using them when they can (within the city), but keep them licensed and tagged for longer trips, and thus are contributing to vehicle-based tax funds just as much as everyday drivers on everything except gasoline. I am an exception to this, but even the most avid cyclists I know mostly have cars.

That said, I do see a lot of idiots on bikes, disobeying the very simple bike laws.

by Nick on 9/28/2009 @ 10:17am
Here's another way to look at it: taxing and licensing fees are not just a tool for paying for infrastructure and maintenance. It is also one of the primary tools used by governments and municipalities to manage the development and growth of industries, public behavior, business development and the like. I think of it as a tuning dial that can be finely adjusted to produce a desired outcome (much like the Fed adjusting target rates for banks).

So yes, it is very likely that cyclists are not paying their proportionate share for road maintenance, but that is by design and not an oversight. The intention is to encourage the use of bikes to accomplish short-distance transportation needs without adding to congestion. Also the larger goals of reduced emissions, more livable neighborhoods/streets, and reduced per-captita wear & tear on public roads, etc.

Adjusting the tax code and increasing the costs of riding a bike would simply reduce the number of cyclists and increase the number of cars on the road. Going too far the other way might create a lot of bike-riding, but would likely smother a good amount of economic development, driving up the costs of moving goods and people and making it too cost-prohibitive for many businesses and employees to operate.

Now, if we want to debate whether or not this *should* be an appropriate use of the tax code, we can have a separate debate about that. Personally, I'm OK with it...

by Erik on 9/28/2009 @ 10:47am
Nice. Hopefully, it will create some traffic calming.

by fredo on 9/28/2009 @ 10:58am
I applaud people who use bicycles and recognize the health and fuel benefits that they provide.

However, I'm still a little bewildered by the attitude that since bicycles cause less congestion (not prepared to concede this point: 7 people in a mini van probably cause less congestion than 7 people riding their bikes) they should therefore get a free ride when it comes to paying for the road. Most bicyclists I know are politically on the left yet don't recognize that by paying their fair share they help socialize the costs of the roadway. I thought socializing costs was a good thing. Isn't that the Obama mantra?

Regarding the point that people frequently own and use both cars and bicycles, that's true, but to the extent that many people have only one or the other, there is an unfair distribution of costs.

I would propose that each bicyclist pay a nominal yearly fee, perhaps $50 per bicycle and each car owner in the city receive a commensurate discount on his or her own vehicle, perhaps as little as $10 or so. If we continue to use the tax code in a way that penalizes one form of transportation, don't be surprised if voters respond by rejecting transportation measures at the ballot box.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/28/2009 @ 11:49am
How many bicyclists also own a car?
I'd say that those who do have paid their fair share.

by fredo on 9/28/2009 @ 12:47pm
Correct Thorax- The owner of every bicycle should pay SOMETHING and the owner of every car should get a discount. This may turn out to be a wash for people who own both.

by KevinFreitas on 9/28/2009 @ 12:47pm
@Thorax: I own, license, and insure a vehicle and a scooter. I pay my fair share. Perhaps when I bike I should actually get a discount on my other tabs since I'm not driving.

@Fredo: Nick's post above is spot on. Someday, once the gov't sees a need, bikes may be taxed in some way. But there's no reason in our sit-on-our-ass-and-watch-tv or sit-in-our-cars-and-commute-hours-a-day society for anyone to discourage bicycle riding. Someday perhaps, but that day has yet to come or be merited.

Would you care to tax my compost pile since I'm not using my garbage can as much even though the trucks still roll through my neighborhood and I still pay the normal rate for garbage collection?

by fredo on 9/28/2009 @ 1:05pm
Why would a modest license fee for bicyclists discourage riding? You mean the bicyclists would buy cars and spend thousands of dollars per year to avoid this miniscule expense? Sorry, I'm not following the reasoning.

by Nick on 9/28/2009 @ 2:26pm
The reasoning is that adding a cost to something, no matter how small, has a very real effect on what is being taxed. Thinking in individual terms this may not make sense, because it's easy to think of examples where this wouldn't happen. This effect is most significant when going from $0 to more than $0. Beyond that, incremental increases tend to have a smaller effect. So going from $0 to $1 might reduce bike ridership by 30%, and $1 to $2 by 10%.

And again, this is not an issue of evenly sharing the cost of maintenance on public infrastructure. This is an issue of balancing the revenue sources in a way that encourage certain types of transportation, and discourage others. I know people want everyone to pay their fair share, but that is the baseline we start from. Working from there, we have modified the tax structure to encourage cycling over driving by lowering the cost to ride a bike to $0 and offsetting that by increasing the cost of driving by a very small percentage.

When it comes to charging cyclists $10 a year, or increasing licensing fees for cars by 0.00004% to yield that same amount of revenue, most policy makers will opt for the marginal increase.

Also, to add a new class of licensing and taxation requires money to implement. This is not a reason against implementing something new, but it does mean that you must tax at least as much as it costs to implement and maintain the changes in the first place. With the amount that would be collected from cyclists being relatively small, it might simply not be worth spending the money to try and collect it.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/28/2009 @ 4:10pm
I'm a cheap SOB. If the city requires a license to ride a bike on the streets, I'll be using the sidewalks.

I mostly ride for pleasure and for exercise, so I have no issues with having to bike slower on sidewalks.

But think about this... we're already in the top 5 for most heavily taxed states. Who the hell has the $ for more taxes?

by narndt on 9/28/2009 @ 4:27pm
This is a good sign for bikes. Hopefully a 30th street bike lane will be a first step in some type of solution for Schuster Park International Speedway. Four lanes of fast and furious traffic could easily be two. A bikeway from the North End of downtown to Old Town would be awesome. It might also get more folks down onto the Foss Waterway, which doesn't have bike lanes but makes for a nice ride and connects with the nice bike lanes on D heading up past the Dome.

by narndt on 9/28/2009 @ 4:40pm

Where and when in Tacoma do you see cyclists exhibiting "boorish, even dangerous, behavior?" Any specific areas where you see this a lot? I've agreed with you in the past that there's a whole ton of people riding bikes in Tacoma that have no idea what they're doing. It's probably even a majority. But, there's a big difference between the spandex-types zipping around the North End and 5-Mile Drive and people like me wearing Carhartts heading to and from work. Most people I see who are obviously commuting are doing a pretty good job, but there are exceptions.

by Erik on 9/28/2009 @ 4:41pm
BTW, there are now bike lanes on St. Helens going up the hill.

Check them out.

by fredo on 9/28/2009 @ 7:08pm
Here's an attitude I've picked up on this thread: Taxes are a good thing when we stick it to other people. We don't have to worry about whether they like it or not. OTOH, the taxman better treat our own special interest group with kid gloves because of the nobility we think our group is imbued with.

Regarding the collection of small amounts of tax money I would suggest that the authorities do it every day and I haven't heard any complaints. When I pay my Employment Securities Tax every quarter (for example) there's a small percentage charge for "administrative fund" and it usually amounts to only a dollar or so. Quite frankly, I haven't heard of any merchants closing up their businesses because of this pesky taxing scheme. Bicyclists might grumble, but they would pay a modest tax and they would even earn the right to complain about street conditions. That's a right they really don't have now.

by KevinFreitas on 9/28/2009 @ 10:09pm
Taxes are a good thing when they're used for the right purposes. In this case, however, hell yeah I'm happy not to pay any extra taxes to ride my bike. For one thing, we're doing no harm. Less emissions. Exercise. Less road wear and tear. No noise pollution. So for now, until they're building roads specifically for bikers or something that takes much more tax money to create, I'm glad I don't have to pay to license my bike. Pretty sure my auto license more than covers the tab.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/28/2009 @ 10:35pm
In Tacoma, we pave our streets with asphalt. They tend to most frequently use PG 64-22 asphalt with a 3/8 or 5/8 aggregate.
I know way too much about asphalt and petroleum products because it is my line of work.

Compare the amount of wear caused by a 200-lb bicyclist on a 50 lb bike versus the amount or wear and damage caused by our weather...
No kidding, the El Nino rains we're going to have this winter will wear all that nice fresh paving far more than a fleet of bikes using the road daily.

Realistically, arguing for a bike tax because "they don't pay their fair share" is the same as demanding a tax on those who spend less per annum than the average... they're not paying their "fair share" of the sales tax, are they?

Man, this is feeling like Deja Vu all over again...

by tacoma1 on 9/29/2009 @ 7:04am
Excellent points about Schuster Pkway. The only problem with reverting it back to two lanes, and adding a bike path and wide sidewalks, it that everyone that currently uses this route to speed through our neighborhoods would have to go back onto the freeway.

As to taxing cyclists, it will never happen. Matter of fact, once we go to a carbon cap and trade based economy, or a carbon tax, auto-centric behaviour will become even more expensinve. So if you don't like paying taxes now, start thinking about how you can start using transit, ride a bike, or walk for some of your trips, as these forms of transportation will remain tax incentivized, and our tax incentives that support the consumption of fossil fuels will be going away. Check out the link below if you want to know who/which industries aren't paying their fair/fare share.


by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 8:06am
Do cyclists like riding their bikes on surfaces covered with PG64-22 (a petroleum based product)? If so, they will probably have to pay something to ride on it in a cap and trade based economy. Don't call it a tax, call it a "user fee."

by ixia on 9/29/2009 @ 8:14am
If fairness is the issue, tax by weight. Hummer buyers got a huge tax break, so now it should be time to make up for that. SUV's, Hummers and RV's are doing the most damage and are the must superfluous. Calling for a tax on bikes is quite silly.

by tacoma1 on 9/29/2009 @ 8:28am
For every gallon of gas that you put in your car, $4 of the federal defense budget is spent to secure and protect that 1 gallon of gas and get it to the pump. As soon as you advocate paying your fair share for the gas that you use, I will advocate for cyclists to chip in their 2 cents (and all it would be is 2 cents) for the wear and tear that they create on our roadways. If course, the fee collection would cost more than the fees collected, but the upside is that this could provide another government job, which I know you would be in favor of.

So how 'bout it? $7/gallon for gas? Any takers? The upside would be our Federal taxes would go down. Conservatives love paying lower taxes, so this should be a good thing. Ultimately, you wouldn't be paying any more. You would just being paying for what you use, and how you use it. If you use a lot of gas, no problem, just means that you'll pay more into the defense budget. You do want to support the troops, don't you?

by Nick on 9/29/2009 @ 10:06am
"Here's an attitude I've picked up on this thread: Taxes are a good thing when we stick it to other people. We don't have to worry about whether they like it or not. OTOH, the taxman better treat our own special interest group with kid gloves because of the nobility we think our group is imbued with. "

Actually, the attitude I'm picking up is that we want to use our taxes for more than just paying for things. We want to use it to shape behavior and to create a place we want to live in. Maybe it just happens to be that more of us in this thread would prefer not to have to use a car out of necessity.

I'll tell you all right now I never ride my bike. I freakin' drive 3 blocks just to pick up some tape at the drug store. The reason? It's cheap, faster, and I'm lazy. At the same time, I'm willing to acknowledge that it is also irresponsible, wasteful, and unnecessary. Personally I think it's only fair that I take on an additional burden for such a privilege.

by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 10:58am
"...$4 of the federal defense budget is spent to secure and protect (each gallon at the pump)." The democrats are in charge of the white house and the congress so that sounds like an indictment of liberalism. In reality this is just a conclusion. There is no way to separate out of the defense budget what is oil related and what is just peace keeping and nation building.

Regarding the difficulty of regulating bicycles: We require that people who own dogs get licenses and those licenses are set at an affordable fee. Do you mean to tell me that regulating bicycles would be much harder than regulating dogs?

Ixia@ Yes the owners of Hummers, RVs and SUVs should pay more, and they do. The sales tax and licensing fees on these vehicles is enormous and the tax collected at the pump effectively penalizes the owners of vehicles which get poor mileage like those you've cited. How much fairer can you get? Everyone uses the road, everyone enjoys the road and everyone should pay for the road.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/29/2009 @ 11:18am
"We require that people who own dogs get licenses..."

yes we do, but how many dogs do you see with tags? I'd say about half those I see getting walked on Ruston Way don't.

This argument keeps coming up over and over again. Fredo, are you trolling or do you honestly feel bicyclists need to be regulated?

by fredo on 9/29/2009 @ 12:10pm
Thorax@ I just enjoy discussing issues of local interest. I enjoy a good debate even though my positions rarely resonate with the audience.

Regarding the difficulty of administering a licensing requirement for bicycles: so what if a few scofflaw bicyclists fail to license their bicycles, as long as we get pretty good compliance? We don't stop requiring people to license their dogs or file a tax return just because some people fail to participate.

by narndt on 9/30/2009 @ 9:14am
Has anyone ever seen or heard of a bike rider in Tacoma getting ticketed for not wearing a helmet? I haven't. And that's a black and white, 100% obvious citation. That would make me seriously doubt that regulating a required bike license is anywhere near cost effective.

by fredo on 9/30/2009 @ 9:22am
narndt@ if what you say is true, then obviously the helmet law is one of those laws we should dispose of. how is society served by having laws which are unenforced or unenforceable?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 9:57am
"how is society served by having laws which are unenforced or unenforceable?"

Like charging a license fee to ride a bicycle?

by tacoma1 on 9/30/2009 @ 11:40am
Republicans, Democrats, doesn't matter, both fund the the defense budget to the hilt, and I never suggested that we shouldn't protect the oil supply. I just think that the defense dept should be able to bill private companies (and reimburse the US taxpayer) for the protection of this oil supply that the US govt. provides these multi national companies so the company execs and share holders can get rich.

To say that it is impossible to account for which part of the defense budget goes to protect oil is just not true. It just requires that we assign a team of accountants to the task. The biggest problem for the accountants may be in finding peace keeping and nation building that we do in countries that don't contain oil.

by Ann on 9/30/2009 @ 2:49pm
Well all I can say is once we get those bike riders registered we should go after that other really annoying group: people who walk! It's like they want to go everywhere the roads go but they're too good to be seen walking in the street or something. Why can't they drive a car like everyone else? I mean they have to have their own special area to do their walking? And they don't share, oh, no -- only people on foot get to use the smooth concrete walkways with all their walking and running, and look-at-me-I'm-so-healthy-I'm-not-polluting-the-air crap. Everybody else gets pushed over the curb and gutters and forced to drive on the pot-hole filled streets. There's no reason they can't help support the upkeep of all these sidewalks. Especially since they insist on having these special features like their own traffic signals, and ramps for those who don't want to step down off the curb, or an island to rest at in case they're too slow or tired to cross the whole street at once, I mean come on! Their own island? You don't see vehicle drivers with such outlandish requests...

by ixia on 9/30/2009 @ 3:10pm
Wheelchairs, walkers, canes and strollers all take a toll on roads and sidewalks. Stiletto heels can do serious damage. All these people get a free ride.

by fredo on 9/30/2009 @ 6:56pm
In most cases the sidewalks are not paid for by the taxpayers, they are furnished by the abutting property owners. And for the record I never proposed registering bicycle riders, just the bicycles.

Do pedestrians cause wear and tear to the streets? Not much, and I'll acknowledge that bicycles don't cause much either What causes wear and tear to the streets? I would estimate 45% traffic, 45% weather, 10% bikes and pedestrians. But the auto owners get stuck with nearly 100% of the maintenance. Fair?

by Ann on 9/30/2009 @ 7:34pm
Yeah, that's fair.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 8:14pm
Don't drive, and you won't pay for the road... it's a completely voluntary tax.

by fredo on 9/30/2009 @ 8:23pm
If everybody takes your advice Thorax then who will be left to pay for the road?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/30/2009 @ 8:35pm
If everyone took my advice, would we even need a road?

AND, if no one is driving on it, do we really need it re-covered in asphalt regularly?

Personally, I'd love it if no one needed to drive. Cleaner air, less noise, things would be built more densely, etc. Put in streetcars!

While this reduction in the dependency on the auto isn't going to happen soon, give it 20-30 years when we really start feeling the effects of peak oil. Gas will be outrageous and asphalt will be well north of it's current $660/ton


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

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