Category Archive: News

the Seattle Transportation Plan must be bold!

As you might have already heard, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is creating a new plan called the “Seattle Transportation Plan.” This plan will guide transportation planning and implementation for the next decade and beyond. It will update and combine the city’s bike, freight, pedestrian, and transit maps into one plan. It also will determine how and where people will fit onto Seattle’s streets. Learn more here. 

This plan is currently going through what is known as a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) alternatives analysis, and we need to ensure the alternatives are as strong as possible from the beginning. 

Can you take a minute to send a comment by this Friday to make sure this important plan reflects and advances our safety, equity, and climate goals? Please send them a comment today! 

 

Act Now! button

 

Working with our allies we have identified five main concerns and suggestions: 

Before moving forward with SEPA analysis for the Seattle Transportation Plan, please revise the proposed alternatives in the following way:

  1. Delete Alternative 2 which would be a failure of our necessary climate goals. Seattle must be a leader on a just transition to a sustainable future, and failing to do so by 2044 should not be studied as an option.
  2. Add a bold Alternative 4. We need a new alternative that makes bold progress in the next decade, rather than waiting for 2044. We need an alternative that rapidly makes walking, biking, and transit the most convenient, safe, and comfortable ways to get around Seattle. Let’s plan for an accessible city for all, where sidewalks and crosswalks are ubiquitous. Let’s plan for a bike friendly city where every street is safe to bike on. Let’s plan for a city where frequent transit is prioritized over the movement of cars. Let’s plan for a city where our streets are recognized as public space for play, community building, trees, gardens, cafes, and so much more! In short, let’s plan for a future that is more sustainable, equitable, safe, affordable, healthy, accessible, and thriving.
  3. Plan for an affordable 15 Minute City. Please revise the alternatives to plan for a city where everyone has an affordable home, and where daily needs are within a short walk or roll. These strategies must be developed in concert with the land use plan to be effective and equitable.
  4. Improve the “themes” used to evaluate the alternatives. Please improve the universal design theme away from app solutions and towards the needs of non-drivers and people with disabilities. Please add public space, kid-friendly, elderly-friendly, and noise pollution as new themes to better help understand the outcomes that different alternatives would create.
  5. Reduce the over-emphasis on vehicle electrification: The draft alternatives envision a large role for the City of Seattle in promoting private electric vehicles. SDOT should instead focus on what it has the most control over: prioritizing investments and street space so that walking, biking, and transit are the most convenient, safe, and comfortable ways to get around.

Can you take a minute to send a comment by this Friday to make sure this important plan reflects and advances our safety, equity, and climate goals? Please send them a comment today! Act Now! button

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Act Now to Influence the Seattle Transportation Plan!

A green logo of a tree with people walking, rolling, running, biking, and sitting in a line beneath it. Text reads "Seattle Neighborhood Greenways."

 

Take SDOT’s survey to influence the new Seattle Transportation Plan!

The Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) just launched the first of two rounds of community engagement. Two ways to give input: 

  • Take the survey to share your priorities and challenges when navigating Seattle. Pro tip: Take the full survey – the last page has great questions! 
  • Add pins to the interactive map to highlight gaps in our bike network and places you have trouble getting around as a pedestrian. You can also provide ideas to improve transit, and other changes you envision for the future of our city.

 

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What is the Seattle Transportation Plan?

This plan will guide transportation planning and implementation for the next decade. It updates and combines the city’s bike, freight, pedestrian, and transit maps into one plan. It also determines how and where people will fit onto Seattle’s streets. Learn more here.

The plan will inform the next transportation levy and be incorporated into Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan which shapes how our city grows – where housing, parks and services are located. It is critical that it reflects and advances our safety, equity, and climate goals.

 

A crowd of people line up to board a King County metrobus with a bike on the front rack.

What’s happening Now?

Over the last year and a half, SDOT has created preliminary policies for transit, freight, and biking that will be incorporated into the Seattle Transportation Plan. And thanks to your advocacy, that policy for bike routes now includes some safety considerations. This is a huge win! But it’s not enough. We need to stay vigilant in our fight to prioritize safety, equity, and climate.

Click here to stay tuned for future engagement opportunities. We expect a second round of engagement this fall before the plan is completed in 2023.

 

Act Now! button

Take the survey and add pins to the interactive map now to make sure that your thoughts and values are included in Seattle’s transportation vision.

 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Be well,

Clara

 

A headshot of Clara Cantor, a mixed race person with dark hair, long curly silver earrings, and a grey vest.Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Tell the city: We need a direct and safe waterfront bike path!

Did you know Seattle’s new signature waterfront trail doesn’t connect to the existing Elliot Bay Trail? There is a ½ mile gap that needs to be filled. Unfortunately, the city’s draft proposal forces people using the trail to unnecessarily cross Alaskan Way. . . twice.  

 

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Tell the city to create a direct and safe path by sending a message now or by attending the SDOT online open house Tuesday, May 10, 4:30 – 5:30 pm.

 

A sunny image of the street along the Seattle Waterfront looking south. Text along the left reads: Alaskan Way / UnGaptheMap

 

The Seattle waterfront is an iconic space that is heavily used by people walking, rolling, and biking. Once the waterfront bike trail is completed in 2024, this will only increase.

A half mile gap remains between this iconic trail, running along the whole of the waterfront and connecting all the way south to Alki Beach, and the Elliot Bay Trail, with connections up to Ballard, the Burke Gilman Trail, and points north. The Alaskan Way bike lane will connect that half-mile gap between Virginia St. and the Olympic Sculpture Park. This route is already heavily used, and will be even more popular with a safe and comfortable bike lane. Unfortunately, SDOT is bending over backwards to accommodate the cruise ships at Pier 66.

 

SDOT’s Project Map showing a two-way protected bike lane crossing the street to become a narrow shared-use path, then crossing back across the street 5 blocks later.

SDOT’s Project Map showing a two-way protected bike lane crossing the street to become a narrow shared-use path, then crossing back across the street 5 blocks later.

 

This design is inconvenient and confusing. A lot of people likely won’t use it and will end up in the street or on the sidewalk, causing additional chaos and danger for both pedestrians and people on bikes — especially with the tens of thousands of tourists who use our waterfront trail each year. Read more in this article from the Urbanist

Pier 66 has heavy use for just 2 months in the summer, and tapering off in the shoulder seasons. Ask SDOT to work with the Port to find a solution that allows them to have safe loading and unloading, while maintaining a direct and efficient bike route.

Now is the time to make our voices heard!

Tell the city to create a direct and safe path by sending a message now or by attending the SDOT online open house Tuesday, May 10, 4:30 – 5:30 pm to learn more about the Alaskan Way bike lane project.

 

Act Now! button

 

Want to do more?

 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

A headshot of Clara Cantor, a mixed race person with dark hair, long curly silver earrings, and a grey vest.Clara Cantor

she/her

Community Organizer

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Act Now: Equitable Hiring for School Crossing Guards!

Seattle needs crossing guards to help kids get safely to school – let’s make it more equitable to hire them! Act now to tell the Seattle School Board to reduce barriers for hiring school crossing guards.

 

A Black man in an orange vest holds traffic while four children of varying ages cross the street in front of him.

Crossing guards are critical to help kids safely walk, roll, and bike to school. Many guards are beloved pillars of their community and all of them serve in bad weather for little pay at locations that have been identified as dangerous.

 

40% of these critical posts are currently vacant and an upfront fingerprinting fee is an unnecessary barrier to many applicants. Crossing guard applicants are often on fixed incomes and frequently have to save up or wait for a monthly check to afford the fee, which slows down the process of filling these critical safety roles. The School Traffic Safety Committee is calling on Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to pay for the onboarding fingerprints rather than requiring crossing guard applicants to pay the $55 fee upfront. SPS already does this for other hourly staff. Eliminating this barrier would get more guards in place more quickly and help ensure that kids have help crossing dangerous intersections.

Send an email now to tell the Seattle School Board to reduce barriers for hiring school crossing guards.

Want to do more?

  • Apply to join the City of Seattle’s School Traffic Safety Committee.
  • Learn more about Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ Safe Routes to School efforts.
  • Sign up here to make sure you receive school-related updates in the future!

More ways to support Safe Routes to School:

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

Advocacy 101: Building a Powerful Grassroots Campaign

A colorful crowd of people stand in a city plaza surrounded by trees and tall buildings. In the front stands a speaker with a green shirt and long black braid, and an ASL interpreter with a black shirt, both with arms raised to the crowd.

Want to make a change in your community, but not sure where to begin? On March 16, we hosted a grassroots advocacy workshop focused on basic campaign planning, political strategy and coalition building. Workshop attendees brainstormed ideas and solutions around real-life examples affecting our communities.

The strength of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition is rooted in grassroots people power. We’re grateful to our incredible volunteers for all of our past successes and campaign wins!

 

In Case You Missed It: Check out the Event Notes, Slide Deck, and Full Recording.

Related Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Resources:

Referenced City of Seattle Resources:

More in-depth Resources for a deeper dive:

 

Interested in learning new skills or improving your advocacy? We offer organizing skills workshops periodically on a variety of subjects. All workshops are targeted towards our volunteers but open to everyone. These skills are transferable across movements!

We also offer sponsorship for volunteers that are interested in participating in other learning opportunities:

  • Sponsorship for Black, Indigenous and other people of color to participate in transportation, urban design or public space workshops, trainings and conferences.
  • Sponsorship for all volunteers interested in equity-focused workshops, training or conferences.

If you have a workshop you’re interested in and cost is a barrier, apply today at [email protected] by sharing the training information, why you would like to attend and how you hope to grow in your advocacy.

Thank you again for joining us, and happy advocating!

Act Now: New Transportation Plan Must Prioritize Safety for People on Bikes

Two teenage girls with brown skin stand astride their bicycles, smiling. Behind them is a street and some tall trees.

The Seattle Transportation Plan (STP) will guide the city’s bike planning and implementation for the next decade and must prioritize safety, equity and connectivity. Right now, it’s not.

Seattle needs a transportation plan that creates a complete network of safe, accessible, comfortable, and convenient bike routes throughout the city. We must prioritize climate-friendly transportation modes, and we must provide equitable access to biking, walking, rolling, and transit throughout the city, with investments prioritized in communities that have been neglected and that are most impacted by climate pollution and traffic violence.

SDOT has only just begun creating the new Seattle Transportation Plan, and we already have concerns.

A street with people riding past on bikes, a bus stop, and two people boarding a King County Metrobus.

The Seattle Transportation Plan updates and combines the city’s bike, pedestrian, transit, and freight master plans into one plan. It  determines how and where each of these modes can fit into Seattle’s streets.

So far, planning for bike routes doesn’t include safety, equity, and connectivity filters. That’s a big problem.

Two small children ride bikes in a protected bike lane down a wide city street.

SDOT knows where people are getting hit, injured, and killed while riding bikes in Seattle. If we don’t prioritize those locations, people will continue to be killed. And traffic violence, like so much else in our city, is disproportionately killing and harming people of color, disabled people, elders, low-income people, and unhoused people. Each number is a person, and each death has rippling effects on their family, friends, and community. We must do better.

This plan will inform the next transportation levy and be incorporated into Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, so it’s critical that it advances Seattle’s safety, equity, and climate goals.

Act now to tell City Council that Seattle’s new Transportation Plan must prioritize safety for people on bikes. Read more info here.

– – –

More ways to support our campaign to #UnGapTheMap:

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

What’s next for safe streets with our new mayor?

2022 is going to be a big year. At the start of both the Murray and Durkan mayoral administrations, we had to fight to restore critical walking and biking projects that were delayed, canceled, or watered down. Will we see the same pattern with mayor-elect Harrell? Only time will tell, but it gives us pause that he let competent SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe go. Will you chip in to make sure we can respond to whatever comes our way under this new mayor? 

The good news is that the public is on our side. Seattleites overwhelmingly want our new mayor to dedicate more street space for sidewalks, bike lanes, sidewalk cafes, and bus lanes, even when it means removing a lane of traffic or parking. But general public support can easily be drowned out by a few loud angry voices. That’s why our proven strategy of organizing supporters in neighborhoods around the city is integral to creating better streets. And we get results! 

Below are a few highlights your support made possible in 2021:

  • Tripled the funding for equitable and data-guided safe street projects.
  • Extended the successful Cafe Streets program that 260 small businesses have used to stay open. 
  • Kept seventeen Healthy Streets open for thousands of people to enjoy.  
  • Continued organizing our Whose Streets? Our Streets! BIPOC working group, which built important new relationships this year, and celebrated the movement of 120 parking enforcement officers from SPD to SDOT as a first step towards removing armed police from traffic enforcement.
  • Celebrated safe routes for people to walk and bike to the three new light rail stations this year, representing years of advocacy, including the John Lewis Memorial Pedestrian bridge, protected bike lanes on Green Lake Drive and 100th street, and better sidewalks on NE 43rd street.
  • Won $1.5 million to repair sidewalks and add curb ramps to make walking and rolling more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

These improvements would not have happened without supporters like you — thank you. If you can, please consider making an end of year gift to power our work into 2022. 

                                                 


 

With your support, next year we will…

  • Fight to improve safety on some of our most dangerous streets including Aurora Ave, MLK Way S, and Airport Way S. 
  • Build relationships and advocate to shift traffic enforcement from SPD to SDOT.
  • Bolster struggling small businesses with street cafes and pedestrian-only streets.
  • Advocate to close dangerous gaps in bike routes that leave families stranded. 
  • And support everyday people across the city who want to get organized and make their neighborhoods better places to walk, roll, bike, and live.

Thank you and happy holidays! 

Gordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

P.S. Did you miss our year in review newsletter? Be sure to check out the inspiring progress we’re making together, or make an end of year donation now so we can make progress in 2022

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2021 Year In Review — Putting our values into action

At Seattle Neighborhood Greenways we believe that our streets should reflect our shared values as a city.

When we polled Seattle voters in October, we found that those values that have guided our work these past ten years are widely shared and supported. When asked what values are important to how Seattle funds and allocates space on our streets, there was strong support for all nine values listed: Safety, racial equity, clean environment, accessibility, affordability, convenience, kid-friendly streets, health, and happiness. Encouragingly, support ranged from 95% for safety to 72% for happiness!

Here are some highlights from 2021 that exemplify how we put these values into action this year.

Safety
We won funding to permanently triple the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Vision Zero budget, which will vastly increase the number of critical safety projects that are built starting in 2022!

A group of people walking down the street holding Black Lives Matter signs.

Racial equity
Our Whose Streets? Our Streets! BIPOC work-group built important new relationships this year, and celebrated the movement of 120 parking enforcement officers from SPD to SDOT as a first step towards removing armed police from traffic enforcement.

Clean environment
We celebrated safe routes for people to walk and bike to the three new light rail stations this year, including the John Lewis Memorial Pedestrian bridge, protected bike lanes on Green Lake Drive and 100th street, and better sidewalks on NE 43rd street.

Accessibility
We won $1.5 million to repair sidewalks and add curb ramps to make walking and rolling more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

Affordability
After housing, transportation is the biggest household expense, which is why we are excited that the 15 Minute City concept, which would make it so you can walk to all your daily needs, gained traction this year.

Convenience
The 4th Ave protected bike lanes now connect Pioneer Square to Belltown and beyond, helping fill in one of the last pieces of the downtown Basic Bike Network, which will encourage more people to ditch their cars and bike to work instead.

Kid-friendly streets
Lake Washington Boulevard was open for families every weekend this summer and during school closures, allowing kids to be kids and everyone to enjoy this amazing public space in SE Seattle.

Health
Stay Healthy Streets remained open on seventeen streets this year, and SDOT (slowly) began the process of working with different neighborhoods to determine what permanent improvements could look like (see our take on how the city should evolve the program).

Happiness
We successfully extended the well loved Cafe Streets program until spring 2022, helping 260 small businesses to stay open, and people stay connected to each other safely.

We didn’t poll about every value we hold true — community togetherness for instance. Thank you for being a part of our community in 2021. We truly are a people-powered movement, and we could not have achieved this without your support. If you can, please make an end of year donation to keep us going.

We hope you will resolve to stay involved in the New Year, as we walk together on the long journey towards streets that truly reflect our shared values.

Thank you!

Gordon Padelford
Executive Director

Safe Streets Construction Highlights 2021

2021 was a big catch-up year for SDOT, after 2020 completion of only 2.3 miles of protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways, out of the 15.2 miles planned. We’re excited to see the completion of several huge, much-anticipated projects that will make a huge difference to people walking, rolling, biking, and accessing transit across Seattle.

Here’s some highlights of the new protected bike lanes, street crossings, and sidewalks you may not have seen yet!

A long row of people on bikes, including some children, ride towards the camera in the new 2-way protected bike lane next to Green Lake.

North Seattle: New sidewalks and Connections to new light rail stations!  

Three new light rail stations opened this fall, and along with them several important new routes that will help people access the stations and make our transit system more accessible to more people. The biggest and most anticipated is the new John Lewis Memorial Pedestrian bridge, allowing access across I-5 to the Northgate Link Light Rail Station.

New bike lanes now connect around the east side of Green Lake (pictured above). Green Lake Wallingford Safe Streets advocacy heavily influenced the accompanying pedestrian improvements that square up intersections and improve access to the park. This project, which connects to the new Roosevelt Light Rail Station via protected lanes on NE 65th St and NE Ravenna Blvd, was originally also meant to include bike routes on Stone Way and N 40th St, but those segments were cancelled (for now).

Other improvements include new sidewalks on NE 43rd St accessing the University District station, and the new Northgate Neighborhood Greenway, including intersection improvements at 8th Ave NE and Northgate Way.

Lake City Way Safety: This year also saw the completion of new sidewalks, crossings, and intersection improvements along Lake City Way, dramatically improving pedestrian access and safety on what has historically been one of Seattle’s most dangerous corridors.

An instagram post from @urbanistorg. Image shows a protected bike lane next to a lively business district. Text reads: "Fresh Kermit alert. Feels like 34th Street PBL was in planning for five years and built in a weekend."

Connections South to Downtown: N 34th St now has new parking protected bike lanes (pictured above), including many design suggestions from Ballard-Fremont Greenways. This route improves access to the Fremont Bridge and connections south to the Westlake Trail and downtown, and makes it possible for people of all ages and abilities to ride from Gasworks Park to Pike Place Market, downtown, or Chinatown/International District.

A woman with a blue shirt rides a bike on the newly completed 2-way protected bike lane on 4th Ave. In the background are 2 more people on bikes, one person riding an e-scooter, and several cars and buses.

Central Seattle: Downtown Basic Bike Network

After many years of delays and continued pressure and advocacy, we finally have a new 2-way protected bike lane on 4th Ave through downtown Seattle (pictured above)! With the new short segments of bike lanes in Uptown around the new Climate Pledge Arena and improvements on Alaskan Way, downtown Seattle has never been easier to get around by bike.

A map of protected bike routes in downtown Seattle.

South Lake Union: Short segments of new bike lanes on Eastlake Ave through South Lake Union and the newly re-opened Fairview Ave bridge set the stage for the future protected bike route which will connect from Lake Union Park along Eastlake Ave to the U District Station as a part of the Rapid Ride J line (construction to begin in 2023).

Central District: New protected bike lanes on E Union St include protection around the intersection with 23rd Ave, which Central Seattle Greenways (CSG) advocated heavily to include after it was not included in the original design. CSG celebrated with a group ride.

A family with a small child bike away from the camera in a protected bike lane across the Jose Rizal Bridge. The background shows a cityscape with trees with yellowing leaves..

Connections South: New protected bike lanes on 12th Ave S (pictured above) now connect people safely from the King St neighborhood greenway in Little Saigon over the Jose Rizal bridge to the I-90 Trail at the north end of Beacon Hill! Even more exciting, after many years of advocacy by Beacon Hill Safe Streets, the dangerous slip lane at the top of the bridge has been closed. Though short, this 4 block connection is the first direct bike route designed for people of all ages and abilities that connects from downtown to the entire southern half of Seattle. It also sets the stage for the future bike connection currently being planned along the spine of Beacon Hill (construction to begin in 2023).

The left image shows a woman in a green jacket shrugging while standing next to a train track and a street with a semi truck speeding past. On the opposite side of the street the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center is visible. The right image shows a nighttime image of a new traffic signal and crosswalk with glowing lights.

West Seattle: Rapid Ride and Greenway Improvements

2021 brought the completion of the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, which connects all the way from Alaska Junction to High Point, Fairmount Park, and down to Roxhill Elementary School. After many years of advocacy from West Seattle Bike Connections, the new Rapid Ride H line (formerly Delridge Rapid Ride) multimodal improvements included sections of protected bike lanes as well as neighborhood greenway improvements and pedestrian improvements, including a traffic signal and diverter at 35th Ave SW and SW Graham St.

And most noteably, the Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way SW has a new sidewalk, traffic light and crosswalk (pictured above) connecting the longhouse to bus stops, the Duwamish Trail, and car parking across the street. This comes after many years of advocacy from the Duwamish Tribe and allies, including West Seattle Bike Connections and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

A gray image of a street with cars parked on both sides and white blooming trees. There is a bike sharrow painted in the middle and a "Neighborhood Greenway" sign on the right.

South Seattle: Safe Streets Infrastructure Investments Still Lagging Behind the Rest of the City

South Seattle has historically received significantly less safe infrastructure investment than the rest of the city, and despite many promises to prioritize equity from SDOT and our elected leaders, this underinvestment continues. The lack of safe streets has tragic consequences for south end families and communities — of the 31 people who have been killed in traffic collisions this year alone, 18 were killed in District 2, which includes Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, SODO, and parts of Chinatown/International District. This is not acceptable, and we must do more to prioritize safe streets for SE Seattle.

The only bike infrastructure installed in SE Seattle this year was a refresh of the S Kenyon St Neighborhood Greenway (pictured above), providing a valuable East-West connection from Beacon Ave S to Seward Park Ave S, improving crossings of dangerous arterials and connecting to the Chief Sealth Trail and Rainier Valley neighborhood greenway.

Pedestrian Improvements: There were many exciting pedestrian improvements in South Seattle, including:

  • The intersection of 15th Ave S and S Columbian Way is finally improved after years of advocacy from Beacon Hill Safe Streets. These changes dramatically increases safety and access for students at Mercer International Middle School as well as people accessing Jefferson Park, the business district, and the VA Hospital.
  • Rainier Ave S received hardened centerlines at four intersections, with potentially more to come! Although they may seem insignificant, these small plastic strips force drivers to slow down when turning, and make walking or rolling across the street feel considerably safer. Rainier Valley Greenways-Safe Streets continues to advocate to improve safety and reduce speeding on Rainier Ave S.
  • I-90 onramps on Rainier Ave narrowed from two lanes of vehicle traffic down to one. After continued pressure from Rainier Valley Greenways-Safe Streets and Disability Rights Washington, people crossing here or accessing the Judkins Park station are now significantly more visible to drivers and have a much shorter distance to cross.

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene unveiling a 25 mph speed limit sign.

Citywide Improvements: Lowered Speed Limits and Safe Routes to Schools

  • SDOT installed signage lowering speed limits to 25 mph on most major streets — a total of 415 miles of Seattle’s arterial streets are now 25 mph! Lower speeds decrease the number of collisions that occur as well as the severity and likelihood of serious injury or death.
  • Seattle’s Safe Routes to School program, built 29 road safety improvements near schools in 2020 and 2021, including neighborhood greenway connections, new sidewalks, new crossings, and speed humps that will help kids walk or bike to school safely. The new School Streets pilot program also added space for kids in front of schools.
  • Seattle also distributed 21,500 free ORCA cards (transit passes) to 18,000 students this year, in addition to 3,500 essential workers and Seattle Housing Authority residents.

These exciting projects will help keep people safe and comfortable when biking around Seattle, and we’re thrilled. We’re also looking forward to more transformational projects in 2022, including the Georgetown to South Park Trail, a new protected bike lane on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way from Rainier Ave S to Judkins, the Pike Pine Renaissance, and more!

Thank you for all that you do to make improvements like this possible! If you can, please pitch in to help make more important projects possible next year and beyond.

Safe travels,

Clara Cantor
Community Organizer

The Future of Urban Highways

Forming a grassroots movement to re-think Aurora Avenue

By Tom Lang

The Aurora Reimagined Coalition is a group of activists, community organizations, businesses, and neighborhood groups working to improve the Aurora corridor. Among the founding members are Licton-Haller Greenways, Greenwood-Phinney Greenways, Green Lake and Wallingford Safe Streets, and Ballard-Fremont Greenways.

A group of people wearing yellow reflective vests descends a stairway next to a 5 lane highway. In the foreground, a sign reads "Aurora Ave".

The Aurora Reimagined Coalition leads a walking audit in Bitter Lake.

In the past 10 years, 27 people have been killed biking, walking, jogging, and crossing Aurora. In 2020, during the first part of the Pandemic, when traffic volumes fell across the city, more people died on Aurora than ever before.

Whether you live near Aurora, drive down, or walk across it, we can all agree that the street has many problems. Now is the chance to join other community activists to fix Aurora and make it a safer corridor that meets the needs of the 21st century. Learn more at https://www.got99problems.org/

In early 2021 a few local Seattle Neighborhood Greenways advocates first met to talk about the problem of Aurora Ave. Our intention was simple: how do we focus the community’s attention on Aurora Avenue North and get elected officials to take action on one of the most dangerous roads in Seattle? 

A group of people with jackets and masks stand under a banner that reads "Somos Mujeres Latinas".

The Aurora Reimagined Coalition leads a Spanish language visioning workshop.

We started small – public outreach events and meetings with transportation officials. We hosted visioning workshops, spoke with reporters, contacted city and state elected leaders, and shared a public survey with the community. We walked nearly every section of the highway and documented the challenges people face when using Aurora outside of a car. We’ve heard the opinions of many neighbors and business owners, talked with impacted and marginalized community groups, and encouraged everyone to imagine how Aurora could be made better. In less than a year the Aurora Reimagined Coalition has grown to a city-wide effort of hundreds to create a safer corridor through North Seattle, with real changes coming as soon as next year.

A still from a video called N 130th Street Walk Audit. Text reads "Observing the conditions along Aurora at N 130th Street."

Click here to see the video summary of the N 130th Street Walk Audit.

In 2022, the Seattle Department of Transportation, with state and local funding, will launch a $2 million study to address Aurora’s safety and guide its future. This, along with a recently announced $1 million dollars from King County Metro to study the E-Line, which runs the entire length of Aurora, is a very exciting development. Now is our time to influence the scope and vision of the city’s planning work. The Aurora Reimagined Coalition will be an active part of these studies, elevating the community’s interests and ensuring the agencies deliver tangible results.

But Aurora Avenue is more than just a transportation corridor. We recognize that the best transportation plan is a great land use plan. For this reason, we are committed to addressing the neighborhood holistically. Zoning, housing, freight, crime, transit, parks and open space, stormwater management, urban forestry – all these issues are connected and relevant to a reimagined Aurora Avenue North. 

Change will come gradually, in fits and starts, and may take 10 years or more of consistent advocacy. Now is the time to question the fundamental nature of our streets and ask ourselves: What is the purpose of the public right of way? 

We invite you to join the next Aurora Reimagined Coalition meeting and help improve one of the most dangerous streets in Seattle. Learn more at https://www.got99problems.org/

A logo for the Aurora Reimagined Coalition. Text reads "99 Problems", for Hwy 99.

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