Occupation: Associate at Triangle Associates
Hometown: Vashon Island, WA
Degree: Int’l Political Economy, Colorado College. Environmental Policy & Planning, University of Washington
Commute: 12 miles round trip from Whittier Heights to downtown Seattle
Wheels: Surly Cross Check
Blake Trask is not a bicyclist. At least he doesn’t identify himself as one. He has ridden one group cycling event, Chilly Hilly — the longest ride of his lifetime. Blake is a self-identified “policy wonk.”
Fortunately, regional cyclists can thank Blake for his love of Seattle. That’s why he became chair of the twelve-member Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.
“I want my kids to be able to bike to school. I want the Ballard Bridge retrofitted for bikes. I want downtown to have the same dedicated cycle tracks that are in Manhattan…”
John Mauro, Cascade’s commute director, credits Blake with helping to create a more bikable community. “Blake has dedicated huge amounts of his personal time to promote urban cycling.”
Although Blake sometimes finds himself riding to work alongside Mayor McGinn, he cannot tell you much about his bike gear. He likes the versatility of his Surly Cross Check for running errands and picking up groceries. He thinks he owns Planet Bike lights, but he cannot be sure.
But he is sure that driving cars and their brake pad debris and oil leaks contribute to the degradation of Puget Sound. Any transportation advocate would agree that biking is a silver bullet for environmental, health, and fiscal policy issues.
Blake is passionate about building Seattle’s capacity for bicycling. He wants to make Seattle a more livable city — the best city in the nation for walking and biking. To do that, he and members of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board actively support the mayor and city council to find funding for the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan, which is currently 70% underfunded.
The majority of the Master Plan’s funding comes from the nine-year Bridging the Gap levy, passed in 2006. Last year, the Plan received about $8 million, but more than $24 million is needed annually.
“There’s a myth that cars pay their fair share for roads, but much of the money comes from property taxes and other funding sources. We need to improve how we use our roads so they work for everyone – cars, freight, transit, walkers and bicycles. There’s lots of excess capacity on our roads; let’s make roads accessible for everyone — not just one mode of transportation.”
Recently, Blake has been inspired by Michelle Obama’s work to reduce childhood obesity by promoting active transportation. The Let’s Move! Campaign attempts to reduce the childhood obesity rate to 5% within a generation (by 2030).
If safer streets and getting your kids walking and biking to school are important to you, Blake recommends that you contact your city council members and mayor and ask for more funding.
Blake joined Cascade to support its great public outreach, education, and advocacy efforts.
The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meets from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on the first Wednesday of the month at City Hall (600 4th Ave, L280). Seattle residents serve for up to two-year terms, advising the city on the concerns and needs of the bicycling community. Meetings are open to the public. To learn more, visit www.seattle.gov/sbab/
Download 70 specific recommendations of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity at www.letsmove.gov/taskforce_childhoodobesityrpt.html
Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001-2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six seconds), Marlow works from his home office in West Seattle. Nominate a cyclist of the month!