Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) hosts “Paving Open Houses” in Northeast and Southeast Seattle next week. The Open Houses are a perfect opportunity for you to ask SDOT to improve safety, revise speed limits, include bicycle facilities, and improve or add sidewalks.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways worked proactively with local groups and SDOT to incorporate protected bicycle lanes along Roosevelt Way NE in 2014-2015. The entire length of Roosevelt — from NE 85th to the University Bridge — will be safer for people who walk, bike, use transit or drive.
(Note: Saturday November 5 from 11-1 the Roosevelt PBL will officially “open” at the U-District Food Bank 5017 Roosevelt Way NE).
Try to make it to the Paving Open Houses to tell @seattledot “repaving is a great time to improve street safety for all”.
NE Seattle OPEN HOUSE
Monday, October 17, 5:30 – 7:30 PM Roosevelt High School cafeteria 1410 NE 66th St. NE Seattle Streets to be repaved in 2018: 15th Ave NE – Lake City Way NE to NE 55th St; Cowen Pl NE – 15th Ave NE to NE Ravenna Blvd; University Way NE – NE Ravenna Blvd to NE 50th St; 35th Ave NE – NE 87th to NE 65th St; NE 55th St to NE 47th St; NE 45th Pl – NE 47th St to NE 45th St
SE Seattle Streets to be repaved in 2018: Wilson Ave S – Seward Park Ave S to S Dawson St; Swift Ave S, S Myrtle St, S Myrtle Pl, and S Othello St.15th Ave S to MLK Jr Way S; S Columbian Way and S Alaska St – Beacon Ave S to MLK Jr Way S
All of our streets should be safe and comfortable places where all people can walk, bike, run, walk dogs, and push strollers. Unfortunately, we have not reached that vision yet. Every year 150 people in Seattle suffer life altering injuries and 20 people are killed in traffic collisions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
A budget increase of $3 million will allow the underfunded Vision Zero program to implement safety improvements across the city and begin to fix our dangerous streets like Rainier Ave S, NE 65th, Lake City Way, Greenwood Ave N, and 12th Ave. Here is our budget proposal.
An additional $3 million will also give SDOT the funds to begin to work down a backlog of 300 community identified safety projects and 100 SDOT identified Vision Zero projects including crosswalks and traffic calming.
Call your City Councilmembers right now, and ask that they “increase funding for Vision Zero”!
Citywide – Tim Burgess: 206.684.8806 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Citywide – Lorena González: 206.684.8802 | email@example.com
District 1 (West Seattle) – Lisa Herbold: 206.684.8803 | firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 (Rainier/Beacon) – Bruce Harrell: 206.684.8804 | email@example.com
District 3 (Central Distrct/Capitol Hill) Kshama Sawant: 206.684.8016 | firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4 (NE Seattle) Rob Johnson: 206.684.8808 | email@example.com
District 5 (Lake City, Haller Lake) – Debora Juarez: 206.684.8805 | firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6 (Ballard, Greenlake) – Mike O’Brien: 206.684.8800 | email@example.com
District 7 (Downtown, Queen Anne) – Sally Bagshaw: 206.684.8801 | firstname.lastname@example.org
After you have called your Councilmembers, please sign the petition below.
Thank you for making our streets safe for everyone to get around!
PARKing Day Plus 2015 project leads to new Burke Gilman Trail design from SDOT
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has stepped out of their box, and into an intersection full of psychedelic circles.
A recent article at The Urbanist highlights SDOT plans to construct an exciting new protected intersection at the Burke Gilman Trail crossing of 40th Ave NE.
The safety design for 40th Ave NE is based on one of five Tactical Urbanism road safety improvements, funded and showcased by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARKing Day Plus Design Competition.
NE Seattle Greenways volunteers Kenneth Trease, Jen Goldman, and Andres Salomon teamed up with Seattle Children’s Hospital Transportation staff Jamie Cheney and Drew Dresman to build and monitor this one-day project built of traffic cones and chalk. SDOT’s recreation of the PARKing Day Plus design is built of flex-posts and thermoplastic and will keep people safe at a highly problematic trail crossing.
The use of just cones to simulate curb bulbs – and a few “stop for pedestrian” signs at the crossing and along the trail – had people approaching the crosswalk more cautiously in cars and on bikes. This crosswalk had been the site of a recent serious injury collision between a car driver and bicycle rider.
Staff from Seattle Children’s Hospital joined as volunteers at the information table with NE Seattle Greenways members.
Jen Goldman, one of the Protected Intersection project leads said,
“Our biggest take-home – we did not have one complaint about the crossing through the day. All feedback for the curb bulbs was favorable. People agreed that the crossing was dangerous as is. Granted, we were more able to speak with people walking and biking by vs driving, but some people who stopped and chatted mentioned they had driven through earlier in the day as well. The Metropolitan Market manager had reservations when discussing the project at first, but was pleased when seeing it.”
Jen’s daughter Maggie who celebrated her 6th birthday at the intersection crossing with cupcakes, thought it was a splendid place for a party for a girl who likes to walk and bike!
We couldn’t be happier to see a community-designed tactical urbanism project be transformed into a colorful permanent safety improvement!
PARKing Day Plus 2015 volunteers observed traffic and people walking & biking across the trail
When you are evaluating the Madison BRT plans, ask first if people of all ages and all abilities will easily be able to cross the street, walk or bike to transit, and enjoy the experience of walking, shopping, and socializing along East Madison Street. Madison is filled with young people starting families, retirees, people using major hospitals, amid a wealth of residential and commercial property.
Five ideas to consider when commenting on the Madison BRT project:
Crossing the street is a necessary part of taking the bus. People walking and biking need to be able to cross Madison directly and safely. The 30% designs for 24th Ave & Madison, 12th & Union & Madison don’t resolve the difficult street crossing challenges, in fact current designs may make crossing more dangerous. At center-island stations, crosswalks need to be positioned at the desire lines for people exiting the bus.
Plan for people who bike. Design and fund access for people who want to bike in the Madison corridor. Community groups worked closely with the City for several years to identify the optimal “parallel” bicycle infrastructure that was intended to be funded as part of the project: this includes protected bike lanes on Union from 12th to 27th and greenways on 27th, 24th, Thomas, Denny, and University. Creating safe and convenient bikeways to help people access residences and businesses on Madison isn’t just a nice idea, it’s necessary and promised Complete Streets mitigation given that SDOT is removing access to a street people depend on now.
Work hard to keep the trees! Removing 23 trees on Madison between Broadway & 12th may ease the congestion on the sidewalk a little bit, but will make the pedestrian experience even bleaker.
Plan for growth. The City needs to plan for long term sidewalk improvements as part of this project. This dense neighborhood will need wide, well-maintained sidewalks with excellent street furnishings. Make sure that intent is communicated in design plans written by the City for developers as they build along the Madison Corridor.
Study traffic along the Madison Corridor including left turn elimination, commercial loading, parking, peak I-5 access, and in particular ambulance & emergency vehicle access.
SDOT Public Open House Tuesday August 9 5 – 7 PM Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA 1700 23rd Ave
But in just the past three years in this short stretch NE 65th, 12 people walking or biking have been killed or sent to the hospital along just 0.3 miles of NE 65th St. In that same period of time, 12 car-only collisions injured 19 people.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Join us next Thursday June 16 8-9am at a kick-off rallyasking the Mayor to #Fix65th. :
In Part 1 of our story, we left Tim wondering how to commute by bike with his baby daughter and left Shirley stranded with her children trying to cross Seattle’s most dangerous street, Rainier Ave S. In Part 2, we’ll explain how to rescue them.
The city has a good plan.
Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan is a 20-year plan (2014-2034). The plan “Proposes a network of bicycle facilities throughout the city that provides a way for people of all ages and abilities to travel by bicycle within their neighborhoods, from one neighborhood to the next, and across the city.” The plan’s performance targets include quadrupling the ridership by 2030, getting to zero traffic fatalities by 2030, and having “100% of households in Seattle within 1⁄4 mile of an all ages and abilities bicycle facility by 2035.”
Unfortunately, when it has come to implementing the bike plan, the public feels the city is falling short. Much has been written about the implementation plan already (Stranger, Bike Blog, CHSBlog, etc), but to recap why people are disappointed:
The bike implementation plan pretends downtown doesn’t exist. The city makes no commitments to connect our major job center and our densest neighborhoods.
Less is being built after passing the Move Seattle Levy than was originally projected before the levy was passed. This may be due to simple over-promising, but now people like Shirley and Tim are understandably disappointed.
It seems that the routes which have been selected to be developed first in neighborhoods are low hanging fruit rather than the routes people need most to be able to safely get around.
So what would a robust implementation of a bike network look like?
Our city is growing fast. Our urban villages, the places our city has designated to grow the fastest, desperately need better transportation connections. We must build a network of trails, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood greenways that link our fastest growing neighborhoods together. We must provide safe, time competitive, and comfortable routes that entice people of all ages and abilities to try biking for some of their daily transportation needs.
Here’s a concept of what a connected network would look like that links all of Seattle’s Urban Villages:
We can build this. This represents about 60 miles of high quality safe routes for biking – or about the same number of miles the Move Seattle Levy promises over the next five years.
We can’t wait any longer to build a network downtown. We can’t wait any longer to build the important routes that people like Shirley and Tim need most to get between neighborhoods. Join us and the Cascade Bicycle Club in calling on the city to improve the bicycle implementation plan!
You can make a difference!
Take Your Bike to Lunch Day at City Hall
What:RSVP Bring your sack lunch & your bike to City Hall at 12 p.m. Let Seattle City Council know we can’t wait longer for safe connected streets. Help fill the main 5th Avenue entrance of City Hall with your bikes and write postcards to Seattle City Council telling your stories. When: Tuesday, May 17 at 12 p.m. Where: Seattle City Hall main atrium [Get Directions]
Biking in Seattle today requires skill and bravery. For someone new to biking, not comfortable jockeying with fast moving traffic, or trying to bike with their children, finding a safe route to work, the store, or school can be incredibly challenging – if not impossible.
Despite repetition by mainstream media and SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation), Seattle is not currently a great city to bike in. The myth of greatness is part of what is holding Seattle back, and needs to be put to rest. To help bury this myth, let’s hear from mothers and fathers trying to bike with their families in Seattle.
Who is Shirley Savel?
Shirley Savel is a mom from the Rainier Valley and bikes daily with her 12-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. She blogs about about biking with her family and shares her experiences below.
“Sure, we bike because it can be fun, healthy, and we need to get places, but more importantly it’s an economic necessity for our family. During two very rough periods of unemployment, rather than paying bus or train fare we biked. Biking saved my family from homelessness. Even after finding work, biking has remained an integral part of balancing our family budget.”
“After close to ten years biking in Seattle I am getting tired finding real viable bike connections to get me from place to place. I can now say that I have lived here long enough to see slow progress/process. In SE Seattle nothing connects. How do I get to places like the library, doctor, grocery store, dentist? No routes connect me to anything. I live in a void.”
“When I bike home from North Seattle I follow the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway south but don’t bike to the end because I value my life. I choose the greenway because it has all the elements I love in a slow street: speed humps, flashing beacons, low grade roads and all around less cars.”
SDOT has a way of ending this. It ends in a protected bike lane to Franklin High School and the Light Rail Station. Ha-Ha. Just kidding. It dumps you right into Rainier Ave. THE MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN SEATTLE. I made this 53 second video to show you.”
Tim Fliss is a father who bikes with his family in NE Seattle.
A Dad and His Data
Shirley’s lived experience is not unique. Families across Seattle face similar obstacles. To validate his experiences with data, Tim Fliss created a map showing the routes that families have available to them.
Tim’s map below shows all the routes that SDOT has completed (or will complete by the end of 2016). The green lines are routes that, generally speaking, are comfortable for families: neighborhood greenways, trails, and protected bike lanes. The red lines are routes that are almost always stressful for families such as sharrows on busy streets and door zone bike lanes.
What happens when you remove the red lines, and leave routes that are comfortable for families and people of all ages and abilities? You’re left with stranded lines scattered throughout the city. You’re left with stranded families like Shirley’s and Tim’s. It’s time for Seattle to own the fact that we are not yet a great city to bike in.
All families should be able to get around Seattle on a network of safe streets. To get there we must be honest with ourselves about our current situation, and work hard to improve the lackluster bicycle implementation plan. Stay tuned for part two of this series that will lay out how to build a network that families can use into the bicycle implementation plan.
A raised crosswalk is simply a crosswalk that is higher than the surface of the road.
This West Seattle raised crosswalk makes this business district safer to walk around
7 reasons raised crosswalks awesome
Safety and comfort for people crossing: We know that how fast someone is going determines how likely they are to see and stop for sometime trying to cross the street (check it out, wonks). By creating a de-facto gentle speed hump at the crosswalk, drivers slow down in advance of raised crosswalks and increase the likelihood they will stop for people walking.
Safety along the street: Raised crosswalks can be designed to not impact transit or emergency vehicles while still curtailing dangerous and illegal speeding.
Designating Key Community Destinations: Raised crosswalks are used around the world as a perfect tool to indicate the entrance to a business district, the transition from an arterial to a residential street, the crossing of a trail, an important park crossing, or to help highlight a school zone where children will be walking.
raised crosswalk in Magnuson Park
Symbolic Priority: Raised crosswalks send a message that, at least in this one location, people walking are prioritized, rather than the quickest movement of vehicles.
How streets feel to people walking + driver beg button
Less stress for drivers: Raised crosswalks make it easier for drivers to anticipate where to people will be crossing.
Accessibility: If you’re pushing a stroller, wheel chair or walking on a well built raised crosswalk, you don’t have to descend into the gutter and street to get across the road.
Community Identity: Raised crosswalks can also be painted to reflect the values or heritage of the community as seen in this Pan-African flag raised crosswalk to Powell Barnett Park in the Central District. The city’s community crosswalk program can help your neighborhood make this happen.
Click to Enlarge (image courtesy of Seattle Bike Blog)
Central Seattle Greenways is partnering with the Capitol Hill Community Council and SDOT to transform an under-used block of road into a new Capitol Hill park! We kicked off the process at the April Community Council meeting, and will be designing the park over the next several weeks, for construction late this summer. Learn more and share your ideas at Central Seattle Greenways website.