Tag Archive: District 7

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

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 »

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 »

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.

 

Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk 1-17-15 2 P.M.

For Immediate Release
Phyllis Porter Phyllis@Seattlegreenways.org  (253) 545-8567
Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk Saturday, January 17, 2015 2 P.M. at 5th & Pike

A community was devastated by a horrific collision around 9:30 P.M. on November 22, 2014 as Leo Almanzor attempted to cross the intersection of Pike Street and 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle and was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver.  Mr. Almanzor, 68, had taken the bus from his home in Columbia City and was walking to his job at Washington Athletic Club, where he had worked as a janitor for 17 years.

Leo Almanzor 2014

Leo Almanzor was killed in a hit-and-run collision on 11-22-14

The Seattle Times reported many witnesses saw a speeding car hit Mr. Almanzor on that fateful Saturday night. Seattle Police are still investigating the crash and have recovered the car but made no arrests.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, in cooperation with family and friends of Leo Almanzor, invites the community to participate in a Memorial Walk in his memory.

Mr. Almanzor’s family will join traffic safety advocates at 5th and Pike, along with City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Austin Miller from Mayor Ed Murray’s office and Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has committed to organizing Memorials whenever a person is killed walking or biking in Seattle, followed by a community Solutions Meeting with City representatives who have the power to make our streets safer and prevent future deaths.

The Memorial Walk for Leo Almanzor will begin at 2 P.M. on Saturday, January 17, with a gathering at the corner of Pike Street and 5th Avenue.  We will carry signs and hear a few words from people who knew and loved for Leo as well as City officials.

After the Memorial Walk, we will walk or bus to the Impact HUB at 220 2nd Avenue South at the corner of S. Washington and 2nd Avenue South for a Solutions Meeting.  Community members and representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation will discuss ways to improve traffic safety for people who live and work in downtown Seattle.

“Leo” immigrated to Seattle from the Philippines in 1979. He was very involved with raising his nieces and nephews.  Leo’s family recalled his love for horse races at Emerald Downs and said he often quoted the announcer’s phrase, “There they go”! He loved music and requested the same present every year, “a CD, a new Walkman, and headphones” and thought cassette tapes made the most authentic sound. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Talk About Safe Streets

Click to open in full screen

Click to open in full screen

January 6, 2015

Language is powerful.

The language we use everyday has the ability to change how people think about the world. Our ideas about reframing the language of traffic violence are starting to take root nationally!

Still, many news media outlets and even cities still call preventable crashes “accidents.” By doing so, it frames traffic deaths as unavoidable byproducts of our transportation system. In reality, these deaths are unnecessary, and often the result of 1950s era car-oriented engineering and/or unacceptable driver behavior. When media outlets label traffic collisions “accidents” before the causes have been studied, it is biased and journalistically reckless – and we encourage you to join us in calling them out.

By working to change our society’s language to neutral language that describes “collisions” where “a person driving a car hit three people walking” we can undo the false idea that traffic deaths are a normal part of our transportation system.

And that’s just one example.

Our coalition of thoughtful local leaders and advocates have learned through thousands of conversations what language cuts through engineering gobbledegook and connects to our shared humanity.

This handy cheat sheet distills the our knowledge of what language resonates and what doesn’t.

Public meetings are often when things can get heated. At these meetings, our leaders have learned that it is critical to talk about hyperlocal issues using your neighborhood’s language, and to focus on people and their needs (quiet street to raise a family, walking to the bus stop, being safe dropping off their kids at school, etc), rather than on modes of transportation.

Language constantly evolves. If you’ve got other suggestions for how we can all mind our language, drop us a line at info@seattlegreenways.org, or tweet us @SNGreenways

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