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Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: 2021 Priorities

2020 may have hit us all with a slough of unprecedented challenges, putting many of our best-laid plans on pause, but the resiliency of the SNG network of advocates was formidable. With a pivot to serving immediate community needs, 2020 was a noteworthy year for the streets-for-people movement.

2021 is also shaping up to be a big year with many opportunities and challenges. With your help, we will make progress towards creating a city where every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike, and live. Thank you to everyone who weighed in and helped set our priorities for the year ahead (listed below). And don’t hesitate to get involved, if you’re not already — no experience necessary!

 

  1. Whose Streets? Our Streets!
  2. Stay Healthy Streets
  3. UnGapTheMap
  4. Permanent Cafe Streets
  5. Safe Routes to School
  6. 15-Minute Neighborhoods
  7. Thomas Street
  8. Beacon Ave
  9. Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street
  10. Georgetown to Downtown Connection
  11. Home Zones
  12. Complete the Basic Bike Network
  13. Aurora Avenue Safety
  14. Speed Limits and Vision Zero
  15. Duwamish Longhouse Crossing and Duwamish Trail Connection
  16. Georgetown-South Park Trail
  17. Advancing Our Racial Equity Goals and Programs

 

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots, people-powered movement. This is an ambitious list of projects that we simply can’t bring to fruition without the energy and hands-on involvement of our local neighborhood chapters — and engaged volunteers like you!

Get involved.

 

 Beacon Hill Safe Streets action on the 12th Ave / Jose Rizal Bridge.

[Photo Credit: @4SafeStreets]

 

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1. Whose Streets? Our Streets!

For over a century, the laws and policies that govern how we use streets in Seattle have largely been written, enforced, and adjudicated by white people. Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS) is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) group, convened in July 2020 by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, dedicated to reviewing and revising laws and policies to better meet the needs and support the lives of all street users — in particular, the BIPOC community, who have historically been excluded from the full and free use of this shared public space.

WSOS uses a pro-equity, anti-racist framework to review laws and policies governing the use of streets and develop a vision of how our streets can be safe, thriving places without the use of armed police.

This includes recommendations to: cease involvement of the police in traffic enforcement, prioritize non-punitive methods for making streets safer, abolish enforcement of actions that don’t harm other people, invest in communities of color, and to trust, support, and invest in the owners and experts of those communities.

In 2021, the WSOS workgroup is building community support, starting with engagement in BIPOC communities. WSOS released a first peek at their policy recommendations at the MLK Jr Day panel, Strategies for Community Healing.

See minute 1:00:38 for the start of Phyllis Porter and Peaches Thomas’ WSOS presentation.

Get involved: Sign up to get news and updates related to WSOS events and activities.

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2. Stay Healthy Streets

Have you been out to enjoy one of Seattle’s Stay Healthy Streets? In response to our advocacy in early 2020, these streets are closed to vehicle thru-traffic, but are OPEN to people walking, biking, running, skating, scootering, and rolling! Local access, deliveries, and emergency services are still allowed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stay Healthy Streets have given people extra space to recreate outside and get where they need to go while allowing each other to maintain a safe physical distance.

In 2021, in response to community requests, we’re pushing for the following: an expansion of pilot Stay Healthy Streets into neighborhoods that don’t yet have access to one; making those that are successful and much beloved by the local community permanent; and for the continued success of the Keep Moving Streets program — i.e., Stay Healthy Streets that connect to and expand public parks — as we’ve seen on Lake Washington Boulevard, Green Lake Way N, and Alki Point.

Get involved: 

  1. Share your thoughts with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) with this survey on Stay Healthy Streets (NOTE: This is a NEW SURVEY! Please take it now, even if you filled out a different one last fall).
  2. Send an email supporting the neighborhood push for Lake Washington Boulevard to remain open to people year-round.
  3. Send an email supporting the neighborhood push to complete the street-loop around Green Lake by extending their Keep Moving Street and creating a temporary space along Aurora Ave.

A familiar scene on the Alki Point Keep Moving Street: folks out walking, biking, roller-skating, skateboarding, taking their dogs for a stroll. This Keep Moving Street offers a safe, healthy place to recreate with gorgeous views to boot! [Photo credit: Lynn Drake]

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3. UnGap the Map

Seattle boasts a ton of great bike trails, protected lanes, and greenways. Yet, too often, bike routes end abruptly, leaving people stranded in scary intersections to navigate on their own. A bike route is only as comfortable as it’s scariest section, and if we want to be a city where people of all ages and abilities can choose to bike comfortably and conveniently to get where they need to go, we need to #UnGaptheMap.

In 2021, we’re identifying critical gaps in our routes and advocating for a complete network as the only way to achieve our city’s climate, health, and transportation goals. 

Get involved: Email [email protected] for details.

 

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4. Permanent Cafe Streets

Last year Seattle piloted allowing small businesses to use parking spaces or even entire streets for restaurants and retailers to stretch out and operate safely. We successfully advocated to make the permits affordable and extend them through 2021. Over a hundred small businesses have been able to stay open thanks to this initiative. This year we will be working to make the permits permanent, and help small businesses not only recover, but thrive in Seattle by making better use of our street space than storing and moving cars. 

cafe streets video screenshot

Get involved: If you have connections to small businesses that would benefit from this initiative, please contact [email protected].

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5. Safe Routes to School

We believe that every child deserves to be able to walk, bike, or bus to school safely and comfortably.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is pushing for systemic solutions to help improve the Safe Routes to School program citywide. We’ve secured funding for a new full-time Active Transportation Coordinator for Seattle Public Schools and built relationships at schools citywide to help each community identify and advocate for their own needs.

In 2021, we are working with volunteers, school communities, and agencies to mitigate major transportation budget cuts and make sure that school communities have their voices heard.

Get involved: 

  1. Join the campaign here or email [email protected] for details.
  2. Push for a School Street at your local elementary school by emailing the principal to request a School Street now! 
  3. Share a photo or story of your students walking or biking to school! Tag us on Twitter (@SNGreenways) or Instagram (@seagreenways), and use the hashtag #SchoolStreet

 

Kids Crossing

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6. 15-Minute Neighborhoods

Everyone should have access to their daily needs within walking (or rolling) distance. That’s the deceptively simple idea behind 15-Minute Neighborhoods/Cities. In 2021, we will advocate for the City of Seattle to develop this idea as part of the city’s next major master plan, called the Comprehensive Master Planning process. Read more from our intern who conducted research on the idea last year

Get involved: Sign up to get news and updates related to 15-Minute Neighborhood campaign updates and activities.

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7.Thomas Street

How will thousands of people get to the new Seattle Storm and Kraken arena when it opens in fall of this year? Right now the Uptown neighborhood is bracing itself for a deluge of cars, but if the Thomas St Redefined effort is successful, people will walk, bike, and take transit to the new arena and the Seattle Center instead. Thomas St will be the only all ages and abilities connection that links transit lines (including the most popular bus route in the state, the E-Line) and the South Lake Union neighborhood to Uptown and the Seattle Center. 

Get involved: If you live, work, or care about this area, get in touch with [email protected].

Thomas St Design

 

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8. Beacon Ave

People deserve safe routes to bike from SE Seattle to the rest of the city. We are partnering with the city and community organizations to craft a route down the spine of Beacon Hill that connects people to where they need to go.

Read our local neighborhood group’s (Beacon Hill Safe Streets) March 2021 letter to SDOT about plans for improved walking and biking options on Beacon Ave, and see the Seattle Bike Blog write-up on this campaign.

Get involved: Email [email protected] or join Beacon Hill Safe Streets at a monthly meeting.

Current walking/biking trail on Beacon Ave.

 

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9. Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street

Lake Washington Boulevard has been periodically opened to people walking, biking, rolling, running, and skating during the pandemic — and closed to cars. And it has been a HUGE hit. As in, we’ve never received more support for any project. Our local group, Rainier Valley Greenways – Safe Streets, is leading the way to get SDOT to implement another long-term open street this summer, and to conduct responsive and equitable community engagement. 

Get involved: Go to stayhealthystreets.org/lwb to show your support and learn more.

The Nguyen family, enjoying the Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street while it was open to people walking, biking, and scootering, April 9-18th.

 

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10. Georgetown to Downtown Connection

SODO is one of the most deadly neighborhoods in Seattle for both walking and biking, yet there isn’t a single bike route connecting from Georgetown to Downtown, and people walking or biking to major job centers are left stranded amongst freight routes and high-speed vehicles. Since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, the additional vehicles have made the situation considerably worse. In 2020, we advocated for SDOT to study the route, then secured funding. This year, we’re pushing for interim improvements as well as a long-term plan that improves safety for people biking into and through SODO.

Recent news: The Georgetown community suffered a loss when local resident River was killed by a driver at Corson Ave S & S Michigan, while crossing the street, in the crosswalk, on a bike. In honor of River, and his tragic death, the Georgetown community hosted an all ages and abilities Slow Ride Friday 4/9, with many Seattle organizations represented, including our local neighborhood group, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets. See live tweets from the event here.

Get involved: Join Duwamish Valley Safe Streets or email [email protected] for more info.

african american biking on 2nd ave SDOT photo

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11. Home Zones

With current funding, it’s going to take between 200 and 1,800 years to build sidewalks in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods. That’s way too long.

A Home Zone (FAQ sheet here) is a neighborhood that creates a holistic plan to discourage speeding, cut-through traffic while maintaining local access for neighbors, emergency vehicles, and deliveries. It is a cost-effective and community-focused solution to make residential streets safer to walk, bike, and roll on. 

City-funded Home Zone projects stalled in 2020 due to COVID-19 budget cuts, but we’re picking up where we left off and pushing for the City to complete the last few elements to Home Zones in South Park and Broadview and move forward on Home Zones in Highland Park and New Holly. Additionally, neighbors in NE Greenwood are working to build their own new Home Zone.

Get involved: Email [email protected] for more information.

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12. Complete The Basic Bike Network

Seattle needs a connected network of safe and comfortable streets for biking. 60% of Seattleites want to bike more, and concern about street safety is the number one reason they choose not to. We’ve advocated for years for a downtown Basic Bike Network, and we now have routes that will offer safe and comfortable bike connections to get people into and through the center city from the north, east, and south. But critical gaps remain. 

In 2021 we will continue to advocate for closing the gaps in the #BasicBikeNetwork with a focus on Pike St, 4th Ave, 12th Ave, and the Uptown area. To read more about this effort, see: https://seattlegreenways.org/basicbikenetwork

Get involved: Email [email protected] with questions or for more info.

basic bike network graphic

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13. Aurora Avenue Safety

Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets, Greenwood-Phinney Greenways, and Licton-Haller Greenways have formed the  Aurora Reimagined Coalition, a public outreach and advocacy effort to improve Seattle’s second most dangerous street — Aurora Ave N. They are building a community coalition to re-knit communities on either side of this concrete curtain and finally make it safe to walk, bike, take transit, and drive along and across this dangerous stretch.

Get involved:  Join the discussion group to stay in the know. Email [email protected] with questions.

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14. Speed Limits and Vision Zero

Vision Zero is the goal to have zero people die or suffer serious injuries in traffic crashes by 2030. Last year, Seattle lowered speed limits to 25 mph on major arterial streets across the city, and installed head-starts for pedestrians at hundreds of intersections. This year, we’re holding the city accountable for completing that work, and focusing on safety for Aurora Ave N and Rainier Ave S — the city’s two most dangerous streets for road collisions!

Get involved: Email [email protected] for details.

Vision zero

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15. Duwamish Longhouse Crossing and Duwamish Trail Connection

Access to the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center has been difficult due to the heavy, high-speed traffic along Marginal Way, poor sidewalks, and the lack of safe options for crossing. In 2019, the tribe launched the Duwamish Longhouse Pedestrian Safety and Accessibility Project and built public pressure for the overdue safety improvements. With the closure of the West Seattle bridge, these critical improvements took on added urgency. SDOT is now prioritizing the construction of  a new signalized crosswalk, a pedestrian pathway, and an extension of the Duwamish Trail for this year. For more on this story, see feature write-ups in The Urbanist and Real Change News.

 

Get involved: People who are interested in getting involved should contact the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center directly.

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16. Georgetown to South Park Trail

Georgetown and South Park are a short, flat, 1.8 mile distance apart. In these adjacent neighborhoods, more than 8,500 people live, 30,000 work, and countless thousands play in parks, schools, festivals, and local establishments. Each of these Southend community hubs has essential goods and services that the other doesn’t — however, the lack of safe walking or biking infrastructure keeps the two neighborhoods divided.

In 2021,we will work to keep the construction of the Georgetown-to-South Park Trail on track to connect these two neighborhoods.

Get involved: Email [email protected] to join Duwamish Valley Safe Streets at a monthly meeting.

Georgetown + South Park Logo

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17. Advancing Our Racial Equity Goals and Programs

Are you interested in advancing racial equity in our streets-for-people movement? Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has updated our Racial Equity Action Plan for 2021-2024 to strengthen our goals and accountability, and we’re gathering enthusiastic do-ers for an ongoing racial equity workgroup to help us think through details, launch programs, and plan educational and engagement events.

In 2021, we’re also launching two exciting new scholarship funds:

  • Sponsorship for all volunteers to attend equity-focused workshops and training.
  • Sponsorship for people of color to attend continuing education workshops and trainings within transportation, urban design, and public space fields — open to POC whether or not they are volunteers within our coalition.

Get involved: To join our ongoing Racial Equity Workgroup, to hear more about scholarships, or to add your name to the list to make sure you hear about upcoming opportunities, email [email protected]

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If you’ve read this far, thank you, and you’re amazing. Please get involved and donate — we need YOU to help fuel this people-powered movement!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways: 2020 Campaigns

COVID-19 Update: Due to the this outbreak we are reorienting our work from the campaigns listed below to these 8 strategies that will help communities stay healthy and moving. It remains to be seen how many of our original 2020 campaigns we will be able to continue in addition to our COVID-19 response strategies.

Despite some early set backs, 2019 was a banner year for progress on safe streets initiatives. 2020 is also shaping up to be a big year with many opportunities and challenges. With your help we will make progress towards creating a city where every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike, and live. Read more about our efforts below, and don’t hesitate to get involved — no experience necessary!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots, people-powered movement. This is an ambitious list of projects that we simply can’t bring to fruition without the energy and hands-on involvement of our local neighborhood chapters — and engaged volunteers like you!

Get involved.

A huge crowd of people stand outside City Hall at the Ride 4 Safe Streets.

 Photo Credit: @4SafeStreets

 

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Safe Routes to School

We believe that every child deserves to be able to walk or bike to school safely and comfortably.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is pushing for systemic solutions to help improve the Safe Routes to School program citywide. Last year, we secured funding for a new full-time Active Transportation Coordinator for Seattle Public Schools and built relationships at schools citywide to help each community identify and advocate for their own needs.

In 2020, we will organize school communities and work with agencies to:

  • Improve programs such as the School Crossing Guard program, which currently has vacant positions at one in three schools, and Walking/Biking School Bus programs.
  • Increase funding for safe streets near schools (crosswalks, sidewalks, speed humps, etc.) to create more walking and biking routes to school.
  • Reform transportation planning when schools are refurbished or rebuilt.
  • Expand outreach to individual school communities and champion community-identified priorities.

Get involved: Join the kickoff organizing meeting on Wednesday, February 26th, Join the campaign here or email [email protected] for details.

Kids Crossing

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Get Vision Zero Back on Track

Vision Zero is based on the idea that no one should die or suffer serious injury in traffic. The City of Seattle has committed to reaching Vision Zero by 2030. But sadly, 2019 was the deadliest year of the decade for people walking. 

In 2020 we will:

  • Hold the city accountable to implementing safer speed limits on all streets. 
  • Focus city attention on Seattle’s three most dangerous streets: Rainier Ave, Aurora Ave, and Lake City Way. 

Get involved: Join the kickoff organizing meeting on Thursday, February 13th or email [email protected] for details.

Vision zero

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Complete The Basic Bike Network

We know that safety is a major barrier — 60% of the population in Seattle wants to bike more, and concern about street safety is the number one reason they choose not to. The downtown Basic Bike Network will offer safe and comfortable bike connections to get people where they need to go in and around the center city.

We will continue to advocate for closing the gaps in the #BasicBikeNetwork with a focus on on 4th Ave, 12th Ave, Pike St, and the Uptown area. For more see: https://seattlegreenways.org/basicbikenetwork

Get involved: Join the Basic Bike Network Kickoff Meeting Thursday, March 12, 6:00 – 7:30 pm or Join the discussion group to stay in the know. Email [email protected] with questions.

basic bike network graphic

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Traffic Signals for People (not cars)

All people deserve traffic signals that allow them to walk and roll safely and with dignity.

In 2020 we will advocate for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to adopt a comprehensive signals policy that:

  • Gives people enough time to cross the street.
  • Limits how long people have to wait for a walk light. 
  • Eliminates “beg buttons” except in rare circumstances. Beg buttons require a person to push a button before the traffic light will allow them to cross, rather than automatically giving pedestrians a green light with parallel vehicle traffic.

Take action and get involved and join the discussion group.

A group of people crossing the street at a colorful, busy intersection.

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Home Zones

With current funding, it’s going to take between 200 and 1,800 years to build sidewalks in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods. That’s way too long.

A Home Zone is a neighborhood that uses traffic calming to discourage speeding cut-through traffic while maintaining local access for residents, emergency vehicles, and deliveries. It is a cost-effective and community-focused solution to make non-arterial streets safer to walk and roll on. Click here for our Home Zone FAQ.

In 2020 we will help bring new Home Zones to:

  • Greenwood (north)
  • New Holly (south)

And we’ll support finishing the Home Zones in Licton Springs, Broadview, and South Park.

Get involved: Email [email protected] for more information.

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Implementing our Racial Equity Action Plan

Internally, SNG commits to becoming a racially, culturally, and socially diverse organization that treats all people with respect and dignity and recognizes the interconnected nature of overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination. Within our organization and in each of our neighborhood groups, we are continuing our work to build meaningful relationships within our communities, assess white cultural norms, and educate ourselves and our communities.

Externally, SNG strives to redress the historical and systemically-rooted inequities in transportation and city investments. We endeavor to do this work in solidarity with communities of color as a trustworthy and respectful partner. We are continuing to advocate to fund and support the Department of Transportation’s Equity Agenda and ensure that this work is sufficiently staffed, resourced, and implemented.

Get involved: Join our Equity Book Club (March 31), get involved with your local group, or email [email protected] for more information.

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Fix Rainier Ave

Rainier Ave is Seattle’s most dangerous street, averaging a crash every day. In 2020, we will continue to advocate for full implementation of the Rainier Ave Safety Corridor Project, which has been delayed for years.  

Get involved: Email [email protected] or join Rainier Valley Greenways Safe Streets at a monthly meeting.

1 mile safer! 3 to go! rainier ave RVG

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Beacon Ave

People deserve safe routes to bike from SE Seattle to the rest of the city. 

We will partner with the city and community organizations to craft a route down the spine of Beacon Hill that connects people to where they need to go. 

Get involved: Email [email protected] or join Beacon Hill Safe Streets at a monthly meeting.

african american biking on 2nd ave SDOT photo

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Thomas Street

We will continue to work with our community allies to advocate for a world class walking and biking corridor to connect people from South Lake Union transit hubs to the Seattle Center and the new arena. This design includes a wide 36’ trail-like design on the north side of the street, a new plaza next to MoPOP, and two protected intersections. 

Get involved: Email [email protected] to get plugged in.

Thomas St Design

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Georgetown to South Park Trail

Georgetown and South Park are a short, flat, 1.8 mile distance apart. In these adjacent neighborhoods, more than 8,500 people live, 30,000 work, and countless thousands play in parks, schools, festivals, and local establishments. Each southend community hub has essential goods and services that the other doesn’t — however, the lack of safe walking or biking infrastructure keeps the two neighborhoods divided.

In 2020 we will work to keep the construction of the Georgetown-to-South Park Trail on track to connect these two neighborhoods. 

Get involved: Email [email protected] to join Duwamish Valley Safe Streets at a monthly meeting.

Georgetown + South Park Logo

If you read this far please get involved and donate — we are truly a people powered movement!

Act Now to support walk/bike/transit in the 2020 City Budget!

We care about making every neighborhood in Seattle a great place to walk, bike, and live, and Seattle has fallen far behind on it’s promises and goals.

We’re calling on the Mayor and City Council to go beyond general statements of support for transportation and environmental issues, and act now to align our city budget with Seattle’s values.

Act Now! button

Act now to ask City Council to support these budget priorities, and join us on Thursday, October 22 at the City Council budget hearing.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has a huge slate of budget asks this year!

  • Safe spaces for people to walk and roll: We’re pushing for a long-term, sustainable source of funding for new sidewalks, as well as continued funding for our successful Home Zone Pilot, a vibrant pedestrian space for Thomas St, and a safe crossing for the Duwamish Longhouse.
  • Safe spaces for people to bike: We’re asking for funding for the currently unfunded routes in the 2019-2024 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan, including the Georgetown to South Park Trail and Beacon Ave Trail, among others. We’re also asking for funding for proactive Bike Infrastructure Maintenance to take care of the infrastructure that we do have. We’re also asking for funding for in-street bike and scooter parking corrals.
  • Other Transportation Improvements: Including Safe Routes to School Funding, transit priority, SDOT’s Transportation Equity Agenda, and asking SDOT to develop alternative evaluation methods that effectively measure people, rather than just cars.

Act Now! button

See below for more details on these important issues! These priorities include those in the MASS Transportation Package set by the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition.

More details about our budget advocacy this Fall:

Safe spaces for people to walk and roll: We applaud the $4 million increase in funding for new sidewalks in the Mayor’s budget, and also recognize the need for a long-term sustainable source of funding to address the 26% of Seattle streets that don’t currently have safe places to walk. In addition, we’re pushing for:

  • Home Zones: Thanks to last year’s advocacy, our successful Home Zone Pilot is currently partially funding the construction of home zones in South Park and Broadview. We’re pushing to continue the pilot program creating low-cost, neighborhood solutions for non-arterial streets with no sidewalks.
  • Thomas St: We’re leading the effort to create a vibrant pedestrian space on Thomas St connecting South Lake Union and Uptown. Getting Thomas St. right will reconnect our neighborhoods, retain talented employees, connect our cultural and civic assets, and get people to the new arena at Seattle Center.
  • Duwamish Longhouse Crossing: People on foot are currently crossing 5 lanes with a 40 mph posted speed limit on a major truck route, without a crosswalk, to get to the Duwamish Longhouse from Herring House Park and parking lots, and from the Duwamish Trail. We’re supporting the Duwamish Tribe’s request for the $2 million needed so that people can safely access this important cultural and community center.

Safe spaces for people to bike:

  • We’re asking the City to fully fund the bike routes included in the 2019-2024 Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan, as unanimously supported by City Council RES 31894 and the Mayor’s cover letter to the plan. The total funding gap is between $25 and $50 million, spread out over 4 years. The currently unfunded routes include the Georgetown to South Park Trail, Beacon Ave Trail, MLK, Georgetown to Downtown Connection, 4th Ave, and Alaskan Way to Elliott Bay Trail Connection, among others.
  • Proactive Bike Infrastructure Maintenance standards to take care of the infrastructure that we do have. We’re asking for an additional $1.5 million per year to cover re-painting, pavement marking updates, bollard replacement, lane-sweeping, storm drainage, and clearing of debris, foliage, and snow in existing on-street bike infrastructure.
  • Expand SDOT’s installation of In-Street Bike Parking. We’re asking for an additional $1.4 million as noted in the SDOT response to RES 31898. These funds would be used to hire a term-limited team of planning, design, and construction employees for the sole purpose of installing 3000 new off-sidewalk parking spaces for bikes and scooters, which would have the added benefit of increasing visibility for pedestrians at intersections.

Other Transportation Improvements:

  • Safe Routes to School: We’re asking for a full-time Active Transportation Coordinator to help kids get safely to school, and for the City to restore funding to Safe Routes to School that was siphoned off into the general fund last year, and ensure that this kind of siphoning doesn’t happen again. Find out more about our Safe Routes to School work here.
  • Transit Priority: We applaud the 30 blocks of bus lanes SDOT rolled out this fall and the 60 blocks planned for next year. Still, we aren’t doing enough to grapple with the Seattle Squeeze and the climate crisis. We’re working with allies in the MASS Coalition to push for SDOT to double bus lane mileage and implement signal priority in key locations.
  • Transportation Equity Agenda: SDOT’s Transportation Equity Agenda and the Workgroup it formed have only temporary funding. We’re pushing for continued funding to ensure that this work is sufficiently staffed and resourced to be implemented department-wide.
  • Measure What Matters: SDOT currently measures the success of an intersection with what’s called a “level of service,” which measures delay for vehicle traffic. We’re pushing for SDOT to develop alternative evaluation methods.

Act Now! button

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities, and join us on Thursday, October 22 at the City Council budget hearing.

Get involved in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

Annual Advocacy Campaigns

We envision a  well-used, linked network of safe, pleasant, and healthy streets in Seattle.

Every year, the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition of neighborhood groups develop and advocate for a list of top priorities. We’ve had amazing success with these priorities the past thanks to people like you!

Other Archived Campaigns

Michael Colmant Memorial Ride & Walk

Michael ColmantMichael Colmant was passionate about swimming, running, cycling, and aviation. He was a dedicated colleague at King County International Airport, helping to lift up people of color in his profession. He was a loving father and caring friend.

On April 11, 2021, Michael, 63, was hit and killed by a driver while biking. The driver fled the scene and is still at large. They were driving a Silver 2000 Lincoln LS plate # BKU 0853. Anyone with a tip about the hit-and-run is encouraged to call SPD’s Violent Crimes Tip Line at 206.233.5000.

A large crowd of people on a grassy slope. Many wear helmets or sit next to bicycles.

On Saturday, May 15, 2021, 160 people gathered on a grassy slope on Seward Park Ave to commemorate Michael Colmant’s life.

The group arrived from two directions: walking together from Seward Park in the north and from the south, biking together from Be’er Sheva Park. The two streams of people congregated together across the street from the ghost bike adorned with flowers and photos which marks the spot where Michael was killed. The crowd was surrounded by parked bikes, trikes, cargo bikes, and trailers, some with signs reading “Safe Streets for the South End,” “Michael Should Be Here,” and “It could have been any of us.”

Walk and Ride

Following the tragic crash last month, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways connected with Michael’s daughter, Sydney, and organized the memorial, walk, and ride, in collaboration with Vanessa Chin, Michael’s friend and colleague, with additional support from Bike Works and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Vanessa Chin speaks into a microphone in a grassy space. A group of people stand and sit somberly behind her.

Many colleagues and friends stood up to speak to those assembled, describing Michael as someone who consistently worked to make things better, gave his time to chat, and really listened to people. Michael’s daughter, Sydney, attended virtually from Vancouver, BC and spoke movingly about his support for her while in nursing school. You can support Michael’s family through their Go Fund Me.


A bar chart showing traffic fatalities in Seattle by District. District 2 (southeast Seattle) shows double the number of fatalities than any other district.

As requested by the family, we are also calling on the city to build safe places for people to bike in the Rainier Valley, and highlighting the fact that over the last five years SE Seattle’s District 2 has had double the number of fatalities as any other council district. In fact, Michael is the second person to be killed while riding a bike in less than a month in District 2 — Robert Miesse, 54, was killed when he was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Georgetown on March 24. Many people gathered in Georgetown for a memorial ride just 2 days before Michael Colmant was killed.

As a city, we are failing Vision Zero, the city’s goal to reduce the number of road-traffic deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2030. The Vision Zero team is underfunded, and Seattle is way behind on goals to build protected places for people to bike. Seward Park Ave, where Michael was hit and killed, is designated for upgrading in Seattle’s 2014 Bicycle Master Plan. However, due to the lack of funding and political will to build a connected network of safe bike routes, this popular route for people biking is missing from all construction lists for safety upgrades.

Senator Rebecca Saldaña, wearing a pink sundress, speaks to people sitting on a large grassy slope.

We invited elected leaders to speak to how we could do more as a city to get Vision Zero back on track.

State Senator Rebecca Saldaña (pictured above in pink), who has been leading efforts at the state level to shift transportation funding from mainly focusing on highway expansion to a more holistic approach spoke to the need to shift priorities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine spoke about Mike as a colleague and also spoke to the need to make safer streets.

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay couldn’t be there but sent a statement that was read:

“Dear Mike,

My heart is with you and your whole family. Thank you so much for all your years of dedication to public service. Even in your passing, you are committing everyone around you to the public good as we all come together and work to keep our pedestrians and cyclists safe on our streets, especially in South Seattle.

Rest in Peace, Mike.”

 

Tammy MoralesSeattle Councilmember Tammy Morales, District 2, Seattle City Council also could not make it, but sent a statement saying:

“I watch my kids bike to their friends and hope that they will return unscathed. But we need more than hopeful wishes, we need action. In Michael’s honor, for those that continue to push for safety, and for those who watch as their loved ones move across this City, I am committed to protection for all ages and abilities in Southeast Seattle and District 2.”

 

 

Dongho Chang

Finally, Dongho Chang, Seattle’s Chief Traffic Engineer, spoke about the importance of holding the City accountable to making progress on Vision Zero. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.

We must do more to prevent tragedies like this. Increased funding for Vision Zero would allow the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to increase safety for more of our most dangerous streets in the Rainier Valley and citywide. Increased funding for our Bicycle Master Plan would allow SDOT to build the first comfortable, efficient, connected route into and through SE Seattle, connecting the Rainier Valley to downtown and the rest of the city.

Ultimately, this isn’t about statistics. Each number is a person like Michael, who meant so much to so many, and each loss is felt acutely by family, friends, and community. We must do better. This fall the Seattle City Council has the option to double the Vision Zero budget. We hope you will join us or stay involved in this fight for safer streets for all. Thank you.

 

A crowd of people with bicycles. A bike in the center has a baby seat and a sign that reads "Safe Streets for the South End."

 

Big Wins from the 2021 Seattle City Budget

Takeaways: After a disappointing proposed austerity budget from Mayor Durkan, advocates like you across Seattle rallied allies and wrote to elected officials and made HUGE gains in the 2021 Seattle City Budget. We secured funding for critical transportation projects across Seattle including the long-awaited Georgetown to South Park Trail! (See more below.) Click here to thank the City Council for doing the right thing, and stay engaged to keep fighting for the #SolidarityBudget and other underfunded walking and biking projects.
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When Mayor Durkan released her proposed budget in September with massive cuts from walking and biking projects alone, we were incredibly disappointed. While transportation faced the steepest cuts, the entire budget was framed around severe austerity, which we know is not the answer.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, along with the rest of the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition, drafted a set of 2021 City Budget Asks. Advocates like you from across the city spoke up in support, and the Seattle City Council came through!!

Send an email thanking Seattle City Council for restoring funding to critical walking, biking, and transit projects now!

Transportation highlights from the restored funding include:

  • Georgetown to South Park Trail: $5.2 million to fully fund this vital connection for Duwamish Valley communities that have been bearing the brunt of West Seattle Bridge overflow traffic. Thanks to Duwamish Valley Safe Streets and advocates like you, this long-awaited connection finally has funding to become a reality!

  • Sidewalk repair in Rainier Ave corridor: $943,000 will fund sidewalk repair and other pedestrian improvements in the Rainier Ave corridor that were previously stripped from improvement plans.

  • Safe Routes to School Funding: $9 million will backfill revenue lost due to COVID closures, and will be used to help kids get safely to and from school once in-person classes resume.

  • South End Bike Routes: $400,000 for continued planning for south end bike routes including a Georgetown-Downtown connection through SODO and a feasibility study of MLK south of the Mount Baker Light Rail Station.
  • NE 45th St Protected Bike Lane: $900,000 for improvements to the Route 44 corridor, including bicycle and pedestrian improvements along NE 45th St across I-5, connecting Wallingford to the future University District light rail station, opening next year.
  • Thomas St Redesigned: $777,000 for the this vital east-west connection and green street between South Lake Union and the Seattle Center.
  • Duwamish Longhouse Crossing: Funding for construction of pedestrian improvements and a safe crossing of West Marginal Way in front of the Duwamish Longhouse.

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Thanks to your advocacy, we achieved big wins for critical mobility and transportation projects around Seattle, but we have a lot more work to do. The final 2021 Seattle City Budget makes steps towards the #SolidarityBudget that Seattleites have been in the streets since May to demand. However, it doesn’t go far enough. Learn more about next steps for the #SolidarityBudget work here from key organizers at King County Equity Now, Decriminalize Seattle, 350 Seattle, and more on this important, ongoing effort.

Feeling safe on our streets includes safety from police brutality. In July 2020, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways convened and funded Whose Streets? Our Streets! This workgroup, lead by Black women, is dedicated to reviewing and revising laws and policies to better meet the needs—and support the lives—of all street users. This includes getting armed police out of traffic enforcement entirely.

As we celebrate these hard-fought wins, we also look ahead to the coming year, and continue to fight for the #SolidarityBudget and other unfderfunded walking and biking projects. We thank you for your tireless energy in helping to make it happen. You are making a difference!
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Click here to thank Seattle City Council for championing these priorities in the 2021 budget, and get involved in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

Act Now to support walk/bike/transit in this year’s City Budget!

The City of Seattle is facing a major budget shortfall for next year. Yet the Mayor has proposed a severe austerity budget, with $21.5 million cut from walking and biking projects alone, that will not help people, help the City recover, or move us towards our City goals. 

The 2021 budget cuts are too deep. We’re asking the City Council to reject austerity and invest more in walking, biking, and transit to align our city budget with Seattle’s values.

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities, and join us on Thursday, October 27 at 5:30 pm at the City Council virtual public budget hearing.

As we face the deepest recession since the Great Depression, austerity is not the answer. People are relying on the government more than ever, and Seattle’s economic recovery depends on increasing public services and investment, not cutting them.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, along with the rest of the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition, have drafted a set of 2021 City Budget AsksClick here to send a letter of support to City Council!

MASS supports the #SolidarityBudget and makes the following requests specific to equitable and climate-friendly transportation:

  • Georgetown to South Park Trail: Fund this vital connection for construction in 2021 for communities that have been bearing the brunt of West Seattle Bridge overflow traffic.

  • Sidewalk repair in Rainier Ave corridor: Reverse the decision to cut sidewalk improvements from the Rapid Ride 7 plans.

  • RapidRide Program: Stem the continued budget cuts to the RapidRide Program and citywide network of dedicated bus lanes. Making transit rapid, reliable, and efficient is essential to accomplishing the shift to a sustainable transportation system.

  • Seattle Green New Deal: Adequately fund the staff and resources needed for Seattle to advance the Green New Deal.

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities by sending a letter to the Seattle City Council.

A group of people protesting. A black woman with long hair stands front right with a megaphone. People behind her hold signs in support of Rainier Ave Safety.

Recognizing that there are many vital demands on a limited budget this year, we propose that funds for these projects be shifted away from other budgets that do not align with our city’s stated priorities. Decrease funding for Intelligent Transportation System funds (ITS signals) which more than doubled in the 2021 budget, and other car-focused budgets that were not reduced proportionately to other programs.

We also recognize that new funds are badly needed, and ask that the City explore possible new revenue sources in the coming year specifically for transportation.

Transportation remains Seattle’s top source of carbon pollution. Curbing transportation emissions means investing in walking, biking, and transit.

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities, and get involved in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work. 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement

New: Watch this short video about our work so far

WSOS video screenshot

 

As part of our commitment to racial justice, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) is looking at how the urgent calls for police accountability and defunding police intersect with our core issues of safe and healthy streets. Traffic enforcement is too often the pretext for armed police to stop Black and brown people, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. There must be a better way — but what exactly? That’s the question our newly-launched Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement Task Force is set to ask.

An end to policing as we know it

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As safe streets advocates, we believe strongly that the ability to get around safely to the daily necessities of life is a basic human right. And we recognize that policing practices, since the earliest days of U.S. law enforcement, have been biased, and often life-threatening, toward communities of color—especially Black people.

In response to the murder of George Floyd, and the abuse too many Black people suffer at the hands of police, people across the country are insisting: enough is enough. Our current way of policing needs to come to an end.

People and organizations have called for a wide spectrum of solutions—from reforming policing procedures to defunding and reallocating police budgets, from disbanding existing police forces to outright abolishment. How do these solutions play out in regards to traffic safety, where police have been entrusted with enforcing traffic violations and responding to traffic emergencies on the one hand—but found guilty of racial profiling, and too commonly, criminal brutality on the other? We’re determined to find out.

A task force to ask questions and find the best solutions

Over the next several weeks, under the leadership of KL Shannon and Phyllis Porter, we will work with a diverse team of community members with expertise in transportation, mobility justice, criminal justice, public health and safety, and public policy to dig deep into Seattle’s system of traffic enforcement.

Our Whose Streets? Our Streets! workgroup will take on these and other questions:

  • What is the appropriate role, if any, of police in traffic enforcement?
  • What other solutions could substitute for the role police currently play?
  • Are we enforcing the right laws, and are there some laws that are not just or effective at keeping people safe?

We will delve into available data, research best practices in other cities, consult with dozens of people on our advisory committee, and work in partnership with our local communities to map out a path to safer communities for all.

A significant initiative and commitment

We started out 2020 with an ambitious slate of safe streets priorities—including citywide Safe Routes to School solutions, creating walk/bike-friendly Home Zones in multiple neighborhoods, completing the Basic Bike Network downtown, and fixing our most deadly streets (Rainier Avenue, Aurora Avenue, and Lake City Way).

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak and health crisis, we first reoriented our 2020 campaigns to these 8 COVID-response strategies to help communities stay healthy and moving.

Now, our Whose Streets? Our Streets! workgroup represents another major initiative for SNG this year. This is the right time for every city to re-imagine and re-think how traffic enforcement works, and we are putting our shoulders into the work of getting it done here in Seattle.

 

SNG horizontal logo for Summer Parkways

Letter of Support from SNG Staff

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At our very core, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots organization. We’re made up of neighbors, like you, all across the city. We are everyday folks, with varied backgrounds and interests, who’ve come together to figure out what it takes to make our neighborhood streets healthy and welcoming for the most basic of daily activities getting from one place to another, safely, comfortably, conveniently. 

We are passionate about our communities, especially those who are most vulnerable. And collectively, we are passionate about this city and making sure Seattle is a place where people of all ages, languages, ethnicities, genders, races, abilities, and levels of wealth are able to walk, bike, roll, and live. 

We’re about people — about all of us. And we take the health and safety of our community seriously. We’ve moved all of our organizing online, so that we can continue to bring community together in a responsible, proactive way. In this precarious and uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are eager to connect with you, our community, and provide whatever resources or support is within our realm to provide. To that end, we wanted you to hear from our staff directly, and from several of the volunteer community-builders who drive this safe streets work.

 

Gordon Padelford testifying at Seattle City Council.

Gordon Padelford, Executive Director: 

Here at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, our mission is to organize and mobilize people to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike and live. But how can we organize and mobilize people when we can’t meet in person, when in-person outreach is not allowed, and when community members and politicians are understandably focused on the current pandemic? It’s going to be challenging.

Our current areas of focus during this difficult period of quarantine include short-term and longer-term solutions for keeping people safe as they recreate in their neighborhoods or move through the city. We’ve provided a full write-up of these ideas here. Take the short survey and add your own ideas, and please share with your friends and networks.

Our staff and volunteers are using alternative strategies to keep this critical work moving forward. We’re known for having frequent neighborhood-based organizing meetings and advocacy campaign meetings, and these meetings will still be happening, only online, through the Zoom video conferencing software we have provided to all our neighborhood groups (check out upcoming meetings here). 

We will continue to ground our community engagement strategies in the same principle that we have always used, which is to meet people where they are at. During normal times, that means having in-person conversations at the time and place of their choosing, but in this moment that may mean more phone calls, emails, video chats, and sometimes simply acknowledging that folks may, understandably, have other priorities for a while, and that we may need to adjust our campaign timelines accordingly. If you have thoughts about how we can best adapt our work, please let us know — we are learning together and will get through this together. 

 

Clara Cantor riding a bike in downtown Seattle.

Clara Cantor, Community Organizer:  

This is a scary time for all of us, and during this pandemic it is important to prioritize your health, physically and mentally. Social isolation, lack of routine, financial uncertainty, and stress all increase mental health problems, domestic violence, and anxiety. As a community-driven movement, everything about our organizing, actions, and impact are going to be different, and our expectations need to shift to match. 

But that can be a good thing. We’ve seen inspiring examples in Seattle and around the world of people supporting each other through collective action, financial support, and by spreading community joy. We are in a moment of tremendous societal shift, which is also a moment of great possibility. By coming together — in our collective creativity, resourcefulness, and care — who knows what impossible thing will suddenly be very, very possible.

Click here to get connected with other Greenways volunteers in your neighborhood, or join us for one of these upcoming virtual events. And check out this list of tips for organizing during the current outbreak.

 

KLatFeastInTheStreet

KL Shannon, Community Organizer:  

My thoughts are with our most vulnerable community members. Here are some ways, big and small, I’m encouraging folks to support our communities during the outbreak: 

 

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Susan Gleason, Development & Communications Director:  

I have to admit, this is a daunting period for our fundraising efforts. During this COVID-19 crisis, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is continuing to build campaigns and policies for a later time of greater mobility, while focusing on some of the immediate needs of our communities

The need for walking- and biking-friendly streets continues — now and beyond the pandemic. For a brief window here, the streets and sidewalks of the city have become enlivened with more families than ever taking daily walks together, parents biking with kids on quieter neighborhood streets. There’s a glimmer in this, of what Seattle’s streets could be like — a different future that we can build towards right now, where our public streets are designed for people. Safe, functional, enjoyable streets for everyone — at any age, from any background, and for all abilities.

This is the bold vision that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways continues to work for and you can help us get there. We simply couldn’t do what we do — to push community-identified safe street improvements and policies forward — without generous support from people like you.

Supporting safe streets advocacy — now, and beyond COVID-19

Kids Greenway
WereAboutPeopleCollage-small

Dear Friends and Supporters of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways,

Clearly, this is a difficult period for us all.

During this COVID-19 crisis, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is continuing to build campaigns and policies for a later time of greater mobility, while focusing on some of the immediate needs of our communities, can we count on you to help us continue this work?

 

DonateButtonGreenOval

In this period of quarantine, more people than ever are out and about walking in their neighborhood streets — grabbing some reprieve for fresh air and exercise (at a safe social distance). And in this harrowing and unusual time, we’re seeing that streets that are designed for people are critical now, and will definitely be on the other end of this, when we’re able to move freely again between the activities of our daily lives.

The need for walking- and biking-friendly streets continues — now and beyond the pandemic. And in order for our local walking and biking movements to succeed, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways must grow. As Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog puts it, “SNG is doing the lion’s share of safe streets organizing both inside City Hall and through volunteer-powered grassroots groups in every corner of the city.”

From energizing and organizing grassroots advocates, to savvy policy analysis, coalition-building, and strategic campaign design, we have a proven model that gets results. We strongly believe that the most effective way to make change in Seattle is to empower everyday people with knowledge, guidance and support to champion the needs of their communities. Our organizing model is put to the test in today’s context of quarantining. We’ve altered our community outreach and support to feature online tools and training, leadership development, and mutual aid.

Please consider a gift today to keep our critical safe streets advocacy moving forward.

We kicked off 2020 with an ambitious slate of priorities this year, directed by the 16 active neighborhood groups in our citywide network. We’re still moving forward on many of these campaigns, but of necessity, we are already needing to reorient our programming.

Our work has always prioritized the communities most impacted by unsafe conditions for walking, biking, and rolling — and we know that these dangers persist, even with fewer cars and trucks on the streets. We will continue to push for much-needed walking and biking infrastructure in Seattle’s South End neighborhoods, as well as improved crossings and intersections citywide. We are also doubling down on implementing our Racial Equity Action Plan — a critical next step of which includes developing neighborhood-by-neighborhood action plans.

Collectively, we’re in a time of great uncertainty — for ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. We don’t know what’s on the other side of these dual public health and economic crises. At Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we will be doing what is within our means to support those who are most impacted by these calamities, while also building for a future beyond the pandemic.

For a brief window here, the streets and sidewalks of the city have become enlivened with more families than ever taking daily walks together, parents biking with kids on quieter neighborhood streets. There’s a glimmer in this, of what Seattle’s streets could be like — a different future that we can build towards right now, where our public streets are designed for people. Safe, functional, enjoyable streets for everyone — at any age, from any background, and for all abilities.

This is the bold vision that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways continues to work for. Join us in helping Seattle rebound from this crisis as a greener, more equitable, and thriving city with your generous contribution today.

Thank you for all that you do to take care of each other and support community life in Seattle!

— Susan Gleason, Development & Communications Director

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