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Uniting Georgetown and South Park Neighborhoods

The idea is simple enough: connect “main street” of Georgetown to “main street” of South Park with a walking and biking path. But, for nearly 20 years residents of South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods have been unable to get traction on their vision — until now.

Georgetown and South Park are a flat, short distance apart. In these adjacent neighborhoods, more than 8,500 people live, 30,000 work, and countless thousands play in parks, schools, festivals, and local establishments. Each neighborhood has essential goods and services that the other doesn’t — Georgetown has ball fields and a health clinic. South Park has the nearest bank and grocery store. These two southend community hubs are separated by a short 1.8 mile distance. However, due to the lack of safe walking or biking infrastructure they remain two neighborhoods, divided. Most Seattleites wouldn’t think twice about a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute bike ride to a basic necessity, but this isn’t an option for those who are the wrong side of E Marginal Way which SDOT has listed as a “high crash corridor.”

Current Condition on E Marginal Way

Neighbors find allies, build a coalition of interest and support

Tired of waiting any longer to connect their two neighborhoods, residents formed Duwamish Valley Safe Streets (DVSS) in 2016 and became part of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition. Drawing on the history of neighborhood planning and community wisdom, DVSS quickly began championing the idea of the Georgetown to South Park Trail (GTSP Trail).

GT SP Trail map

The Georgetown to South Park Trail will respond to the basic needs of both communities. Many basic necessities such as banks, libraries, grocery stores, and health services exist in one neighborhood but not the other. The benefits of this trail will be numerous:

  • Health: increased options for active transportation and recreation
  • Economy: patronage of business districts with reduced transit needs and costs
  • Services: improved access to cultural, health, and social services
  • Environment: better air quality and green infrastructure design to reduce pollutants
  • Safety: protected pedestrian infrastructure on the E Marginal Way corridor.

“There’s so much to gain from this area being connected –it makes us [Georgetown and South Park] stronger as communities, and it ultimately serves the whole city.” – Jessie Moore, DVSS leader

Momentum builds, City takes an interest … and ultimately, Victory!!

IMG_2078The GTSP Trail has gained tremendous momentum over the past year. DVSS has coordinated and hosted walks with City Council members, SDOT, and local organizations to highlight the possibilities of the GTSP trail. Landscape Architecture students from the University of Washington have provided input, inspiration, and conceptual ideas of what the GTSP trail could be for the community. Perhaps most importantly, DVSS and SNG members have identified community outreach and design as the next critical steps in the process. Members advocated for the GTSP in meetings with City Council members and testified at two budget hearings to advocate for funding in the 2018 budget.

testifying 2

All this hard work paid off when the Seattle City Council included $600,000 in the City’s Budget for community engagement, planning, and design of the trail! Outreach and design will likely take two years and one year to construct, so we hope to be walking and biking on the trail in 2020!

What it might look like someday

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