(Riders arriving at Spokane Street site)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Robb should still be here.”
So said one of the bicycle-affixed signs seen tonight when Seattle Neighborhood Greenways‘ memorial ride for Robb Mason arrived in the area east of the West Seattle low bridge where he was killed by a hit-and-run driver two and a half months ago.
And so said speakers including Mr. Mason’s widow Claudia.
This was the second ride in his memory, after Critical Mass Seattle. That one was just two weeks after his death, yet despite the passage of time, the one tonight was more emotional, and more resolute. City officials including SDOT’s new director were there this time, promising action; Mayor Bruce Harrell even had spoken to the riders before they left City Hall Plaza and headed this way. But Claudia Mason’s words were the most powerful of all, not only in remembrance of her husband, but also with a message to his as-yet-unapprehended hit-run killer:
After she spoke, riders rang bicycle bells, the gentle ringing rippling across the roadside crowd of more than 100. Another sound heard too often during the gathering was that of speeding cars.
The next speakers, local advocates, pleaded for action – Kate Wells of West Seattle Bike Connections, saying the city did not act boldly enough during the bridge’s shutdown to make travel safer for all modes, but needs to now; Erica Bush from Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, noting the area’s unique transportation characteristics, insisted that freight, pedestrian, and bike safety can co-exi
Others who spoke included Gordon Padelford, SNG’s executive director, saying Seattle can solve big problems – like the bridge – and certainly can fix the safety conundrum; the city’s executive general manager Adiam Emery, who reiterated the commitment to safety goals; and SDOT’s traffic engineer Venu Nemani, who did the same. Then the person in the best position to effect change took the microphone, new SDOT director Greg Spotts, who said safety is now job one for everyone in his department and won’t be siloed any more:
When the speeches ended and riders started talking logistics for getting back home – safely – we spoke briefly with Padelford, to ask if his group had any immediate recommendations for safety at the scene of the crash that killed Robb Mason. He cautioned that the exact circumstances aren’t known but one thing is – chronic speeding in the corridor, Measures to address that, such as speed humps and raised crosswalks, could be considered, he said.
Meantime, as Claudia Mason said in hopes the hit-run driver would hear, “You can’t hide forever,” and if that driver’s family/friends know what happened, they shouldn’t bear the burden of keeping that secret. Tips can be called in to SPD’s Violent Crime Hotline, 206-233-5000.