Tag Archive: equity

Creating Walkways in Georgetown

August 5, 2017
by Carol Ohlfs and Jesse Moore, Co-leaders
Duwamish Valley Safe Streets

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets leads tour to homeless camps for agency & City officials

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets leads tour to homeless camps for agency & City officials

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets (DVSS) members believe all people in Seattle deserve a safe way to reach their closest Library, Public Medical Clinic, and Community Center.

Georgetown’s new Seattle sanctioned homeless encampment hosted 50+ residents at 1001 S Myrtle Street who live closer to the South Park bridge than almost any other neighbors in Georgetown.

Before after sidewalk Georgetown 2. 2017For many of Georgetown’s residents and workers, getting to South Park means about a 30 minute walk, or a 10 minute bicycle ride along East Marginal Way and over the South Park Bridge. East Marginal Way is a major corridor used by cars, freight, and bus, having 4-5 vehicular travel lanes lanes. There are no crosswalks at large intersection, no safe crossing on 16th Ave, and no sidewalks connecting Marginal to the bridge.

The design of this important route, connecting the flatlands in the south of the city across the Duwamish River, currently fails to consider the safety and equity of all users.

On February 25th 2017, co-leaders of DVSS, Jesse Moore and Carol Ohlfs, led a walk of this unsafe route to bring eyes and minds together around improving safety and connectivity between Georgetown and South Park.

In attendance were Kathy Nyland Director of Neighborhoods, George Scarola Director of Homelesness, Council Member Lisa Herbold, city employees from Department of Transportation, Office of Policy and Innovation, and Office of Sustainability and Environment, Georgetown and South Park residents and business owners, as well as Robert Getch form Beacon Hill Safe Streets.

While there is still a long way to go to make this mile feel safe for people of all ages, abilities and walks of life, as a result of our walk the city implemented some basic improvements that are worth celebrating!

Below are before and after photos illustrating how road paint, vegetation maintenance and wheels stops begin to make some room for people walking between Georgetown and South Park.

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Before after sidewalk Georgetown 1. 2017

Before after sidewalk Georgetown 3. 2017

Vision Zero in a Sanctuary City

May 30, 2017

Statement from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition:

We Renounce Deportation Based on Traffic Violations

Seattle, WA­ –– The undersigned members of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition release the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement on 2/21/17 that a forthcoming executive order may expand deportable offenses to include traffic violations.

Advocates for safe streets have tired of hearing the trivialization of traffic violence as “just a traffic violation” or “no more important than a speeding ticket.” Traffic violations can lead to death and serious injury, especially for vulnerable users of our streets. People walking and biking are frequently the victims of such injuries, and seniors, children, and people with disabilities are disproportionately at risk.

However, as one of the coalition of groups that make up Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we forcefully reject the Trump administration’s plan to pursue deportation for undocumented immigrants who have committed minor traffic offenses. Individuals in low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately killed and injured by traffic violence on our streets. Now, the primary victims of this violence may also be unfairly targeted by biased and punitive enforcement.

We refuse to allow Vision Zero — Seattle’s goal to eliminate all serious and fatal traffic injuries by 2030 — to be perverted into an excuse to round up and deport our undocumented neighbors and friends, just as we have previously denounced racial profiling committed in the name of traffic safety.

The undersigned seek to work with, not against, the very communities now under attack by the xenophobic and racist policies of the federal government. We declare unequivocally that Vision Zero must not be used as a cover for raids, racial profiling, or other unjust attacks on our fellow Seattleites.

We support the following actions to address traffic violations while minimizing biased enforcement:

  1. Focus on engineering.  Enforcement is not at the core of Vision Zero.  Engineering is at the core.  Understanding which street designs kill people and which street designs don’t is at the core of Vision Zero.  The safest traffic stop is the one that never happens.
  2. Explore restorative justice options for traffic violations. For example, people speeding in school zones in Finland have a choice to pay a substantial fine, or to appear at the school to explain their actions before a panel of school children.
  3. Continue to provide more transportation choices.  Traffic stops don’t happen on a bus, in a protected bike lane, or on a sidewalk (except in rare cases).  When we make driving the only practical choice, we expose vulnerable people to unnecessary risk.
  4. Rely primarily on speed cameras near schools to enforce traffic violations.  Speed cameras don’t require a traffic stop to do their job, they are always on (so they enforce less selectively), and they issue citations based on objective criteria rather than the judgment of an officer.  Cameras should be distributed equitably across the city.

Member groups of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition (listed below)

  • Beacon Hill Safe Streets
  • Central Seattle Greenways
  • Duwamish Valley Safe Streets
  • Licton Haller Greenways
  • Maple Leaf Greenways
  • Pinehurst Greenways
  • Queen Anne Greenways
  • Rainier Valley Greenways
  • Wallingford Greenways
  • West Seattle Bike Connections

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Hiring

Do you want a job where you are part of the team leading the movement for a healthier, greener, more connected city?We're hiring graphic

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is hiring a full time Community Organizer to help advocate for safer Seattle streets for people who walk and bike.

The Community Organizer will manage volunteers, help to run advocacy campaigns, and build community coalitions.

Read more about the Community Organizer Job Description. To apply, email jobs@seattlegreenways.org. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and the position is open until filled. We strongly encourage applications from people who have historically been underrepresented in walking and biking advocacy, nonprofit work, and the transportation sector.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots, safe-streets-focused, non-profit that has successfully advocated since 2011 for tens of millions of dollars of investments in Seattle streets for people who walk and ride bikes. Because we are a very small organization, you will have the opportunity to work on a broad set of tasks and employ a broad range of skills.

Our vision is for a well-used, linked network of safe, pleasant, and healthy streets in Seattle. Our mission is to empower our neighbors to identify, advocate for, and activate safe and healthy streets for all people who walk and bike. We organize twenty neighborhood groups across the city to impact city plans, budgets, projects, and processes, conduct a memorial program for victims of traffic collisions, and work with low income schools to make it easier and safer for kids to walk and bike to school.

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Sanctuary Cities, Federal funding, Vision Zero

January 27, 2017

Dear Mayor Murray and Seattle City Council,

One America SNG letter 1.27.17

Click for full document

The purpose of this letter is to express our support for the Mayor’s declaration of Seattle as a Sanctuary City, committed to shielding undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and family separation. President Trump has expressed his intent through executive order to punish sanctuary cities by threatening to revoke their federal funding. Because of the City of Seattle’s principled stand, under some scenarios, the President’s position may put into question billions of federal dollars annually for infrastructure and other essential municipal services for Seattle and the region, which could in turn have a direct impact on projects and policies we have advocated for, together.

Our crumbling streets can be rebuilt later – our humanity cannot. In Seattle, we trust in our ability to draw on significant internal resources to continue to maintain and improve our street infrastructure while we continue to protect and welcome people new to Seattle who come here from across the world.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition members are located throughout Seattle, from Lake City to Rainier Beach. As part of our organizing model, we ally and support those groups that bring neighbors together in positive, construc- tive gatherings and coalesce to defend basic human rights, including the work of One America. Immigrants are mem- bers of our coalitions and communities, and all of us deserve access to basic, safe infrastructure.

Immigrant and refugee communities have taken action to support community transportation improvements including the Move Seattle Levy. Recently One America and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways partnered on distributing “Hate Has No Home Here” multi-lingual yard signs. And sadly, immigrant communities are often our partners on Vision Zero Memorial Walks following traffic fatalities. Together, we strive to put people first in a manner that recognizes how creating a more equitable community can mean taking important risks.

We resolve to support people of color, children, the elderly, the other-abled, and the people who cannot afford to travel by means other than by transit, on foot or by bike. We will continue to do what we can to ensure their safety comes first, even–especially–as we face the possibility of an unsupportive federal administration. We will support Seattle in its efforts to protect and increase federal investments in critical transportation infrastructure needs. And we will oppose actions by federal authorities, like using the threat of cuts to federal funding to compel the City to undermine values that we cherish.

One of our active community members has taken to delivering flower bulbs by cargo bike, “because we’ll need to see signs of hope in the spring.” We will look to the spring of 2017 as a time to celebrate our diverse community.

Wishing you strength and happiness in 2017.

Rich Stolz, Executive Director One America

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

Social Justice in the Crosswalk

Dec 9, 2015
By Robyn Kwon
 

Robyn photo
Is walking across the crosswalks in Seattle more dangerous for certain people with different ethnic backgrounds?

During a summer observational field experiment, we tested the hypothesis to see if drivers’ behavior exposes racial or sex bias towards pedestrians. Our results found that White males had a shorter wait time and lower average number of vehicles that passed before a vehicle stopped compared to Black males. In addition, there were more first stop vehicles and a longer average distance for White males. Results for sex bias found that females had a lower average number of vehicles that passed before a vehicle stopped with a shorter wait time compared to males. Females also had a higher percentage of first stop vehicles but a shorter distance between where drivers stopped and where the pedestrian stood at the crosswalk.

Much like the Portland study also looking into Racial Bias in Driver Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks, data from both studies indicate that drivers were less likely to stop for Black pedestrians than for White pedestrians. White males had a shorter wait time, higher percentage for a first car stop and lower average number of vehicles that passed before a vehicle stopped compared to Black males. For the total wait time in the Portland study, Black pedestrians had to wait 2.39 seconds longer while this study illustrated that Black pedestrians had to wait 1.95 seconds longer. For yielding behavior based on first car stops, the Portland study stated that although results did not significantly differ by race, Black pedestrians were more than twice as likely as White pedestrians to have to wait for two or more vehicles.
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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.

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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 »

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 »