Category Archive: News

Big Wins from the 2021 Seattle City Budget

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

Lake Washington Blvd Reopens to walk/bike/rolling for Thanksgiving!

Big News! Thanks to advocates like you, the Seattle Department of Transportation just announced that part of Lake Washington Boulevard will be OPEN for the long Thanksgiving weekend for people to walk, bike, and roll, and will be closed to vehicle thru-traffic!

Volunteer or chip in so we can continue to advocate for Lake Washington Boulevard, and other streets to stay open to people to walk, bike, and roll. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, people across Seattle were clamoring for more spaces to safely walk, bike, roll, and run. So with your help, we envisioned a network of 130 miles of streets to give people more space. The city responded and launched the Stay Healthy Streets programincluding a pilot Keep Moving Street on Lake Washington Boulevard. It was so popular the city government received thousands of supportive comments, including over 1,000 people signing on to Rainier Valley Greenways – Safe Streets petition asking the city asking to keep it open on weekends at least and engage community. Unfortunately, the street switched back to a car thoroughfare in late October. 

Now, thanks to amazing advocates and supporters like you, the Seattle Department of Transportation has made a short-term decision to reinstate the “Keep Moving Street” on Lake Washington Blvd. The street will once more be open to walking, biking, and rolling from Wednesday Nov 25 through Monday Nov 30. They have also pledged to engage the community in a conversation about keeping the street open permanently.  

And we’re not stopping now. Here are three things you can do to keep this momentum going:

  1. Share a selfie of you or your friends/family enjoying walking, skating, biking, running, or rolling on Lake Washington Boulevard or another Keep Moving Street or Stay Healthy Street, and share it with us by tagging us in social media https://twitter.com/SNGreenways or emailing [email protected]
  2. Share the Lake Washington Boulevard video or action page with your friends and family. 
  3. Sign up to learn more about volunteering or chip in to keep this people powered movement going.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be well,
Clara

 

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

 

Defining Community Safety: SNG in Conversation with Aaron Dixon

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On Monday, August 31, 2020, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sat down (virtually) for a community conversation with Aaron Dixon, founding member and Captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. We discussed community ownership of public space, how we define community safety, and community alternatives to policing.

It was wonderful to hear Aaron share his wisdom and experience, and I left the event feeling inspired. A huge thank you to Aaron Dixon and Peaches Thomas, as well as to everyone who attended, asked thoughtful questions and shared in this community space.

For those of you unable to attend, check out the Recording and Full Transcript.

Special thanks to Disability Rights Washington for providing closed captioning.

And a huge thank you to our other event co-sponsors: 350 SeattleFeet FirstSierra Club Seattle GroupTransit Riders UnionTransportation Choices Coalition, and The Urbanist.

If you are interested in learning more about our work in this realm, check out Whose Streets? Our Streets!, a work-group currently drafting recommendations to the City of Seattle and State of Washington to re-imagine traffic enforcement without armed police.

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Event Details:
Monday, August 31, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
This event will be a conversation between Aaron Dixon and Peaches Thomas (5:30-6:30 pm), followed by attendee questions and dialogue (6:30 – 7:00 pm). The event will be recorded and available in the days that follow. Closed captioning is available live and a full transcript will be made available after the event.
This event is co-sponsored by 350 Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Feet First, Sierra Club Seattle Group, Transit Riders Union, Transportation Choices Coalition, and The Urbanist.
– – –
Aaron-Dixon Headshot 2About Aaron Dixon, Guest Speaker:
Aaron Dixon, founding member and Captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. As Captain, Dixon helped launch the Free Breakfast for School Children Program, which fed over 10,000 children every day before school. Dixon was also instrumental in the opening of a free medical and legal clinic which later became the Carolyn Downs Clinic.
Dixon is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Central House, providing transitional housing for homeless young adults and a youth leadership project. He is a former Green Party candidate for WA State Senate, and an organizer of the Center for Social Justice based out of the Seattle Central District. He is the author of My People are Rising: Memoirs of a Black Panther Captain. Read more here or see his interview with the History Makers.
Peaches Thomas HeadshotAbout Peaches Thomas:
Peaches Thomas is a local Community Organizer with Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, a member of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways network. She works to create opportunities for residents, specifically youth, to foster a culture of walking and rolling. Notable projects include SDOT’s pilot Home Zone project in South Park and the Georgetown to South Park Connection. Peaches recently received the Unsung Hero Award, presented by the South Park Neighborhood Association.
Peaches believes in empowering communities through advocacy, outreach, and education. In her experience working within Seattle’s South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods, residents feel safer when their shared spaces are equitable and accessible to all. She hopes to one day travel to Egypt, Ghana, and France.

On the Street: KL Shannon interviews youth advocate, community leader, and bike rider Dawn Bennett

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KL Shannon: Tell me about your first experience with a bike or who got you interested in riding a bike.

Dawn Bennett: My first experience riding a bike was when I was little in Youngstown, Ohio. There were eight of us (siblings). We all had bicycles because our mom wanted to make sure that we were busy. She got us little red tricycles (my bike was so cute). We were always falling off the bikes because we were daring one another … so we would end up in the emergency room! True story. <Laughs.>

KL: Can you tell me about a time you wanted to give up biking?

Dawn: Yes, When we got older. My older brother graduated to a beautiful silver 10-speed bike and his own apartment. At that time, I didn’t have a bike. It was time for mom to buy us all 10-speeds. And I was the youngest of eight — down the pecking order, I was last. So I was like, “I’m last, she will never get to me. I don’t want a bike and if I wanted a bike I want a silver 10-speed. I want to be like my big brother.” (And that wasn’t coming.) So, my mom saw that I was really mad about not having a 10-speed. Her partner at the time, she had him give me his old stupid bike. I didn’t want to ride it — so I gave up biking. It was not good enough for me, not good enough for Dawn!

KL: What’s a moment or experience related to biking that stays with you? Could be good or bad.

Dawn:  <Laughs> I have sisters. There are three of us. We’re all a year apart. There’s a lot of us (LOL). Anyway. When we moved to Seattle, we biked around Seward Park. We did the loop (or tried to do the loop, we didn’t make it.) We ended up having a picnic halfway through, then walked back. That was my best bike experience because it was about me and my sisters bonding, experiencing nature and the beauty of Seward Park. We were in the woods together and eating together.

KL: Tell me about why you bike.DawnBennett

Dawn: I bike because I like to keep my body moving. I have a twin brother and he is a fitness guru. And he has taught all of us sisters how to keep our bodies moving. My mom and grandmother were obese. They didn’t have heart problems, thank goodness, but they both had high blood pressure. My twin brother made sure we had the information to make sure we kept ourselves — um, fit. I played basketball for thirty years. My knees got kind of weak — so I got back on the bike and now I bike a whole bunch.

KL: I have a follow up question. Where are some of the places you like to bike?

Dawn: There is a black bicycle club that I want to be a part of. In order to be a part of this bicycle club, I need to bike as much as they do. I practice at Seward Park. And — I have to see beauty, beautiful nature. So, I also practice at Alki Beach. I own my home in Kent. I use to bike around Kent all the time. And so, when I can’t get to Alki, I bike around Kent. Pretty soon, I’m going to do the trails with the black bike club — I’m going to be a part of the club. I just need to get up to par.

Susan Gleason: <Interjecting> There are a couple, I think — Rainier Riders, but the one you’re talking about is really intense. Clara went on a ride with them. She was wiped out.

Dawn: This is how intense they are: I was coming out of Island Soul after grubbing. Walked out of Island Soul. Whole group of bikers came by me. Almost hit me. And they were all black. I yelled, “I want to join!” They said, “Sister, you can join.” But, they came very, very far that day — from Kent. I got to work up to that. That’s my goal, to join one of those black bike clubs.

KL: Another follow up question.  You met with one of my colleagues, Robert Getch [Beacon Hill Safe Streets]. He has convinced you to purchase an expensive bike. :-)

Dawn: <Smiles> Yes, I’m going to get a bike like his. I told him I am going to invest in a bike like that. My little Schwinn is not doing it for me. Part of riding a bike is you want the wind in your face and you want to be going fast — and my little Schwinn will not go fast, no matter how hard I pedal. He [Robert] knew all about it. So, in our meeting time [about the Beacon Ave Trail] we took some time to talk about bikes. I’m going to buy a bike like his. Twenty-five hundred dollars. A full-on investment, man. I’m going to do it. His bike has a little motor on it. I have a feeling my bike will have a motor too. I’m concerned I will have that motor on way too much. <Laughs>  I got to be careful about that.

Susan: <Interjecting again> People say that maybe you’re not going to get as much exercise with that electric assist on the bikes. But everyone I’ve talked to — avid bike riders, daily commuters, all different kinds of riders — say they bike ten times more because of the motor. Opens up the whole city. Gives you more things you can imagine doing in your day.

Dawn: That makes sense, because what Robert talked to me about are those hard hills. When you’re trying to have a beautiful bike ride — going up those hills is easier. You can get up to the top of those hills and then turn that motor off. It makes sense.

KL: You know we work on walking issues too. Do you walk?

Dawn:  I don’t walk. I don’t like walking at all. I’m ADD. <Laughs>

KL: Adult Attention Deficit Order?

Dawn: Yes! I have decided that I have that. (I haven’t been tested.) I can not walk down the street without — I need something faster! I’m not even going to pretend that I can walk.

KL: Do any of your family members still ride?

Dawn: No. Nobody still rides. Everybody graduated out of bikes to their cars. And never left their cars.

KL: In a perfect world, what would biking and walking look like for you? What would biking and walking look like, specifically in communities of color?

Dawn: So, folks here at Jefferson Park Community Center walk and bike on the pathway because its beautiful. There are a lot of people using this park. So, you walk and watch games. You can walk and watch your kids. Everything is overlapping. You can bring your kids to the park and walk the trail. It’s wonderful. I do walk and bike that trail sometimes at lunch. It’s hard to walk it, but I love putting my bike on that trail. Folks come in here [Jefferson Community Center] to do pottery and the whole pottery class will come out and get on that trail and start walking.

Susan: Can you say more about that? About how people can be making pottery together here on Beacon Hill, and leave class and go on a trail. Be among beauty?

Dawn: Beauty plays a big part of it. You want to be around stuff that has been taken care of. Lit up and safe. That’s what draws me to Alki — all kinds of people watching, the beauty of the water, riding my bike, and the sun is out, the clouds — it’s just beautiful. I would ride anywhere that is beautiful. So, that Beacon Ave Trail — if trees are put out there, if you see nature happening, I like being in that kind of stuff. And at night, lights keep people safe. Being safe, and with the beauty at the same time, that’s important to me.

KL: Why are people of color not sitting at the table participating in the dialogue regarding biking, pedestrian safety, transportation and walking?

Dawn: Because folks think we don’t do it. If they think we don’t do it, they won’t outreach to us. And we’re not going to go and say “Hello, we do it. See us.” There are parallels that they will not cross that keep us out of conversations where decisions are being made. There is no culture in the decision-making, which is sad, because we bring the soul. We’re soulful folks.

KL: Last question. Who inspires you?

Dawn: When it comes to athleticism, my twin who’s done fitness his whole life inspires me. But when it comes to inspiration from African Americans, it’s Janet Preston, who takes on a lot of this weight that our community is going through. She just takes it on, and she gives back the best way she can to give us some ease.

KL: She is an amazing elder.

Dawn: Yes, she is an amazing elder and mentor. The weight that woman carries for us. It’s freaking amazing.

KL: What she has done for people that are in prison and coming out of prison.

Dawn: Right. She doesn’t just do the work in incarceration. She does education, housing, and takes Christmas presents all over the freaking place. She makes you want to do more … she inspires me to do more and more. Not only is she educated from the UW, but she has that common sense. She walks and I bike.

Alki Point Stay Healthy Street: “Make it permanent!”

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Story and photo by Loren Schwartz (Stay Healthy Alki Point)

The change resulting from making Alki Point/Beach Drive a Stay Healthy Street was immediate and transformative.

At once, it made the street safe and inclusive. Prior to the Stay Healthy Street designation, Beach Drive was a route fairly exclusively designed for motorists. It seems planners hadn’t anticipated the amount or type of traffic and behavior that these streets and parks were going to experience.

The street closure (to vehicle through-traffic) and opening (to walking, biking, running, rollerskating, skateboarding, and more) has been dramatic and positive to everyone who uses the street and parks. And neighbors in the area are eager to keep it this way.

Folks may not be aware, but neighbors have been clamoring for more street and park safety on Beach Drive for years.

The campaign to make Alki Point a permanent Stay Healthy Street has included multiple community-led steps:

  • Creating an online petition, which enabled us to gather names, addresses, and comments from people.
  • Using data from the petition to create a presentation and map that clearly demonstrates people from all over the city, and beyond, are using the Stay Healthy Street — and they’re loving it!
  • In addition, to better tell the people-focused stories of this street, neighborhood volunteers came together to create a video.

Combined, these efforts have been powerful tools for storytelling and gaining broad support for making Alki Point a permanent Stay Healthy Street.

If you have any questions, please send your emails to: [email protected]

And please come out to Alki Point to enjoy this awesome Stay Healthy Street (then sign the petition) or get out and enjoy the Stay Healthy Street nearest you, whichever it may be!

We Stand in Support of BLM Protesters and Decry Any Use of Cars as Weapons

We are horrified at the tragic event that led to Summer Taylor’s death, and Diaz Love’s serious injuries, in the early hours of Saturday, July 4th—a driver, rushing at high speed, entered the WSP-closed Interstate 5 through an offramp, swerved around clear barricades, and plowed straight into the Black Femme March.

We don’t have all the facts, but we express our strong solidarity with those peacefully protesting for positive change. Here are the ways we’re standing in support:

  1. Organizers ask any of us who have the means to please contribute to Diaz Love’s GoFundMe site, as more than 2,500 people already have.
  2. We ask that allegations by the BLM Women’s March organizers—that the driver did not act alone and that multiple individuals not connected to BLM were filming it as it occurred—be investigated; and that inquiries be made into other accounts of driver-based harassment and threats targeting BLM protestors.
  3. As part of our commitment to racial justice, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is looking at how the urgent calls for police accountability and defunding police intersect with our core issues of safe and healthy streets. To that end, we are partnering with a diverse team of community members with expertise in transportation, mobility justice, restorative justice, criminal justice, public health and safety, and public policy, to dig deep into Seattle’s system of traffic enforcement. Check here for more about the newly launched Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement working group.
  4. No one should ever intentionally use a motor vehicle as a weapon. At SNG, we’ve heard repeatedly that people in Seattle have felt threatened by drivers doing just that—using their vehicles to intimidate and frighten people walking, riding bikes, and protesting for justice—on countless occasions. And there are the many established accounts, from the 2017 murder-by-driver in Charlottesville, VA to the very recent driver-attack on Capitol Hill. The New York Times just reported that vehicle/driver attacks on protesters are on the rise (“There have been at least 66 car attacks nationwide since George Floyd was killed”). We abhor this assault on the right to peacefully assemble, and on the basic human right to be, and move safely, through one’s daily activities in public space. If you personally have felt threatened by drivers on Seattle’s streets, could you let us know about it?

 

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Re-Imagining Traffic Enforcement

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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

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.

 

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We share the outrage

We share the outrage that has filled streets in Seattle and across the world over George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. We grieve for his family, for Breonna Taylor’s, and for the families of hundreds of others who are killed by police each year (1,000 Americans are killed by police yearly — these deaths fall disproportionately on Black men).

We are also heartbroken and enraged by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young man out for his regular run in his South Georgia neighborhood.

The awful truth is that in America, including here in Seattle, running while Black, biking while Black, walking while Black, driving while Black, even just being in parks and other public space while Black can trigger police intervention, hate-based harassment, and worse. This atmosphere of terror for people of color, Indigenous people, and especially Black people, cannot continue.

Our vision is rooted in safe, comfortable, accessible streets; in the belief that the ability to get around safely, to the daily necessities of life, is a basic human right. This includes the right to not be murdered by police or civilian racists and the right to assemble in public spaces to demand justice (“Whose streets? Our streets!” “Black Lives Matter!” “Say his name! George Floyd!”) — without being corralled, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, beaten, or shot with rubber bullets and flash grenades.

Our commitment now is to continue to advance community-led solutions for street and public space improvements; to implement our racial equity action plan at every level of our organization; and to build solidarity with Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color in the fight to dismantle white supremacy and racism. There is a long way to go and difficult self-reflection to undertake, but we are committed to doing our part to advance racial justice in Seattle so that everyone can exist, enjoy, protest, and travel safely on our streets.

 

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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: 

 

SusanRidingOnRVGmedcrop

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.

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