Tag Archive: crowd sourced mapping

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.

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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.

Greenways Receives Major SDOT Award

Cathy Tuttle
September 12, 2015

SDOT Director Scott Kubly awards SNGreenways 2015 Transportation Team Award

Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly presents Seattle Neighborhood Greenways with the 2015 Transportation Team Award

On September 10, 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) received the Transportation Team Award from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). SDOT gives just one annual award to “individuals or teams from other departments/groups or citizens not employed by the city, such as volunteers or non‑profit groups who help to advance SDOT’s mission, vision, and goals.”

Before the awards ceremony, in true grassroots activist fashion, nine SNG leaders spread out among the SDOT managers at tables filling City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes room and learned more about various SDOT functions and discussed how SNG can help to advocate for future funding and safety improvements for a variety of new street projects including signals, paving, sidewalks, and safe routes to school.

Here is the complete text from SDOT of why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways organization was nominated for and received this coveted award. Thank you for the honor! We look forward to many more years of productive collaboration!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) has changed, and improved, the way Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) works with community partners in doing outreach and public engagement. The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was an innovative combination of staff, consultant, and community resources, which led to a final product that had broad public, and Council, support.SDOT 2015 Transporation Team Award Plaques

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is being nominated for their proactive and innovative community support for the development, and adoption of, the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took an active and critical role in developing the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), which was approved by City Council in April, 2014, after a 2-year planning process. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways groups took the initiative, in small neighborhood-focused groups throughout the city, to identify good greenways streets in their own neighborhoods, share that information with SDOT (including a map prepared in GIS), and attend community meetings on the plan update. This resulted in significant resource and cost savings for SDOT’s efforts on the BMP. Over 200 miles of greenways were included in the final BMP.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took the initiative, on a volunteer basis, of organizing community members to do walking tours and fieldwork on streets in their neighborhoods, which contributed significantly to the development of the final Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). These efforts supplemented the work by City staff and consultants, and allowed a level of detailed effort and analysis that would not have been possible with City resources alone. SNG staff and volunteers also participated actively in community meetings relating to the development of the BMP, helped develop thinking around an “all ages and abilities” bicycle network and helped advocate for the Plan’s adoption with City Council.

SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis with SDOT Director Scott Kubly

SDOT Director Scott Kubly with SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers exceeded the usual expectations by community groups in terms of not only participating in SDOT-led community events on the BMP, but also organizing their own events, including neighborhood walks and bike rides. They also presented information on their own initiative to District Councils and other larger community organizations. Finally, they documented and presented information to SDOT in Geographic Information System (GIS) form, which SDOT was able to use in preparing maps of the final system network for the BMP.