Category Archive: News

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

The City of Seattle is failing to reach its Vision Zero, climate, and equity goals. A budget is a moral document, and we are working with the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition to ask the City Council to amend the Mayor’s proposed budget to better reflect our shared values.

Two easy ways to ask the City Council to prioritize people walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit:

This year we’re supporting some critical changes to make the budget better reflect our city’s values and priorities:

  1. Vision Zero: Increase funding for our Vision Zero program, which has strong equity and safety prioritizations. 
  2. Sidewalks: Increase funding for sidewalk construction, particularly along critical transit corridors, improving access for disabled people, elders, and others.
  3. Lake Washington Boulevard: Conduct equitable engagement to design and implement permanent improvements for Lake Washington Boulevard.
  4. Martin Luther King Way South Safety: Ask SDOT to come up with a plan to make this high crash corridor safer for people walking, biking, and accessing transit. 
  5. Remove Data Collection from the Police: Ask SDOT to analyze what it would take to collect street safety and crash data in order to move this work away from the Seattle Police Department.
  6. Smart Planning: Demand accountability for the “Citywide Integrated Transportation Plan,” which may undercut our efforts to make safer streets.
  7. Progressive Revenue: Continue to seek new progressive revenue, and direct sources such as the Vehicle Licensing Fee and Commercial Parking Tax towards street safety.

Click here to ask City Council to support people walking, rolling, biking, and taking transit, and phone in Friday morning, 10/15, at 9:30 am when Seattle City Council discusses the transportation budget! Sign-up to give public comment opens at 7:30 am. How-to guide here.

Two people walk beside 7 lanes of traffic on Aurora Ave.

Increase funding for Vision Zero, new sidewalks, and Home Zones 

Safety for people walking and rolling is more urgent than ever given the sharp uptick in traffic deaths this year, which disproportionately impact people of color, low income people, unhoused people, disabled people, elders, and their communities. These deaths are also geographically concentrated — over half occured in Southeast Seattle. District 2 Councilmember Tammy Morales has proposed several increases.

A mixed race family smiles for the camera with their dog in front of a boulevard full of people walking and biking next to a lake.Projects in Southeast Seattle

We also support Councilmember Morales’s proposals for projects within her district. District 2 has long been underfunded and lacking in publicly accessible park space and safe streets infrastructure.

  • Lake Washington Boulevard: $200,000 to conduct equitable engagement and develop a community design for a long-term vision for people using this iconic waterfront space.
  • Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Safety: A request that SDOT develop a plan to make this high crash corridor safer for people walking, biking, and accessing transit. MLK Blvd is one of the most dangerous streets in Seattle, and has seen 3 community members killed this summer.

Remove Data Collection from the Police

Currently, our street safety data relies exclusively on police reports, which results in huge gaps in data. Reports skew towards vehicle crashes, and incidents often go unreported, particularly those involving Black people, Indiginous people, and other People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, those who do not speak English fluently, and low-income or unhoused people. Our BIPOC Whose Streets? Our Streets! Workgroup recommendations include developing a new, holistic data-collection structure without police involvement, and we’re supporting Councilmember Morales’s request that SDOT analyze what it would take to collect street safety and crash data — the first step towards moving this work away from the Seattle Police Department.

A street scene with people biking and people boarding a bus.Smart long-term Planning

SDOT is currently developing a “Citywide Integrated Transportation Plan” to combine and replace the existing pedestrian, bike, transit, and freight master plans. However, the process has been opaque, and early releases are worrying, particularly for people walking, rolling, and biking. Councilmember Strauss is proposing a proviso on the $2.5 million budget item for devising this multimodal master plan, requiring that SDOT bring that process out into the public eye and ensure that they follow through with their stated climate, equity, and mobility goals. 

A pie chart showing funding from the Vehicle Licensing Fee.Progressive Revenue Options

Seattle doesn’t have the funding available to fully meet the overlapping crises around housing, climate, mobility, and racial justice, which is why it’s crucial Seattle continues to pursue progressive revenue, and direct new sources such as the Vehicle Licensing Fee and Commercial Parking Tax towards street safety.

Click here to ask City Council to support these priorities, and phone in Friday morning, 10/15, at 9:30 am when Seattle City Council discusses the transportation budget! Sign-up to give public comment opens at 7:30 am. How-to guide here.

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

Action Alert: Park Streets For People

Quick Summary: People should be able to safely walk, bike, roll, and play on streets in parks. Click here to take action and tell the Seattle Parks Department to include this idea in their strategic plan.

During the pandemic, the Seattle Parks Department teamed up with the Department of Transportation to create a version of Stay Healthy Streets next to iconic parks, which they called Keep Moving Streets. These streets along Alki Point, Lake Washington Boulevard, and Green Lake were opened for people to walk, bike, roll, and play by limiting car traffic. While not perfect, they have been well-loved by Seattleites.

 

The City is exploring how to make the Alki Point Keep Moving Street permanent, and has implemented an interim trail for a section of Green Lake. The City has not yet begun to conduct outreach to make permanent improvements for Lake Washington Boulevard.

The Seattle Parks Department needs to work with the Department of Transportation to conduct equitable engagement to co-design permanent improvements for these three streets, and expand the program to other streets to serve more communities.

The Parks Department is going through a strategic planning process, and needs to hear from people like you that continuing and expanding the Keep Moving Streets program is important. Please click here to send them a comment, or write your own email to [email protected]

Act Now! button

Thank you!

Gordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

P.S. Don’t forget to RSVP for our annual Streets For People event coming up on November 7th

Support a Youth-led Movement for Mobility Justice in Beacon Hill

Photo courtesy of PATHSS Youth Participant L.S.

In collaboration with Beacon Hill Safe Streets and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, our partners at the Participatory Active Transportation for Health in South Seattle (PATHSS) study have spent the past year hearing from Beacon Hill youth and adult community members about what they need to get from place to place.

This week they’re publishing an infographic and youth-led South Seattle Emerald op-ed calling on city leaders to ensure fair, just access to transportation and mobility in Beacon Hill and all of South Seattle. Act now and join their call.Act Now! buttonThe community recommendations for mobility justice on Beacon Hill:

  1. Make transit free for all youth as a first step towards free transit for the whole community

  2. Add more buses, bus routes, and bus shelters
  3. End fare enforcement
  4. Fund traffic calming, curb cuts, smooth sidewalks, visible crossings, and better street lighting in South Seattle
  5. Increase affordable, dense housing
  6. Increase access to supportive, rather than police-based, services for those with mental health and substance use conditions
  7. Listen to youth, BIPOC communities, low-income people, and people with disabilities
  8. Generate new progressive revenue to fund changes

Act now to ask Seattle’s elected leaders to support this vision and invest in the future and well-being of our wise South Seattle youth and adult community members. Learn more in the South Seattle Emerald.

Act Now! buttonClick here to learn more about PATHSS, including viewing youth photography, stories, and videos capturing their experiences getting around South Seattle.

 

Last week to experience the U District pedestrian street!

An amazing thing happens when buses are diverted off of University Way Northeast and the remaining car traffic is reduced to just one lane. The prevalent sounds become conversation, laughter, and music in the newly-discovered quiet of this temporary pedestrian environment.

Welcome to Outdoors on the Ave, a rare experiment in pedestrianizing a key commercial district in one of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods for daily walking and rolling activity. With the new U District light rail station about to open, a university serving 40,000 students, and recently up-zoned buildings under construction, the University District is projected to challenge Capitol Hill as Seattle’s walking-est neighborhood.

Throughout September, and culminating this weekend, the U District has hosted a Cafe Street on The Ave, with restaurants and community life filling street spaces that are usually clogged with traffic and parked vehicles. Outdoor dining is available at dozens of restaurants and cafés, featuring cuisine from around the world. Thursday nights feature an outdoor, all-ages concert series, free to attend — two more concerts have just been added, so you’ve got great options for music this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each, featuring En Canto (Sep 30), The Civilians (Oct 1), and Reposodo (Oct 2). Come early to grab take-out, take a seat at a picnic table, and listen to music together in the open air.

   

Thursday is also Chess Night on The Ave’s Cafe Street, hosted by Bulldog News, with a large street chessboard and tables for other matches. Bring your board or borrow one.

 

Experience Outdoors on the Ave before it’s gone.

Sadly, Saturday, October 2nd is the last day to experience this pedestrian street experiment. The 2nd will be a significant day in Seattle, marking the grand opening of three new light stations, including the U District light rail station — a new major connection for this neighborhood to the rest of the city.

The U District station grand opening festival will feature a $3 food walk ($3 menu at over 45 restaurants), an outdoor stage for live music, and a beer garden at Big Time Brewery. Come for the light rail station opening and check out the pedestrian street before it disappears!

How did The Ave’s pedestrian street experiment come about? 

Just as the severe impacts of the pandemic on our beloved, local small businesses became alarming in May of 2020, a group of U District neighbors and volunteers came together to help with the following priorities:

  • Help local small businesses recover from the pandemic
  • Create space for safe social distancing for pedestrians on The Ave
  • Attract customers to the U District to compensate for loss of students during the summer

But the idea of a “people street” on The Ave goes back to the 1970’s with a proposal by Victor Steinbrueck, who helped save Pike Place Market from demolition.

Throughout extensive public engagement workshops and other community-led activities over the years, the U District community stakeholders’ (business owners, nonprofit organizations, students, neighbors) priorities have been consistent:  pedestrianize our main shopping street and save our unique small businesses.

The Outdoors on the Ave cafe street project addresses both of these concerns and keeps this one commercial street at a human scale, while high-rise buildings begin to go up all around it.

It may be temporary today, but the community, assisted by University Greenways, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, will keep pushing for a permanent version.

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the future of The Ave, during this temporary experiment. It all goes away after Saturday. Come visit, dine, shop, and then take our survey.

Welcome!

Outdoors On The Ave

Safe Routes to School Update: SNG Pushes for Systemic Change

 

As students returned to school this month, parents have had a lot on their minds regarding their kids’ health and safety—including the benefits of being outdoors. 

In that vein, we’re thinking about how Seattle can make it safer, easier, and more comfortable for more kids to choose to walk, roll, or bike to get to school. Here’s a roundup of back-to-school news, featuring the critical advocacy work that’s garnered recent progress in Safe Routes to School funding, policies, and infrastructure, and actions you can take now to help SNG make even greater gains. 

Individual School Improvements: School Streets

As school communities work to find solutions to keep kids, teachers, and staff safe, creating outdoor spaces is more important than ever.

At the request of individual schools, the street in front of the building is closed to thru-traffic, including parent drop-offs, and open for people walking, rolling, and biking to school. School Streets reduce traffic and chaos during pick-up and drop-off times, and encourage families to walk or bike to school or park a few blocks away and walk.

The school streets introduced last spring were wildly successful, and received incredible community support. Thanks to positive feedback, the school streets program will continue this fall. All but one school chose to extend their temporary school street, and many more have applied for new safe outdoor space for students!

  • Want a School Street at your school? Contact your school principal for support, and find more information and the application form here.
  • Have a School Street at your school? Share a photo or story about the school street at your local school to let us know how it’s working! @SNGreenways #SchoolStreets

These measures are all instrumental in getting kids safely to and from school. But it can take a lot of individual energy and attention to start and maintain programs, and heavy reliance on volunteer parent energy leaves some schools without any programs at all. What Seattle really needs is a system-wide approach that prioritizes and normalizes kids walking and biking to school through everything from the structure of support from the school district to the design of the schools.

As Seattle Neighborhood Greenways advocates for improvements at individual schools, we’re continuing to pursue systemic change that will make a difference for generations to come.

Systemic Change: Hire a Safe Routes to School Coordinator

In 2019, residents like you helped us successfully advocate for funding for a new full-time employee at the Seattle Public School District to help kids walk and bike to school safely. Unfortunately, despite having secured funding, this position has yet to be advertised and filled. 

58% of students live within their school’s designated “walk zone” and are not served by school bus routes, and currently walking and biking school buses, when offered, are predominantly run by parent volunteers, and do not exist at all schools. Reliance on volunteers and lack of central management results in enormous inequities. 

At schools with dangerous road conditions, many parents who have the means to do so make the decision to drive their kids to school every day. The increase in vehicle traffic around the school leaves those kids who do not have the option, disproportionately low-income kids and people of color, in even more dangerous conditions. Nationwide African-American children are twice as likely to be killed while walking and Latino children are 40% more likely than white children. 

A full-time staff member paying attention to the thousands of kids who walk to school, or helping them to do so safely would be a dramatic improvement. 

 

Systemic Change: Build schools with bike parking

Great news! At the request of the School Traffic Safety Committee and advocates, the Seattle School Board just stood up for schools to be built with adequate bike parking included!

Earlier this year, the school board committed to being carbon-free by 2040, including transportation. The transport of students to and from school, everything from a yellow bus to a parent driving their kids, is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for schools. To reduce transportation emissions, the school district must enable and encourage walking and biking as a prioritized method of getting to school for both students and staff.

In 2018, Seattle City Council adopted a major update to the City’s codes that established new requirements for bicycle parking in new buildings. Schools will now provide three long-term spaces (secured access and weather protection) and one short-term space (racks in publicly available locations) for each classroom. This equates roughly to safe bike parking for a little more than 10% of students. But schools being rebuilt have not been meeting these code requirements, cutting the required parking by as much as 50% at Kimball, Northgate, and Viewlands Elementary Schools. In addition, a shortage of bicycle parking at the recently renovated Lincoln High School means students are parking bikes in classrooms.

These buildings will be in use by Seattle students for the next 100 years, and the decreased amount of bike parking provided will limit bike ridership at these schools far beyond 2040. Building infrastructure that meets our current city goals should be a bare minimum.

This August, the Seattle School Board saw this necessity and called for schools to meet 100% of the code requirements. Advocates are continuing to push, asking for a plan for increasing bicycle parking at existing schools and to update codes to reduce costly red tape.

Henry English Day on the first day of school—riding his bike is his favorite way to get there, rain or shine.

Five Ways YOU Can Help:

  1. Share a photo or story about the school street or other safe infrastructure at your local school to let us know how it’s working! @SNGreenways #SchoolStreets
  2. Request a School Street at your school: Contact your school principal for support, and find more information and the application form here.
  3. Join a list of other interested parents and community members to receive updates on Safe Routes to School.
  4. Start or join a walking school bus or bike train to help your students get safely to and from school in groups. Find out more here.
  5. Help spread the word about job openings! Seattle Public Schools is hiring crossing guards to help make school intersections safer. Check out this KIRO 7 news segment or read this flyer to find out more, or contact Yvonne Carpenter, [email protected] or (206) 252-0907.

Candidate Forums on Transportation, Equity, and the Environment

In June, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition, and allies hosted two candidate forums focusing on transportation, equity, and the environment, both moderated by Erica C. Barnett.

See the recordings and transcripts below to learn more about candidates positions on key issues, and remember to vote! The primary election is August 3, 2021, so look out for ballots in the mail by mid July.

The first forum educated voters about candidates for Mayor of Seattle Jessyn Farrell, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Andrew Grant Houston and Lance Randall. Colleen Echohawk and Casey Sixkiller were unable to attend.

Check out the recording here, or read the event transcript or event coverage from The Urbanist.

 

In the second forum, we heard from candidates for Seattle City Council Position 9 Nikkita Oliver, Brianna Thomas, and Sara Nelson.

Check out the recording here, or read the event transcript.

* * *

Thank you to all the co-sponsoring organizations: the MASS Coalition, 350 Seattle Action, Cascade Bicycle Club, Disability Rights Washington, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Subway, Sunrise Seattle, Transportation Choices Coalition, Transit Riders Union, and the Urbanist.

Remember to register to vote online by July 26, or in person by election day, August 3. Check the mail for your ballots starting in mid-July for the primary election, and deposit your ballot in the mail (no postage required) or in an official drop box by 8 pm on August 3, 2021.

WIN: Funding for Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets!

Great news! Seattle City Council just passed $2.5 million to make Stay Healthy Streets permanent, as well as $300,000 to fund Cafe Streets through 2022!
Thanks to your advocacy, the legislation also included a promise to use future federal funds or other resources to launch equitable community outreach and fund potential permanent infrastructure changes for Keep Moving Streets at Alki Point, Green Lake and Lake Washington Boulevard.
See below for background and details!
A family with helmets smiles at the camera standing on a Stay Healthy Street next to bikes and an A-frame sign that says
Stay Healthy Streets

Thanks to popular demand last summer, Mayor Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the pilot Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, starting with streets in Greenwood (1st Ave NW) and Lake City. The City began community engagement to design the final look and feel of the streets, but hadn’t found funding — until now!

The funding for Stay Healthy Streets includes $1.875 million for infrastructure improvements, as well as $625,000 for associated work, engagement, and design. SDOT has already launched community engagement efforts, and will accelerate plans now that funding has been secured.

People bustling around Island Soul's Cafe Street in Columbia City.

Cafe Streets

City Council provided $300,000 to extend Cafe Streets permits through May of 2022. We will be working hard to make this successful program permanent.

A mixed race family smiles for the camera with their dog in front of a boulevard full of people walking and biking next to a lake.
Keep Moving Streets
Thanks to your advocacy in support of Seattle’s three Keep Moving Streets at Lake Washington BoulevardAlki Point, and Green Lake. Councilmember Herbold introduced an amendment which was supported by the rest of the council. The legislation now also includes a promise to use future federal funds or other resources to launch equitable community outreach and fund potential permanent infrastructure changes for all three Keep Moving Streets. We’re hopeful that with continued advocacy from people like you we can secure the necessary funding to make sure these fantastic public spaces don’t disappear.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

 

PS: Want to learn more about what happens now? Check out What’s Next For Stay Healthy Streets.

10 Big Ideas for Seattle’s Next Mayor

Running for office in Seattle this year? Looking to be informed during candidate debates? Download our 10 Ideas for Seattle’s Next Mayor PDF cheat sheet

Our Streets Shape Our Lives, and Our Mayor Shapes our Streets

The Moment & Opportunity 

The next mayor of Seattle will face overlapping challenges around affordability, climate change, equity, health, safety, and more. How we shape our streets and transportation system can make a difference in all of these areas. One quarter of Seattle’s total land is dedicated to streets, and the mayor has wide powers to shape how these spaces are designed to meet our goals as a city. Mayors around the world are rediscovering the public space potential of streets and moving quickly to transform their streets for people. Just last year New York converted 8,550 parking spaces, Oakland created 74 miles of Stay Healthy Streets, and Lisbon doubled its bike network. What will Seattle’s next mayor do?   

How these issues connect to values voters care about
  • Accessibility: People with disabilities deserve equal access to our city (26,000 people in Seattle use a mobility aid), but right now there are too many barriers (156,000 sidewalk maintenance issues, 66% of arterials lack crosswalks, thousands are missing curb ramps, and more). People with disabilities are significantly more likely to be getting around without driving, and to be killed in traffic collisions.
  • Affordability: Transportation is the second biggest household cost after housing. Today, half of all trips in Seattle are under 3 miles, an easy walking and biking distance. We can make Seattle more affordable by making it so that everyone who wants to can accomplish half of their trips on foot or by bike. 
  • Community: Streets designed for people to interact and share space can literally bring together neighbors who have never met, and build stronger community ties. 
  • Economic Prosperity: Encouraging people to shop local by walking and biking helps keep wealth in communities and create more local jobs.
  • Equity & Justice: Black Seattlies are most likely to die in traffic collisions and also face the brunt of an ineffective traffic enforcement system. We can fix this.
  • Health: Incorporating more walking into our daily lives helps keep people healthy, without having to set aside separate time to go to the gym. 
  • Happiness / Quality of Life: People who get to walk and bike regularly are happier and report a higher quality of life. 
  • Kids & Seniors: Seattle’s streets are not designed so that kids can easily and safely go to school, parks, and friends houses; or so that elders can age gracefully in place, but they could be. 
  • Safety: According to the CDC “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the first three decades of Americans’ lives.” Seattle averages 150 life-altering injuries each year and 20 deaths, heavily concentrated in SE Seattle’s District 2, and these numbers are increasing. We can, and must, make our streets safe to travel on for everyone.

10 Big Ideas For Seattle’s Next Mayor

1. Make Every Street Walkable: Everyone deserves a safe place to walk and roll, but right now we’re on a 300+ year timeline to make that a reality. The next mayor needs to find additional funding for sidewalks on arterial streets and transit routes like Aurora Ave, and implement five cost-effective Home Zones each year for non-arterial streets.  

 

2. Connect Every Neighborhood by Bike: We need a network of connected, comfortable, safe, and convenient bike routes so people can bike to where they need to go. The next mayor needs to find the funding and political fortitude to make the Citywide Network of the Bicycle Master Plan a reality. Read more

 

3. Renew the Move Seattle Levy: Seattle’s next mayor must find supplemental sources of funding to deliver on the promises made to voters in the Move Seattle Levy, and build towards a transformational renewal proposal in 2024. 

 

4. Make Seattle a 15-Minute City: Everyone should have access to their daily needs within a short walk. The next mayor should make this a central organizing principle of the Comprehensive Master Plan update. Read more.

 

5. Make Stay Healthy Streets & Keep Moving Streets Permanent: These streets have been wildly popular by simply allowing people to safely walk, bike, roll, run, and play in the street. The next mayor should make Stay Healthy Streets the new standard for all neighborhood greenways, continue nimble project delivery, and direct SDOT to co-design permanent improvements for the Keep Moving Streets on Alki Point, Green Lake, and Lake Washington Boulevard. Read more

 

6. Boost Business via Cafe Streets: Cafe Streets are good for public health, small businesses, and our quality of life. The next mayor should make this program permanent in an accessible, safe, collaborative, equitable, and bold way. Read more

 

7. Get Vision Zero Back on Track: Everyone should be able to safely get to where they need to go, but every year 150 people suffer life altering injuries and 20 are killed — and the trends are getting worse. The next mayor should double the Vision Zero budget through the Vehicle Licensing Fee (VLF) to build more safety projects, and help SDOT evolve beyond the antiquated and car-centric “Level Of Service”

 

Traffic Stops Must Stop Leading to Black Deaths

8. Make Traffic Enforcement Equitable: Similar to the push to remove police from mental health response calls, there is a growing professional consensus that police traffic stops are an ineffective and inequitable way to address  traffic safety issues. The next mayor should remove police from traffic enforcement and redirect the resources to road redesigns, automated enforcement, and problem-solving focused enforcement by SDOT employees; and community health, safety, and resilience programs. Read more

 

A sidewalk made impassible by tree roots and crumbling pavement.

9. Repair Sidewalks: Our sidewalks should be safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. But right now there are 156,000 known sidewalk maintenance issues, making the sidewalk network we do have increasingly inaccessible to people with disabilities, the elderly, and parents pushing strollers. The next mayor should allocate funding from the VLF, and implement a point of sale sidewalk repair ordinance. 

 

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

10. Be Bold: The next mayor has the power to boldly re-shape our streets to make our city healthier, safer, happier, more just, sustainable, and prosperous. Strong direction from the top matters to make change, especially when it’s controversial. Today’s transformational challenges call for a transformational leader

Funding for Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets!

Great news! Seattle City Council just proposed $2.5 million to make Stay Healthy Streets permanent, as well as $300,000 to fund Cafe Streets through 2022! Act now to:
  • Thank Seattle City Councilmembers for funding Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets to help ensure that the funding isn’t removed.
  • Ask them to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment to use future funding to make Keep Moving Streets permanent on Alki Point, Green Lake, and Lake Washington Boulevard. 
A blue button that reads
A family with helmets smiles at the camera standing on a Stay Healthy Street next to bikes and an A-frame sign that says
Stay Healthy Streets

Thanks to popular demand last summer, Mayor Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the pilot Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, starting with streets in Greenwood (1st Ave NW) and Lake City. The City began community engagement to design the final look and feel of the streets, but hadn’t found funding — until now!

 

People bustling around Island Soul's Cafe Street in Columbia City.

 

Cafe Streets

In May, City Council unanimously passed an extension of permits for Cafe Streets through May of 2022, which this new proposal would fund. We will be working hard to make this successful program permanent.

A mixed race family smiles for the camera with their dog in front of a boulevard full of people walking and biking next to a lake.
Keep Moving Streets
Unfortunately, this funding won’t cover improvements to Seattle’s three Keep Moving Streets at Lake Washington Boulevard, Alki Point, and Green Lake. But Councilmember Herbold just introduced an amendment to use future funding to make Keep Moving Streets permanent and conduct community engagement. We’re hopeful that with continued advocacy from people like you we can find additional funding to make sure these fantastic public spaces don’t disappear. Ask Council to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment now!
A blue button that reads
Act now to thank Seattle City Councilmembers for funding Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets, and ask them to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment to find funding for Keep Moving Streets.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

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."

 

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