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Community Spotlight: Peaches Thomas in New Role for Duwamish Valley Safe Streets

PeachesThomas

Peaches Thomas, a long-time Traffic Safety Advocate, has stepped into a new role as Community Outreach Coordinator with Duwamish Valley Safe Streets. She will be working to create opportunities for residents, specifically youth, to foster a culture of walking and rolling.

You may recognize Peaches from her role last year co-leading community outreach for SDOT’s pilot Home Zone project in South Park, or from her work as a member of the advisory board for the Georgetown to South Park Connection.

Peaches recently received the Unsung Hero Award, presented by the South Park Neighborhood Association, recognizing outstanding individuals who have been working quietly toward the overall betterment of the South Park community. Peaches received the award in honor of her dedication to the community during her time as a Seattle Public Schools Crossing Guard for Concord International Elementary School in South Park.

Peaches believes in empowering communities through advocacy, outreach, and education. In her experience working within Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, residents feel safer when their shared spaces are equitable and accessible to all. She hopes to one day travel to Egypt, Ghana, and France.

Come Celebrate! Annual Volunteer Party

Come Celebrate!

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Friday, January 31, 2020, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA

RSVP Here

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Join Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to celebrate what you helped accomplish in 2019 and kick off 2020 with good food, drinks, and friends!

Featuring special guests Elliot Helmbrecht the Mayor’s Transportation Advisor, and Dongho Chang the City’s Chief Traffic Engineer. And come for the art, kids activities, and fun for all!
All are welcome — you don’t have to had volunteered with us in 2019 to come celebrate!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Friday, January 31, 2020, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA (1414 S Weller St)

RSVP Here

Check out the Facebook Event Page to invite friends and share.
Have a few minutes to help us set up, run, or clean up the event? Email: Clara@seattlegreenways.org 

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a volunteer-powered grassroots organization and community. We’re throwing a party to celebrate all of the wonderful people who make our coalition and our movement the wonderful community that it is. We’ll be celebrating all of the progress that YOU made possible in 2019, and looking forward to an exciting 2020 ahead. To learn more, check out our year-end wrap up here.

The Japanese Cultural & Community Center of WA is centrally located on the new King St Neighborhood Greenway. It is located within easy distance of the numerous King County Metrobus routes on Rainier Ave, S Jackson St, and 12th Ave S, notably the 7, 9, 106, and First Hill Streetcar. The facility is wheelchair accessible and has all-gender bathrooms. All are welcome!

Thank you for taking part in the Giving Tuesday tradition!

Because of you, the community-power behind Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle is becoming a better city for walking, biking, and rolling. And yet, we have a long ways to go.

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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.

 

Because of you, we achieved eight major wins for walking/rolling/biking and equity in the city’s 2020 budget, including:

  • Biking Routes for Southeast Seattle: Southeast Seattle currently does not have a single safe and convenient connection for people riding bikes to the rest of Seattle. The $10.53 million in increased funding will change that, by building the Georgetown to South Park Trail, the Beacon Ave Trail, or a Martin Luther King Jr. Way South protected bike lane, or partially constructing some combination of all three!
  • Walking Routes: Walking and rolling is a fundamental right — but right now many people are unable to get around safely and conveniently in Seattle because of inaccessible or nonexistent sidewalks. The city’s budget added $4 million for sidewalk construction and $7 million for accessibility improvements like curb ramps.
  • Safe Routes to School: Every child should be able to walk and bike to school safely, but currently there is not a single full time employee at the Seattle Public Schools in charge of making sure that happens. As a result, dozens of schools lack crossing guards, and other traffic safety programs are run exclusively by volunteers (creating an equity disparity). Now, there will be a full-time Active Transportation Coordinator to help the thousands of Seattle public school children who walk and bike to school arrive safely.
  • Home Zones: There is a 1,800 year backlog to build sidewalks across Seattle. Home Zones are a cost effective tool to make neighborhoods without sidewalks more walkable. $350,000 in new funding will allow continuation of the Home Zone concept that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought to Seattle in 2018.
  • Transportation Equity Program: Unfortunately, race and racism play a huge role in determining a person’s ability to get where they need to go in Seattle. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways strives to redress the historical and systemically-rooted inequities in transportation and city investments (for more see our our Racial Equity Action Plan released this year). This funding will allow continuation of the Transportation Equity Program, helping to identify and address systemic and structural equity issues.

But we’re far from done. Seattle is still a long ways from being the comfortable city to walk and bike in that we need — to keep people of all ages and abilities safe as they go about their daily lives, to address historical inequities in neighborhood infrastructure, to fight climate change, and to provide the kind of active, enjoyable, affordable, community life we know is possible.

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, roll, and thrive in,

-Gordon

 

 Gordon Padelford

 Executive Director

P.S. Truly any gift amount will help, as we head into our busiest season of citywide organizing yet!

 

4 Ways Neighbors Reclaimed Their Streets This Year

Franklin High School Students Engage with Neighborhood Plan in Mt. Baker

franklin mural

We worked with our partners at the Mt Baker Hub and created a well attended workshop for Franklin High School students to dig into Accessible Mt Baker and get engaged in envisioning the future of their neighborhood. This is part of a community driven effort to create a neighborhood that is sustainable, affordable, diverse, and thriving.We also financially supported students to participate in the creation four new murals (one is pictured above) by the light rail station celebrating the community and welcoming people to the neighborhood.

You can have your say about what transportation projects should be a priority in the neighborhood through SDOT’s online survey about the Accessible Mt Baker project.

 

Queen Anne Greenways Play Streets Are Seattle’s Largest

2019 queen anne play street

This summer, Queen Anne Greenways once again filled the streets with community fun at two annual Playstreets. The group closed a block of 1st Ave West adjacent to the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market to cars and opened it up for family fun and community building.

SDOT is working to encourage more people centered street events through their revamped People Streets Program.

Home Zone Work Party and Kickoff Celebration

Three people stand smiling while assembling a planter and holding a Home Zone sign.IMG_E8799

Neighbors gathered in Broadview for a work party and kick-off celebration of their new Home Zone! They got their hands dirty planting and putting out home made barriers made out of reused blue food barrels and zip tying signage marking the entrances to the Home Zone. SDOT has already installed speed humps in the neighborhood as part of the project with more improvements coming. The other 2020 Home Zone is located in South Park near Concord International Elementary School.

Read more about Home Zones, which are are a cost effective tool to make neighborhoods without sidewalks more walkable — it is a concept Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought to Seattle in 2018. 

Claim the Lane for Climate

Following in the footsteps of a viral urbanism movement to usher private vehicles out of designated bus lanes, activists from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and 350 Seattle teamed up to #ClaimTheLaneForClimate. The group bike ride on 4th Ave through downtown followed by afternoon rush hour clearing of bus lane on Olive Way emphasized the climate impacts of a transportation system that prioritizes private car travel over more sustainable modes like transit and biking. And the activism paid off! In October, SDOT began painting red bus lanes, removing ambiguity and confusion.

 

These four stories are just a sampling of all the exciting things happening around Seattle. Thanks for caring and getting involved in your neighborhood!

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

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