Tag Archive: family biking

Don’t Delay Downtown & Connect Our Neighborhoods

May 12, 2016

Shirley & Tim struggle to bike with their families in Seattle

Shirley & Tim struggle to bike with their families in Seattle

Just looking to help make a difference? Jump right to the call to action!

In Part 1 of our story, we left Tim wondering how to commute by bike with his baby daughter and left Shirley stranded with her children trying to cross Seattle’s most dangerous street, Rainier Ave S. In Part 2, we’ll explain how to rescue them.

The city has a good plan.

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan is a 20-year plan (2014-2034). The plan “Proposes a network of bicycle facilities throughout the city that provides a way for people of all ages and abilities to travel by bicycle within their neighborhoods, from one neighborhood to the next, and across the city.” The plan’s performance targets include quadrupling the ridership by 2030, getting to zero traffic fatalities by 2030, and having “100% of households in Seattle within 1⁄4 mile of an all ages and abilities bicycle facility by 2035.”

Unfortunately, when it has come to implementing the bike plan, the public feels the city is falling short. Much has been written about the implementation plan already (Stranger, Bike Blog, CHSBlog, etc), but to recap why people are disappointed:

  1. The bike implementation plan pretends downtown doesn’t exist. The city makes no commitments to connect our major job center and our densest neighborhoods.
  2. Less is being built after passing the Move Seattle Levy than was originally projected before the levy was passed. This may be due to simple over-promising, but now people like Shirley and Tim are understandably disappointed.
  3. It seems that the routes which have been selected to be developed first in neighborhoods are low hanging fruit rather than the routes people need most to be able to safely get around.

So what would a robust implementation of a bike network look like?

Our city is growing fast. Our urban villages, the places our city has designated to grow the fastest, desperately need better transportation connections. We must build a network of trails, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood greenways that link our fastest growing neighborhoods together. We must provide safe, time competitive, and comfortable routes that entice people of all ages and abilities to try biking for some of their daily transportation needs.

Here’s a concept of what a connected network would look like that links all of Seattle’s Urban Villages:
Urban Village Bike Map small

We can build this. This represents about 60 miles of high quality safe routes for biking – or about the same number of miles the Move Seattle Levy promises over the next five years.

We can’t wait any longer to build a network downtown. We can’t wait any longer to build the important routes that people like Shirley and Tim need most to get between neighborhoods. Join us and the Cascade Bicycle Club in calling on the city to improve the bicycle implementation plan!

You can make a difference!

Here’s how:

Take Your Bike to Lunch Day at City Hall

What: RSVP Bring your sack lunch & your bike to City Hall at 12 p.m. Let Seattle City Council know we can’t wait longer for safe connected streets. Help fill the main 5th Avenue entrance of City Hall with your bikes and write postcards to Seattle City Council telling your stories.  
When: Tuesday, May 17 at 12 p.m.
Where: Seattle City Hall main atrium [Get Directions]

Testify At Seattle City Council

What: RSVP to testify on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee to let Council know we can’t wait for safe streets. Cascade will help you sign up to exercise your democratic rights to speak to our elected leaders.
When: Tuesday, May 17 at 2 p.m. Arrive at 1:45 p.m. to get on the speaking list, meeting begins at 2 p.m.
Where: Seattle City Hall – Council Chamber [Get Directions]

Really fired up? RSVP now!

City Hall

See you at City Hall!

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.

See full screen

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.

How You Can Use Seattle Safe Routes To School Resources

Mayor Ed Murray launches Safe Routes to School Action Plan Oct 8 2015Cathy Tuttle
October 8, 2015

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray just announced his Safe Streets Healthy Schools and Communities: 5-Year Action Plan. Parents, caregivers, and school neighbors all over Seattle are eager to put this plan into practice.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) offers Safe Routes to School mini-grants of up to $1000 that are easy to apply for with a letter of support from a school PTSA or Principal. (Deadlines April 30 and Oct 30). SDOT mini-grants can be used to do safe routes audits that help to put the Action Plan into action!

The Action Plan comes with a variety of thoughtful tools for making Walk Zones around Seattle schools safe for our kids. The tools include an engineering toolkit and a guide to managing school drop off and pick up.

Safe Walk Zones for our kids is a high priority for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. We recently teamed up to do a workshop with Brian Dougherty, Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) amazing Safe Routes to School Coordinator who explained the use of the SDOT toolkit and more.

Here is an expanded list of some well-tested tools to get you started doing Safe Routes to School Audits:

Read the rest of this entry »

PARKing Day 2015 Makes Successful Streets

Five local neighborhood groups changed their streets on a grand scale on Friday September 18.

People in Rainier, Ballard, Ravenna, Bryant and Fremont were winners of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition.

Instead of endless public meetings, design charettes, and flat conceptual drawings, we helped these four groups build protected intersections in Ballard and Bryant, and thousands of feet of protected bike lanes in Rainier and Ravenna. Here’s a look at what happened.

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier

The Grand Prize Winner was an ambitious idea to make Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street, safe enough for a parent to bike with their four-year-old (you must watch this YouTube!)

A crew, led by visionary Shirley Savel, and leaders Adam Dodge and Travis Merrigan, built 2000 linear feet of bike lanes out of white chalk, white duct tape, green butcher paper and traffic cones on both sides of Rainier between Columbia City and Hillman City.

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard

The co-leader of Ballard Greenways, Chris Saleeba, also works at one of Seattle’s best bicycle and pedestrian design firms, Alta Planning and Design. Chris, Fred Young, and Steve Durrant of Alta created a protected intersection that was extremely effective at slowing vehicles and allowing people to safely walk and bike across NW 65th and 6th Ave NW, just where the next north-south greenway in Ballard is planned.

The Seattle Department of Transportation concurred NW 65th and 6th NW was a high priority for safety improvements and added a permanent crosswalk in record time.

Chris said the bar owner of Molly McGuires – the most active business in front of the new intersection – came out during the day and talked about how much he loved the improvements and wondered if he could get the crosswalk painted in Irish flag colors as part of Mayor Murray and the Department of Neighborhood’s new community crosswalk program. Read the rest of this entry »

Seattle Celebrates PARKingDayPlus

Cathy Tuttle September 16. 2015

Remarkable people in Ballard, Rainier, Bryant, and Ravenna are erecting PARK(ing) Day projects to make their streets safer on Friday, September 18 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Four winning designs from the first annual Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARK(ing) Day Design Competition will be built this Friday. These are tactical urbanism projects – quick, inexpensive, and effective demonstrations of how streets can be safer for all of us. PARK(ing) Day celebrates streets for people. #PARKingDayPLUS celebrates SAFE streets for people.

Interestingly, all #PARKingDayPLUS projects are spearheaded by parents of very young children who want to make their streets – and their neighborhoods – safer for their families and their community.

PARKingDayPlus heroesRainier Ave South. Shirley Savel bikes with her baby and young daughter along Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street. Savel has teamed up with other Rainier Valley residents and parents to install a one-day demonstration of a protected bike lane on both sides of Rainier Avenue South between 39th Ave S and 42nd Ave S, stretching between Columbia City and Hillman City. Savel met with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) engineers and safety experts to plan her route and make it safe for people who walk, drive, ride the bus, and bike.

Ballard NW 65th & 6th NW. In Ballard, Chris Saleeba often bikes with his four-year-old daughter to the Ballard Farmer’s Market. Chris teamed up with his co-workers at Alta Design & Planning to design a protected intersection for people who walk and ride bikes across NW 65th St. at 6th Ave NW. Saleeba, along with his friends and neighbors from Ballard Greenways, will build and staff the intersection from 10 to 7 on Friday for PARK(ing) Day and 11 to 3 on Saturday during the Ballard Summer Parkways event.

Ravenna NE 65th & 20th NE. In Ravenna, Andres Salomon and his three-year-old son Atom are frequently out and about walking and biking in northeast Seattle. Andres and his friends from NE Seattle Greenways will build a protected climbing lane for people who bike along NE 65th St between 20th Ave NE and 22nd Ave NE. Andres found that the sidewalk on this stretch of NE 65th was narrow, uneven, and often blocked by cars, while biking in the street felt very unsafe.

Bryant Burke Gilman Trail & 40th NE. In Bryant, Kenneth Trease, father of two young children, and Jen Goldman, mother of three whose oldest is celebrating her sixth birthday on Friday, will build a protected crossing in a high conflict area for people who walk, bike and drive at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail. Jen says, “I am providing mini cupcakes to hand out. Sort of a shared birthday party for my daughter, who loves to bike, frequently crosses there, and is turning 6 that day. She is excited about the idea of getting a nicer spot to cross for her birthday.”

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers, and ordinary people improve streets and transform on-street parking spaces into temporary parks for a day. It is an official Seattle event, with all temporary improvements requiring approval from the city.  People all over Seattle are celebrating PARK(ing) Day from 10am to 7pm on Friday, Sept 18th.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff will deliver a truckload of white duct tape, chalk, and orange cones on Friday morning, September 18 at 8am and let the building begin!

Find a map here of all 59 Seattle PARK(ing) Day projects.

Make sure to visit our award-winning projects on September 18. Who knows, some of them may even be implemented  permanently in the future!

Contacts:
Cathy Tuttle (206) 713-5869 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Shirley Savel (206) 841-2415 Rainier Valley Family Biking
Andres Salomon (617) 501-2445 NE Seattle Greenways

Site plans:

  1. Rainier: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643216875749425153
  2. Ballard: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643221411142590465
  3. Bryant: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643212933208477697
  4. Ravenna: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643210336540098560
2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

 

 

Join a Group Ride to Summer Parkways!

September 9 2015Central District Summer Parkway 2015

Summer Parkways is this Saturday September 12 in the Central District!

Over three miles of car-free streets and parks for you and your family to play on, walk and bike on!

Watch or take part in the Disaster Relief Trials, check out all day live music and food trucks, take lessons with Skate Like A Girl, and bring along your stuffed animal friends for Swedish Medical Kids Teddy Bear Clinic.

Join us, it’ll be fun!

Interested in going, but don’t want to ride alone down there? Group rides to Summer Parkways coming from all over Seattle!

 

South of the Ship Canal:

  1. Northwest African-American Museum (2300 S Massachusetts) – 10 a.m. (Leader: Merlin)
  2. Cal Anderson Park near the tennis courts (E Pine & Nagle Place) – 10 a.m. (Leader: Dharma)
  3. Julia Lee’s Park (E Harrison & Martin Luther King Jr. Way East) – 10 a.m. (Leader: Mike)

All rides are family-friendly with an easy pace, aiming to get to Garfield High School around 10:30 to decorate bikes and take part in the opening festivities. Please help spread the word!

 

North of the Ship Canal:

  1. Greenlake Village in the seating area between Menchies and PCC (NE 71st St & 5th Ave NE) – 8:45 a.m. (Leader: Glen)
  2. NE 77th & 20th Ave – 8:50 a.m. (Leader: Andres)
  3. NE 65th & 20th Ave (outside Ravenna Third Place Books) – 9:00 a.m. (Leader: Andres)

You can also choose to join when the “north” groups meet up in U-District at NE 50th & 12th Ave NE (on the University Greenway) around 9:20am, and from there head to down to the event.

See you Saturday!

Rainier Embraces Transportation Transformation

Mayor Murray at Rainier Ave S Open House 7-301-15

Mayor Murray at Rainier Ave S Open House 7-301-15

Cathy Tuttle July 31, 2015

In a sweltering and packed gymnasium, with the Mayor, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly shouting through a rolled up paper megaphone (the sound system had failed), three of the most transformative projects SDOT has proposed to date were launched.

Harrell tossed down his megaphone and shouted, “We are DONE with Rainier Ave S being a freeway! People live here! We need this street to work for all of us!”

Here are the three transformative Rainier Valley projects (including SNGreenway’s top 2015 priority for Council District 2):

Click on image to see project details of Accessible Mt. Baker

Click on image to see project details of Accessible Mt. Baker

  1. Rainier North-South Greenway stretching from I-90 to Rainier Beach. Will be completed in 2016. Route identified with extensive input from Rainier Valley Greenways and Seattle Bike Advisory Board.
  2. Accessible Mt. Baker signals an SDOT commitment to prioritize people around transit. It’s too long been the norm for Sound Transit to plop in light rail stations and blithely leave it up to local municipalities to make their stations accessible to people who need to walk or bike to them. Accessible Mt. Baker takes up the challenge with a real station area planning.
  3. Rainier Avenue South Safety Corridor Pilot begins construction on Monday August 3 and wraps up construction on August 14. Not only is did SDOT’s Vision Zero Strategic Advisor Jim Curtin present an unprecedentedly short project timeline, the Rainier Ave S project has the potential to transform what is Seattle’s most deadly street.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spoke & Food Was A Great Success!

Spoke & Food Founder Heather Sletteback with son Jordon

Spoke & Food Founder Heather Sletteback with son Jordon

While they were courting, Heather & Garett Sletteback discovered that riding their bicycles together as they went out for dinner was one of their favorite activities. The Sletteback’s turned their passion into an annual fundraiser and “friend-raiser” for one lucky beneficiary each year. This year, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was the lucky organization supported by Spoke & Food!

KING5 Lori Matsukawa introduces Natalie Swaby Spoke & Food story

Click here to see KING5 Lori Matsukawa / Natalie Swaby Spoke & Food story

Between local Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers who acted as hosts, 12 restaurants around Seattle (most donated 20% of their evening’s take), group ride leaders, and a whole community who turned out to support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and our work for Vision Zero and safe streets, we can say without a doubt that we agree with Heather & Garett, that Spoke & Food is a most excellent summer activity!

King-5 reported on Spoke & Food and our safe streets advocacy. Read the rest of this entry »

Spoke & Food Benefits SNGreenways 7/28/15

Bike with your friends & family to your favorite restaurants to benefit Seattle Neighborhood Greenways on Tuesday, July 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. (riding your bike is not a requirement for participation in this fun evening charity event).

Click on the poster to let us know you plan to attend.
Spoke & Food poster

12 Great Reasons to Bike to Dinner!

Bike and dine at one or more of the many great Seattle area restaurants or breweries that will each donate 20% of their total sales from the evening to this year’s event beneficiary, the non-profit road safety group Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Ballard (North) – Barking Dog Alehouse
Ballard (South) – Maritime Pacific Brewery
Capitol Hill – Canterbury Alehouse
Fremont – Fremont Brewery
Greenlake – Lucia
Greenwood – RAZZI’s Pizzeria
Interbay/Magnolia – Highliner Public House
Northgate – The Watershed Pub & Kitchen
Ravenna – Vios Café at Third Place Books
Seward Park – Flying Squirrel Pizza
West Seattle – The Westy
White Center – Proletariat Pizza

Event Co-sponsors include Whole Foods, Kinetic Sports Rehab, Queen Anne Eye Clinic, New Roots Organic, and Gregg’s Cycle.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is your safe street advocacy coalition representing 20 local neighborhood groups across Seattle. Volunteers in each neighborhood plan and advocate for safe and comfortable streets connecting people to the places they want to go. Volunteers lend their support to citywide projects including Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, Pavement to Parks, Complete Streets, and Memorial Walks.

Right-of-Way Declaration of Independence & Bill of Rights

Cathy Tuttle
July 4 2015
Cross-posted with The Urbanist

Declaration of Right of Way Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, whether they are rich or poor, black or white, young or old, and that we are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  1. We the people recognize that the ownership or use of a private vehicle does not imply the sole ownership of the public Right-of-Way.
  2. We recognize that there is no such thing as free parking, and that our collective community pays to subsidize free car storage on our public Right-of-Way.
  3. We recognize the rights of people, in particular our most vulnerable elders and children, to freely walk on and across our public Right-of-Way without fear of injury or death by people in moving vehicles.
  4. We recognize that when separated sidewalks are provided as part of the Right-of-Way, they must be wide, uncluttered by street poles and furnishings, and minimally punctuated by driveways in order to be functional for people who walk.
  5. We recognize that people riding bicycles have the right of way on our streets, and that the movement of people on bikes, particularly families riding bikes, shall not be limited on our Right-of-Ways unless their movements represent a danger or obstruction to people walking.
  6. We recognize every public Right-of-Way that does not provide separated sidewalks and protected bike lanes is a place where “cars are guests” and where people who drive should go no faster than three times average walking speed (ten miles per hour).
  7. We recognize the highest and best use we can have for our vehicles, our Rights-of-Way, and our fossil fuels, that are all subsidized by our common wealth, is to move our goods, provide emergency services, and provide transport for our most vulnerable people.
  8. We recognize that our public Rights-of-Way are maintained through extraordinary investments of our collective energy and capital.
  9. We recognize we have built more public Right-of-Way than we will be able to maintain in the future.
  10. We recognize that we live on a finite planet with limited resources and that the fuels and battery energy needed to power our vehicles is heavily subsidized with our collective money.
  11. We recognize we are at the start of a centuries long climate crisis, and that every opportunity to maximize tree planting on the forty percent of our city land that is currently paved is an investment that future generations will thank us for.
  12. We recognize the potential for beauty, gathering space, and places for people in our public Right-of-Way.

 

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