Tag Archive: safe streets

Want Safer Streets? Ask for them this week!

October 16, 2016se-seattle-paving-projects

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) hosts “Paving Open Houses” in Northeast and Southeast Seattle next week. The Open Houses are a perfect opportunity for you to ask SDOT to improve safety, revise speed limits, include bicycle facilities, and improve or add sidewalks.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways worked proactively with local groups and SDOT to incorporate protected bicycle lanes along Roosevelt Way NE in 2014-2015. The entire length of Roosevelt — from NE 85th to the University Bridge — will be safer for people who walk, bike, use transit or drive.

(Note: Saturday November 5 from 11-1 the Roosevelt PBL will officially “open” at the U-District Food Bank 5017 Roosevelt Way NE).

Try to make it to the Paving Open Houses to tell @seattledot “repaving is a great time to improve street safety for all”.

Meeting details:ne-greenways-repaving-projects

NE Seattle OPEN HOUSE
Monday, October 17, 5:30 – 7:30 PM Roosevelt High School cafeteria 1410 NE 66th St.
NE Seattle Streets to be repaved in 2018: 15th Ave NE – Lake City Way NE to NE 55th St; Cowen Pl NE – 15th Ave NE to NE Ravenna Blvd; University Way NE – NE Ravenna Blvd to NE 50th St; 35th Ave NE – NE 87th to NE 65th St; NE 55th St to NE 47th St; NE 45th Pl – NE 47th St to NE 45th St

Southeast Seattle OPEN HOUSE
Wednesday, October 19, 5:30 – 7:30 PM, Southside Commons, 3518 S Edmunds St.

SE Seattle Streets to be repaved in 2018: Wilson Ave S – Seward Park Ave S to S Dawson St; Swift Ave S, S Myrtle St, S Myrtle Pl, and S Othello St.15th Ave S to MLK Jr Way S; S Columbian Way and S Alaska St – Beacon Ave S to MLK Jr Way S

Contacts:
Dan Anderson (206) 684-8105  Dan.A.Anderson@seattle.gov
James Le  (206) 684-3174 james.le@seattle.gov
Jim Curtin  (206) 684-8874 jim.curtin@seattle.gov
http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/paving.htm

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.

2015 Growing A Garden of Greenways

Lake City Greenways Builds Community In Olympic Hills Pocket Park

Lake City Greenways Builds Community In Olympic Hills Pocket Park

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director
December 2015

Let me tell you a story about one person who reached out to neighbors over the past few years, and with their help – and a little help from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways – built a park, got safer routes to their local school, slowed traffic on one of Seattle’s most dangerous streets, and helped well over one hundred neighbors meet each other for the first time.

I’m talking about Janine Blaeloch, founder of Lake City Greenways, who led the effort to develop Olympic Hills Pocket Park, gathered neighbors for crosswalk actions to slow Lake City Way traffic, and helped with the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School sidewalk project.

What is extraordinary is that I could have as easily told you this same story a dozen times and more about Greenways leaders throughout Seattle – Phyllis Porter and Deb Salls leading Rainier Avenue South road rechannelization efforts, Don Brubeck and Deb Vandermar who were instrumental in the road safety and safe intersection efforts along 35th Ave SW, leaders at University and NE Seattle Greenways who visited business owners up and down Roosevelt Way NE and helped to make protected bike lanes on Roosevelt a reality, leaders at Licton Haller and Greenwood-Phinney Greenways who are helping five local school groups plan for their Safe Routes to School priorities.
Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Parents Turn Grief Into Action #WDR2015

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
November 15, 2015

Zeytuna_slider

They wear big 3″ buttons with a young face and a date. They are parents still, even if their beloved child has died. Their eyes are haunted.

I have lived through the grief of losing my husband and best friend to cancer. I have gone through the gut-wrenching agony of nursing my teen daughter through lymphoma. I try to have an open heart and my heart breaks every time I face the pain of grieving parents who have lost a child to traffic violence.

Today, November 15, 2015 is the first day the US has honored the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims #WDR2015.

I have had the honor of meeting many parents whose children have died by traffic violence or have been injured for life. In Seattle I have sat with the parents of Zeytuna Edo, Trevon Crease Holden, Sandhya Khadka, Caleb Shoop, Elias Schulte, and more families of people who were killed or gravely injured by traffic violence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Ready To #Party4OurStreets!

#Party4OurStreets

November 9, 2015

If you care about healthy, safe streets in Seattle, this is the party is for you!

Join Seattle Neighborhood Greenways as we celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our volunteers over the past year and look forward to next year.

If you come to the party, you’ll be able to vote for the best of the best in categories ranging from the Exemplary Street Experiments to Greenway Champion. That is right, we’re asking you to decide the winners on the night of the party.

  • Where: Impact HUB Seattle 220 2nd Ave N  Pioneer Square
  • When: Thursday Dec 3, 2015 5:30-7:30 PM
  • Who: YOU! RSVP here!

Beer, food, prizes, awards, a kids craft area with awesome Shirley @NoSpandexReq, and more fun surprises are in store for you at the best holiday party in town.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/party4ourstreets-2015-tickets-19452845986

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 »

Trick or Treat with Play Streets

Gordon Padelford
September 30, 2015

At Halloween, the only scary thing should be the costumes – not kids dodging cars. Luckily, it is easy to turn your block into an oasis where kids and parents can walk, Trick or Treat, and play without fear.

Turn your street into a Play Street for Halloween, or set up a recurring event where kids can safely play in the street and cars aren’t allowed to cut through (access for people living on the block is still maintained). Some parents on Capitol Hill loved doing this last year – how about your block this year?

It’s free, fast, and easy for anyone to do, as can be seen by how many have sprung up across the City. Learn more and apply today! The City needs 14 days to process your application, so start soon.

Photo courtesy @PhinneyWood blog

Photo courtesy @PhinneyWood blog

Play Streets are very popular

Play Streets are very popular

 

Let’s Talk About Lane Width

Cathy Tuttle
September 26, 2015
jointly published on The Urbanist
Crosswalk wet pavement

Lane width helps to control speed on urban streets.

People driving tend to slow when streets are narrow.

Urban Streets

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) recommends a default of 10-foot lanes.

“Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations. For designated truck or transit routes, one travel lane of 11 feet may be used in each direction. In select cases, narrower travel lanes (9–9.5 feet) can be effective as through lanes in conjunction with a turn lane.”


Seattle’s current standard is 11-foot lanes
and 12-foot bus-only lanes. Many of our streets were laid out in a time when wider was always better — and ended up with dangerously wide lanes, dangerous because wide lanes encourage people to drive fast, and when cars go faster, collisions do more harm. Narrower lanes in urban areas are shown to result in less aggressive driving, and give drivers more ability to slow or stop their vehicles over a short distance to avoid collision.

Lane Widths and vehicle sizesWhile tooling along city streets, unless you are a transportation engineer, you aren’t aware of street width.

You aren’t thinking, “Hey, I’m in a 14-foot lane. And now I’m in a nine-foot lane. And now I’m in a 10-foot lane.” (Note, transportation engineers really do think like this.)

Instead, you, the average mortal, just thinks (if you are driving a car), “I can go fast here. Whoa! This street is narrow, I’d better slow down. And now I can speed up a bit again.”

Seattle’s standard width for parked car lanes is eight feet wide, while adding a bike lane that avoids the “door zone” (the distance a car driver can accidentally fling open a door into the path of an oncoming person on a bike) requires a a 14-foot lane (parked car plus bike lane).

With our elbows akimbo, we’re about two and a half feet riding a bike, taking up about as much space as people in wheelchairs. Both protected bike lanes and sidewalks require a minimum of six feet of street right-of-way to accommodate people riding and rolling respectively.

20 is Plenty fatalities graphic

“It’s surprising to see how a difference of 20 miles reverses the survival rates of people hit by moving vehicles.”   Seattle Department of Transportation 2015

Highways

Highways are a different case entirely when it comes to lane width.

You may have read the lane width on the Aurora Bridge was a factor in the recent collision fatality between a Duck amphibious vehicle and charter bus. It is up to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine causes, but Federal standards for highways recommend 12-foot lanes, in addition to shoulders wide enough for emergency parking and median barriers. Most lanes along I-5  are 12 feet wide. The Aurora Bridge lanes are 9.5 feet wide. 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 »

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