SDOT Needs Input-Bike Master Plan Updates, Interactive Map now Online

Bicycle Master Plan Update

Show us! Tell us!

The Seattle Department of Transportation has worked with many groups and citizens during the past several months as the Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was being updated.  They now want to hear from you and community groups, whether you and community members currently ride a bike or not and whether the updates and proposals meet neighborhood scrutiny.  Click here for an interactive map where you can see what the proposed improvements are.

 SDOT has posted draft materials online for review; and they want your feedback on:

  • Draft citywide bicycle network map -are there streets missing a bike facility? Are there streets where a bike facility should be removed or relocated?
  • Draft bicycle facility designation criteria-does it make sense?
  • Proposed policy framework-do you have comments on the goals, or other recommended changes?
  • Potential programs-which programs do you think will help us achieve the plan goals?

You can find all of the materials and an interactive onlinemap, as well as the November public meeting presentation at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster_materials.htm

Please use the interactive map and comment sheet to provide SDOT and the Bicycle Master Plan team your input by December 17.  Email the comment sheet to bmpupdate@seattle.gov by Monday, December 17.

If you’d like SDOT to come speak to your community group feel free to email that request to the same email address – bmpupdate@seattle.gov.

West Seattle Tool Library Close to 1000 Members, Has New ‘Shopbot’ Tool

We are about to become a Tool Sharing Community of 1,000 Members!

Just two and half years after The Tool Library started, we are about to welcome our 1,000th member through our doors.  Thank you to each and every one of you who have helped to make The Tool Library such an amazing success!

The West Seattle Tool Library is a project of Sustainable West Seattle and is located in the rear of the Youngstown Cultural Art Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, across from Delridge Community Center and Park.  The West Seattle Tool Library Mission is to share tools, skills, and space with our community. 

We will be celebrating this momentous occasion soon and have been tossing around ideas on how to reward lucky number 1,000.  For more information, stay tuned to our Facebook page or Twitter feed and, if you have an idea of your own, please don’t hesitate to share it with us!

In fact, as we get closer to 1,000, we’d love to be able to share your Tool Library projects and stories with the rest of the community to demonstrate just how cool having a Tool Library in your neighborhood can be.  Should you be kind enough to share your tale with us, we’d certainly appreciate it.  Please pass them along to library@wstools.org.

Shopbot CNC Seminars

In the past, The Tool Library has offered excellent workshops on everything from basic plumbing to paddle carving to backyard booze making.  Continuing on in that proud tradition of community skill sharing, we have now been offering workshops on using a Shopbot.

Taught by Derek Gaw, these introductory workshops give users the chance to learn the basics of CNC (computer numerical control) and use the Shopbot safely.  By the end of the class, you’ll even have created your own CNC letter made out of plywood.

This CNC class is a prerequisite to being able to use the Shopbot in the Community Workshop.  Classes fill up quick so stay tuned to our Meetup page for upcoming workshops!

Tool Library Spin-off Takes Seattle By Storm!

Back in the fall of 2009, when we were first forming The West Seattle Tool Library, one of the most important questions that came up was “How will this affect local business?”

Over the years, we’ve had that question answered time and time again, as local businesses have stepped up, eagerly working with the Tool Library to share their knowledge, meet new customers, grow their revenues, and become an even greater part of the community.  As a matter of fact, one of the businesses that was started directly as a result of The Tool Library’s existence is now taking the Seattle startup scene by storm!

The Tool Library’s inventory service, Local Tools, was created in 2009 by local software entrepreneur, Gene Homicki specifically for use at the West Seattle Tool Library.  A couple years later, Local Tools is now used at over 30 Lending Libraries throughout North America.  It also just participated in the celebrated Fledge conscious company incubator program and made it the finals of the prestigious Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP) Competition.  We wish only good things for Local Tools – now called MyTurn – as it continues to grow and helps hundreds more communities start lending libraries of their own.

Fixers Collective Nominated for Leadership Award!

It’s been an amazing year for The West Seattle Fixers Collective!  By inviting the community into the wonderful world of tinkering, making, and repairing, The Fixers received wide acclaim from numerous national outlets – including WiredTreehugger, and iFixit – and was strangely also considered for a some sort of reality show television series. Most recently, The Fixers Collective, headed up by Greg Kono, was also nominated for a Sustainability Leadership Awards from Sustainable Seattle.

It’s an honor for the Tool Library to host the Fixers Collective on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month – with the 1st Thursday being focused specifically on bikes – and we look forward to their continued growth and success!

Mobile Unit Assists Roxhill Playground Build

The Mobile Unit was finally put into real action last month during the building of the Roxhill Park Playground.  While The Tool Library supplied a number of the needed tools and a bit of moral support, an entire community turned out to really put the project together.  Over the course of about a week, this crew of volunteers – some of whom had never used powertools before – constructed an absolutely beautiful playground.

City’s Pedestrian Advisory Board Seeks New Members for Two-Year Terms

Let’s get Seattle walking

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board seeks new members

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is accepting applications for new members to help make walking in Seattle safer and easier.  The volunteer board, which was created by the Seattle City Council in 1993, plays an influential role in implementing Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan. The board advises the mayor and city council, participates in planning and project development, evaluates policies and makes recommendations to all city departments including the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Board members serve a two-year term, with an opportunity to serve a second term. They should be frequent walkers of a variety of ages, levels of mobility, and walks of life, and from areas throughout the city. Members must be Seattle residents, and may not be city employees. The board meets the second Wednesday of each month from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at City Hall on Fifth Avenue between James and Cherry streets.

According to Seth Schromen-Wawrin, chair of the Pedestrian Advisory Board, “Making sure our neighborhoods develop in walkable ways is crucial in supporting our businesses, mass transit, community services, and many other aspects of the city. Serving on the Pedestrian Advisory Board is a great way to work with other dedicated residents to help make Seattle the most walkable city.”

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, young persons, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.  Interested Seattleites should submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest via email by 5:00 pm, December 17, 2012 to:   Howard Wu at howard.wu@seattle.gov.

Food and Cooking Tips for Healthier Thanksgiving Meals

The Environmental Working Group has posted tips on how to have a healthier and safer Thanksgiving.  There are three upfront and simple ways you can do this:

Choose Food Low in Pollutants and Added Chemicals

Food can contain ingredients we don’t want to eat — from pesticides to hormones to artificial additives to food packaging chemicals. Some simple tips to cut the chemicals:

  • Buy organic when you can. Make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu, and go organic when you can. Organic produce is grown without synthetic pesticides. Organic meat and dairy products also limit your family’s exposure to growth hormones and antibiotics.
  • It’s OK to choose non-organic from our “Clean 15” list of less-contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables, too. EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce ranks popular fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticide residues found on them. Check out our Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (and get the iPhone App).
  • Cook with fresh foods, rather than packaged and canned, whenever you can. Food containers can leach packaging chemicals into food, including the estrogenic bisphenol A that’s used to make the linings of food cans. Go for fresh food or prepared foods stored in glass containers. Pick recipes that call for fresh, not canned, foods.

When planning a grocery trip, check in with EWG’s Healthy Home Tip: Go organic and eat fresh foods.

Use Non-Toxic Cookware

Using a great pan makes a huge difference when cooking. EWG staffers skip the non-stick so that their families don’t have to breathe toxic fumes that can off-gas from non-stick pans over high heat.

  • Non-stick cookware is in most American kitchens. Is it in yours?
  • For safer cooking, we suggest cast iron, stainless steel and oven-safe glass. Yes, there are many new products on the market, but most companies won’t tell you exactly what’s in them. Even if they’re advertised as “green” or “not non-stick,” manufacturers do not have to release their safety data to the public.
  • If you’re ‘stuck’ with non-stick, cook safer with it. You can reduce the possibility of toxic fumes by cooking smart with any non-stick cookware you happen to own: Never heat an empty pan, don’t put it in an oven hotter than 500 degrees F and use an exhaust fan over the stove.

Learn more about cooking safely in our Healthy Home Tip: Skip the non-stick.

Store and Reheat Leftovers Safely

Leftovers can extend the joy of a holiday — by giving you a break from the kitchen! But be sure to avoid plastic when storing and (especially) when heating them. Here’s why — and how:

  • Skip plastic food storage containers if you can. The chemical additives in plastic can migrate into food and liquids. Ceramic or glass food containers (such as Pyrex) are safer.
  • Don’t microwave food or drinks in plastic containers, even if they claim to be “microwave safe.” Heat can release chemicals into your food and drink. Microwave ovens heat unevenly, creating hot spots where the plastic is more likely to break down.
  • If you do use a plastic container, handle it carefully. Use it for cool liquids only; wash plastics by hand or on the top rack of the dishwasher, farther from the heating element; use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave. Also, avoid single-use plastic as much as possible — reusing it isn’t safe (it can harbor bacteria) and tossing it out fills up landfills (and pollutes the environment).

Read more about heating and storing food safely in our Healthy Home Tip: Pick plastics carefully.

SWS January 22 Meeting: New Board Members; Review of SWS 2012 Good Deeds; Preview of Major New SWS Innovation Incubator Program

SWS LogoCome join Sustainable West Seattle’s  Annual Membership meeting 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday, January 22nd, at the West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon St., around the corner from California Ave. SW.

At our membership meeting you’ll hear about SWS programs for 2013 and ways that you can get involved as a volunteer.  We will be encouraging attendees to join SWS as a member and describing the benefits that SWS has brought our community over the last year.  We’ll be spending time listening to all attendees about what ideas you have for SWS and West Seattle for 2013.  What type of projects and efforts should our organization be involved in?

At this meeting you’ll also meet the new Board for the 2013 year.  We have 3 board members leaving; Christina Hahs, Patrick Dunn, and Amanda Goodwin.  We are excited to have at least 5 new (and returning) board members joining us; Bryan Fiedorczyk, Kimberly Leeper, Stu Hennessy, Denis Martynowych, and Kate Kaemerle!  These new and returning members will join Chas Redmond, Bill Reiswig, and Melissa Metcalf who will remain on the board.

You will also learn about an exciting new project of SWS for 2013.  Our February meeting will kick-off this new project, and we will be describing it at this January Meeting.  We call it the 2013 SWS Green Project Incubator, a $1000 grant, generously donated from the CoHo Team of Windermere Agents, that SWS will offer to a West Seattle resident who applies with an idea to foster sustainability in our neighborhood.

Finally, this meeting will retire early, at the completion of the above-mentioned agenda, to Elliot Bay Brewery for beer, tea, or your favorite beverage, and a short and uplifting celebration of the work of our departing Board Members Patrick Dunn, Amanda Goodwin, and our President Christina Hahs.


Sustainable West Seattle educates and advocates for urban sustainability in our local community. SWS envisions a West Seattle community of empowered citizens who actively lead toward greater self-reliance, local democracy, social justice, and existence in harmony with life on earth. SWS meets the 3rd Monday each month at 7 PM. See the SWS website for meeting location.

SWS projects:

And, for the curious, below is a listing of Sustainable West Seattle’s 2012 projects with a short description.

West Seattle Tool Library is a community-led project to provide pay-what-you-can community access to a wide range of tools, training, and relevant advice. By providing this service, the West Seattle Tool Library aims to inspire its community to participate in community projects, such as park restorations, and pursue sustainability through fun projects like backyard gardens, home energy improvements, and water harvesting.

Tox-Ick is an outreach and education effort born out of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Sustainable West Seattle.  The objective of the program is to help educate a critical mass of Puget Sound residents about the problem of polluted runoff and the simple actions individuals can engage in to stop it.  Online resources are available in the fight against the Tox-Ick Monster.

Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS) provides a home-scale model that demonstrates how much food can be grown on a city-sized lot. Our produce goes to our volunteers, neighbors and local food security programs while we provide a venue for public agricultural education and community gathering.

West Seattle Spokespeople facilitates a transition from car to bike and is allied with Spokespeople U.S. Our goal is to make West Seattle a more bike-able community through education, group rides and assisting riders in developing their skills.

CropSwap Website Offers Local Gardeners & Farmers An Online Trading System

A Tacoma gardener named Kevin Freitas and friends started a local crop sharing website  – CropSwap – in June this year.  They’ve focused getting the word out in Tacoma and Seattle and now have about 150 swappers signed up mostly from the two areas but a few in other states and countries.

They just had their first bartering meet-up with Pierce County’s Fair Tradin’ group but look forward to pairing with other like minded groups soon. The biggest thing they tell users is to let people know they’ve posted on the site to make more local bounty available to all so instead of people first going to the farmers’ market or grocery they’ll first make a swapping list.

From their website comes this tale:

“The CropSwap story is simple. We garden. We have friends. We have friends with gardens. In recent years, our friends have become more serious about their gardens. Maybe it’s just that we’re all getting older… but we don’t think so.

“Our friends see their gardens as a different way of life. Gardens support their values of going local, supporting their own communities, promoting sustainability and eating really tasty food. It’s branched out to be more than just gardens.  We have chickens. We have bees for honey. We make our own jam and we brew our own beer. And, we’re getting to be pretty darn good at it!

CropSwap is the next step in the continuum of creating healthy and sustainable local communities. It lets each person in the community trade his or her excess yield with a neighbor or a new friend for something else they’d like to have, allowing each of us to take advantage of whatever we do best, or like to do best.

CropSwap is a member-supported online community. We encourage members to be creative.  Your don’t have to just swap “crops”. Trade whatever you would like to trade… just because we haven’t thought of it doesn’t mean someone doesn’t want it. Add it to the database. We’ll all learn as we go.

“As the CropSwap community grows, we’ll keep finding new ways to be connected – live swapping events, member forums. Let us know what you think should come next by emailing at info@cropswap.me. We want to hear your ideas on how to enhance the value of our online community. Because, like life, Your Garden Is Bigger with Friends.”

So, if you’re growing vegetables, fruits, herbs or ornamentals, check out their website and help enlarge and grow this crop sharing site.

Traveling with Pets for Thanksgiving? Here’s Tips for Safe Traveling with Animals

Traveling with your pet Thanksgiving Day?  Here are some pet travel tips for the road  from the folks at TRIPSwithPETS

Are you taking a Thanksgiving Day road trip with your pet?  Before you start dreaming of turkey and homemade pies, keep in mind that it’s important to plan ahead for pet travel and always keep the best interests of your furry, four-legged friend in mind.  Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience or a not so pleasant one.  It’s all a matter of proper planning and preparation.

Your first decision is whether to bring your pet along with you on your trip.  Not all pets are suited for travel. While it may be very tempting to bring your pet with you, keep in mind that not all pets are happy travelers.  Things to consider include your pet’s temperament, any physical impairments, or if your pet suffers from an illness.  If you’re uncertain whether your pet is suited for travel, you may want to consult with your veterinarian.

If you determine that your pet is up for the trip, then following some common sense tips will help to ensure that your Thanksgiving Day travels with your furry friend is enjoyable for both of you!

Pre-Travel Preparation

  • Healthy Start:  The last thing you need is a sick pet when traveling. This means a visit to the vet for a medical checkup and to ensure that your pet is up-to-date with all necessary vaccinations. The veterinarian can also issue a health certificate for your pet.  If you and your pet will be traveling across state lines, you must obtain a recent health certificate and a certificate of rabies vaccination.  If your plans include traveling with your pet from the United States to Canada, you will need to bring along a certificate issued by a veterinarian that clearly identifies the animal and certifies that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies during the preceding 36 month period. Be sure to contact the government of the province you plan to visit as each province has its own requirements.
  • Plan for Restraint:  Have a plan for how you’re going to properly restrain your pet in your vehicle.   This is a crucial element of pet travel that is not taken seriously enough. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are allowed free reign in cars, trucks, RVs, and SUVs.  Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an “enthusiastic” animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident.  Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle.  It’s important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks or months before traveling so that they are comfortable.
  • Temporary ID Tag:  In the unfortunate event that your pet runs off while you’re traveling.  A temporary identification tag, along with a photo of your pet will help ensure their safe return.  Attach a temporary ID tag to your pet’s collar in addition to their permanent tag. Include the address and phone number of where you’ll be staying along with your cell phone number and perhaps your email address. This is one of the most important aspects of traveling with your pet, but also one of the most overlooked. In addition, bring along a current photo of your pet. A photograph will make it easier for others to help you find your lost pet.
  • Packing Essentials:  When packing for your pet include an ample supply of your pet’s food.  Don’t rely on stopping along the way to pick up their food or picking it up at your final destination. Their particular brand of food may not be readily available and it is not advisable to introduce your pet to a new brand of food while traveling.  Other essentials to pack for your pet include collapsible travel food and water bowls, bedding, litter and litter box, leash, collar and tags, favorite toys, grooming supplies, a pet first-aid kit and any necessary medications. And of course, be sure to always have an ample supply of water available for your pet.
  • Secure Pet Friendly Accommodations:  If you’re planning a long journey and will need to stay in lodging on the way to your final destination, be sure to secure these pet-friendly accommodations before you hit the road. Map out where you’ll be spending the night and arrange for lodging along the way.    TRIPSwithPETS has a trip calculator which will allow you to find pet friendly lodging along your route by plugging in your origination location and final destination. Pet policies do change some times without notice and accommodations may be limited so it’s recommended that you make reservations in advance.
  • Medical Records:  In case of a medical emergency while traveling, it is advisable to bring along your pets medical records along with your vet’s contact information should they be needed for consultation.

Hitting the Road

  • No Heads Out the Window:  Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s not safe.  Your pet can easily be injured by flying debris.  This should go without saying, but never travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.
  • Frequent Pit Stops:  Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. Most travel service areas have designated areas for walking your pet. Be sure to stay in this area particularly when you pet needs a potty break, and of course, bring along a bag to pick up after your pet.  When outside your vehicle, make sure that your pet is always on a leash and wearing a collar with a permanent and temporary travel identification tag.
  • Proper Hydration:  During your pit stops be sure to provide your pet with some fresh water to wet their whistle.  Occasionally traveling can upset your pet’s stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water.
  • Watch the Food Intake:  It is recommended that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel.  Be sure to feed them their regular pet food and resist the temptation to give them some of your fast food burger or fries (that never has a good ending!).
  • Don’t Leave Them Alone:  Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an open invitation to pet thieves.
  • Practice Restraint:  Be sure that your pet is safely restrained in your vehicle.  Utilizing  vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats and pet travel crates are the best ways to keep your pet safe.  They not only protect your pet from injury, but they help by keeping them from distracting you as you drive.  A safety harness functions like a seatbelt.  While most pets will not have a problem adjusting to it, you may want to let them wear the harness by itself a few times before using it in the vehicle. If your pet prefers a travel kennel, be sure it is well ventilated and stabilized.  Many pet owners prefer vehicle barriers, particularly for larger pets.  Vehicle barriers are best suited for SUVs.  Smaller pets are best suited for pet car seats.  The car seat is secured in the back seat using a seat belt and your pet is secured in the car seat with a safety harness.  In addition to it’s safety features, a pet car seat will prop up your smaller pet, allowing them to better look out the window.  No matter what method you choose, back seat travel is always safer for your pet.
  • Safe and Comfortable:  Whatever method you choose to properly restrain your pet in your vehicle, be sure to make their comfort a priority.  Just as it’s important for your “seat” to be comfortable for your long road trip, your pet’s seat should be comfortable too. Typically their favorite blanket or travel bed will do the trick. There are also some safe and very cozy pet car seats available that your pet may find quite comfy.

Careful preparation is the key to ensuring that you and your pet have a happy and safe trip.