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Supporting safe streets advocacy — now, and beyond COVID-19

Kids Greenway
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Dear Friends and Supporters of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways,

Clearly, this is a difficult period for us all.

During this COVID-19 crisis, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is continuing to build campaigns and policies for a later time of greater mobility, while focusing on some of the immediate needs of our communities, can we count on you to help us continue this work?

 

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In this period of quarantine, more people than ever are out and about walking in their neighborhood streets — grabbing some reprieve for fresh air and exercise (at a safe social distance). And in this harrowing and unusual time, we’re seeing that streets that are designed for people are critical now, and will definitely be on the other end of this, when we’re able to move freely again between the activities of our daily lives.

The need for walking- and biking-friendly streets continues — now and beyond the pandemic. And in order for our local walking and biking movements to succeed, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways must grow. As Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog puts it, “SNG is doing the lion’s share of safe streets organizing both inside City Hall and through volunteer-powered grassroots groups in every corner of the city.”

From energizing and organizing grassroots advocates, to savvy policy analysis, coalition-building, and strategic campaign design, we have a proven model that gets results. We strongly believe that the most effective way to make change in Seattle is to empower everyday people with knowledge, guidance and support to champion the needs of their communities. Our organizing model is put to the test in today’s context of quarantining. We’ve altered our community outreach and support to feature online tools and training, leadership development, and mutual aid.

Please consider a gift today to keep our critical safe streets advocacy moving forward.

We kicked off 2020 with an ambitious slate of priorities this year, directed by the 16 active neighborhood groups in our citywide network. We’re still moving forward on many of these campaigns, but of necessity, we are already needing to reorient our programming.

Our work has always prioritized the communities most impacted by unsafe conditions for walking, biking, and rolling — and we know that these dangers persist, even with fewer cars and trucks on the streets. We will continue to push for much-needed walking and biking infrastructure in Seattle’s South End neighborhoods, as well as improved crossings and intersections citywide. We are also doubling down on implementing our Racial Equity Action Plan — a critical next step of which includes developing neighborhood-by-neighborhood action plans.

Collectively, we’re in a time of great uncertainty — for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. We don’t know what’s on the other side of these dual public health and economic crises. At Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we will be doing what is within our means to support those who are most impacted by these calamities, while also building for a future beyond the pandemic.

For a brief window here, the streets and sidewalks of the city have become enlivened with more families than ever taking daily walks together, parents biking with kids on quieter neighborhood streets. There’s a glimmer in this, of what Seattle’s streets could be like — a different future that we can build towards right now, where our public streets are designed for people. Safe, functional, enjoyable streets for everyone — at any age, from any background, and for all abilities.

This is the bold vision that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways continues to work for. Join us in helping Seattle rebound from this crisis as a greener, more equitable, and thriving city with your generous contribution today.

Thank you for all that you do to take care of each other and support community life in Seattle!

— Susan Gleason, Development & Communications Director

8 Solutions for Safe Streets for Social Distancing

—Click here to send a note showing your support—

StayHealthyStreet

Governor Inslee’s newly extended stay-at-home order currently allows walking and biking for exercise and essential transportation as long as you stay six feet away from everyone else. Getting fresh air and activity are important not only for our physical and mental health, but walking and biking to our essential jobs and services can also help save money when finances are feeling tight (transportation is a major household cost in Seattle, second only to housing).

With warmer weather ahead, and the possibility of even more-crowded parks and sidewalks, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been looking at ways to expand our options for safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation and recreation. With the input and collaboration of community members across the city, we’ve come up with eight solutions for healthy streets during the COVID-19 crisis.

#1 Expand Stay Healthy Streets

Have you had the chance to experience one of the city’s Stay Healthy Streets yet? They’re a little bit of sparkling magic in these dark times. At first glance they don’t look like much, because all it takes to make one is a few cones and signs to restrict vehicles to local access-only and open up the street for people.
Stay Healthy Street sign

But linger for any period of time and you’ll see an elder walking, a couple running, a family walking their dogs, or kids biking in the street.

 

People using the Beacon Hill Stay Healthy Street

This morning, Mayor Durkan announced another 11 miles of Stay Healthy Streets, and we’re so excited! This initiative opens up valuable public space, our streets, for people to move around while maintaining a safe physical distance from each other. If widely implemented, these streets will help to ease pressure on some of our overcrowded city parks, sidewalks, and trails. Stay Healthy Streets will become increasingly important as the summer heats up, and Seattleites are eager to get outside while being able to keep a safe distance from others.

That’s why we’re proposing the city implement our community-sourced, 130-mile network of Stay Healthy Streets.

Click here to open the interactive map in a new window. The plan includes iconic recreational walking and biking routes in Seattle such as along Lake Washington Blvd, Green Lake Drive, Beach Drive, Alaskan Way, and much more!

In recognition of the current staffing and budget crunch, this proposal does not require any new major infrastructure — only cones and signs. The map relies heavily on existing neighborhood greenways and quiet neighborhood streets where possible, but incorporates pathways on some major streets where needed. For additional information, see our FAQ.

This unique, community-sourced plan incorporates suggestions from city residents citywide. SNG’s community survey, shared widely in pieces by KUOW, the Seattle Times, The Stranger, Seattle Bike Blog, and other media outlets, received 250 suggestions.

We also utilized our network of local groups and relationships with other organizations to solicit recommendations and vet maps from each district. In District 2, leadership from community and neighborhood-based groups such as the African American Leadership Forum, Bethany UCC, and El Comité offered support and insight on routes. Through these conversations and more, we emerged with a map that is at once pragmatic, community-supported, and inspiring.

If you want to see 130 miles of Stay Healthy Streets implemented in Seattle this summer please click here to send a note showing your support.

 

temporarily close lanes to widen sidewalks

#2 Emergency Sidewalk Extensions

97% of Seattle’s sidewalks are too narrow for people to safely pass each other while social distancing guidelines are in effect. Where possible, the city should temporarily expand sidewalks by using cones or other barricades. We’ve already heard major concerns from the Belltown Community Council for instance, and no neighborhood will be immune to this issue.

 

paris graphic for emergency bike routes

#3 Emergency Bike Routes

For the immediate foreseeable future, people are going to want to have physical distance between them as they start to get back to commuting and other travel around the city. Cities around the world have begun to implement temporary bikeways to reduce crowding on transit during this time of social distancing. This could be accomplished through temporary installation of cones and construction barriers, and/or by speeding up existing projects such as those along East Marginal Way and Eastlake Ave. Creating a network of safe places to bike will give people options to get to where they need to go.

 

Seating in the street

#4 Next-Level Play Streets and Streeteries

Expanding our city’s Play Streets and Streeteries programs and making the permitting process easier and more streamlined will allow residents and businesses to use street space more easily once public health restrictions on activities are eased. Local businesses can create additional space for physical distance between patrons by using parking spaces or perhaps entire streets for seating, and people in both low and high density neighborhoods can create their own community spaces.

 

Walk Signal Is automatic sign in Redmond, WA

#5 Automatic Traffic Signals for People

All people deserve traffic signals that allow them to walk and roll across the street safely and with dignity. We encourage the Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) to reconfigure traffic signals to automatically give people the walk signal without them having to touch a button (other than for vibration and sound signals for blind or deaf-blind pedestrians). The City should also develop a policy that limits how low people have to wait for a walk light and gives people enough time to cross the street. 

 

Man holding slow down sign. Graph showing 9/10 pedestrians survive at 20 MPH

#6 Pursue Vision Zero

The significant decrease in vehicle traffic during this time has also meant a significant increase in speeding. It’s critical that we keep people safe as they travel to where they need to go. That’s why we must follow through with the Mayor’s Vision Zero commitments to implement safer speed limits citywide and build the Rainier Ave Safety Corridor Project.

 

racial disparity in ticketing

#7 Decriminalize Walking

Many people may already feel comfortable walking on non arterial streets to avoid other people, but we know from experience that laws like this are not equitably enforced and are often used to place blame on victims of traffic violence. Let’s legalize or decriminalize walking in the street, just like used to be the case before the automobile industry lobbied to kick people off of streets.

 

jobs created by type of transportation project

 

#8 A Green and Just Rebound

What comes next? What comes after the worst pandemic and possibly the worst economic crisis in modern times? With Seattle as an early pandemic epicenter, can we lead the way for a different future— by rebounding as a greener, more equitable, and thriving city? It won’t be easy, but we should start by implementing a Green New Deal at every level of government to transform our streets and our economy. Just in Seattle, there are billions of dollars worth of needed walking, biking, and transit projects that would create more good-paying green jobs than highway megaprojects.

Excited by these ideas? We need your help to bring them to reality. The Mayor and city staff are already implementing the first steps of many of these initiatives, and we are grateful for their hard work. Now is the time to join together, roll up our sleeves, and problem-solve to bring these critical ideas to fruition as soon as possible so that we  emerge from this crisis a more safe, affordable, and sustainable city.

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Click here to send a note to elected leaders supporting Stay Healthy Streets and other COVID-19 Responses.

Can you chip in financially to help make this happen? Make a contribution today!

Letter of Support from SNG Staff

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At our very core, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots organization. We’re made up of neighbors, like you, all across the city. We are everyday folks, with varied backgrounds and interests, who’ve come together to figure out what it takes to make our neighborhood streets healthy and welcoming for the most basic of daily activities getting from one place to another, safely, comfortably, conveniently. 

We are passionate about our communities, especially those who are most vulnerable. And collectively, we are passionate about this city and making sure Seattle is a place where people of all ages, languages, ethnicities, genders, races, abilities, and levels of wealth are able to walk, bike, roll, and live. 

We’re about people — about all of us. And we take the health and safety of our community seriously. We’ve moved all of our organizing online, so that we can continue to bring community together in a responsible, proactive way. In this precarious and uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are eager to connect with you, our community, and provide whatever resources or support is within our realm to provide. To that end, we wanted you to hear from our staff directly, and from several of the volunteer community-builders who drive this safe streets work.

 

Gordon Padelford testifying at Seattle City Council.

Gordon Padelford, Executive Director: 

Here at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, our mission is to organize and mobilize people to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike and live. But how can we organize and mobilize people when we can’t meet in person, when in-person outreach is not allowed, and when community members and politicians are understandably focused on the current pandemic? It’s going to be challenging.

Our current areas of focus during this difficult period of quarantine include short-term and longer-term solutions for keeping people safe as they recreate in their neighborhoods or move through the city. We’ve provided a full write-up of these ideas here. Take the short survey and add your own ideas, and please share with your friends and networks.

Our staff and volunteers are using alternative strategies to keep this critical work moving forward. We’re known for having frequent neighborhood-based organizing meetings and advocacy campaign meetings, and these meetings will still be happening, only online, through the Zoom video conferencing software we have provided to all our neighborhood groups (check out upcoming meetings here). 

We will continue to ground our community engagement strategies in the same principle that we have always used, which is to meet people where they are at. During normal times, that means having in-person conversations at the time and place of their choosing, but in this moment that may mean more phone calls, emails, video chats, and sometimes simply acknowledging that folks may, understandably, have other priorities for a while, and that we may need to adjust our campaign timelines accordingly. If you have thoughts about how we can best adapt our work, please let us know — we are learning together and will get through this together. 

 

Clara Cantor riding a bike in downtown Seattle.

Clara Cantor, Community Organizer:  

This is a scary time for all of us, and during this pandemic it is important to prioritize your health, physically and mentally. Social isolation, lack of routine, financial uncertainty, and stress all increase mental health problems, domestic violence, and anxiety. As a community-driven movement, everything about our organizing, actions, and impact are going to be different, and our expectations need to shift to match. 

But that can be a good thing. We’ve seen inspiring examples in Seattle and around the world of people supporting each other through collective action, financial support, and by spreading community joy. We are in a moment of tremendous societal shift, which is also a moment of great possibility. By coming together — in our collective creativity, resourcefulness, and care — who knows what impossible thing will suddenly be very, very possible.

Click here to get connected with other Greenways volunteers in your neighborhood, or join us for one of these upcoming virtual events. And check out this list of tips for organizing during the current outbreak.

 

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KL Shannon, Community Organizer:  

My thoughts are with our most vulnerable community members. Here are some ways, big and small, I’m encouraging folks to support our communities during the outbreak: 

 

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Susan Gleason, Development & Communications Director:  

I have to admit, this is a daunting period for our fundraising efforts. During this COVID-19 crisis, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is continuing to build campaigns and policies for a later time of greater mobility, while focusing on some of the immediate needs of our communities

The need for walking- and biking-friendly streets continues — now and beyond the pandemic. For a brief window here, the streets and sidewalks of the city have become enlivened with more families than ever taking daily walks together, parents biking with kids on quieter neighborhood streets. There’s a glimmer in this, of what Seattle’s streets could be like — a different future that we can build towards right now, where our public streets are designed for people. Safe, functional, enjoyable streets for everyone — at any age, from any background, and for all abilities.

This is the bold vision that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways continues to work for and you can help us get there. We simply couldn’t do what we do — to push community-identified safe street improvements and policies forward — without generous support from people like you.

Fixing the Pedestrian Safety Crisis

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene unveiling a 25 mph speed limit sign.

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene (Dir. of SouthEast Seattle Senior Center) unveil a new speed limit for Rainier Ave.

We can and must keep everyone safe on our streets. This morning, Mayor Durkan outlined four excellent and long overdue strategies to get back on track. Your support helps us keep up the pressure on our leaders to act quickly to implement safer speed limits, redesign our most dangerous streets, and get Vision Zero back on track.

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memorials for traffic violence victims

We are in the middle of a pedestrian safety crisis.

In the few weeks since we first wrote that Vision Zero is off track in Seattle (12 people had died and 70 had suffered life-altering injuries after being struck by vehicles when walking and biking on our city streets, so far this year), three more pedestrians have been struck and killed in two separate incidents:

  • On November 27, a woman in her 60s, Jin “Kimberly” Kim, was hit and killed at 42nd Avenue SW and SW Oregon Street in West Seattle while she was crossing the street from her apartment to the grocery store.
  • On November 29, a driver struck four pedestrians, killing two people: Rebecca Richman, 28, a recent law school graduate, and her brother, Michael Richman, 26, an actor and musician. Their father is still hospitalized and Rebecca’s boyfriend was injured.

This brings the total number of people killed while walking or biking in Seattle to 15 in 2019 alone, making this one of the worst years in recent memory.  

A pile of flowers on the side of the street with a sign that reads: look out for pedestrians.

And these are just the people who have lost their lives on our streets. There have been many others who have suffered life-altering injuries such as a 60-year-old pedestrian still in critical condition after being struck on December 4 while crossing the street at Columbia Street and 4th Avenue downtown — the same intersection where a woman was struck and killed in January of this year. And over two consecutive days, two people on foot were struck by drivers and injured at Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street.

The strategies Mayor Durkan outlined this morning are excellent and long overdue — we welcome and applaud these critical steps:

4 Big Steps for Vision Zero

1) Safer speed limits: Safer speeds save lives. We know that Seattle’s arterial streets are where 90% of road traffic deaths and serious injuries happen. That’s why it’s so important that the mayor sent an easy-to-understand message today about safer speed limits: once the signs are changed, wherever you see a painted centerline (indicating an arterial street) in Seattle, you should be driving 25 mph, and wherever you don’t, you should be driving 20 mph.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been working to reduce speeding for years. Back in 2015 our advocacy for traffic safety culminated in the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, the goal of zero traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. In 2016 our Safer Speed Limits for Seattle effort led to all 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets being changed to 20 mph. This made a huge impact for people walking and biking on neighborhood streets, but expanding these safer speeds to our busy streets has been slow and piecemeal. We’re thrilled that the Mayor is now taking on a systemic approach, and are eager to see it implemented as quickly as possible before more tragedies occur.

Slow Down

2) Red light running prevention: Running red lights endangers everyone, so doubling the number of cameras that catch and fine red light runners just makes sense. Automated systems like this limit biases in enforcement (and an ideal system would also issue tickets based on income to limit regressive impacts on low-income neighbors).

AuroraAvenueFastTraffic

3) Walking head start traffic lights: The majority of collisions between people walking and driving happen at intersections. We applaud SDOT’s new policy to double the number of traffic lights that give people walking a head start next year, with all traffic lights to follow.

Three pedestrians, one with a mobility aid, cross the street holding signs asking for safe crossings.

4) Vision Zero Task Force: This panel of experts will ensure we treat traffic violence like the public health crisis that it is, and provide transparency, accountability, and leadership for Vision Zero. A Vision Zero Task Force comprised of public health officials, first responders, roadway designers, and advocates for seniors, the disability community, and pedestrians, should analyze each and every deadly crash to provide recommendations for how what can be done to achieve Vision Zero. Part of their work will inevitably be analyzing what can be done about emerging trends like the rise in deadly-sized SUVs and increased distracted driving.

A group of people holding a sign that reads: Seattle Neighbors for Vision Zero.

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What’s next?

These are welcome first steps but much more remains to be done.

Communities along Rainier Ave S and Aurora Ave N, Seattle’s #1 and #2 most dangerous streets respectively, have been clamoring for safer streets for years. The planned redesign of Rainier Ave S cannot come soon enough after years of delay. And sadly, Aurora Ave still lacks basic pedestrian safety improvements like sidewalks and safe crosswalks for long stretches, which must be addressed as quickly as possible. The city can do much on its own, but the recent fatalities on Aurora Ave, a state route, must also be a wake up call to state legislators. Redesigning our streets is the most effective and equitable approach to keeping people safer on our streets and should be the center of any effort moving forward, while education, encouragement, and enforcement should mainly be supplementary strategies.

If we are truly going to make progress on Vision Zero, we must give the Department of Transportation the political support to implement best practices and innovate new ways to keep everyone safe on our streets—even when those changes are hard. We see today’s announcement as a tremendous step in the right direction. We will continue our work until every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike and live — where no one loses their life or is seriously injured trying to get to where they need to go.

A protest at Rainier Ave S and Henderson in 2018.

Together, we can help Seattle make the changes necessary to achieve Vision Zero, and make sure everyone makes it home safely. Your tax deductible donation today, allows us to fight tomorrow for safe streets for every neighborhood. Thank you!

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Gordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

Li Tan holding a sign that reads: Vision Zero!

Fixing the Pedestrian Safety Crisis

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene unveiling a 25 mph speed limit sign.

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene (Dir. of SouthEast Seattle Senior Center) unveil a new speed limit for Rainier Ave.

We can and must keep everyone safe on our streets. This morning, Mayor Durkan outlined four excellent and long overdue strategies to get back on track. Join us and send a letter to the Mayor and other elected leaders thanking them for their leadership and ask them act quickly to implement safer speed limits, redesign our most dangerous streets, and get Vision Zero back on track.

Act Now! button

memorials for traffic violence victims

We are in the middle of a pedestrian safety crisis.

In the few weeks since we first wrote that Vision Zero is off track in Seattle (12 people had died and 70 had suffered life-altering injuries after being struck by vehicles when walking and biking on our city streets, so far this year), three more pedestrians have been struck and killed in two separate incidents:

  • On November 27, a woman in her 60s, Jin “Kimberly” Kim, was hit and killed at 42nd Avenue SW and SW Oregon Street in West Seattle while she was crossing the street from her apartment to the grocery store.
  • On November 29, a driver struck four pedestrians, killing two people: Rebecca Richman, 28, a recent law school graduate, and her brother, Michael Richman, 26, an actor and musician. Their father is still hospitalized and Rebecca’s boyfriend was injured.

This brings the total number of people killed while walking or biking in Seattle to 15 in 2019 alone, making this one of the worst years in recent memory.  

A pile of flowers on the side of the street with a sign that reads: look out for pedestrians.

And these are just the people who have lost their lives on our streets. There have been many others who have suffered life-altering injuries such as a 60-year-old pedestrian still in critical condition after being struck on December 4 while crossing the street at Columbia Street and 4th Avenue downtown — the same intersection where a woman was struck and killed in January of this year. And over two consecutive days, two people on foot were struck by drivers and injured at Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street.

The strategies Mayor Durkan outlined this morning are excellent and long overdue — we welcome and applaud these critical steps:

4 Big Steps for Vision Zero

1) Safer speed limits: Safer speeds save lives. We know that Seattle’s arterial streets are where 90% of road traffic deaths and serious injuries happen. That’s why it’s so important that the mayor sent an easy-to-understand message today about safer speed limits: once the signs are changed, wherever you see a painted centerline (indicating an arterial street) in Seattle, you should be driving 25 mph, and wherever you don’t, you should be driving 20 mph.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been working to reduce speeding for years. Back in 2015 our advocacy for traffic safety culminated in the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, the goal of zero traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. In 2016 our Safer Speed Limits for Seattle effort led to all 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets being changed to 20 mph. This made a huge impact for people walking and biking on neighborhood streets, but expanding these safer speeds to our busy streets has been slow and piecemeal. We’re thrilled that the Mayor is now taking on a systemic approach, and are eager to see it implemented as quickly as possible before more tragedies occur.

Slow Down

2) Red light running prevention: Running red lights endangers everyone, so doubling the number of cameras that catch and fine red light runners just makes sense. Automated systems like this limit biases in enforcement (and an ideal system would also issue tickets based on income to limit regressive impacts on low-income neighbors).

AuroraAvenueFastTraffic

3) Walking head start traffic lights: The majority of collisions between people walking and driving happen at intersections. We applaud SDOT’s new policy to double the number of traffic lights that give people walking a head start next year, with all traffic lights to follow.

Three pedestrians, one with a mobility aid, cross the street holding signs asking for safe crossings.

4) Vision Zero Task Force: This panel of experts will ensure we treat traffic violence like the public health crisis that it is, and provide transparency, accountability, and leadership for Vision Zero. A Vision Zero Task Force comprised of public health officials, first responders, roadway designers, and advocates for seniors, the disability community, and pedestrians, should analyze each and every deadly crash to provide recommendations for how what can be done to achieve Vision Zero. Part of their work will inevitably be analyzing what can be done about emerging trends like the rise in deadly-sized SUVs and increased distracted driving.

A group of people holding a sign that reads: Seattle Neighbors for Vision Zero.

What’s next?

These are welcome first steps but much more remains to be done.

Communities along Rainier Ave S and Aurora Ave N, Seattle’s #1 and #2 most dangerous streets respectively, have been clamoring for safer streets for years. The planned redesign of Rainier Ave S cannot come soon enough after years of delay. And sadly, Aurora Ave still lacks basic pedestrian safety improvements like sidewalks and safe crosswalks for long stretches, which must be addressed as quickly as possible. The city can do much on its own, but the recent fatalities on Aurora Ave, a state route, must also be a wake up call to state legislators. Redesigning our streets is the most effective and equitable approach to keeping people safer on our streets and should be the center of any effort moving forward, while education, encouragement, and enforcement should mainly be supplementary strategies.

If we are truly going to make progress on Vision Zero, we must give the Department of Transportation the political support to implement best practices and innovate new ways to keep everyone safe on our streets—even when those changes are hard. We see today’s announcement as a tremendous step in the right direction. We will continue our work until every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike and live — where no one loses their life or is seriously injured trying to get to where they need to go.

A protest at Rainier Ave S and Henderson in 2018.

Care about ending traffic violence? Here are three ways you can help keep everyone safe on our streets:

1) If or when you drive, maintain a safe speed (i.e., below the speed limit and suitable for conditions), and be alert for people walking and biking.  

2) Send a letter to the Mayor and other elected leaders thanking them for their leadership and reinforcing the need for safer speed limits, redesigning our most dangerous streets, and getting Vision Zero back on track.

3) Get involved in advocating for traffic safety in your neighborhood

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Together, we can help Seattle make the changes necessary to achieve Vision Zero, and make sure everyone makes it home safely.

Li Tan holding a sign that reads: Vision Zero!

Act Now to support walk/bike/transit in the 2020 City Budget!

We care about making every neighborhood in Seattle a great place to walk, bike, and live, and Seattle has fallen far behind on it’s promises and goals.

We’re calling on the Mayor and City Council to go beyond general statements of support for transportation and environmental issues, and act now to align our city budget with Seattle’s values.

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Act now to ask City Council to support these budget priorities, and join us on Thursday, October 22 at the City Council budget hearing.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has a huge slate of budget asks this year!

  • Safe spaces for people to walk and roll: We’re pushing for a long-term, sustainable source of funding for new sidewalks, as well as continued funding for our successful Home Zone Pilot, a vibrant pedestrian space for Thomas St, and a safe crossing for the Duwamish Longhouse.
  • Safe spaces for people to bike: We’re asking for funding for the currently unfunded routes in the 2019-2024 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan, including the Georgetown to South Park Trail and Beacon Ave Trail, among others. We’re also asking for funding for proactive Bike Infrastructure Maintenance to take care of the infrastructure that we do have. We’re also asking for funding for in-street bike and scooter parking corrals.
  • Other Transportation Improvements: Including Safe Routes to School Funding, transit priority, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Agenda, and asking SDOT to develop alternative evaluation methods that effectively measure people, rather than just cars.

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See below for more details on these important issues! These priorities include those in the MASS Transportation Package set by the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition.

More details about our budget advocacy this Fall:

Safe spaces for people to walk and roll: We applaud the $4 million increase in funding for new sidewalks in the Mayor’s budget, and also recognize the need for a long-term sustainable source of funding to address the 26% of Seattle streets that don’t currently have safe places to walk. In addition, we’re pushing for:

  • Home Zones: Thanks to last year’s advocacy, our successful Home Zone Pilot is currently partially funding the construction of home zones in South Park and Broadview. We’re pushing to continue the pilot program creating low-cost, neighborhood solutions for non-arterial streets with no sidewalks.
  • Thomas St: We’re leading the effort to create a vibrant pedestrian space on Thomas St connecting South Lake Union and Uptown. Getting Thomas St. right will reconnect our neighborhoods, retain talented employees, connect our cultural and civic assets, and get people to the new arena at Seattle Center.
  • Duwamish Longhouse Crossing: People on foot are currently crossing 5 lanes with a 40 mph posted speed limit on a major truck route, without a crosswalk, to get to the Duwamish Longhouse from Herring House Park and parking lots, and from the Duwamish Trail. We’re supporting the Duwamish Tribe’s request for the $2 million needed so that people can safely access this important cultural and community center.

Safe spaces for people to bike:

  • We’re asking the City to fully fund the bike routes included in the 2019-2024 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan, as unanimously supported by City Council RES 31894 and the Mayor’s cover letter to the plan. The total funding gap is between $25 and $50 million, spread out over 4 years. The currently unfunded routes include the Georgetown to South Park Trail, Beacon Ave Trail, MLK, Georgetown to Downtown Connection, 4th Ave, and Alaskan Way to Elliott Bay Trail Connection, among others.
  • Proactive Bike Infrastructure Maintenance standards to take care of the infrastructure that we do have. We’re asking for an additional $1.5 million per year to cover re-painting, pavement marking updates, bollard replacement, lane-sweeping, storm drainage, and clearing of debris, foliage, and snow in existing on-street bike infrastructure.
  • Expand SDOT’s installation of In-Street Bike Parking. We’re asking for an additional $1.4 million as noted in the SDOT response to RES 31898. These funds would be used to hire a term-limited team of planning, design, and construction employees for the sole purpose of installing 3000 new off-sidewalk parking spaces for bikes and scooters, which would have the added benefit of increasing visibility for pedestrians at intersections.

Other Transportation Improvements:

  • Safe Routes to School: We’re asking for a full-time Active Transportation Coordinator to help kids get safely to school, and for the City to restore funding to Safe Routes to School that was siphoned off into the general fund last year, and ensure that this kind of siphoning doesn’t happen again. Find out more about our Safe Routes to School work here.
  • Transit Priority: We applaud the 30 blocks of bus lanes SDOT rolled out this fall and the 60 blocks planned for next year. Still, we aren’t doing enough to grapple with the Seattle Squeeze and the climate crisis. We’re working with allies in the MASS Coalition to push for SDOT to double bus lane mileage and implement signal priority in key locations.
  • Transportation Equity Agenda: SDOT’s Transportation Equity Agenda and the Workgroup it formed have only temporary funding. We’re pushing for continued funding to ensure that this work is sufficiently staffed and resourced to be implemented department-wide.
  • Measure What Matters: SDOT currently measures the success of an intersection with what’s called a “level of service,” which measures delay for vehicle traffic. We’re pushing for SDOT to develop alternative evaluation methods.

Act Now! button

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities, and join us on Thursday, October 22 at the City Council budget hearing.

Get involved in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

Safe Routes to School

Here at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we believe that every child deserves to be able to walk or bike to school safely and comfortably. 

Click here to Join the Campaign! Send a note to your elected leaders in support of Safe Routes to School, and keep updated on the citywide campaign!

Current Action Alert: Click here to ask City Council to support funding for Safe Routes to School in the 2020 Seattle City Budget!

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What’s the Issue?

58% of students in the Seattle Public School District live within the school walk zone, and are not served by school bus routes, yet only 30% of them walk and bike.

Particularly in schools with dangerous streets nearby, many parents who have the means to do so make the decision to drive their kids to school every day. The increase in vehicle traffic around the school leaves those kids who do not have the option, disproportionately low-income kids and people of color, in even more dangerous conditions.

What is Safe Routes to School?

Safe Routes to School is a City of Seattle program that seeks to 1) encourage more kids to walk and bike to school, and 2) improve safety in areas around schools for kids who walk and bike.

  • Equity: Kids walking and biking because they don’t have another choice, often those from low-income or single-parent families, are left in the most unsafe conditions. This has racial impacts as well: Nationwide, African-American children are twice as likely to be killed while walking and Latino children are 40% more likely than white children.
  • Public Health: Kids who walk and bike arrive at school better able to concentrate and over time develop a stronger sense of their own independence, mobility, and community connections.
  • Climate: More kids walking and biking to school means less pollution in general, but especially right in front of schools. A study in the UK found toxic levels of air pollution immediately surrounding schools, particularly problematic when school playgrounds are situated next to where parents are pulling in and out in cars and idling.
  • Traffic Reduction: More kids walking and biking equals less people driving cars and dropping off near schools. This means in less impatient or dangerous maneuvers happening as people driving get frustrated.

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What is Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Doing?:

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has worked with individual school communities for years, identifying safety concerns and solutions. But Seattle has 100 public schools, and working school by school isn’t fast enough. We’re now looking for systemic solutions to help the Seattle Public School District (SPSD) and Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) improve the situation citywide, including:

  1. Increase funding for safe streets near schools (crosswalks, sidewalks, speed humps, etc.)
  2. Reform transportation planning when schools are refurbished or rebuilt
  3. Improve programs such as the School Crossing Guard program, which currently has vacant positions at one in three schools, and Walking School Bus and Biking School Bus programs
  4. Champion community-identified priorities

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What Can I Do?:

Resources:

Speak up for Sidewalks and Schoolkids!

You can help kids at 25 schools get to school safely!

N’Jabbu is a 1st grader at Licton Springs K-8 who loves to ride her purple bicycle. Her sister Bineta is a 7th grader at Robert Eagle Staff K-8, who’s interested in filmmaking and likes to get to school on time because she loves to learn.

 

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N’Jabbu and Bineta, like their mom, Adja, like to walk in the neighborhood. Adja enjoys walking with her family to the lovely park a few blocks east of her North Seattle home, a short walk that happens to cross Aurora Avenue. N’Jabbu and Bineta both like walking to school, also a short walk away—also across the busy Aurora highway.

You can probably picture Aurora Avenue in your mind right now. One of the fastest-moving, most dangerous streets in Seattle—and certainly one of the most intimidating places to cross by bike or on foot. Especially if you’re a kid.

 

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In early 2017, as three new neighborhood schools were under construction—Licton Springs K-8, Robert Eagle Staff K-8, and Cascade Elementary—Adja was wondering how the girls were going to get there safely.

She wasn’t alone in wondering that. Our local chapter of committed neighbors had already been working on this challenge for years, pulling together a plan for kids to walk and bike to the new school complex. We worked with the School District, the school principals, local parents, and the city, to develop an impressive set of safety improvements for the kids.

It took three years of hard work and persistence, but our efforts paid off, and this multi-school complex now boasts an all-ages biking and walking trail, a new protected bike lane, and most notable of all, a new signal crossing at N 92nd & Aurora.

Click here to check out a short video of Adja and her daughters talking about the new signal crossing on Aurora.

Thanks to your past support, we were able to make it safer for N’Jabbu, Bineta, and 1,800 other students at the three-school complex to get to school on foot and by bike.

We believe every kid should be able to walk to school safely. With your support we can make this vision a reality.

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“Before they installed the new signal, it felt scary to cross Aurora Ave. Without that signal, a lot of students wouldn’t be able to cross back and forth from school.”
—Adja, North Seattle parent

 

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The sad reality is that too many of the 110 Seattle Public Schools serving grades K-12 in the city are lacking safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and comfortable ways to cross the street.

We are working hard to fix this dangerous situation across the city, and you can play an important role. Your gift of support today for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways will help us fight for safety at 25 more schools in 2019.

 

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Tip: Your financial gift today will go three times as far! Find out about our incredible two-to-one match below. Please take a moment to donate now.

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In addition to fighting for every school to be a safe place to walk or bike to, your support today will make it possible for us to:

  • Advocate with historically underserved communities for walking and biking projects

  • Champion safe routes to walk and bike to transit hubs

  • Organize for a bike network that connects to every neighborhood

  • Innovate solutions like “Home Zones” to quickly make neighborhoods without sidewalks more walkable.

We are heading into our busiest season of citywide organizing yet. That’s why the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Board of Directors and the local Bowline Fund have boldly stepped up to match your gifts 2-to-1 up to $30,000.

Each dollar you’re able to give today will be matched by $2 additional dollars — tripling your impact!

Please make your gift by December 31, 2018 to triple your gift and your impact. We simply can’t do this work without you.

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Thank you for your support of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Let’s build a safe, healthy, happy Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.

Sincerely,

-Gordon

GordonHeadshot-seriousGordon Padelford

Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

P.S. Please make your generous gift by midnight December 31, 2018 to have your gift matched two-to-one; every amount truly helps! Together we can make Seattle a great place to walk, bike, and live.

 

 

 

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
220 2nd Ave S #100
Seattle, WA 98144
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Curious about the Bowline Fund? The Bowline Fund has provided ongoing support to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways since its inception. The Bowline Fund seeks to transform Seattle’s streets, sidewalks, and parking into places centered on people rather than cars.

Safer Crossings for Madison Park Business District

Story by Bob Edmiston, Madison Park Greenways.

In the summer of 2013, a Madison Park resident was struck by a driver while walking across East Madison Street in a marked crosswalk, in broad daylight—and was critically injured. The community organized and formally asked the City of Seattle to make it safer to cross the street in our little neighborhood business district.

The community’s focus was on a complicated 6-way intersection where East Madison Street, McGilvra Blvd East and East Garfield Street meet. Many of the crossing distances there ranged from 50-100 feet across, exposing people on foot to hazardous speeding traffic. Parking near and within the intersection was blocking critical lines of sight between people walking and people driving. The combination of these compounding design flaws are thought to have factored into the tragic collision of 2013. Fixing these hazards became the objective of our Madison Park Greenways group.

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Five years later, after many grant applications, pitches, community design meetings and countless volunteer hours, the project is now nearly complete. The results are excellent. The adjoining streets have been squared up, entrances narrowed, curb lines moved in order to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and sight lines have been improved. Landscaping is being restored in a way that will permanently keep sight lines clear.

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By eliminating the worst safety issues of this very complicated intersection, this project has made Madison Park’s central intersection feel safer to cross on foot and safer to drive through. Since this intersection is the primary crossing for children who attend McGilvra Elementary School, the improved intersection opens up the possibility of walking or biking to school to more of the community.

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The man who was critically injured has recovered has been anticipating completion of this project. It was his desire that the crossing between Wells Fargo Bank and Starbucks be finally made safe for those who live, visit and work here.

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This project would not have been possible without a sustained multi-year direct collaboration effort between the Madison Park Community Council, the Madison Park Business Association, Madison Park Greenways and the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Department of Transportation staff. They have all done outstanding work. We plan on holding a ribbon cutting celebration soon.

Inspired by this community-driven success story? Pitch in to help make more outcomes like this possible.

Supporting Local Economies: A Shiny New Crosswalk for the Georgetown Business District!

Photos and story by Jesse Moore, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets.

Last month, Georgetown neighbors and business owners gathered with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff to celebrate the completion of a new signal and marked crosswalk at Airport Way South and South Doris Street, in the heart of this popular South End arts and culture hub. 

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According to Georgetown Merchant Association Chairman, Larry Reid (of the legendary Fantagraphics Books), it took 8.5 years of persistence to create this much-needed improvement for safety in one of the busiest areas for pedestrian activity in Georgetown.

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Larry, and GMA member John Bennet, cut yellow ribbons with large scissors (courtesy of SDOT) on both sides of the street, to much applause, the clinking of plastic cups and distribution of boxes of salted caramels from neighboring Fran’s Chocolates.

After the celebration, much of the crowd walked to nearby Machine House Brewery for a beverage and the monthly GMA meeting where Diane Wiatr, Serena Lehman and Ian Macek from Seattle Department of Transportation gave an update on additional Georgetown-area pedestrian safety improvements currently in the works.

According to the presenters, the plan to build a multi-use bike/walk trail connecting Georgetown and South Park’s business districts is on track.The first step involves gathering public input on the trail’s alignment—that’s happening this summer.

Attendees also got a first look at a conceptual design aiming to control traffic speeds at the I-5 off-ramp at Corson Ave South.

The heavily trafficked off-ramp and intersection at South Michigan and Corson separates two halves of the residential neighborhood, Georgetown’s two public parks, as well as two halves of Georgetown’s retail commercial core.

The Corson/Michigan/Bailey intersection and the area around the Corson off-ramp have received many requests for improvements to pedestrian safety and comfort in a recent mobility study conducted by SDOT, as well as in other neighborhood planning efforts.

Meeting-goers seemed encouraged by the attention being given by SDOT to rethinking the design of this intersection.

If this new trend of Georgetown and SDOT working together to improve safety for people walking and biking continues, hopefully we can look forward to ribbon cutting celebrations for completing both the Georgetown to South Park Trail and this intersection improvement project, and it won’t take another 8.5 years.

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