Category Archive: News

Seattle’s Stranded Biking Families

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

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.

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.

 

Having trouble seeing the map? Click here to view it directly.

See full screen

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.

Tim Fliss Green Lines map

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.

Rainier Safety Project Is a Home Run!

May 9 2016
Cathy Tuttle

Update: Action Opportunity

Please join us for a Celebrate Safe Streets rally thanking the city for the progress so far and supporting further action.

Celebrate Safe Streets August 17th flyer


Great news about Rainier Ave!

Rainier Rechannelization stats

Seattle’s most dangerous street, Rainier Ave S, got a 4-mile makeover last year, thanks to the tireless advocacy work of Rainier Valley Greenways volunteers AND excellent work by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Vision Zero Road Safety Corridor team.

A year later, reports are coming in showing Rainier Ave S is another successful road safety project!

  • Coming from a total of 1243 total collisions, including 630 injuries and two fatalities in the past three years, Rainier is posting some great safety stats!
  • Top end speeding — that is, people traveling faster than 40 mph — has decreased 95%
  • Travel time for the Route 7 bus that carries 11,000+ people per day has remained unchanged northbound and actually improved schedule time along the route by 1.5 minutes southbound.
  • And best of all, total collisions are down 14%, injuries are reduced 31%, and walk/bike injuries are down a whopping 40%.

Get Well Card for Businesses Hit By Cars held by SNG staff Phyllis Porter & Gordon Padelford on Rainier Ave S

All this is to say, the pilot safety project on Rainier Ave S is working, and working well. More safety improvements are planned — and they can’t come soon enough.

Thank you SDOT, and thank you Rainier Valley Greenways!

Get involved and learn more!

 

7 reasons raised crosswalks are awesome

What is a raised crosswalk?

A raised crosswalk is simply a crosswalk that is higher than the surface of the road.

Raised Crosswalk in West Seattle

This West Seattle raised crosswalk makes this business district safer to walk around

7 reasons raised crosswalks awesome

  1. 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.
  2. Safety along the street: Raised crosswalks can be designed to not impact transit or emergency vehicles while still curtailing dangerous and illegal speeding.
  3. 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

    raised crosswalk in Magnuson Park

  4. 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.

    pedestrian prioritized at crossings

    How streets feel to people walking + driver beg button

  5. Less stress for drivers: Raised crosswalks make it easier for drivers to anticipate where to people will be crossing.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
Pan-African Raised crosswalk (bike blog image)

Click to Enlarge (image courtesy of Seattle Bike Blog)

Read the rest of this entry »

Designing New Capitol Hill Park, Share Your Ideas!

by Brie Gyncild, Central Seattle Greenways

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.

New Park @Summit between Olive and Denny?

New Park @Summit between Olive and Denny?

Two Dads Take on I-5 Safety

Two dads from NE Seattle Greenways have joined forces to make crossing I-5 safer for all (the SNG 2016 Priority for 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.

Find more details of their ideas here.

Thank you Scott and Andres

Read the rest of this entry »

A Network of Safe Streets

For the first time ever, two greenways are crossing paths!

Thanks to the consistent and focused advocacy work of Ballard Greenways and Seattle Department of Transportation, the NW 58th Street Greenway goes west to east from Shilshole to 4th Ave NW, crossing 17th Ave NW that goes between Leary Way NW and NW 89th St.

Read more about this historic first piece of a citywide safe streets grid at Seattle Bike Blog.

What's the sound of two greenways crossing?

What’s the sound of two greenways crossing?

Our 2016 Priorities

Every year our coalition of 19 local groups comes together to set priorities for the year. This year, we picked three priorities that affect the entire city, and one priority for each City Council District.

Click on a priority to learn about it more in-depth.

2016 priorities meeting

Our annual priorities meeting empowers our grassroots advocates to decide what issues we should focus on.

Citywide 1: Safe Routes to School

Citywide 2: Complete Streets Advocacy

Citywide 3: 20/25 Speed Limit Campaign

District 1: Greenways along Spine of West Seattle

District 2: Continue Rainier Ave S Safety Fixes

District 3: Central Area Greenways completion

District 4: I-5 Freeway Crossings for People

District 5: N 92nd St Safe Route to School

District 6: 6th Ave NW Ballard to Greenwood

District 7: Safe E-W Route in South Lake Union

Click here to view our annual priorities from previous years. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety at crosswalks matters: Crosswalk actions

blockedby Janine Blaeloch, Lake City Greenways

As part of the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor Project that started in 2013, Lake City Greenways has been working to help community members stake their claim on this important neighborhood street. As those who live near Rainier Avenue or Aurora know, having a major thoroughfare  in the center of your community can be daunting, and we need to make those who drive Lake City Way—especially commuters—understand that it is our Main Street, a place that also serves people on foot, bicycle, and wheelchair.

To that end, on about a monthly basis we stage a “crosswalk action,” at a key intersection of Lake City Way, legally traversing crossings while carrying signs with safety-oriented messages such as “Look for me before you turn,” “Stop on red, keep us safe,” and “Look out for pedestrians.”  The crosswalk actions are a great way for neighbors to meet, commiserate, bond with the commuters that fly by, and deliver an important message about sharing our streets.

Biking experience in Seattle by a Dutch student

foto (1)

Hi!

My name is Max Albert, I am a Dutch student who is currently doing an internship at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I have ridden my bike on a daily basis ever since I was 4 years old and would say I am extremely comfortable on it. In case you haven’t heard of the Netherlands, its literal translation from Dutch is “low lands”, meaning that there are almost no hills.

When coming to Seattle I naturally had the intent to ride my bike everywhere, without a helmet of course. However, this quickly changed as I first explored Downtown. The sight of people blending in with cars on the busy roads and flying down the hills was a completely different sight from what I was used to, and made me think twice about my previous made statement about riding my bike everywhere. I had been warned that it could be dangerous but this was truly something else.

I received a bike from one of my colleagues at the office where I am doing my internship which is located Downtown near Pioneer Square Station. The bike was waiting for me in the basement and ready for use. On my first day one of my colleagues and I went on a trip by car, with bikes on the bike rack, to evaluate two of the recently finished Greenways in Delridge and Ballard which were quite comfortable, definitely something I could get used to. Read the rest of this entry »

Sadik-Khan & Mayor Murray get in a #StreetFight

jsk_book-copy-1030x515Janette Sadik-Khan and Mayor Ed Murray get in a #StreetFight. May the best urbanist win!

Janette Sadik-Khan is visiting Seattle!
Sadik-Khan is the former, and famous, New York City DOT Commissioner. She will talk with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about her new book Street Fight.

Town Hall Seattle 1119 8th Avenue
Monday, March 21. 7:30-9 PM. Doors open 6:30PM

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways leaders of our 20 local groups crowd-sourced these 10 questions:

  1. What percentage of a city’s transportation budget should go towards making streets safe for people who walk? Towards Vision Zero generally?
  2. Should safety improvements go in first in low-income neighborhoods? How do you counter the charge of gentrification when you make streets safer?
  3. What’s the best approach to talking to small business owners when you put protected bike lanes next to their shops? Do you remove or add parking to protect bike lanes? (we love the idea of parked cars protecting most bike lanes as you did in NYC — we haven’t seen car protected bike lanes in Seattle much yet)
  4. How can we sell a Center City downtown network of protected bike lanes to our business and political leaders as the smartest choice economically and politically? Seattle has been planning a protected downtown network for five years and still has another five to go as it works through transit demands and small business owner fears. New York has a pretty good downtown protected bike network. Did business opposition keep your dedicated bike lanes to streets such as First Avenue along Manhattan’s fringes?
  5. What’s the secret of building great on-street plazas quickly and inexpensively? (you are famous for building huge plazas all over NYC in order to calm traffic and turn streets into people places. Seattle is still burnishing a few tiny on-street plazas on out of the way streets.)
  6. How impressed are you with the changes you’ve seen around our city since your last visit? It’s been a full year since you’ve returned to Seattle to help usher Seattle into the tactical urbanism era.
  7. How do you turn a DOT that’s used to 3 or 4-year turnaround times for planning and implementation of major capital projects into a more nimble organization that does tons of small but effective safety improvements?
  8. Bike share. Let’s say you operated a small bike share system that became insolvent.  You have a choice of expanding the existing system or starting fresh with a stationless system, which would you choose and why? What impeded expanding the NYC bike-sharing network north of 58thStreet in Manhattan?
  9. How did New York buy into Complete Streets ideals?  We hear, “we can’t fit all modes on all streets.” To some people this means people biking should be pushed to side streets whenever possible and buses should only get priority when it doesn’t impede car traffic. What does complete streets mean to you? Should streets that everyone needs to get to because there are many commercial destinations, schools, libraries, etc have access for everyone? And why is the mode that is never removed the car, not transit or biking?
  10. How do you gauge the optimal amount of community process?  – In Seattle we sometimes seem to go overboard and other times we barely let people know before making major street improvements. What’s the best way to strike a balance?

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