Tag Archive: street improvements

More funding for safe streets in City Budget. Thank you!

Here’s something to be thankful for today: Seattle City Council passed the final version of the 2017 budget with some fantastic improvements thanks to your support!

thank you 2016 budget advocates

Exciting budget additions include

  • $1 million to fix Rainier Ave S – the most dangerous street in the city, and an acceleration of funding for the exciting Accessible Mt Baker project.
  • Funding to create a North Beacon Hill Multimodal Transportation Study to allow much needed safety and community building projects to move forward.
  • Moving up the Bicycle Master Plan (Cascade Bicycle Club led the charge on this!) and Pedestrian Master Plan spending so we can design and build more safe streets sooner.
  • Additional funding for Safe Routes to School ($400,000 from red light cameras).
  • Directing SDOT to use best practices for streetcar & bike collision safety.
  • Other great improvements to the budget: Funding to conduct a condition assessment of Seattle’s $5.3 billion sidewalk system to support smart investments in sidewalk repairs, a new grant writer position to help SDOT leverage Move Seattle funding, and a section of sidewalk for the Meadowbrook neighborhood.

We wouldn’t have these successes without your calls, testimony, and letters! It’s caring people like you who make a difference in our world. Thank you.

If you can take a minute to thank our elected officials who listened to you, please email council@seattle.gov and thank them. Below is a sample email.

Dear Seattle City Council,

Thank you all for supporting safer streets in budget process. In particular thank you to

 

  • Council President Bruce Harrell for funding to fix Rainier Ave S, accelerate Accessible Mt Baker, and plan for a safe Beacon Hill Town Center.
  • Councilmember Lisa Herbold for finding additional funding for Safe Routes to School

 

  • Councilmember Mike O’Brien for the sidewalk assessment, SDOT grant writer, streetcar safety SLI, and accelerating the Bicycle Master Plan.
  • Councilmember Debora Juarez for a Meadowbrook sidewalk.
  • Councilmember Johnson for supporting many of these transportation budget additions.

 

Thank you for your leadership in making our streets safer for all people.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you!

-Gordon Padelford

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Policy Director

Please consider a gift to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways if you want to support our successful, reliable, and impactful advocacy in 2017. Thank you.

Multi-Use Trails Reviewed By Expert User

by Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections
October 15, 2015 (original letter 9/11/15)
The City of Seattle is in the process of updating both its Pedestrian Master Plan and Trails Plan. There are several opportunities for public input. As an everyday bicycle commuter, Don Brubeck, co-leader of West Seattle Bike Connections, has had a lot of experience as a trail user. Don is also a great thinker and writer. We were so impressed with Don’s suggestions that we got his permission to reprint his letter, below. Thank you Don!

Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections

Don Brubeck, West Seattle Bike Connections

We are happy to know that SDOT is doing a comprehensive study of the multi-use trails. The trails are valued community assets. They are essential in providing mobility and recreation for people of all ages and abilities. The trails vary widely in age, design, condition and use. It seems timely to step back and look at them as a whole, for safety with Vision Zero, and for connectivity and equity as part of the region’s transportation network.

West Seattle Bike Connections is a volunteer community organization advocating for safe and effective bicycle transportation in, to and from West Seattle. We advocate for pedestrian safety as well, and for use of city streets by all modes of transportation. We represent West Seattle and South Park in the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition. We are the West Seattle branch of Cascade Bicycle Club’s “Connect Seattle” groups. We are part of Sustainable West Seattle. At our last meeting, we developed some suggestions for the Trails Upgrade plan, and followed up with other members in an online brainstorming session. Here are our thoughts.

General issues for all multi-use trails and off-street bike paths:

  1. Vehicle drivers entering and exiting driveways frequently fail to stop and look before crossing multi-use paths, creating serious hazards and causing serious injuries. At all public drives, e.g., into parks, public parking lots, Seacrest marina:
    1. Install stop signs and stop bar markings on pavement for exiting drivers.
    2. Restrict curb cut widths to minimum workable, with required sight triangles.
    3. Hold parking lane parking back from entries.
    4. Add trail crossing warning signs to entries to public and private drives.
  2. Posts and bollards are hazardous to bike riders, especially when trail traffic is heavy, and in hours of darkness. Remove posts where not really necessary to prevent vehicle traffic from entering trail. Mark all bollards and posts and mark pavement at posts per national trail standards. Follow WSDOT Design Manual Chapter 1020 – Bicycle Facilities for setback, daytime high visibility paint and nighttime retro-reflective markers, and pavement warning markings per MUTCD.
  3. Pedestrians, dogs on leashes, skaters, skateboarders, people pushing strollers, and tourists on rental bikes and surreys tend to use the entire trail width when in groups, making it difficult to yield and hazardous to all parties for people on bikes or skates to pass in either direction. Even solo pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists are often encountered on either side of the trail, at random. We recommend design and education to encourage travel on the right, with passing on the left and yielding to oncoming traffic, for all trail users.

Read complete letter here

Read the rest of this entry »

South Lake Union by Bike?

October 1, 2015

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

South Lake Union Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Scouting Ride July 2015

In July 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought together a group of stakeholders to scout and recommend better east‐west connections between the Cascade and Uptown neighborhoods for families and people of all ages and abilities to navigate the fastest growing part of Seattle by bike.

The scouting ride had representatives from the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Parks, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Lake to Bay Loop Coalition, Seattle Bike Blog, Queen Anne Greenways, Cascade Bicycle Club, Lake Union Greenways, Central Seattle Greenways, and the Seattle City Council.

Top Four Recommendations

  1. Roll Out the G​reen Carpet:​T​he Mercer Street Underpass is an excellent and important all ages and abilities route across Aurora. Extend the “green carpet” east, west, and south in order to connect South Lake Union, Uptown, and Seattle Center.​

    top four Lake to Bay reccomenations

    Top Four Recommendations

  2. Lake to Bay Broad Street must be all ages and abilitiesSharrows on Broad Street are not an acceptable level of safety or comfort for this major redesign proposed by the Lake to Bay Planning effort. While confident adults may feel comfortable taking the lane on bicycles in traffic, the majority people do not.
  3. Upgrade the Thomas Green Street to neighborhood greenway standards. Thomas Street between Eastlake Ave E and 5th Ave N could be a world‐class east‐west bike route once the Aurora overpass is built.
  4. Build a Greenway from the Thomas St Overpass to the Seattle Center.​ How to get from the waterfront to Seattle Center by bike? The best route scouted between the beautiful Thomas Street Overpass and Seattle Center’s August Wilson Way is a zig‐zag route.

Scroll, zoom, and click the map recommendations below to learn more or view in a new window. Read the rest of this entry »

Campaign to Fix Seattle’s Most Dangerous Street

Gordon Padelford
October 1, 2015

Safety Over Speeding Campaign for Rainier Ave S

Rainier Avenue South was the most dangerous street in Seattle, tearing apart many families, keeping people from walking in their neighborhood to visit friends, families, schools, and businesses.

It was a hazardous barrier, physically dividing the Rainier Valley community.

With one crash every day causing 630 injuries and two fatalities in the last three years, the need was clear, but fear of community pushback kept the politicians and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) from acting boldly.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways provided the expertise to help Rainier Valley Greenways build a powerful campaign to make bold change not only possible, but inevitable.

Get Well Card for Businesses Hit By Cars held by SNG staff Phyllis Porter & Gordon Padelford on Rainier Ave S

This grassroots campaign involved 21 different tactics such posting a giant hand-painted “Get Well Soon Rainier Ave” card on a local business that had been plowed into by a car, framing the conversation in the media around the human toll of the road rather than the fear of change, and hosting a Day of Action crosswalk protest. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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

 

 

Announcing PARK(ing) Day Winners!

Grand Prize Winner Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes from Family Bike & Shirley Savel

Grand Prize Winner Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes from Family Bike & Shirley Savel

August 27, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition winners!

(Hurry!! Applications for PARK(ing) Day are due by close of day Friday, August 28.)

Our judges (Andres Salomon University/NE Greenways), Bob Edmiston (Madison Park Greenways), Dave Rodgers (SvR Design), David Burgesser (Seattle Department of Transportation) and Cathy Tuttle (Seattle Neighborhood Greenways) had a hard time narrowing the field of 18 fabulous entries down to just three winners and two alternates.

Winners will receive prizes plus extra attention as they apply for permits, help with materials, and help making the best possible PARK(ing) Day projects. All of our judges will all offer technical support, with Andres Salomon taking the lead on working with winning entries.

Cafe Red Coffee Cart will grace Rainier Ave S during PARK(ing) Day

Cafe Red Coffee Cart will grace Rainier Ave S during PARK(ing) Day

Funding for the first annualPARK(ing) Day Design Competition comes from the Bowline Fund.

And the winners are:

  1. GRAND PRIZE WINNER Shirley Savel/Family Bike Team, Rainier Valley Protected Bikes Lane
  2. Chris Saleeba and Fred Young Alta Planning & Design, 6th Ave NW & NW 65th St crossing
  3. Andres Salomon, NE 65th St & 22nd Ave NE Protected Bike Lane

Runners-up

  1. Kenneth Trease & Jen Goldman, Burke-Gilman Trail & 40th Ave NE
  2. Andrea Fitch, 4th Ave N & Florentia St connector

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

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

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered the first annual Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition!

Seattle PARK(ing) Day on Friday, September 18 from 11am to 7pm will be wonderful this year!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is using PARKing Day to celebrate streets for people by encouraging applicants to build street safety 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!

 

 

 

Crackdown On Block The Box

August 13, 2015

Mercer Mess Blocked Box. KOMO photo.

Mercer Mess Blocked Box. KOMO photo.

Today in Seattle City Council, officials from Seattle Police and Seattle Department of Transportation presented a new initiative championed by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw called “Don’t Be a Jerk, Don’t Block the Box“.

Obstructing crosswalks and intersections during signal changes is indeed part of the Municipal Code of Seattle and is against the law (SMC 11.50.070), but traffic violations are rarely enforced unless they are part of a funded initiative.

Because journalists are often delayed as they head out from downtown Seattle by blocked boxes, so media stories about Block the Box have been overwhelmingly supportive.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Executive Director Cathy Tuttle presented the following testimony on why to consider Block the Box as part of a Vision Zero / Safe Streets initiative:

Tuttle Block the Box Testimony

Click on image to see testimony and City presentation on Block the Box

My name is Cathy Tuttle. I am the Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I am here today representing Greenways, a community coalition of more than 20 local groups who chose as their number one priority in 2015 safe streets and Vision Zero.

We are delighted to see this “Block the Box” collaboration between Seattle Police and the Seattle Department of Transportation. It is a data-driven safety initiative we strongly support.

Not only does “Blocking the Box” lead to traffic congestion and delay, car drivers who illegally enter crosswalks and intersections pose a significant safety threat to people who walk and ride bicycles.

“Block the Box” is notable in the downtown core, but I’ve spoken to many of our members who feel threatened as they attempt to cross the street by people driving cars across signalized crosswalks in many urban villages including Greenwood, Lake City, Queen Anne, Rainier, Faunterloy, Ballard, Capitol Hill, and Wallingford. In particular, our most vulnerable elders and children are at risk by people who “Block the Box”.

A father who walks his children daily to preschool, one in a stroller and one in hand, says that he often waits for two signal cycles in Madison Valley until the crosswalk is open for him to walk his family safely across the street. A senior couple in Green Lake told me they wait for gaps in traffic and “scurry like scared rabbits” to get across the street from the Library to the Community Center.

We hope this collaborative pilot project is successful and expands to other neighborhoods. We urge Council to consider dedicating some of the revenue collected in “Block the Box” citations back into Vision Zero safety enforcement AND into Vision Zero safety engineering for safer crosswalks throughout the city.

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 »

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