Category Archive: News

Saving a Bike Lane & Building Connections

By Robert Getch. Co-leader of Beacon Hill Safe Streets

I was surprised when SDOT told Beacon Hill Safe Streets they wanted to downgrade the planned Swift/Myrtle/Othello protected bike lanes that had been originally included in the 2018 repaving project, to just bike lanes. Including protected bike lane upgrades as part of repaving projects is significantly cheaper to implement than coming back later and doing the work as a bike only project, because the work crew is already there ripping up the road and is able to just repaint different lines and adds posts. So why the downgrade?

Sharrows in Front of the Community Center

Sharrows in Front of the Community Center

It was probably because this route wasn’t considered a top priority. In previous conversations advocates had agreed that our efforts should be focused on North-South connections to rest of the city’s bike network and to downtown. But the significant cost savings meant it would be much harder to come back later after the higher priorities were completed.

And while not the top priority, this route does connect to important locations: the Othello Light Rail Station, grocery stores, Van Asselt Playground, Van Asselt Community Center, John C Little Park, New Holly Childhood Center, and is close to Cleveland High School. It’s also one of the only East-West connections across south Seattle due to I-5 and other barriers. This route connects the Othello neighborhood to South Beacon Hill to Georgetown, and once the Georgetown-South Park Trail is completed, to South Park as well. That’s why West Seattle Bike Connections, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, Beacon Hill Safe Streets, Rainier Valley Greenways, and the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board were all supportive of this route: they recognized the importance of linking south end communities.

Neighborhoods Meeting to Discuss the Route

After our groups stood united and said no to the downgrade, we won back the posts and buffers for the bike lane. And while the design isn’t perfect, and we know that it won’t be an instant success because the rest of the bike network is still years away, we are incrementally building a path forward to a day where anyone in South Seattle can hop on a bike and use safe, connected, simple routes to get to the places they want to go.SwiftMyrtleOthello_mapIf you value our work, please donate to keep us going.

Walking to Transit on Capitol Hill

Note from SNG Executive Director Gordon Padelford: People who live on Capitol Hill love to walk and they love to take transit. Thanks to the hard work of Central Seattle Greenways, it’s going to soon be easier to do both. Creating safe routes so that people can walk and bike to transit lines and hubs is a strategy that we’re working on with our local groups across the city.

By David Seater, co-leader of Central Seattle Greenways:

The East-West John/Thomas Street corridor across Capitol Hill is a key street for accessing transit, hosting Metro’s frequent routes 8 and 10, and providing a direct connection to Sound Transit’s Capitol Hill Station. Unfortunately, today the corridor is difficult and dangerous for people on foot to cross at the many intersections lacking traffic lights. Along the corridor parked cars near intersections make visibility poor so many people driving fail to yield to people walking across the unmarked crosswalks. John and Thomas are wide streets, leading to high vehicle speeds and long crossing distances. This makes it hard to access bus stops along the corridor and to travel north-south across the corridor to the many parks, businesses, and homes on Capitol Hill.

Trying to Walk Across E John St

In 2016, we proposed installing curb bulbs at the unsignalized intersections along the corridor in order to reduce crossing distances, improve visibility for people attempting to cross, and lower vehicle speeds. We won funding for these improvements when the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee selected this project through SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program, noting that the corridor had the highest collision rate of all the projects being considered. The NSF program operates on a three year cycle. Projects were selected in 2016, continue through the design process in 2017, and will be constructed in 2018.

Working collaboratively with SDOT, we arrived at a design that fit within the $1 million scope of NSF project while still providing safety improvements at every unsignalized intersection along the one mile corridor from Broadway to 23rd Ave E. In general, the design provides concrete curb bulbs at all four corners of every intersection that includes a bus stop, while using less expensive flex-posts and paint to create curb bulbs at the other intersections. Early in the process, a separate Neighborhood Park & Street Fund project was folded into the design to include a flashing crosswalk beacon at E John St & 10th Ave E.

image of improvements

SDOT also coordinated with King County Metro, which was planning improvements in the corridor for route 8. Metro joined the project as a funding partner, increasing the scope of the project to relocate the westbound bus stop at Broadway to be nearer the light rail station entrance and adding large bus bulbs at E Olive Way & Summit Ave E, E John St & 10th Ave E, and E Thomas St at 16th Ave E and 19th Ave E. As the design process continues, the team is hopeful that there will be sufficient funding to include concrete curb bulbs at E Thomas St & 18th Ave E, proposed as a crossing for the future Central Ridge Neighborhood Greenway.

Most recently, SDOT announced that they’ll be installing a left-turn signal at the busy intersections of E Olive Way / E John St & Broadway E. This is a fantastic development that will help make this dangerous and confusing intersection a safer place for people walking, biking, taking transit, or driving, and supports the 2017 SNG priority for District 3, addressing some of the difficulties that Central Seattle Greenways identified in our 2016 audit of the station area.
We look forward to continuing to work with SDOT as the design for this corridor is finalized and construction begins next year.

If you value our work, please donate to keep us going.

Neighbors Celebrate New Safe Routes to 3 Schools

Safe streets advocacy can be a long, arduous haul. But sometimes we just get to throw our hands up in the air and shout “YES!! We did this!!” On August 27 we celebrated a key step in knitting North Seattle neighborhoods together, easing walking and biking between east and west, and bringing critical safety improvements to the routes to and from three newly-opened schools. Our ribbon-cutting gathering of 100+ neighbors took a moment on a sunny afternoon to cheer, in all: a protected bike lane on North 92nd Street; a new mixed-use trail running along the multi-school complex and connecting two parts of 92nd; and a new bike and pedestrian signal on 92nd at Aurora Ave North.

92nd trail ribbon cutting compressedIdentifying a familiar problem in Seattle: fragmented, disconnected neighborhoods

It’s endemic across the city: a lack of safe and comfortable east-west routes for walking and biking. In 2012, Northend neighbors began gathering to talk about the safety and mobility issues of their local streets. To start, they identified three major issues fragmenting their neighborhoods:

  • For seven blocks between North 90th Street and North 97th Street there had been no east-west through-route connecting Aurora with Wallingford, College Way, and North Seattle College. A traveler on foot or bike had to wind one’s way on several discontinuous streets.
  • In the 30 blocks between North 80th Street and Northgate Way, the only option for crossing I-5 by bike or foot was at the North 92nd Street overpass. And efforts to go west from there had been frustrating — 92nd Street was discontinuous between Ashworth Ave North and Stone Way North. To continue to the west one had to jog to North 90th  Street or North 85th Street. Due to heavy traffic, those east-west streets weren’t conducive to biking or walking and the intersections of those streets at Aurora were two of the most dangerous intersections on the state highway.
  • Aurora Avenue (SR 99) is a traffic moat that splits several northern neighborhoods. With few signalized crossings, major traffic activity, and frequent injury collisions — it’s simply unsafe for biking and walking.

The safety challenges surrounding North 92nd Street and Aurora Ave were about to get worse. In 2013, Seattle Public Schools applied for permits to build three schools for 1,660 K-8 students on one multi-block campus — located on North 90th Street between Stone Way North and Wallingford Avenue North, a block east of Aurora. The safety issues were plain to see: many of the students in the schools’ catchment area would have to cross Aurora and I-5; and neighborhood-street traffic would increase considerably on 92nd Street east of the schools, and on 90th Street, in front of the schools.

Local SNG volunteer Lee Bruch said, “It was critical – something had to be done.”

SNG Coalition Groups Take the Lead on Safety Solutions

New trail compressed

Licton-Haller Greenways and Greenwood-Phinney Greenways took the initiative and led community groups, including Licton Springs Community Council, Aurora Licton Urban Village alliance on a multi-prong approach.

They studied the situation and identified needs and alternatives, and proposed and prioritized solutions. The highest priorities included:

  • Make North 92nd Street a safer and continuous east-west link from the Maple Leaf/ Northgate neighborhoods on the east of I-5 through to Greenwood and Crown Hill to the west.  Solution:  Make 92nd a traffic-calmed greenway where possible; and where it’s a main arterial across I-5, create protected bike lanes.
  • 92nd was discontinuous behind the schools; the school site extended across what normally would have been the 92nd Street right-of-way.  Solution:  Convince the schools, the city’s development permit reviewers, and SDOT to establish a multi-use trail across school property to link both portions of 92nd.
  • Create a pedestrian signal at 92nd and Aurora, complete with right-in right-out diverters. Solution:  obtain funding and convince WSDOT and SDOT to implement it.
  • Improve safety on North 90th Street in front of the schools, including providing new marked crosswalks and RRFB’s (rectangular rapid flashing beacons).  Solution: obtain funding and convince SDOT to implement it.
  • Create traffic calming on streets surrounding the schools.  Solution: obtain funding and convince SDOT to implement it.

Effective Community Organizing — Seattle Neighborhood Greenways-Style

The SNG neighborhood groups began a concerted effort in late 2014 that is still ongoing — creating concern and interest amongst the neighborhood, community groups, decision makers, funding sources, and technical personnel.

Licton-Haller Greenways and Greenwood-Phinney Greenways volunteers began making presentations to the city’s development permit reviewers to affect terms of the permit. They approached the School Traffic Safety Committee for their support in convincing the school district and SDOT to create the missing link trail behind the schools. They held a series of on-site Safe Routes to School audits by Greenways members, parents, and members of SDOT and the School Traffic Safety Committee and produced a substantial study documenting their findings. They  held separate personalized walks for three councilmembers and continually lobbied them and their staffs. They participated in a Find It Fix It walk with the mayor and city department heads and lobbied them. They leveraged their working relationship with the staff in SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools and greenways groups.

speed humps 92nd donghoBuilding Community Will … and Locating the Funding Too!

In 2015, the SNG groups applied for Neighborhood Park and Street Fund and Neighborhood Street Fund grants. They weren’t successful. They redoubled their efforts, adjusting as needed, and in 2016 applied again —  this time winning part of the funding. Critically, their timing coincided with the citywide Move Seattle funding victory and with SDOT’s own greenways team getting ready to build out part of a network in north Seattle.

Lee Bruch: “By patching together various interests and various funding sources we got a partial victory.”

On August 27 this year, the SNG groups hosted dozens of kids and supporters celebrating the completion of the multi-use trail behind the schools, the completion of the protected bike lane on 92nd from Wallingford across I-5 to 1st Avenue NE, and the completion of the pedestrian signal at Aurora and 92nd.

But, as Lee says, “Our work isn’t done. There’s lots of advocacy, monitoring, and cajoling still needed.”

Safety provisions on North 90th Street and on Stone Way North adjacent to the schools have been planned, but are still not implemented – kids still must dart across the street to and from their school, without crosswalk markings and without the promised RRFB’s.  And the North Seattle greenways network is not yet totally planned. Hope are they’ll be implemented in 2018.

If you value our work, please donate to keep us going.

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

If you value this project, please donate to keep the momentum going.

Our Biggest Victory Yet

What do walking and biking connections, affordable housing, and parks have in common? They are foundational to our quality of life in Seattle. And while our focus is on walking and biking, sometimes we can achieve more by working in broad coalitions.


In the fall of 2016 the Washington State Convention Center sought feedback about what the surrounding neighborhoods wanted in exchange for building a massive expansion of its facility on publicly owned land. It asked the public: do you want investments in affordable housing, parks, or walking and biking projects? Pitting these basic community necessities against each other didn’t seem fair, because this was the largest real estate project in Seattle history, and similarly sized development projects had offered much more.


So Seattle Neighborhood Greenways convened a coalition of transportation, parks, and affordable housing organizations to fight for a fair deal. The Community Package Coalition, as we call ourselves, is made up of our neighborhood groups Central Seattle Greenways and the First Hill Improvement Association as well as Capitol Hill Housing, Cascade Bicycle Club, the Freeway Park Association, the Housing Development Consortium, Lid I-5 and of course Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.Community Package Coalition logos

Over the past year the coalition successfully made the case for a fair package of investments, and struck a deal with the convention center for $82 million in investments for walking and biking connections, affordable housing, and parks.

fall SDC meeting with CPC standing and talking

Making the Case for the Community Package

Thanks to our collective efforts we won funding for:

  • Pike-Pine protected bike lanes connecting the 2nd Ave protected bike lane in downtown to the Broadway protected bike lane on Capitol Hill. This corridor has huge potential as it already sees 20% of people traveling by bike despite the unsafe and uncomfortable current conditions.
  • 8th Ave protected bike lanes from Pike St in downtown and Bell St in Belltown.
  • Olive Way Walking Improvements that will make it safer to walk across the I-5 interchange for the thousands of people who walk between South Lake Union and Capitol Hill.
  • Pike-Pine pedestrian improvements as part of the “Pike Pine Renaissance” improving the walking experience from downtown to Capitol Hill on Pike and Pine streets.
  • Affordable housing funding to build 300 affordable homes for people making minimum wage.
  • I-5 Lid Feasibility Study to study lidding parts of I-5 in the center city to create parks, affordable housing, new streets, and other civic uses.
  • Freeway Park improvements that will make Freeway Park more safe, accessible, and enjoyable.
  • A Terry Avenue Promenade that will build a park like street on First Hill.
Pike, Pine and other streets will be getting a lot more space for people to walk and bike

Pike, Pine and other streets will be getting a lot more space for people to walk and bike

The funding we won is critical, and we’re going to keep working hard until these projects are built and we can all enjoy safe and comfortably walking and biking between these dense neighborhoods.

If you value our work, please donate to keep us going.

A Beer With Cathy & Gordon

Cathy and bike stencilYou, your friends, and your family are invited!

Here is a chance to support SNG, welcome new staff, and bid a fond adieu to founding executive director Cathy Tuttle.

Our city owes a debt of gratitude to Cathy for her visionary and effective work. Among innumerable other accomplishments, her leadership inspired and supported the formation of 20-some Greenways groups.  From Georgetown/Duwamish to West Seattle to Licton Springs, citizens who care about safe streets are making a difference in their communities.

What: Have a great beer and support a great organization!
Why: For each pint purchased, $1 will be donated to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to benefit safe streets advocacy in Seattle. Hang out with like-minded people who care about safe streets. Say hello to the new Executive Director Gordon Padelford and newly hired Communications & Development Director Susan Gleason and good-bye to outgoing ED Cathy Tuttle.

When: Sunday, August 13th, 4-8 PM

Where: Peddler Brewing 1514 NW Leary in Ballard. family-friendly (map)

RSVP (not required)

​Hope to see you there!

Ready for Safe Routes to Sound Transit?

August 4, 2017
by Cathy Tuttle

What do the new Sound Transit Link light rail stations opening in 2021 in Northgate, Roosevelt, and Brooklyn have in common?

All three have active coalitions of local groups dedicated to getting safe routes for people who want to walk or bike to transit.

#Fix65th Coalition Calls for Roosevelt Station Access

#Fix65th Coalition Calls for Roosevelt Station Access Safety

All of these community coalitions are meeting with SDOT, Metro, Sound Transit and other agencies to make sure access for people who walk and bike is front and center at the new Sound Transit stations. Seattle Council Member Rob Johnson has been a strong ally for all of these coalitions.

UGreenways Hosted Meetings for Walk/Bike Brooklyn Link

UGreenways Hosts Early Meetings for Brooklyn Link Access

As their August 9 public meeting, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board will tour the three new Link stations. A separate community tour of the University/Brooklyn Station is planned soon. Stay tuned and get involved!

Want to support work like this? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate

Northgate Station Proposed Walk/Bike Access Routes

The Business of Safe Streets on Pike/Pine

Would you encourage your loved one to ride their bicycle here?

aweful pine bike lane image by david seater

This is currently the condition on Pine St, an important walk/bike transportation corridor. It’s unpleasant for people walking and downright dangerous for people biking. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Central Seattle Greenways has set out to make some changes.

They teamed up with Capitol Hill Housing’s Renter’s Initiative, the Capitol Hill Community Council, and Cascade Bicycle Club and over three days in Spring 2017, approximately 20 volunteers and staff conducted door-to-door business engagement along the Pike/Pine corridor.

Team members spoke with people in 59 (!) businesses about how people get to their establishment, what traffic safety issues they see on the streets, and what kind of street improvements they would be interested in seeing.

The good news is that business people really do care about safe streets. The conversations went well and the volunteer teams collected valuable information, made new contacts, and helped start a conversation about how to improve the safety of Pike/Pine for people walking and biking to local businesses.

This fall the team is planning to continue advocating for safer crosswalks bike lanes on the Pike/Pine corridor.

Would you like to get involved? Stay tuned!

Want to support more work like this? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate
Part of the business outreach team

Part of the business outreach team

Cathy Supports Streets for People

Merlin and Cathy

Merlin Rainwater & Cathy Tuttle at a rally for Vision Zero 20 MPH streets

August 1, 2017

Come join me for a farewell beer — and welcome new staff at a party at Peddler Brewing in Ballard on Sunday August 13 from 4 to 8 PM.

It has been my great pleasure getting to know you.

You are people all over Seattle doing your part to reclaim streets as public space.

You are the parents walking to school with your children in Lake City along streets with no sidewalks. You are the tech workers who suffer daily terrifying near misses on your bike to work. You are the families celebrating Play Streets in Queen Anne. You are Rainier Valley family bikers negotiating a car-free life. You are neighbors who are trying to figure out how to travel safely on foot and by bike between South Park and Georgetown. You are families mourning the death of a loved one from traffic violence. You are the teams painting streets in Ballard on PARKing Day. You are older adults who long for a nice place to sit outside on slower, safer streets where people driving stop as you cross the street.

You are part of a citywide movement — and Seattle in turn is part of a global movement — of people who share a vision of streets as essential public places for people.

As the founding Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG), I’ve worked full time and tirelessly for the past six years, listening to your stories, uniting our coalitions, and amplifying our voices.

In the past six years as ED, my work has been to direct the conversation, and I’ve seen our streets transformed. More people are walking and biking along protected bike lanes and greenways, parklets and play streets are opening, safe routes for children to our lowest income schools are prioritized. We’re in a good place. And we have far to go.

I’ve worked side by side for the past four years with SNG Policy Director Gordon Padelford, a master coalition builder. I’m delighted he is taking over as ED of SNG. His focused advocacy has helped to put Seattle on the map as a 20 MPH Vision Zero city, and his work has directed millions of dollars into Safe Routes to School, true multi-modal corridors, road rechannelizations, sidewalks, protected bike lanes, better traffic signals, safer routes to transit, Play Streets, tactical urbanism, and much more.

As we continue on our journey dedicated to reclaiming contested public space for people, I am asking you to keep caring and to keep showing up.

Please support the work of Gordon and his team of professional advocates (welcome to the SNG team Susan Gleason!). Support your neighborhood’s on-the-ground greenway group. Keep demanding safe, healthy streets for people of all ages, all abilities, and all incomes.

Thirty percent or more of land in most every city is primarily dedicated to moving and storing cars. I am leaving on a series of extended stays in cities around the world that are working out the details of how to transform their streets into public spaces for people. First stop, Berlin.

We are at a tipping point in the transformation of Seattle into a walkable city. We are witnesses of and advocates for the movement towards a bike-friendly city. We are transforming our streets into public places where people can sit, meet, talk, and play.

With your help, Seattle can become a growing city where streets support people’s lives as they move around, meet new people, raise a family, and grow old. A city I look forward to visiting. Keep going strong my friends.

With love,

Cathy Tuttle, PhD, Board member
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Thank you Seattle

Want to support our work? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate

Connections on Columbian Way

Would you like to be able to safely bike from Beacon Hill to Columbia City and vice versa?  The pieces are finally coming together to make that happen, but first we need you need to speak up! 

Fill out the City’s two-question survey and ask for *Option A* on both questions. 

This exciting protected bike lane would span from MLK to 15th Ave S and connect people to Mercer Middle School, Jefferson Park, the VA, two small Beacon Hill business districts, Rainier Vista, and be within a few blocks of the heart of Columbia City.

Columbian Way PBL extension

How did we get here? 

Back in 2011, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ local group Beacon Hill Safe Streets (formerly Beacon B.I.K.E.S.) got a grant, hired Alta Planning, and engaged in a community process to come up with the Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan.
Beacon Hill Family Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan 2011

“Neighbors and advocates describe the process of creating the circulation plan as “local destination-based planning”. The community values continuous routes without gaps, so that children and adults can more safely travel the entire route to their destination. The goal is to enable families and children to travel to local destinations on continuous signed routes. Advocates believe that if a system is sufficiently safe for children to get to school, all Beacon Hill neighbors will be able to comfortably and more safely ride bikes on local trips to the store, to parks, and to visit neighbors.”

Part of this plan was a bike lane on Columbian Way:

Click to Zoom

Click to Zoom

Beacon Hill Safe Streets then advocated successfully to get this route, and many others included in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan update of 2014. Beacon hill greenway and trail Bike Blog

The Columbian Way protected bike lane would connect to other improvements Beacon Hill Safe Streets advocated for including the 15th & Columbian safe routes to school intersection redesign, the North-South Beacon Hill neighborhood greenway, and the Jefferson Park trail (see graphic at right).

It takes time to build a network of safe streets, but we’re well on our way thanks to continued energy from volunteers and donors who make this grassroots movement work. With your support we can realize the original Beacon Hill Safe Streets vision of safe streets “for children to get to school, all Beacon Hill neighbors will be able to comfortably and more safely ride bikes on local trips to the store, to parks, and to visit neighbors””

Want to support work like this? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate


Older posts «

» Newer posts