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‘spro & Solstice


#sproanddough

Wednesday // Vessel Coffee Roasters \\ 7 a.m.

Let’s smash that early morning sun back downtown!

See you then! #dontbeprey

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Laps and Laps in a Tiny Circle

My bicycle riding career began on a loop of sidewalk connected to our pull-through driveway.

I would ride after school from 3:15 until dinnertime; laps and laps and laps in a tiny circle.

Yesterday’s idea of riding 100 kilometers in 70 laps around a 1.4392 kilometer neighborhood loop came from my childhood and two questions:

How can I atone for not riding for nine weeks?

and

How can I make my neighborhood more bicycle friendly?

Riding to Mt. Spokane and back is just over 100k, but that wouldn’t leave bicycle tracks in the gravel leftover from the winter.

Riding round-trip to Coeur d’Alene is just over 100 kilometers, but I wouldn’t have talked with an older woman planting flowers reassuring me that riding laps around your neighborhood for seven hours is no odder than sitting on your knees in your yard gardening all afternoon.

SFF -> GEG round-trip twice is 100 kilometers, but I wouldn’t have conquered this mf-er 70 times.

Feeling 100 okay after 100k.

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Best Move aXcross

Walking home on the sidewalk for lunch on Riverside, I saw an older woman nearly get taken out from behind by the BMX bicyclist Spokane’s collective stereotype would expect to nearly take out an older woman from behind on a sidewalk.
“There’s a really nice bike lane across the street,” slipped out as he rode past me. Immediately, I heard his feet hit the concrete (freewheel and no brakes, yo!) and turned around to see him complete his circle back to me.
Definitely thought I was going to be on the receiving end of the third sucker punch of my life; instead I received a hearty “FUCK YOU” and the accompanying spittle from three inches away.
I got the goose-neck intimidation stare for another few seconds before he rode off.
I’m speaking from a straight, white, alternative-transportation-using male experience, but even when I thought I was having a knuckle sandwich for my amuse-bouche, I was less scared than any average “close call” with a car on a bicycle or as a pedestrian.
Because, honestly, when I heard the smarmy comment slip out of my lips, this is exactly what I expected that dude to do, right or wrong.
Close calls involving cars almost always involve a driver doing something they’re not aware of or are fine with: going to quickly, eschewing turn signals, facing forward while driving backward, tweeting, makeup-ing,…
For the health of The City, the best thing one can be is a predictable variable. 
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Your Yearly Reminder

How serendipidous Carter asks this a day after Coeur closes its doors.

 

All this talk about “letting the market decide” and “laissez-faire” is code for “where you spend your money and how you spend it creates choices.” We are the market. The market notices the sacrifices you choose or do not choose to make as a customer.

If another coffeeshop is closer or cheaper and you go there regularly instead of Coeur, it’s hard to complain when Coeur closes.

If you didn’t go to rocketmarket a couple summers ago because the road construction made it more difficult, it’s hard to call yourself a “supporter of small business.”

So how do these mom and pop small business’s survive for next 6 months?

By you going there and spending money at Bennidito’s, Vien Dong, Sonnenberg’s, even if you might have to use the less-than-perfectly-direct route.

Your dollar is your only vote!

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G.R.E.A.M.

In sixth grade, presumably to prepare us for learning from multiple teachers, we spent three days a week learning old school grammar from an old school teacher. Nouns weren’t only “people, places and things,” they also included “ideas, qualities and feelings.” We took a massively intimidating test four times that year. Half of this test involved throwing all the grammar rules we’d learned onto a copy of the exact same test sheet the teacher had used for over 40 years. As in, photocopied ditto pages that had years of reproduced smudges, folds and staples.

The other half was sentence diagramming. Ms. Riggs claimed no student could be tricked by any grammar question, so long as they understood her lessons. Grammar was easy.

She wrote “the easiest sentence in existence” on the overhead: “Go!”

Before any of us had a chance to steal her thunder, she diagrammed the sentence on the overhead.

“The thing is, this sentence has an implied subject; none of you know about that yet, because I haven’t taught you.”

(you) | go

Continue reading G.R.E.A.M.

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Route 14: Fort Wright > East Trent

As predicted, Route 14 was flat and fast. While some of the enjoyment that comes with those characteristics is simply aesthetic or emotional, their presence makes the process of moving completely across town simple, navigable, and repeatable, all of which are important when discussing mass transit.

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Understanding Spokane was different in 1923, I appreciate how many of these routes begin and/or end a block or two off of the main arterial. It allows a comfortable wait before boarding away from the less desirable aspects of arterial roads.
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This light at the intersection of Government Way and Fort George Wright Drive is the last light until First and Cedar. Placing the route on an uninterrupted stretch of road, combined with the wide shoulder, gives the streetcar/bus the equivalent of a designated lane. By eliminating most of the frustration drivers of private vehicles feel having to pass/wait for mass transit, the viability of the transportation increases.

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By jogging east onto 7th, Route 14 avoids the light on the corner of Government Way and Sunset. Like Route 13, where the streetcar crossed Sunset before ending its route, the huge added benefit of using thoughtful side streets is allowing riders a safe place to exit the vehicle.
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If Spokanites hate roundabouts as much as they say they do, why is Browne’s always so bustling? #teamroundabout
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Of all the one way options downtown, Sprague is the one I’d most like to see go back to a two-way street. As the dividing north-south street, its status is the most “arterial”-like street downtown. On top of also being a beautiful road to travel east on, I think it would help to make Spokane more navigationally intuitive for both visitors and residents.
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After using Main for awhile post-construction, I’ll write a post detailing my thoughts on its reconstruction. For the time being, I think it’s a good small step toward a more bike-able downtown, although I don’t think small steps are a solution to our transportation ills.

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Route 14 ends on the dividing line between factory warehouses and slightly worn single-family homes. In short, Route 14’s two termini are in mixed-use zoned areas, perfect for a mass transit route.

Best non-downtown spot for a drink along the way: It’s hard to beat pizza and a beer at Pacific Ave Pizza. Unless you’re downing margaritas on El Que’s patio.

Next Monday: Route 10: North Madison > South Maple.
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Route 12: East Sprague Loop

The East Sprague Loop is the kind of route that fascinates me. Tiny, short stretches of condensed, multi-use, inner- to mid-city roads are the perfect areas to throw transit infrastructure. It empties the users from the longer routes that travel to the suburbs and surrounding areas, allowing those vehicles to stop less often closer to their origin, fewer buses/streetcars are needed to fulfill the demand, and (most importantly) the streetcars appear more frequently and predictably, meaning that memorizing a schedule (ideally) isn’t necessary.

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The East Sprague Loop turns around at Freya. I think it’s important to point out that this route (unlike the STA route) stops before it gets outside of Spokane’s city limits. The majority of Spokane Valley residents have made it very clear that they are unwilling to pay for public transit. This doesn’t mean those of us who live in Spokane shouldn’t be able to take a bus to Spokane Valley, but it does mean frequency and reliability for City of Spokane residents should be the priority.

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Like Crestline, Sprague transitions from two lanes each way to one with a middle turn lane. The problem with Sprague’s implementation is that the road surface doesn’t make bicycling on the right edge of the lane very viable. From Altamont into downtown, ruts, potholes, and cracks are the bicyclist’s number one safety concern.

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The Pedestrian Overpass, The Sherman Bridge, The Bridge to Hookerville. Whatever you call it, it will be a game-changer for East Sprague. I’m excited to see a couple hundred bicyclists a day crawling through this lot in a couple years and I’m jealous of the individual(s) who turn the building on the left side of this picture into a bicycle/coffee shop. I’m available as a barista/wrench man.

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The Sherman Overpass will help alleviate the dangers of the narrowing of Sprague right as it crawls back to a four-lane road. However a bicyclist chooses to navigate this intersection, doubts can be made regarding their judgement, which really means doubts should be made regarding the intersection’s design.

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Best non-downtown spot for a drink along the way: Sprague has a number of hidden treasures, even with Budge Bros. and Jones’ Radiator closing and The Iron Goat moving. Can’t recommend The Checkerboard and Bennidito’s enough, even if Sonnenberg’s is on the top of my list.
Next Sunday Monday: Trying to cram another thing into the weekend has been a little tough the last couple weeks. From now on, you can find new #1923streetcar posts every Monday! We checked out Route 14: Fort Wright > East Trent this weekend after riding Route 14. My description last week was spot on: “It’s a flat, straight shot on some of Spokane’s fastest roads.” Fun, too!
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