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Originally published Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 8:12 PM

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Cascade Bicycle Club leader quits for $95,000 job with Seattle mayor

David Hiller, advocacy director for Cascade Bicycle Club, announced his resignation Thursday on the club's website. He is taking a $95,000-a-year job with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Seattle Times transportation reporter

quotes The bigger story is that the guy is going to work for Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn on... Read more
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David Hiller, the bright, sometimes confrontational advocacy director for Cascade Bicycle Club, is resigning his post to take a $95,000-a-year job with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

"It's been eight years of being on the front lines. I've had to take a lot of abuse. Other times, it's just hard work," Hiller told The Times.

Hiller will start in his new job May 18, and will work for both the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Mayor's Office organizing community events and working on general transportation issues, according to McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus.

"He has a really long history of working on transportation issues, complete streets and general mobility," Pickus said.

The city policy called "complete streets" calls for designing nearly all road-construction projects for bicycles and pedestrians as well as for vehicles.

Hiller will fill one of two vacant positions in the mayor's office, said Pickus, who also noted that the mayor's staff is taking budget cuts next year along with other city departments.

Hiller started work for Cascade in 2003, and previously was with the Connecticut Bicycle Coalition.

He ranked behind only McGinn as a lightning rod for people who resent bicycle activism. But in recent months, Hiller has taken a lower profile, lobbying in Olympia for bike and pedestrian issues.

He said he hopes to volunteer with Cascade and give advice. "Maybe I'll even ride the STP one day," he said on the club blog. Normally, Hiller sets up the Seattle starting area and works in a support vehicle during the annual July ride to Portland.

The club has more than 13,000 members and wields some clout in local politics.

He and other Cascade members worked alongside Seattle officials who produced the 2007 Bicycle Master Plan, which called for 19 new miles of trails, 118 miles of bike lanes, overpasses, bike parking and signs.

At one point, when the city seemed to backpedal on plans for bike lanes on Stone Way North, he warned that then-Mayor Greg Nickels would seem hypocritical and in "the dark ages of traffic engineering," unless the city followed through, which it did. He also has advocated for the proposed "missing link" trail in Ballard, where bicyclists say they run a dangerous gantlet, and local industries object to mixing trails with trucks.

This year, a state "vulnerable user" bill, SB 5326, passed the Legislature to toughen penalties for motorists who negligently kill bicyclists or pedestrians.

That win made it easier to leave his position now, Hiller said.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com

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