2016 Year in Review
Wow. 2016 was the biggest year yet for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Thanks for everyone who made it possible, and here’s to even more progress 2017!
Jump to what interests you most:
- Safer Speed Limits Pass
- Safe Routes for Low Income Schools
- Making the Case for Complete Streets
- District 1: 9 Highlights from West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley
- District 2: Building the Base for Big Change in Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill
- District 3: 8 Steps Forward for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Madison Valley
- District 4: Dad’s Take on I-5 Safety
- District 5: Making Connections Across North Seattle
- District 6: Progress for NW Seattle
- District 7: 7 Wins this year for Queen Anne, Uptown, and Downtown
- Our Plans for 2017
Safer Speed Limits for Seattle
Sixty years ago, Seattle’s streets were radically remade with the goal of moving vehicles as quickly as possible: sidewalks were narrowed, crosswalk beg buttons installed, an extensive streetcar system dismantled, low income homes bulldozed for roads, and speed limits increased. Ever since we have been paying dearly for these mistakes.
Today there were 30 crashes on Seattle’s streets. Same with yesterday, tomorrow, and every day on average. Every year 150 people suffer life altering injuries and 20 are killed from these crashes. Each serious injury and fatality is a story of tragedy for individuals, families, friends, and communities.
One day, Brie Gyncild had had enough. Brie lives in the Central District, walks everywhere, loves cats, deeply cares about her community, and is a passionate advocate who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. At the annual meeting where our grassroots neighborhood group leaders set our priorities, Brie reminded us all that Vision Zero isn’t just a goal to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, it’s a commitment to transform our streets into safe places for people. She persuaded us that the next step was safer speed limits.
One person can spark a movement. Because of Brie, in 2016 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways mobilized people just like you throughout the city to build support for safer speed limits by talking to their neighbors, community groups, and local business owners. By the end of the year 22 groups had sent the Mayor and City Council letters of support, dozens people testified to City Council, and hundreds who emailed or called in their support.
Our advocates continued to build positive support until the Mayor and City Council voted proposed and unanimously approved safer speed limits. Now all 2,400 miles of Seattle’s non-arterial streets are designated for 20 MPH, and all of Downtown’s streets have been designated for 25 MPH.
The story isn’t over yet. We all know that designating new speed limits isn’t enough – we must design our streets to be safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. That’s why in 2017 one of our priorities is to increase funding for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Vision Zero safety program. This is only one piece of the puzzle, another piece is you.
Cathy Tuttle and Gordon Padelford
Executive Director and Policy Director
Low Income Schools Set Safety Priorities
We all want our children to be able to safely walk or bike to school. Unfortunately, there is limited funding for engineering safety improvements at all of our schools. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) interns Ranju Uezono and Raymond Pacheco led SNG outreach to very low income schools in 2016 to help prioritize spending in ways that were meaningful and effective to local communities.
SNG also worked with historically underserved school communities to develop a set of ideas, translated into 6 languages, of Low Cost Ideas for SDOT Mini Grants. Schools are now working on crossing flag programs, school patrols, walking audits, and other inexpensive but highly effective programs.
The SNG staff and interns also hosted assemblies, led walk audits, and met with parents and school staff to create a prioritized list of the investments that local people felt was most needed most to get their children to school safely. All of this work helped to shape the major projects being built with Move Seattle Levy funding by Seattle Department of Transportation at Seattle’s low income schools.
Read more about the SNG Safe Routes to School 2016 priority program here.
Making the Case for Complete Streets
In 2016 we advocated for policy and street projects that create safe access for all people.
On the policy side we worked to ensure that Seattle’s Comprehensive Master Plan (the highest level plan the city has), Right of Way Improvement Manaul (blue prints for street design), and other policies and plans supported complete streets.
After years of advocacy work by University Greenways we finally celebrated the opening of the Roosevelt Way complete street project. Originally SDOT planned to only repave the
dangerous street, but we successfully advocated to include safety upgrades for people walking and biking. The biggest change you’ll see on the street if you visit is the new protected bike lane, curb bulbs to make it easier to walk across the street, and more happy families getting to where they need to go safetly.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, along with our local groups and partners, have been advocating for multimodal corridor projects to fund walking and biking improvements – not just transit. We worked on the Roosevelt-Downtown corridor and Madison BRT projects in 2016, and we will continue to make sure these and other projects truly work for everyone in 2017.
9 Highlights from West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley (District 1)
- The Duwamish Valley Safe Streets group got up and running! The Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition now has a fantastic group of committed neighbors and advocates in South Park and Georgetown.
- The Duwamish Valley Safe Streets group helped shape the Georgetown Open Space Plan.
- Local group West Seattle Bike Connections successfully advocated for SDOT to begin working on a neighborhood greenway paralleling 35th Ave SW.
- West Seattle saw the completion of the Delridge-Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway, and SNG conducted an audit work to fix some of the remaining issues.
- West Seattle won a Neighborhood Streets Fund grant for major improvements at the key intersection of SW Spokane St/ Alki Trail/ Harbor Ave SW/ SW Avalon Way.
- West Seattle Bike Connections hosted a bike rodeo at Summer Parkways and helped host the Disaster Relief Trials.
- The SW Admiral Way safety project on the west side, including buffered bike lanes, new cross walks, narrower traffic lanes, and radar speed feedback signs was completed.
- West Seattle Bike Connections successfully campaigned to get full funding for the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project added to the 2017 budget. This project will make this currently dangerous corridor a safer place for people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving.
- West Seattle Bike Connections successfully campaigned to repair a problematic hazard spot on the Duwamish Trail.
Jump back to the top
Building the Base for Big Change in Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill (District 2)
Thanks to you we achieved three major wins in 2016 in Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill: full funding for the expansion of the Rainier Ave Safety project to Rainier Beach, acceleration Accessible Mt Baker, and funding to improve the Beacon Hill Town Center.
Fix Rainier Ave
Rainier Ave S has been Seattle’s most dangerous street for years. Rainier Valley Greenways worked for the second year in a row to make Rainier Ave S safe for people to walk and bike along and across. We sought to expand the safety corridor project, create safe crossings and build protected bike lanes from Hillman City to Columbia City.
A year after the implementation in Hillman and Columbia City, the data shows the Rainier Ave Safety Corridor Project is working: injuries for people walking and biking are down 41%, top end speeding is down 50% northbound and 84% southbound, and transit travel times haven’t changed southbound and have improved northbound.
But we knew there was more to be done. All neighborhoods in Rainier Valley deserve a safer Rainier Ave S, not just Columbia and Hillman City. That’s why we rallied with other neighborhood groups from Friends of Mt Baker Town Center to Rainier Beach Merchants Association to extend the safety corridor project. Thanks to your help, we successfully worked with Bruce Harrell to get a million dollars added for the project to the City’s budget!
Accessible Mt Baker
We worked with the Friends of Mt Baker Town Center and the Mt Baker Hub Business Association to successfully accelerate funding for the exciting community building and safety project, Accessible Mt Baker. Accessible Mt Baker will fix this nasty and dangerous intersection. It will make it easier to catch the bus, bike to downtown, and walk across the street to the light rail station or high school.
Beacon Hill Town Center
Beacon Hill Safe Streets successfully advocated this year to improve the heart of North Beacon Hill. They worked with the Beacon Hill Merchants Association and the community to get the city to implement near term pedestrian safety improvements (the new curb bulbs by the library), create a transportation plan in 2017. Their efforts will make it safer to catch transit, easier to walk and bike to the library and stores, and create a thriving and accessible town center for all.
8 Steps Forward for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Madison Valley (District 3)
Thank you to everyone who helped our local groups take so many steps forward this year! We couldn’t have done it without everyone who volunteered for Central Seattle Greenways, Madison Greenways, or the First Hill Improvement Association. We hope you will continue to support this important work 2017, but first let’s reflect on what we accomplished together:
- Our proposed Columbia Neighborhood Greenway was built this year, providing an east-west connectivity in the Central District.
- Thanks to our auditing and advocacy SDOT is planning to improve the Central North-South Neighborhood Greenway – such as smoothing jarring speed humps, correcting signs, and connecting it successfully to Montlake where it currently dead ends.
- Central Seattle Greenways worked with the cool community at Bailey Gatzert to win safe routes to school improvements. The curb bulb and stop sign change at 14th & Washington will make it much safer.
- The First Hill Improvement Association worked with a developer to include building and maintaining a public plaza Pavement To Parks project.
- Central Seattle Greenways won a grant to improve the crossing near the light rail station at 10th & John.
- Central Seattle Greenways own a grant to make it easier to walk across John/Thomas St. all from Broadway to 23rd Ave!
- Madison Park Greenways won grants for outreach and design for neighborhood greenways in Madison Valley.
- The Melrose Promenade, which Central Seattle Greenways helped get started, won funding from the Puget Sound Regional Council.
Two Dads Take on I-5 Safety (District 4)
Andres Salomon and Scott Cooper were awarded Northeast District Council support during the Neighborhood Park & Street Fund process in 2016.
Andres and Scott know crossing i-5 is important for people of all ages walking to and from Green Lake Elementary, grocery stores, senior housing, Roosevelt High School, local business districts, and many other other important community assets. Andres and Scott know these community connections will become even more important when light rail opens in Roosevelt in 2021.
In addition to support from NE District Council, Andres and Scott have successfully lobbied WSDOT and SDOT to consider safety improvements over and under I-5 that use paint and posts to control traffic speeds.
More safe and dignified I-5 crossings in 2017 are being planned by the coalition that includes NE Seattle Greenways and neighbors who want to #Fix65th.
Find more details of their ideas here.
Making Connections Across North Seattle (District 5)
Lee Bruch from Licton Haller Greenways gathered a coalition of people from Greenwood Phinney Greenways, Aurora Licton Urban Village and other community groups that wanted to make sure 1600 kids had a safe way to walk to the new Robert Eagle Staff school opening in 2017. Their campaign center around safe routes to school along N 90th and 92nd Streets.
Lee and his team did walking and biking audits, gave presentations to local councils, and reached out to neighbors. They found sympathetic staff at the Washington Department of Transportation, Seattle Department of Transportation, and Seattle Public Schools who shared their vision.
Licton-Haller Greenwood Phinney Greenways received both a Neighborhood Park & Street Fund and Neighborhood Street Fund award for their work. Their hard work resulted in more than $1 million for street improvements including a signal on Aurora Avenue North.
In 2017, the coalition of District 5 safe streets groups is turning their attention to getting funding for safer routes to the new transit stations opening soon in Northgate, 130th N and 145th N. Stay tuned!
Progress For NW Seattle (District 6)
In 2015 and 2016, Ballard Greenways made safer routes to school along 6th Ave NW their highest priority. Students at four elementary schools — Pacific Crest, West Woodland, Greenwood and St. John’s — would benefit from a north-south route on the eastern side of Ballard.
West Woodland neighbors led policy walks, talked to City staff and elected officials, and tried to get Neighborhood Park & Street funding for their safer route to schools.
In 2015, Ballard Greenways leader, dad, and Alta Design & Planning landscape architect Chris Saleeba took a slightly different approach. He worked with a group of neighbors and business owners on a Tactical Urbanism project to let people in Ballard experience a safer route to local schools. Chris’s design won the first PARKing Day Plus Design Competition award and neighbors got to see a safer crossing at 6th Ave NW and NW 65th.
This year, Chris has been helping Seattle Department of Transportation to build this clever protected intersection permanently in the West Woodland Ballard neighborhood.
The D6 district, that also includes Greenwood-Phinney, is looking to make another protected intersection work better for people who walk and ride bikes at NW 83rd and Greenwood NW in 2017.
7 Wins this year for Queen Anne, Uptown, and District 7
- Walking surges! Pedestrian commuters increased a stunning 50.2% reports the SeattleMet. And this isn’t starting from a small base: “people who walked to work went from a legit 29,070 (8.6 percent of all commuters) in 2010 to 43,665 (nearly 11 percent) in 2015.” Thank you for your work to make our streets more walkable – it’s working!
- Queen Anne Greenways successfully advocated for the city to build the direct connection between the Westlake bike path and the Mercer St underpass. This connection will be built when the property that is currently owned by the city between 9th and Dexter is redeveloped. We also applied for a grant to upgrade the Roy St bike lane, but were unsuccessful this year.
- The First Hill Improvement Association won a grant to make Freeway Park more accessible and welcoming.
- Queen Anne Greenways hosted a community building play street.
- Finally, the intersection at 7th and McGraw near Cole Elementary got some safety improvements – a wider crosswalk and curb.
- We worked to make to incorporate safety improvements for people walking in the Nickerson St repaving.
- Last, but not least, Queen Anne Greenways continues to work with SDOT on designs to fix the scary 7-way intersection on Queen Anne.
Our Priorities for 2017
- Vision Zero: Work to double the funding for the Vision Zero budget so that all our communities can get much needed safety improvements.
- Multimodal Corridors: Collaborate with transit advocates to create walking, biking, and transit improvements for the Move Seattle multimodal corridors.
- Tactical Urbanism: Help people make quick and bold safety improvements that build livable streets.
- District 1: Connect Georgetown to South Park.
- District 2: Extend the Rainier Ave Safety Corridor Project north and south.
- District 3: Make it easier and safer to walk and bike to and from the Capitol Hill light rail station.
- District 4: Safe and dignified crossings of I-5
- District 5: Safe routes to transit stations from “coast to coast.”
- District 6: Make the 83rd and Greenwood intersection, the gateway to Greenwood, safe for families to cross.
- District 7: Safe east-west route between Uptown and South Lake Union.