Tag Archive: walking

10 Ways You Can Help Move Seattle For Our Kids

Safe Routes Walk HomeWe need YOU to speak for increasing funding for Safe Routes To School in the proposed $930 million transportation levy. This is our best chance to make all schools safe to walk and bike in the next nine years.

Councilmembers will discuss the Levy in Committee until June 23, when it will go to the full Council for a vote. So act quickly!

Here are 10 ways you can help get money for Safe Routes To School in the next few weeks:

  1. June 2nd: Speak for two minutes at the Public Hearing on Tuesday June 2 5:30pm. City Hall.
  2. Stand behind someone who is bravely speaking up for a Move Seattle Levy for Our Kids on Tuesday.
  3. Join the KIdical Mass Ride to City Hall on June 2 4pm at South Lake Union Park.
  4. Call individual City Councilmembers you might know (phone numbers here).
  5. Read about why we think Move Seattle For Our Kids is so important.
  6. Send email to the Council council@seattle.gov
  7. Send snail mail (yes! this is great! especially with kids artwork)
  8. Write a blog post about Safe Routes for Kids and post it on social media listing the Council.
  9. Talk to parents at your PTSA or on the playground about taking action.
  10. Donate to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to support our outreach & advocacy work.

We’re actually pretty pleased that we’ve influenced so much investment into walking and biking safely along our corridors and in our neighborhoods in the Move Seattle Levy. We need just a little more to Move Seattle For Our Kids.

Thank you!

Seattle School Nurses Support Move Seattle For Our Kids

June 1, 2015

Click to see Anne Fote, RN testimony. Begins at 11:35.

Click to see Anne Fote, RN testimony. Begins at 11:35.

Seattle School Nurses Association voted unanimously to support additional funding for Safe Routes to School in the Move Seattle Levy. Anne Fote, RN spoke eloquently about walking to school and her experiences at Rainier Beach High School and Hamilton International Middle School in this meeting of the City Council Select Committee On Transportation Funding.

Here is Anne’s complete testimony:

My name is Anne Fote. I am a registered nurse. I currently work at Hamilton International Middle School. Previous to that I was the nurse at Rainier Beach High School.

First of all, I am pleased to let you know that the Seattle School Nurses Association voted unanimously this Tuesday on a resolution supporting an increase for Safe Routes to School funding as part of the Move Seattle Levy. I was at the meeting where we voted on this resolution. The only question we debated was whether it was right to just recommend Safe Routes to School for elementary students. Our school nurses union decided that walking to school safely is equally important for middle school and high school students — and so that is what our resolution says.

I’ll give you a copy, but let me read a bit. We want to “increase in Safe Routes to School Funding over the nine year levy period from $7 million to $38 million, and support the focus of additional money first on the City’s poorest schools, where children who live within the ‘walk zones’ without school bus service often have the fewest transportation options.”

As a health professional, I think walking is a great way to start each day. I’ve also seen walking be a great way for children to make friends. I see children getting to know each other in a healthy way as they walk to my school in the morning.

Unfortunately the walk to school is very stressful when it could be a time for learning, getting exercise, and making friends.

While I was at Rainier Beach, I was called over to evaluate a little boy who had been in a hit and run collision. The boy picked himself up and continued walking to school.  We took him in to be evaluated for concussion and internal injuries. This was a very young child, no more than 8, who was one of the many children who walked alone to South Shore Elementary in Rainier Beach.

Elementary school children walk up to a mile to school, middle school and high schoolers walk up 2 miles, often in the dark, across very busy streets and along roads without much in the way of sidewalks or lights.

A few Hamilton kids have been hit by drivers since I’ve been the nurse there. Two girls were hit by a Hamilton parent.  It is kind of a vicious circle. Parents wouldn’t be driving their kids to school if they felt the streets were safer for walking. And the streets are less safe because so many parents are driving our 55,000 Seattle Public School students to school.

We need safer streets thoughout our school walk zones, for so many good reasons. I encourage you to find funding to support this basic need to get our children to school safely.

Thank you.

Anne Fote, RN BSN Member National Association of School Nurses, School Nurse Association of Washington, Seattle School Nurses Association, and Washington Education Association

“Dear Neighbor” Letter Backfires

Roosevelt Way NE SDOT May 2015Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) member Jacob Struiksma took one look at a May 26 letter from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and called into question the plan for a Complete Street along a busy retail corridor.

Jacob, who is blind, has strong opinions about what constitutes safe streets for all. He wrote:

This is crazy that curb bulbs not going to happen at all the intersections on Roosevelt Way. Why do people that walk have to be second to everything? Why do people that walk get the short end of things all the time?

Jacob’s quick response alerted fellow SPAB members and the Washington State pedestrian group Feet First about safety improvements as SDOT repaves Roosevelt Way NE. Both groups will review this new twist on Complete Streets and Vision Zero in their policy discussions in the near future.

A robust Complete Streets Policy is one of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways 10 advocacy priorities for 2015

SDOT’s letter read in part:

Dear Neighbor,

SDOT will periodically distribute project updates about the Roosevelt Paving & Safety Improvement Project.

We write today to let you know that the expected start of construction has been moved back from late September until the end of the year.  Perhaps more significant, fiscal constraints have forced SDOT to remove construction of most of the curb bulbs and expanded tree pits, which we’d previously indicated would be included in the project.  (The one positive benefit of dropping these elements from the project is that construction will likely be significantly shorter than the ten months previously expected.)

Curb bulbs extend the sidewalk out, typically into a parking lane at intersections, in part to ensure that curb ramps (wheelchair ramps) meet the federally mandated standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  They have the additional benefit of making pedestrians more visible to motorists, and vehicles more visible to those pedestrians.  They also have the effect of shortening the crossing distance for these pedestrians.  As such, curb bulbs increase safety for pedestrians, and seem to enjoy broad community support.

Sadly, the curb bulbs and enlarged tree pits were determined to be the most logical project elements that could be eliminated and bring the budget back into balance.  The curb bulbs were initially included in part to provide adequate room for standard curb ramps.  However, we were able to accommodate the ramps and meet design standards without the curb bulbs in most locations.

We look forward to using a safe, welcoming Roosevelt Way NE in the coming years.

Should We Put More Money In The Levy For Our Kids?

May 20, 2015 Cathy TuttleSchool Walk Zone Dunlap Elementary

In the $930 million Move Seattle Levy, $7 million has been allocated for Safe Routes to School.  That $7 million is simply not enough to address safe routes for kids in all 97 Seattle Public Schools (and many private schools). We believe the Levy should provide $40 million for Safe Routes to School. Let me explain why in more detail.

When this young boy leaves this school, he’ll need to walk home somewhere within this School Walk Zone.

Thanks to previous wise investments by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), some of his walk will be safe and more pleasant. But he’ll still face many gaps on his way home – missing sidewalks, faded crosswalks, traffic signals, speed bumps & tables, and stop signs to slow inattentive drivers. I’ve walked this Walk Zone and there are places I don’t feel comfortable as an adult crossing the street.

We need to invest money in our Levy to get this young boy home safely.

With the help of transportation experts, we’ve calculated about $40 million can fill some of the biggest gaps at 28 elementary schools where half or more of the kids qualify for free lunch.

SDOT already invests a lot in Safe Routes to School. 20mph speed cameras next to a few schools bring in more than $5 million a year that we’ll need to keep investing in a backlog of hazardous road conditions in the Walk Zones of all 97 Seattle Public Schools.

Where’s the $40 million going to come from?

Well, there is $930 million in the proposed Levy. Most large engineering projects – big repaving, bus corridors, bridge repairs –  need to leverage big state and federal money. We believe these mega-projects can leverage a little more.

Unfortunately the fine-grained careful investments that give this boy a safer walk home qualify for almost no outside matching monies. Small neighborhood-scale investments for our most vulnerable are what cities are expected to make, what transformative levies are intended address, and what compassionate voters approve. Unlike big paving and bridge projects, money for safety improvements for walking in our neighborhoods is never going to come from state or federal transportation packages (and if you believe it is, you haven’t been following the news lately).

It is truly up to us to decide to provide $40 million to Move Seattle for Our Kids.

The Move Seattle Levy is a once in a generation opportunity to change course and decide to invest in our most vulnerable and valuable. Let’s invest in our kids.

Please sign our petition to the Mayor & City Council if you believe we should Move Seattle for Our Kids.

Construction Zone Mobility: Room For Improvement

May 2015
Cross-posted with The UrbanistConstruction Zone Signs

Seattle is a boom town. Until recently, traffic plans during new building construction disregarded the mobility of people walking and biking beside building sites. This disregard is a safety issue, not just an inconvenience.

Last year, Seattle created a Construction Hub Coordination Program with dedicated staff who work to improve access for all during construction in high growth areas designated by the City as “Construction Hubs.”. Construction sites in South Lake Union, Ballard, Alaska Way, Capitol Hill, and West Seattle Junction are getting better for people walking and biking near them, but problems still remain, in these locations and throughout the city.

In Seattle, we still place a higher value on preserving street parking around construction sites at the expense of providing safe access for people who walk or bike. Sidewalks are routinely blocked, and safe intersection crossings removed for extended periods. Read the rest of this entry »

Safe Crossings for Kids

Kids CrossingEditors Note: University Of Washington students Qiren Lu & Ranju Uezono studied four  intersections in Seattle School Walk Zones to see if drivers stopped for people crossing at  crosswalks.

Their findings were alarming. Motorist  compliance rate ranged from 15% to 34%, low figures compared to the national average.

In other words, in marked crosswalks in school zones, only 3 in 10 people driving cars fully stopped for people walking during school arrival & departure hours.

Read the full report. Read the Lake City Library supplementary report.

Abstract
The percentage of children actively commuting to school by walking or biking in the United States has significantly decreased within the past 50 years (National Household Transportation Survey, 2001). Busy street crossings are barriers to students walking and biking to school in cities around the nation. The purpose of this on-site data collection study titled Safe Crossings for Kids is to analyze motorist compliance rates with pedestrian-motorist encounters at three marked crosswalks near schools in Seattle. The observed crosswalks are located at Wallingford Ave & 43rd St in Wallingford (near Hamilton International Middle School), 15th Ave S & S Hill St in Beacon Hill (near Beacon Hill International School), and 58th St &14th Ave in Ballard (near St. Alphonsus Parish Elementary School). Observations of general public pedestrians crossing were collected, in addition to staged pedestrians crossing these marked crosswalks, modeled after TCRP 112/NCHRP 562 (Transit Cooperative Research Program/National Cooperative Highway Research Program). Results show a majority of non-compliance, as defined by Revised Code of Washington, Rules of the Road (RCW 46.61.235), where full-stops are considered a complete compliance to pedestrians. Subsequent future studies would provide further insight into the current trends of motorist compliance rates around schools in Seattle. The results from this study show that the motorist compliance rate for Wallingford Ave & 43rd St. is 34%, for 15th Ave S & S Hill St., 21%, and for 58th St. & 14th Ave, 15%, which are relatively low figures compared to the national compliance rates. Read the rest of this entry »

Small Fixes, Big Wins In Ballard

Cathy Tuttle
April 23, 2015

Newly installed Leary & NW 43rd Bike Signal

Newly installed Leary & NW 43rd Bike Signal

Small fixes can mean big wins!

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) just added a new, safer connection across Leary Way near the 6th Ave NW corridor.

Connecting 6th Ave NW to the Burke Gilman Trail and to the existing Ballard Greenway is the top priority for Greenways groups in City Council District 6 that covers Fremont and Ballard.

The push-button signal for people on bikes is placed near popular destinations including Hale’s Ales Brewery, Fred Meyer, and the Burke Gilman Trail.

The new push button will help families going to the proposed 6th Ave NW Safe Route to Schools corridor connecting Pacific Crest Elementary, West Woodland Elementary, and Greenwood Elementary Schools, say Ballard Greenways advocates.

The project for signs and signal changes was funded by a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund application submitted in 2014 by Fremont Greenways. Thank you!

We Are All People Who Walk

April 3, 2015
Glen Buhlman serves on the Kirkland Transportation Commission and is co-founder of Kirkland Greenways

 

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

We all become “pedestrians” for a portion of most of our trips once we get out of our car, step off the bus or lock up our bicycle. I don’t think anyone would suggest that we should outlaw dark-toned clothing after sundown. Requiring people walking to wear high-viz clothing is sidestepping a bigger problem.

The responsibility for safety lies with the person who is operating the multi-ton vehicle that can easily injure or kill others. Yes, people walking should be as aware as possible and we drill this into our children, but people walking are ultimately at the mercy of the person driving the car.

As people who drive cars/trucks/buses and even more importantly as parents of children who are getting their drivers’ licenses, we must also teach both our children and ourselves that every time we get into our vehicle we are operating a device that can easily injure or kill — and we are usually doing it on roads that were designed to prioritize speed and throughput of vehicular traffic at the expense of the safety of the people who use the roadway (including the people driving the cars). Read the rest of this entry »

Save Lives & Keep Moving: Seattle’s Successful Safety Redesigns

Road Diet Save Lives & Keep Moving

Open graphic in full screen

Cathy Tuttle
February 15, 2015

If you think a “road diet,” or safety redesign, will slow you down, think again.

Walking in Seattle blogger Troy Heerwagen poured through data from a half dozen Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) evaluation reports and found huge benefits for everyone using our shared public right-of-way.

SDOT engineers have learned smart new techniques to make high-capacity streets safer and more efficient. After a safety redesign, streets still carry as many vehicles as they did prior to their road diet. If fact, our streets are in better shape and can take on even more vehicle volume after a safety redesign. Another benefit? Aggressive speeding, the kind of behavior that kills people, falls dramatically. And not surprisingly, collisions and crashes of all sorts drop precipitously too.

Since safety redesigns are often a matter of mainly repainting travel lanes, they are also one of the quickest and least expensive road safety improvements around.

We call that a great investment in our future!

Check out Troy’s work in this Tableau-generated infographic.

Safety Over Speeding On Rainier Avenue South

Supporters of Safety Over Speeding along Rainier Avenue South

Supporters of Safety Over Speeding along Rainier Avenue South

Sign petition I SUPPORT SAFETY OVER SPEEDING on Rainier Ave S: http://bit.ly/1FIZrhv

With 1,243 crashes in the past three years, Rainier Avenue South is the most dangerous street in Seattle. Every crash impacts our community – from cars careening into our businesses to our children being run down by drivers who never even stop. This has been going on for years and we all know so many people who have been hurt or worse. We aren’t just statistics. At this point, many of us are scared to bike down Rainier Ave South-many people even fear walking across the street.

We say enough! Rainier Ave S should be made safe for all people to walk, bike, drive, catch the bus, shop, and live.

We’ve had many corridor safety projects on Rainier Avenue South over the years. Yet our street is still a menace to the people who live and work along it. We value safety over speeding and we hope your new Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor Project will address our key priority areas.

Our key priorities have been discussed at our monthly Rainier Valley Greenways meetings, and in our on-going outreach to community organizations and neighbors. We have focused on five key priority areas:

  1. Slower speeds. 25 MPH along Rainier Avenue South and 20 MPH in our ‘Urban Villages’ (Columbia City, Hillman City, and Rainier Beach business districts).
  1. Pedestrian oriented signal timing. We are very ready to have our signals be compliant with federal standards. We reported signal timing problems more than a year ago. We don’t want to force our seniors and children to run across the street. In as many places as possible, we’d like to see pedestrian lead time at major crossings. Finally, we’d like to make sure signals are timed to 20 MPH in our Villages and 25 MPH along all of Rainier with signage that indicates these speeds.
  1. Emphasize safe crossing of Rainier. Raised crosswalks in key areas and curb bulbs to enhance pedestrian and bicyclists safety are some of the tools we want to see if we are finally going to reclaim our major neighborhood business street.
  1. Protected Bike Lane on Rainier Ave S.  Rechannelize our street to make Rainier Ave South a more Complete Street for all modes, so that people walking, biking, riding the bus or driving a car or truck are comfortable, and let each have their own place on the street.
  1. Enforcement. Please make sure people abide by the speed limits. We want to add school zone cameras for high schools, red light cameras, and police enforcement.

We are focused on our three main business districts with ideas to see if we can slow speed in our business and cultural centers.  Raised crosswalks along Rainier — at S Edmunds St. in Columbia City, at S Orcas St. in Hillman City, and at S Henderson St. in Rainier Beach — are what we believe could be the beginning of improvements along Rainier Ave South to make it safer for everyone and to try to control speeding and refocus distracted drivers.

We love our neighborhoods in the Rainier Valley.  We love to live, work and play in this community. But the current state of Rainier Ave South seriously impacts the quality of our lives.  It is an unpleasant experience and far too often an unsafe situation for people driving, using transit, walking and biking.

 

Older posts «

» Newer posts