Tag Archive: District 3

Underfunded Equity Priority: Safe Routes to School

Click to listen to CIty Council testimony. Begins at 13.50.

Click to listen to CIty Council testimony. Begins at 13.50.

Douglas MacDonald
June 4, 2015
WA State Secretary of Transportation, 2001 – 2007
Key considerations that support the position offered in public comment to the Seattle City Council of May 29, 2015 that a large increase should be made in the proposed allocation to the Safe Routes to School Program.

The Proposed “Move Seattle” Transportation Levy Should Significantly Increase Its Commitment to Safe Routes to Schools. Justice and equity should be served by higher SRTS funding in transportation investment.

 

School children attending the Seattle Public Schools make up about eight percent of the City’s population.

The ethnicity of students in the Seattle School District is not a mirror image of the city population as a whole. Students are less likely to be white and almost twice as likely to be Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Multi-­Racial than citizens at large.

  • Over a quarter (26%) of the students are from non-­‐English speaking backgrounds.
  • Almost two fifths (38%) of the students are from economically stressed family circumstances qualifying students for reduced price or free school meals.
  • Almost one in six (14%) of school age children in Seattle live in poverty.

The purpose of Safe Routes to School investments towards more convenient, safer and healthier trips for school children back and forth from home to school is a transportation investment manifestly responsive to social justice and equity.

SRTS Effectiveness and Results

Nationwide and Washington State research on effectiveness of SRTS programs shows that schools where programs are implemented generally achieve a 20% increase in children walking to school.

We know from WSDOT survey results (2014-­‐15) that nearly 60 percent of parents queried respond that unsafe road crossings are a factor in deciding how their children get to school.

Sampling from classrooms collected by the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction suggests about 1 child in 3 in Seattle already walks to school daily (twice the statewide norm) – underscoring why the safety focus of SRTS is so important. But almost half the Seattle students never walk to school – underscoring the rich opportunity to improve child health and transportation efficiency from SRTS investments.

We know from national and local research that inactive lifestyles are a major contributor to significant health issues for children. Walking and biking to school are widely seen as delivering multiple important health benefits to children.

We know that SDOT has declared a goal of “Building America’s Most Walkable City.” And that the vision of Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan is that “Riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.” SRTS investments turn rhetoric into reality. Quickly and tangibly.

We know that SRTS programs invariably show ancillary benefits for safer, more walk-­able and more bike-­able trip choices for everyone, old and young, and often do valuable double-­duty as improvements for transit accessibility, a critical need almost everywhere in the city and often especially in lower income neighborhoods.

We know that planning and implementing SRTS programs for individual schools inherently provide rich and welcome opportunities for building positive relationships between the Seattle School District, neighborhood groups and parents, the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Department of Transportation. The value of these collaborations to daily family and neighborhood life is widely dispersed across the city -­‐-­‐ probably unmatched in this respect by any other transportation investment proposed in the levy.

Increased investment in SRTS builds quickly and positively on a program already underway, widely known and favorably viewed. 

STRS is a program with existing momentum that can quickly be made even more powerful, successful and meaningful to Seattle citizens.

Working with competitive grant money from the state and funds from school zone speed enforcement fines (both sources, however, now in decline, and Olympia’s attention unfortunately focused n big highway spending projects) important beginnings on STRS have been made, giving the program visibility and popularity delivering tangible transportation benefit at very modest cost.

A few of the schools, for example, were state funds have already bought starter investments include Dearborn Park, Roxhill, Olympic Hills, Concord, Baylet Gatzert, Sanislo, High Point, Fairmont Park and Hawthorne, among others. Other important progress, though limited in scale and scope, has also already been made by the City’s use of its own resources. Some of the additional schools where progress has been achieved include North Beach, Salmon Bay, Wing Luke and Kimball among others.

City projects have included new sidewalks (but, since 2007, only 27 block faces), curb bulbs and curb ramps, flashing beacons, newly painted crosswalks and other improvements.

 

SRTS needs and priorities deserve more investment than now proposed.

We know that despite all the above, the proposed funding level for SRTS in the current proposal for the $930 million nine-­‐year “Move Seattle” transportation levy proposal is just $7 million. This would work out to about $750,000 a year – hardly enough to make a significant dent in SRTS needs and opportunities. This works out to about 7/10ths of 1 percent of the fiscal commitment in the levy – for essential transportation improvements for a population that just counting students alone (not even tallying their parents, or other citizens who directly benefit from these investments) makes up eight percent of the City’s population. Members of the population that have uniquely high claims on transportation spending for reasons of age, social equity and overall personal and community health.

We know from the diligent work of the analysis spearheaded by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways that investment on the scale of $20 million is required to achieve solid STRS progress within the one mile walk zones of ten elementary schools with the highest equity claims for attention. Adding 17 next level equity elementary schools would bring the total scale above $35 million. Key steps taken for high school walk zones are also badly needed. The funding level in the currently proposed levy of $7 million (less than 8/10ths of one percent of the total levy amount) would if unchanged signal a lack of intention to make any more than token progress toward the safety, convenience, health and equity benefits the STRS program should deliver. A larger commitment will both strengthen the levy program and strengthen its tangible appeal to prospective Seattle voters.

View this written testimony in memo form.

Read the rest of this entry »

Seattle School Nurses Support Move Seattle For Our Kids

June 1, 2015

Click to see Anne Fote, RN testimony. Begins at 11:35.

Click to see Anne Fote, RN testimony. Begins at 11:35.

Seattle School Nurses Association voted unanimously to support additional funding for Safe Routes to School in the Move Seattle Levy. Anne Fote, RN spoke eloquently about walking to school and her experiences at Rainier Beach High School and Hamilton International Middle School in this meeting of the City Council Select Committee On Transportation Funding.

Here is Anne’s complete testimony:

My name is Anne Fote. I am a registered nurse. I currently work at Hamilton International Middle School. Previous to that I was the nurse at Rainier Beach High School.

First of all, I am pleased to let you know that the Seattle School Nurses Association voted unanimously this Tuesday on a resolution supporting an increase for Safe Routes to School funding as part of the Move Seattle Levy. I was at the meeting where we voted on this resolution. The only question we debated was whether it was right to just recommend Safe Routes to School for elementary students. Our school nurses union decided that walking to school safely is equally important for middle school and high school students — and so that is what our resolution says.

I’ll give you a copy, but let me read a bit. We want to “increase in Safe Routes to School Funding over the nine year levy period from $7 million to $38 million, and support the focus of additional money first on the City’s poorest schools, where children who live within the ‘walk zones’ without school bus service often have the fewest transportation options.”

As a health professional, I think walking is a great way to start each day. I’ve also seen walking be a great way for children to make friends. I see children getting to know each other in a healthy way as they walk to my school in the morning.

Unfortunately the walk to school is very stressful when it could be a time for learning, getting exercise, and making friends.

While I was at Rainier Beach, I was called over to evaluate a little boy who had been in a hit and run collision. The boy picked himself up and continued walking to school.  We took him in to be evaluated for concussion and internal injuries. This was a very young child, no more than 8, who was one of the many children who walked alone to South Shore Elementary in Rainier Beach.

Elementary school children walk up to a mile to school, middle school and high schoolers walk up 2 miles, often in the dark, across very busy streets and along roads without much in the way of sidewalks or lights.

A few Hamilton kids have been hit by drivers since I’ve been the nurse there. Two girls were hit by a Hamilton parent.  It is kind of a vicious circle. Parents wouldn’t be driving their kids to school if they felt the streets were safer for walking. And the streets are less safe because so many parents are driving our 55,000 Seattle Public School students to school.

We need safer streets thoughout our school walk zones, for so many good reasons. I encourage you to find funding to support this basic need to get our children to school safely.

Thank you.

Anne Fote, RN BSN Member National Association of School Nurses, School Nurse Association of Washington, Seattle School Nurses Association, and Washington Education Association

Should We Put More Money In The Levy For Our Kids?

May 20, 2015 Cathy TuttleSchool Walk Zone Dunlap Elementary

In the $930 million Move Seattle Levy, $7 million has been allocated for Safe Routes to School.  That $7 million is simply not enough to address safe routes for kids in all 97 Seattle Public Schools (and many private schools). We believe the Levy should provide $40 million for Safe Routes to School. Let me explain why in more detail.

When this young boy leaves this school, he’ll need to walk home somewhere within this School Walk Zone.

Thanks to previous wise investments by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), some of his walk will be safe and more pleasant. But he’ll still face many gaps on his way home – missing sidewalks, faded crosswalks, traffic signals, speed bumps & tables, and stop signs to slow inattentive drivers. I’ve walked this Walk Zone and there are places I don’t feel comfortable as an adult crossing the street.

We need to invest money in our Levy to get this young boy home safely.

With the help of transportation experts, we’ve calculated about $40 million can fill some of the biggest gaps at 28 elementary schools where half or more of the kids qualify for free lunch.

SDOT already invests a lot in Safe Routes to School. 20mph speed cameras next to a few schools bring in more than $5 million a year that we’ll need to keep investing in a backlog of hazardous road conditions in the Walk Zones of all 97 Seattle Public Schools.

Where’s the $40 million going to come from?

Well, there is $930 million in the proposed Levy. Most large engineering projects – big repaving, bus corridors, bridge repairs –  need to leverage big state and federal money. We believe these mega-projects can leverage a little more.

Unfortunately the fine-grained careful investments that give this boy a safer walk home qualify for almost no outside matching monies. Small neighborhood-scale investments for our most vulnerable are what cities are expected to make, what transformative levies are intended address, and what compassionate voters approve. Unlike big paving and bridge projects, money for safety improvements for walking in our neighborhoods is never going to come from state or federal transportation packages (and if you believe it is, you haven’t been following the news lately).

It is truly up to us to decide to provide $40 million to Move Seattle for Our Kids.

The Move Seattle Levy is a once in a generation opportunity to change course and decide to invest in our most vulnerable and valuable. Let’s invest in our kids.

Please sign our petition to the Mayor & City Council if you believe we should Move Seattle for Our Kids.

Construction Zone Mobility: Room For Improvement

May 2015
Cross-posted with The UrbanistConstruction Zone Signs

Seattle is a boom town. Until recently, traffic plans during new building construction disregarded the mobility of people walking and biking beside building sites. This disregard is a safety issue, not just an inconvenience.

Last year, Seattle created a Construction Hub Coordination Program with dedicated staff who work to improve access for all during construction in high growth areas designated by the City as “Construction Hubs.”. Construction sites in South Lake Union, Ballard, Alaska Way, Capitol Hill, and West Seattle Junction are getting better for people walking and biking near them, but problems still remain, in these locations and throughout the city.

In Seattle, we still place a higher value on preserving street parking around construction sites at the expense of providing safe access for people who walk or bike. Sidewalks are routinely blocked, and safe intersection crossings removed for extended periods. Read the rest of this entry »

Move Seattle For Our Kids

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
April 24, 2015
The $930 million Levy puts just $7 million toward Safe Routes to School. We can do better. Let’s use this opportunity for significant investments for our kids.
Safe Routes for Kids

If you own a house, you need to clean the gutters and occasionally replace the roof or the whole place falls down. That’s what 67% of the Move Seattle Levy is doing — basic and needed maintenance on our roads.

It’s the other 33% that gets me excited though — the greenways and safe intersections, the parklets and streateries, the Sunday Parkways and Walking School Buses, and especially the connected safe streets for our most vulnerable — our children walking to school.

 

Sign a petition to support A Transportation Levy To Move Seattle For Our Kids

 

Safe Routes for Kids Equity Map

Click map for cost estimates for Move Seattle for Kids projects

What we want to see in the Move Seattle Levy is real and complete Safe Routes to School. With a total of $7 million over nine years, there is barely enough to put a few crosswalks around each Seattle school.

We don’t have the money or the votes to invest in robust safety improvements in all School Walk Zones, but we would like the Levy to invest more in the places where families don’t have cars, where traffic violence is endemic, where many young children often have no choice but to walk alone to school.

The Move Seattle Levy proposed by Mayor Murray provides limited Safe Routes features at every Seattle school. We want to make sure these safety dollars for all schools are kept in the Levy. Our Move Seattle For Our Kids proposal seeks to add more traffic safety improvements throughout School Walk Zones in elementary schools where 50% or more students receive free or reduced cost lunch. Depending on the location of the school, extra improvements might include a package of stop signs, crosswalks, stairways, sidewalks, speed bumps, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, traffic signals, and other intersection and road improvements. How much will all of this cost? $38.41 million. Click here to see the details. Read the rest of this entry »

We Are All People Who Walk

April 3, 2015
Glen Buhlman serves on the Kirkland Transportation Commission and is co-founder of Kirkland Greenways

 

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

We all become “pedestrians” for a portion of most of our trips once we get out of our car, step off the bus or lock up our bicycle. I don’t think anyone would suggest that we should outlaw dark-toned clothing after sundown. Requiring people walking to wear high-viz clothing is sidestepping a bigger problem.

The responsibility for safety lies with the person who is operating the multi-ton vehicle that can easily injure or kill others. Yes, people walking should be as aware as possible and we drill this into our children, but people walking are ultimately at the mercy of the person driving the car.

As people who drive cars/trucks/buses and even more importantly as parents of children who are getting their drivers’ licenses, we must also teach both our children and ourselves that every time we get into our vehicle we are operating a device that can easily injure or kill — and we are usually doing it on roads that were designed to prioritize speed and throughput of vehicular traffic at the expense of the safety of the people who use the roadway (including the people driving the cars). Read the rest of this entry »

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways throws in the towel

35th Ave SW marchGordon Padelford
April 1, 2015

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has grown from a scrappy group of six neighbors who met in a church basement in 2011, to an advocacy powerhouse with 20 groups and hundreds of volunteers who influence how millions of dollars are invested in safe street improvements. But, we have decided it is time to throw in the towel.

“It was a difficult decision” says Cathy Tuttle the Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, “But my garden has really been suffering because I’ve been spending so much time on our three citywide priorities; advocating for Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and a progressive transportation levy.”

Donald Brubeck from West Seattle Bike Connections said they had decided to quit advocating for safe crossings of 35th Ave SW and a parallel greenway and instead open a burrito stand. “The burrito traffic light video we made went viral, so we thought we should build on that momentum. Everyone likes burritos.”

Supporters of Safety Over Speeding along Rainier Avenue South

Rainier Valley Greenways leaders realized it was time to give up when they heard making Rainier Ave South safe for everyone would cause up to thirty seconds of delay per mile to prevent hundreds of injuries and deaths: “I mean who has an extra 30 seconds? What’s next – asking us to stop at crosswalks for the elderly?” Read the rest of this entry »

LGBTQ Street Safety in Seattle

March 12, 2015

LGBTQ Safe Streets Infographic

View infographic on LGBTQ Street Safety in full screen

University of Washington School of Public Health student Christie Santos­‐Livengood approached Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to do her practicum because of SNG’s positive reputation in her community and with built environment scholars. Her study researched the relationship between neighborhoods and the health and safety of LGBT people in respect to hate crimes and other public health concerns.

Christie’s report makes recommendations to prevent and address anti-LGBT hate crimes in Seattle.  She worked with members of Central Seattle Greenways as well as interviewing  stakeholders in the LGBT community.

Her findings indicate that the LGBT community stakeholders are concerned with Gentrification and Newcomers, Mistrust of Police, Nightlife Culture and Hate Crimes.  Recommendations are provided and include action items for the City, Business and Non-Profit Organizations and the LGBT Community.

Stakeholders were blunt in their assessment of living in the Central-Capitol Hill area:

“With Capitol Hill becoming a center of nightlife, I think there’s just more people and not everyone is used to being around different segments of the population… [Outsiders] don’t see themselves as anti-gay but don’t necessarily see what they are doing when they are drunk.”

“A member of ours 2 summers ago was chased down the street and beaten with a skateboard.  He wasn’t aware of his surroundings, wasn’t in a good state, you don’t know [if it was a hate crime] but he had just come out of a gay bar. Those are the things that terrify people…Pike and Pine are well lit and well traveled, but a few blocks north and south are very dark, lots of places to hide… Four stabbings in front of my door in two weeks at 2 [o’clock] in the morning.”

Christie concludes that hate crimes against LGBT people in Seattle are a public health and urban planning issue that must be addressed.  It is imperative that the City of Seattle, businesses and the LGBTQ community study these recommendations because they have the potential to truly impact the health and well being of LGBTQ people, and the entire Seattle community. Full report here. Read the rest of this entry »

Save Lives & Keep Moving: Seattle’s Successful Safety Redesigns

Road Diet Save Lives & Keep Moving

Open graphic in full screen

Cathy Tuttle
February 15, 2015

If you think a “road diet,” or safety redesign, will slow you down, think again.

Walking in Seattle blogger Troy Heerwagen poured through data from a half dozen Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) evaluation reports and found huge benefits for everyone using our shared public right-of-way.

SDOT engineers have learned smart new techniques to make high-capacity streets safer and more efficient. After a safety redesign, streets still carry as many vehicles as they did prior to their road diet. If fact, our streets are in better shape and can take on even more vehicle volume after a safety redesign. Another benefit? Aggressive speeding, the kind of behavior that kills people, falls dramatically. And not surprisingly, collisions and crashes of all sorts drop precipitously too.

Since safety redesigns are often a matter of mainly repainting travel lanes, they are also one of the quickest and least expensive road safety improvements around.

We call that a great investment in our future!

Check out Troy’s work in this Tableau-generated infographic.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenway Coalition 2015 Priorities

February 1, 2015

From six people in a church basement in 2011 working to bring neighborhood greenways to Seattle, we’ve grown to a coalition of 20 neighborhood groups working on all aspects of safe & healthy streets across Seattle. We’ve had enormous success getting our greenway routes and intersection priorities funded and built, as well as building coalitions and funding for larger safe street infrastructure projects.

For 2015, our coalition decided to focus on three citywide priorities and seven priorities from groups in the new City Council Districts. Ten priorities in all. Here they are:2015 SNG Priorities Map

CITYWIDE PRIORITIES

  • Vision Zero. Advocate for strong local and city support for engineered speed reduction, enforcement, education, and more
  • Renew Bridging the Gap. Improve and get out the votes for a citywide funding package focused on healthy transportation as Bridging the Gap expires in 2015.
  • Complete Streets. Make sure our own Seattle Complete Streets Ordinance is enforced. Make sure major SDOT improvement projects are funded and tied to walk/bike safety improvements.

COUNCIL DISTRICT PRIORITIES

  • District 1: Create safe intersections across 35th Ave SW and build a parallel greenway.
  • District 2: Redesign Rainier Ave S so that it is no longer the most dangerous street in the city.
  • District 3: Design and fund better walking and biking connections as part of the SR-520 project.
  • District 4: Bring the Wallingford Greenway up to current standards and connect it to the future light rail station on Brooklyn NE.
  • District 5: Elevate the N/NW 92nd St. as the major cross-town all ages and abilities connection in North Seattle, and connect people across Aurora and I-5 with direct links to Wilson Pacific School, North Seattle College, and Northgate Light Rail Station.
  • District 6: Make 6th Ave NW, including its NW Market Street intersection safe enough for children to get to school.
  • District 7: Ensure the Lake to Bay Loop is an all ages and abilities route.

 

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