Category Archive: Uncategorized

You’re helping solutions take shape!

As 2018 draws to a close, we want to thank you for all that you do to make Seattle a great place to walk, bike, and live. With each gift of time, energy, creativity, and financial support, you’re helping safe streets solutions take shape all across the city.
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Thanks to your amazing generosity this year, we’re just $5,000 away from meeting our year-end goal, and a generous donor has just offered us another $1,000 if we can meet it. It’s doable — each gift we receive by midnight tonight will help us get there and hit the ground running in 2019!

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There is still time to make a tax-deductible gift before the new year. Looking forward to what we can accomplish together in 2019!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
220 2nd Ave S #100
Seattle, WA 98104

P.S. Check out our end of year newsletter in case you missed it.

Two Public Forums, Two Play Streets for Queen Anne Greenways Group

Our Queen Anne Greenways group wrapped up another full year of community engagement activities with the energizing Building the Cycling City event at Impact Hub Seattle, featuring Vancouver-based authors and urbanists, Melissa and Chris Bruntlett, followed by a panel of local community experts.

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If you missed the event or want to relive it, our 2018 multimedia intern, Jake Ostrow, captured the full event in this video.

Photo gallery:

BruntlettEventDaveyAndBob BruntlettEventAmandaBarnett BruntlettEventAltaPlanningFolksBruntlettEventGordonPadelford

This event follows an earlier public forum Queen Anne Greenways held in July 2018, featuring Seattle’s Chief Traffic Engineer, Dongho Chang. See the video.

And, in case you missed it, here’s the write-up on two community Play Streets Queen Anne Greenways organized this summer.

The Home Zone Solution: Making Streets Without Sidewalks More Walkable

A group of people talking around a table with a large map covered in post-it notes.In 2018, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways set out to pilot a quick and cheap way to make Seattle neighborhoods safer to walk, bike, and live in for people of all ages and abilities. Our solution? Neighborhood “home zones” — a low-cost model that’s been implemented with success in other countries.

home zone problemThe Problem

A number of Seattle neighborhoods lack sidewalks, including large areas of North Seattle, which has the highest concentration of older adults in the city. Combined with increasing cut-through traffic, the lack of safe places to walk makes many neighborhood streets dangerous and uncomfortable. Given the current rate of city funding for pedestrian infrastructure, it’s going to take Seattle 300 years (at a minimum) to make every neighborhood safe for walking. We think this timeline is unacceptable and we set about creating a Home Zone demonstration project to show the city that more immediate, low-cost solutions are possible.

home zone solutionThe Home Zone Solution

A Home Zone is an area that is protected from lots of fast-moving cut-through traffic so that streets are safe enough to walk on. Home Zones direct thru-traffic to arterial streets that surround a neighborhood, keeping local access for residents, emergency access. Home Zones can use a variety of design improvements such as diverters, speed humps, and other elements, but focus on improvements that have the best “bang for our buck”, recognizing that Seattle’s pedestrian budget is stretched very thin.

A Pilot Project

Licton Springs is one of a number of neighborhoods that were annexed by the City of Seattle years back without existing sidewalks. We worked with neighbors in the Licton Springs neighborhood to identify a multi-block area to establish the Home Zone demonstration project, and community leaders from within the neighborhood to help coordinate the project. Over the course of the year, volunteers with the “Meridian Project” gathered at community design meetings, did door-to-door outreach, and toured the neighborhood streets to take note of known street hazards as well as opportunities for future traffic-calming.

Results to Date

This project is still underway, but the results have already surpassed our expectations on two fronts—one being the level of enthusiasm and participation from a multi-generational base of neighborhood volunteers; but also, and most notably, the unexpectedly brisk buy-in from the City, whereby Seattle is ready to invest $350,000 in a pilot Home Zone project of its own, based on our persistent vision and promotion of this model.

A young child points to a map while speaking to an adult.The initial community design workshop was a vibrant affair, packed to capacity, with a high level of participation across the room. We had a robust turnout of 60 people, including kids, elders, homeowners, renters, business owners, and members of the local deaf community. Food was provided and short presentations were made, but the bulk of the 2-hour meetup involved maps, markers, and sticky notes—and community members deeply engaged with each other in identifying both the hazards of their local streets and possible solutions. The community identified traffic-calming, art, and wayfinding ideas to be explored further. Building off of this large meeting, we hosted two smaller strategy meetings and a community walking audit to formalize the initial input we gathered.

A home-made wayfinding sign with walking times and distances, decorated for Halloween.Local community volunteers created a delightful wayfinding sign, pointing to popular nearby parks, libraries, and shopping districts, within walking distances noted. Sites have been selected and designs drawn up for self-watering planter box chicanes, now only awaiting official permits before they can be put together and installed on the street through a community work party. A street mural is also in the works: We’ve selected potential locations and are talking with local artists about designs — installation is expected in June when the pavement will be dry and warm enough for the paint to adhere properly.

Going Forward: A Model to Replicate

One of our key goals going in was to inspire the city of Seattle to adopt the Home Zone model as a large-scale, systemic solution that’s affordable, and immediately within reach. In November 2019, Seattle City Council approved a budget of $350,000 for the city to create its own Home Zone pilot project, building on ideas we developed.

 

For more details about the Home Zone model, see our handy Home Zone FAQ.

Pushing the City in Advance of the Seattle Squeeze

Have you heard of the Seattle Squeeze? Seattle city planners have been preparing for this car traffic crunch for years, but we don’t think they’ve done nearly enough.

A woman on a bike in a protected lane surrounded by other people on bikes, walking, a bus, and a busy urban street.

That’s why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways helped to form the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition this fall, along with transportation and environmental advocacy organizations across Seattle. We called upon the Mayor to take action in advance of the Seattle Squeeze, which begins January 11, with the closing of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

MASS has become a powerful voice on the Seattle stage, and will continue to advocate for sustainable transportation into the new year. Check out the latest news, and MASS’s response to the Mayor’s current plan for the Seattle Squeeze.

Community Outreach Around Green Lake

Story by Tom Lang, Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets

If you have been to Green Lake, you probably walked, biked, or drove through the Starbucks intersection (NE Ravenna Blvd / NE 71st Street / E Green Lake Way/Drive). This intersection is confusing, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Because La Escuelita Bilingual School is right next door, and since many sports teams and families use the play fields nearby, fixing this intersection is a huge priority for Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets (GLWSS), a brand new member of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition that re-formed early this year. Since February, GLWSS has focused on the impending 2019 re-paving project that will see the installation of two-way protected bike lanes around the entire east side of Green Lake. While we support the project as a whole, our group has several proposed changes to the SDOT plans which would make the park, playfields, and business district safer and more accessible to pedestrians and people on bikes. By slowing speed limits, narrowing the car traffic lanes, and “squaring up” several intersections, this project will now result in greater predictability, visibility, and safety for all users.

 

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On PARK(ing) Day in September, we hosted two pop-up parks — one at the Starbucks intersection and another at the Kidd Valley intersection (N 50th Street / Stone Way N / Green Lake Way N).

One of the goals of PARK(ing) Day is to encourage residents to re-imagine their streets — exactly what we had been doing all summer as we talked with our neighbors about redesigning the two troubled intersections. Our small but mighty team of volunteers planned and organized a park at each of these intersections: next to Starbucks in the morning and in front of Kidd Valley in the afternoon.

With generous donations from both of these business, we were able to provide coffee to our morning visitors and milkshakes in the afternoon. We invited the students from La Escuelita to join us and add to our community art project. We set up a putt putt course in front of Kidd Valley and rewarded golfers with a coupon for a free milkshake. We had a great time transforming these spaces in the streets into places for people to gather and enjoy themselves.

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

 

At each of these locations we talked with our neighbors about SDOT’s re-paving plans. The most common response we heard was that people hadn’t yet heard about the project. Despite the mailers and community meetings, most people didn’t know the details, and were eager to learn. We gathered another 30 signatures of support on this day and helped more people see
the potential in their streets.

Following a successful summer of community outreach, the Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets Group leadership met with SDOT project managers and went over the 60% design for the re-paving project — including many of our suggestions. We are very happy to see the Starbucks intersection will be much safer in 2019, and the proposed stoplight added at N 52nd Street has been removed from their plans. These are big wins for our small group!

Unfortunately, we learned in November that SDOT removed the bike lanes from the street design for N 40th St. We’re distressed at the precedent of removing a route designated on the Bicycle Master Plan, and awaiting more news from SDOT in early 2019. If you’d like to get involved, visit us at GLWstreets.org and drop in on our monthly meeting!

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

We’re going to keep moving forward with our primary task: to make the streets around Green Lake and Wallingford safer for people of all ages, abilities, and transportation choices. Remember — one important role of our community group is to educate our neighbors about current transportation projects, build community connections, and get people thinking in creative ways about how we use our streets.

How Seattle Measures Success

efficiency of street by mode switchAs some of you may remember, a few years ago we worked to improve the Seattle Comprehensive Master Plan. This plan is the one that is legally required by the State of Washington’s Growth Management Act, and all Seattle’s plan are supposed to fit under it. I like to call the Comprehensive Plan the One Plan to Rule Them All, but that’s because I’m a Lord of the Rings fan…
Anyway, we were attempting to get Seattle to redefine how it measures the success of it’s transportation system away from an antiquated car based system that defined success as how empty roads are (yes, really. V/C is the volume of cars divided by the capacity of the roadway, and busier is worse) and instead adopt a measure that corresponded more with our other goals as a city – health, climate, equity, safety, etc. So, what we suggested and the city agreed to look into a “multimodal level of service” that would define success as a the % trips not being taken by single occupancy vehicles. The new goal would reduce the SOV % in all parts of the city. While the targets may not be as visionary as we would like, it is fairly bold for such a technical document that has to hold up in court, and will make a real difference in how our government views the potential impacts of development projects, which will ultimately result in increased investment in walking, biking, and transit facilities.
In short, the new rules will require developments in more car dependent places to make investments in things like sidewalks, bike lanes, and bus passes to encourage more people to walk, bike, and take transit.
It’s been a while since our original advocacy, but excited to announce that the proposal was passed through the City Council Policy and Planning Committee, and will go to the mayor’s desk in January!

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Thanks to everyone who advocated, donated, or volunteered to help make this change possible. Together we have taken another step towards a city where everyone can get around safely and comfortably.
Best,
Gordon Padelford

Today is Giving Tuesday — Your Opportunity to Give!

Because of you, Seattle’s becoming a better city for biking & walking!

 

As we think about what we’re most grateful for this season, it’s you.

You, and neighbors like you, give your time, energy, and creativity to making Seattle a better city. Whether you’re supporting the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition with your presence at community meetings, advocating for change, helping with hands-on projects, or donating financially — you’re the heart of this safe streets movement.

And because of you, the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition has been achieving a lot this past year — just one major success after another:

  • An official Basic Bike Network resolution that puts Seattle on the path to completing essential east-west and north-south connections by the end of 2019
  • Funding for a Home Zone pilot, an innovative and cost-effective solution to create safe spaces to walk, particularly in neighborhoods without sidewalks
  • And upgraded crosswalk signals that will get people safely across Martin Luther King, Jr Way to the light rail stations in Rainier Valley.

But we’re far from done. Seattle is still a long ways from being the safe city to walk and bike in that we dream of. 

That’s why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ Board of Directors and the local Bowline Fund have boldly stepped up to match your gifts 2-to-1 this fall, as we head into our busiest season of citywide organizing yet.

Your financial support will help us keep moving the city in the right direction. Please consider taking just a moment to make a gift of any size today.

When you donate to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, you’re helping accelerate safe streets solutions in Seattle. Your support makes it possible for SNG to:

  • Champion safe routes for kids to walk and bike to school
  • Work for safe routes to walk and bike to transit hubs
  • Advocate for walking and biking projects with historically underserved communities
  • Organize for a bike network that connects to every neighborhood


With your support, we know that “safe streets for all” is more than just a hopeful vision — it’s a future that we all, working together as concerned neighbors and proactive communities, can make possible. Thank you for considering a one-time or monthly donation this #GivingTuesday.


In gratitude for all you do to help make Seattle a city that all people can walk, bike, move, and thrive in, 


— Gordon, Clara, and Susan at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways



Truly any gift amount will help. And, thanks to a collective double-match by our Board of Directors and the Bowline Fund, your donation this year will go three times as far!


Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
220 2nd Ave S #100

Seattle, WA 98104

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All gifts to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways are 100% tax deductible. Please support our ability to advocate for and activate our safe, healthy streets now! And thank you!

5 Key South Seattle Projects

As part of our ongoing commitment to transportation equity, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways partners with communities that are at the greatest risk from unsafe roads and air quality hazards. In these most-impacted neighborhoods our hyper-local coalitions have won dozens of improved crosswalks, miles of bike routes, and improved access to schools, jobs, and transit.

Community leaders in South Seattle are making huge strides against considerable challenges:

Three people smile in front of a festively decorated DVSS booth at a summer festival.1) Georgetown – South Park Trail

Georgetown and South Park are a short, flat, 1.8 mile 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 southend community hub has essential goods and services that the other doesn’t — However, the lack of safe walking or biking infrastructure keeps the two neighborhoods divided. The Georgetown – South Park trail will connect these two communities.

Last year, after an immense amount of SNG community advocacy and hard work, the City funded the planning and design processes for the trail. But the work wasn’t over! This year, that outreach and design process was underway, with a audit walks, a design workshop, and extensive community outreach at summer festivals and events. Community members are busy rallying support, collecting ideas, and ensuring that this trail will be comfortable, safe, and connect people to the places they need to go. SNG, our local chapter Duwamish Valley Safe Streets (DVSS), and community partners are continuing a massive community engagement effort into 2019. DVSS are also celebrating some fun neighborhood wins, including new lighting re-invigorating the 8th Ave “Scary Trail”, new public art and spaces for people.

Partners: South Park Merchants Association, Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition, South Park Neighborhood Association, Georgetown Merchants Association, South Park Green Space Coalition, and more.

Four people converse in front of a background of a larger group holding Safe Streets signs.2) Rainier Ave Safety Project

With crash every day, Rainier Avenue South is the most dangerous street in Seattle. This year, Phase II of SDOT’s planned safety improvements were delayed – again. Meanwhile, crashes continue to severely impact our community. In August, after two young girls were hit at the intersection of Rainier Ave and S Henderson St, SNG and local chapter Rainier Valley Greenways Safe Streets hosted a rally and community walk with the mayor and SDOT staff. She responded with some initial improvements, which, along with the construction of the Rainier Valley Greenway, will make a considerable difference for people getting around, but more remains to be done. Rainier Ave S should be made safe for all people to walk, bike, drive, catch the bus, shop, and live.

Partners: Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Rainier Beach Merchants Association, Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce, Bike Works, Rainier Valley Greenways, and more.

Two people on bikes in front of the Duwamish Longhouse.3) Duwamish Longhouse Trail Gap

SNG and local chapters West Seattle Bike Connections (WSBC) and Duwamish Valley Safe Streets are working with the Duwamish Tribe to provide safe access to their Long House and Cultural Center on W Marginal Way and to and fill in key gap in the Duwamish walking and biking trail. Pictured above, two members on WSBC’s Log House to Longhouse bike tour. Check out what else WSBC has been up to this year.

Partners: Duwamish Tribe, West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails Group, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/TAG, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, Sustainable West Seattle, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, West Seattle Bike Connections.

And Two Big Projects Looking Forward:

A group of people standing in the middle of a slip lane on Golf Dr.4) Beacon Ave Trail

Our local chapter, Beacon Hill Safe Streets, has been hard at work defensively this year, protecting planned pedestrian improvements and bike lanes on S Columbian Way, S Myrtle Street, and at 15th Ave S and Columbian, but had a major win getting signals retimed for pedestrians on MLK Way. Pictured above, a #FixGolfWay design workshop held in the intersection! Now, we are starting to build momentum for the Beacon Ave Trail.

South of Jefferson Park, Beacon Avenue’s wide median contains a trail, benches, trees, parking and other vegetation. The path runs just under 4 miles from Columbian Way south to the end of Beacon Ave. But the Beacon Ave Trail needs improvements to increase utilization as well as improve amenities and safety throughout it’s length. With modest improvements and connections, we could see new community members using the path as well as an improved experience for current users.

Partners: While many individual community members support this project, we have just begun building organizational support. Please contact info@seattlegreenways.org if you or a group you work with would like to get involved.

5) Accessible Mt Baker

Accessible Mt Baker is the keystone project to improving transportation for anyone going to or from SE Seattle . The project removes the bottleneck intersection of Rainier Ave S and MLK Jr Way S, and creates a new multimodal system of connecting streets and paths. The Accessible Mt Baker project is critical to the success of:

  • Making the Mt Baker light rail station at Franklin High School more accessible.
  • Fixing the most dangerous street in the city – Rainier Ave S.
  • The Move Seattle route 7 RapidRide+ and route 48 RapidRide+ corridors.
  • Creating a walkable town center for the North Rainier Hub Urban Village to help catalyze affordable and transit-oriented development around the light rail station.
  • Connecting SE Seattle more seamlessly to downtown for people who walk and bike.
  • Improving freight movement into and through Seattle.

This project has been in the works for years, and we’re excited to tackle it head-on in 2019!

Partners: Mt Baker Hub Business Association, Friends of Mt Baker Town Center, Mt Baker Housing, Rainier Valley Greenways, and more.

Click for an interactive map of where these projects are located:Map

Signal changes make it safer to walk to and from Light Rail in Rainier Valley

Story by Robert Getch, Beacon Hill Safe Streets

Most of Seattle is still waiting for our signature regional transportation system, Link Light Rail, to reach their neighborhoods, but residents in Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill have been boarding Link daily since 2009.

Unique among all of the present and planned Link routes, the Link route through Rainier Valley runs at grade in the center of MLK Jr. Way, which severely increases the odds that the trains will be involved in collisions with pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers.

Near the start of 2017, there was a collision between a train and pedestrian, killing the pedestrian. In talking to local folks, I found that many people disliked how the pedestrian crossing signals worked at each of the MLK-based stations.

I decided to start digging around.

I reached out to Sound Transit and received no traction. I went to the Beacon Hill Safe Streets (BHSS) Monthly Meeting and we decided to conduct a survey online, with paid advertising, that linked Sound Transit to dangerous conditions on the MLK corridor. We were contacted fairly quickly following this action by Sound Transit, who setup a meeting with us, the operator of Link (King County Metro) and the signal operator (SDOT).

After multiple meetings, and months of follow up, the determination was made that SDOT would at a minimum re-time the signals with a focus on pedestrians being able to access station and cross the street more frequently and with longer walk times (we also learned that SDOT hadn’t revised signal timing since Link first went online in 2009!)

It took well over a year to work out the new timing, but finally in August 2018 we’ve had success!

SDOT has re-timed the entire corridor where Link operates at grade and was able to increase the “walk” and “don’t walk” phases to make it easier to cross as well as increase opportunities for pedestrians to cross by 30-50% depending on the intersection.

This means longer walk phases coming up more frequently! While there are many other changes that are still needed this was one of the biggest issues expressed; that people simply haven’t been waiting for the walk phases because they weren’t coming up frequently enough, and were even skipped frequently.

We continue working with Sound Transit and SDOT for more changes.

We’re hoping that signage can be changed to be clear and intuitive and that the “train warning signals” can be more informative as well as something that make sense at first glance, and we hope at some point physical crossing gates can be installed to help improve safety for drivers as well who have also died in collisions with Link.

We’ve learned much about how Link is operated, how crash data is stored, and more through this process that will help us better navigate who’s responsible for what in the future as well.

It may seem like a small win, but we’re hopeful that this small win will have big impacts for residents of Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley.

Speak up for Sidewalks and Schoolkids!

Friends,

Did you see the news this week that nearly $3 million that would have funded sidewalks and crosswalks for schools has been siphoned into the city’s “general fund”?

This funding would have helped children at 25 schools across Seattle walk to class safely by investing in projects like enhanced crosswalks, traffic calming, and walkways. Instead these projects will be delayed, adding to the 300-year backlog of sidewalk projects.

We need you to speak up now in support for funding sidewalks and crosswalks so that kids in Seattle can get safely to and from school.

Act Now! buttonkids-crossing.jpgSeattle Neighborhood Greenways has championed the Safe Routes to School program since our founding in 2011 as a core piece of our work. We’re committed to making every neighborhood a great place to walk and making sure every child can safely walk to school. But in order to do that we need our city leaders to increase funding for safe routes to schools and sidewalks.

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We need you to act now and send a letter to your councilmembers asking them to ensure that Safe Routes to School are adequately funded and kids can get safely to and from school.

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Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Be well,
Clara

 

 

clara

Clara Cantor

she/her/hers
(206) 681-5526
Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

P.S. Whether or not we win back this funding, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways will continue to advocate to adequately fund safe routes to school and sidewalks next year, and hope you will stay engaged in this effort.

Sign up here to volunteer with us or Donate here. Thank you.

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