I Drive the speed limit

For 2016 I am asking the people of Seattle to do one thing. Pledge to drive the speed limit. This is the most important step to realizing Vision Zero Seattle with the goal of ZERO traffic deaths in Seattle. make the pledge here.

I wish you all a safe and happy New Year!

You and Carbon Pollution!

If you have had any concern over the changing climate and the extreme weather events that have been making headlines you have probably felt frustration over not being in a position to challenge the big corporate polluters.

The good news is that we are more in control of carbon pollution and its effect on the climate than most people realize.

Reduce your travel emissions by riding a bicycle

People like you and I actually emit nearly twice the carbon pollution than industrial America. We also pollute in a manner that is hard to capture. We are non point source polluters. NPSPs. That means the pollution we emit comes from a variety of source points like individual cars or lawn mowers or woodstoves.

Our source points are so spread out and numerous that it would be impossible to capture or cap what we emit. Where as a corporate polluter will usually have a single stack or source point that could be capped and sequestered.

We know there are cleaner ways to run the world’s industries but until we can afford a corporate takeover and finance the industrial change-over to clean energy we can only work on our own solutions. I find it very empowering to know that individual education and efforts can reduce nearly two thirds of the world’s carbon pollution.

Whether it is by using alternatives to fossil fuel transportation or reducing our home energy consumption or limiting the distance a product we consume travels to the cash register we can make a huge difference. Here are ten ideas you could employ:

Reduce your travel emissions by riding a bicycle. Using the transit system or trading in the gas guzzler for an electric vehicle.
Reduce your home energy costs by turning down the thermostat or buying a programmable thermostat. Choosing a smaller more efficient home. Switching to LED lighting. Turning off all electric devices when not in use.

Shopping Local, buying products that are being manufactured closer to home or have been offered for reuse. Shopping at local businesses near where you live. Smaller businesses with smaller carbon footprints.

Eat locally grown food. Join a Community Supported Agriculture subscription. Join a community garden group or P Patch. Turn your yard into your own food supply.

Plant trees! Trees eat carbon dioxide and in return release oxygen. Most trees have been removed to make room for our cities. Please replace them.
Support government and non government organizations that offer alternatives to the archaic fossil fuel era. We can fast track our independence from fossil fuels.

Reduce all forms of consumer waste. Buy bulk! Buy what you need. Buy what will make you less of a carbon non point source.

Recycle: This is where we show what gains we have already accomplished. Good Job NPSPs.
Compost: Another area where great strides have been made.

De-carbonize your image. Our image is important to us but is it a bigger is better image that we should strive for. Is the bigger car, bigger house, wealthy-enough-to-be-carbon-foolish image the one that matters? Imagine yourself at one with a carbon neutral earth.

* Stu Hennessey is a board member of Sustainable West Seattle and is an active cyclist and member of Spokespeople. Stu operates and owns Alki Bike and Board in West Seattle’s Admiral District.

$15 an hour!

The momentum is growing and we will soon be seeing an increase of some proportion in the minimum wage.

The value of this minimum wage increase is the economic stimulus that will dwarf tax relief for the upper 1%.

The rub is, we need to make a serious effort directly related to a minimum wage increase to avoid this stimulus going to the upper economic stake holders.

In other words we must encourage rewarding the businesses that are paying these higher wages locally by patronizing them. If this stimulus goes to WallMart and to out of state online purchases you will have a failed model.

If this stimulus stays local and supports small businesses like the Trading Musician then we can afford the wage increase and present nationwide a model of success that will be the envy of other regions.

I will talk to Robin as I am a customer of The Trading Musician and explain how this would work.

It is up to the crafters of this wage increase to clearly point out the need for supporting the local small businesses that are providing this stimulus.

The other concern is trainee pay.

It would be appropriate to have a time period that would reduce the wages paid to trainees and inappropriate to pay a trainee the same as a trained employee.

Also we must work through the complexities of salaried, commission and tip workers.

Bertha and the XL pipeline

berthaIn 2001 the city of Seattle was hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that shook the city so hard that the double decked waterfront viaduct built in 1953 to connect state route 99 through the city was deemed unsafe and would need to be replaced.

How to replace this structure became a subject of debate as many thought the concrete monolith that spanned the waterfront was an ugly eyesore although the car drivers up on the viaduct loved the great views as well as the ease of navigating the city.

The debate led to a much opposed but voter approved Viaduct Replacement plan that would fund a 1.9 billion dollar deep bore tunnel through the heart of the city, a tunnel much like the city of Boston’s “Big Dig” tunnel.

What could go wrong?

As the engineers and planners put their collective heads together they came up with an ambitious plan to build the world’s largest deep bore tunnel that would carry a double decked two lane highway under the city streets of Seattle through one mile of seismically active dirt.

To do this amazing task the engineers would have to create the world’s largest deep bore drilling machine at the cost of 80 million dollars that would slowly drill its way through the seismically challenged pile of dirt and sand. They even had a name for this drill, “Bertha”.

With Bertha on your side what could go wrong?

Well even as smart as the engineers and planners thought they were plenty has gone wrong. After only deep boring 1,000 feet and with 9,000 feet left to go Bertha stopped drilling. The 80 million dollar, worlds biggest drill and a wonder to be arrogantly proud of, took on sand and dirt into the main seal and damaged the large bearing seal unit.

Bertha is now stuck 1,000 feet into the 10,000 foot tunnel path and will require drilling a repair shaft 115 feet down to possibly repair and/or replace the worn out bearing seals. This repair alone could delay the project until late summer 2014 and dramatically raise the estimated cost of the deep bore project that has already exceeded 2 billion dollars and rising. At 2.8 billion dollars the Seattle taxpayers are contracted to take on the remaining cost and with 9,000 more feet to go, What could go wrong?

Smart, confident, well trained, brilliant minds were very reassuring that nothing could go wrong and if so there would be backup plans and of course they were confident that they would be able to meet any challenge this project could give them. Let’s not confuse confidence with arrogance. Especially at well funded levels of project engineering there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance.

The Keystone XL pipeline will be a huge project bringing thousand of well trained, confident and brilliant minds together. They are brimming with confidence in their online statement, “Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced pipeline operation in North America”.

The biggest challenge of this project will be to protect the very essential Ogallala Aquifer. There are many other environmental concerns with the idea of scrapping the earth for tar sands which will inevitably end up as burnt emissions into our atmosphere but protecting the Ogallala Aquifer is the most burning concern to environmentalists.

Of course the Keystone XL pipeline engineers have great confidence that even in the unlikely event of a pipeline break the Ogallala Aquifer would not be affected.

They are very confident. What could go wrong?

Riding for Community not Competition

Alki Bike and Board is a community shop with the goal of benefiting our community through quality service and representation of healthy life choices.

We are not a competition driven business for if we were who would we be competing against besides our own community.

Doing healthy activities daily has more health benefits than competition driven goals.

These benefits go beyond the individual and spread throughout the community.

That is our business model.

Alki Bike and Board is geared toward service intended to facilitate a healthy and livable community with information we are willing to share on all aspects of product selection and service.

Gas prices on the rise

bicycle, green, eco friendlyEven before the civil uprisings in the oil producing Middle East, the price for oil and gas was on the rise and predicted to reach record highs.

The price of oil extraction gets more difficult, more expensive and more environmentally harmful as we consume the remaining supply.

The bicycle will be the most accessible and most effective weapon for the average person to fight back.

Most people will find the bicycle ready to reduce the cost of transportation and lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle.

If you own a bicycle that has not been ridden in a while, now is the time to bring it in for a tune up to make it ready and reliable.

If you do not have a bicycle it’s good to know that our main inventory focus is on affordable and durable commuter style bicycles.

We also stock as much as possible, used bicycles that range between $100 and $200 after they have been completely tuned and necessary parts replaced.

Our used bicycle selection keeps us from having to import bicycles from thousands of miles away thus reducing oil consumption.

If you have a bicycle that is not being used please consider donating that bicycle to us so we can make it ready and available to those who need a bicycle but cannot afford one.

Metro Bike and Bus

metro-bus-rackLoading a bike on the front of a King County Metro Bus can be very intimidating on the first try.

Standing in front of a growling, huge bus while being watched by every bue passenger as well as a driver who needs to keep on schedule is not the best place to learn the procedure.

Using Metro Bus bike rack could be very helpful for the bike rider who has a repair problem, has been caught in the rain or has had enough riding for one day.

That is why Alki Bike and Board with the help of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington State brought to West Seattle the Demonstration Rack so you can be familiar with using the bus rack before you need to.

We have also provided a video to show you how.