Category Archive: Uncategorized

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, thousands of missing crosswalks and 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

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."

 

Update on $80 million funding debate + Saturday Memorial Walk

We recently wrote about protecting $80 million in funding for walking, biking, and transit projects from the chopping block. On Monday, the City Council voted to punt this decision to the fall budget process.

We are disappointed the City Council did not stick with the SDOT and community stakeholder proposal. That proposal would have doubled funding for Vision Zero, created the first-ever bike route maintenance fund, made hundreds of blocks of sidewalks and crosswalks accessible, created a new bus and subway plan, and repaired some bridges.

Council was initially tempted by Councilmember Pedersen’s proposal that would have bonded all the funding to partially pay for bridge projects, even though SDOT itself said they do not have shovel-ready bridge projects for this relatively small amount of funding. But, thanks to advocates like you, they instead asked for more analysis and will take up the issue again in the fall.

We are grateful to Councilmember Strauss, whose amendment asked for more analysis, Councilmember Morales, who spoke up strongly for Vision Zero, and Councilmember Mosqueda, who asked for more information on Vision Zero, the ADA Transition Plan, and a progress update on bike routes in the Move Seattle Levy.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to make a difference on this important source of funding.


Not doubling the Vision Zero budget, which would have allowed SDOT to create safer streets across the city, stings especially sharp this week, as we work to organize a memorial walk and ride for Michael Colmant this Saturday (details below).

Michael was biking on Seward Park Ave, a common route between Lake Washington Boulevard and the Rainier Beach neighborhood, on April 11th, when he was killed by a driver in a hit-and-run.

Michael was passionate about swimming, running, cycling, and aviation. He was a dedicated colleague at King County International Airport, helping lift up people of color in his profession. He was a loving father and caring friend. He should still be with us, and will be missed.

As requested by the family, we are also shining a light on the fact that SE Seattle’s District 2 has had double the number of fatalities as any other Council District. We must do better to reach Vision Zero. So we are hosting a memorial walk and ride this Saturday to give a voice to the family and bring attention to these safety disparities. If you’re able to, please consider attending in support.

When: This Saturday, May 15th, at 2:00pm

Where:
The ride will start at Be’er Sheva Park next to the intersection of Seward Park S and S Henderson St.
The walk will start at Seward Park, just north of the traffic circle at the park’s entrance.
Both will meet at the crash site where friends and family members will speak.

For additional information see: https://www.facebook.com/events/303311481178199

You can also support the family’s Go Fund Me. And anyone with a tip about the hit-and-run is encouraged to call SPD’s Violent Crimes Tip Line at 206.233.5000. The person was driving an older Nissan Sentra that likely has a broken windshield and a license plate similar to BKU 053.

We hope you can attend this Saturday’s memorial walk and ride for Michael Colmant.

Thank you for all that you do,

Gordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Tell the City: Public space programs should be equitable, accessible

Support a Stay Healthy Blocks program that works for people!

Seattle’s Stay Healthy Blocks is a DIY open space program that allows people to walk, roll, and play in calm neighborhood streets while remaining socially distanced. While enjoyed by many, the program is currently inequitable and extremely burdensome. Stay Healthy Block permit holders from across the city came together to write a letter asking the city to improve the program.

Click here to send an email in support of an equitable and accessible program that provides open space for people.

When Seattle rolled out the first Stay Healthy Streets in mid April, neighbors all over the city reached out, asking how to make a Stay Healthy Street in their neighborhood. The decrease in traffic was increasing speeding and other unsafe driver behaviors, and people wanted outdoor space to recreate outside of their homes and to get to essential jobs and services. But the City initially focused the program only on existing neighborhood greenways, a network of residential streets that already prioritizes people walking and biking and discourages vehicle traffic.

Last fall, SDOT launched the Stay Healthy Blocks program, in which neighbors could create their own space to walk, roll, and play in the street. We were thrilled, and heard positive feedback from people across the city. Normally reserved Seattleites texted the contact numbers listed on signs, saying, “I can’t say how much this has improved my life.”

Despite the positive reception, the City imposed restrictive rules on the second permit cycle that drastically reduced the effectiveness of the program and ensured that only those privileged with time and money can participate.

  • Limited hours cause confusion for drivers and extra labor for permit holders.
  • Sign requirements are costly.
  • Storage requirements make the program inaccessible for those living in apartments or in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods most in need of public open space.
  • Groups that forget to move signs daily have had to risk citations and fines.

These changes turned an extremely promising program into an unworkable one that only a few can enjoy.

We call on the city to improve the program so that every neighborhood can enjoy the benefits of streets that prioritize people:

  1. Allow the Stay Healthy Blocks to be in place 24/7, mitigating the need to move and store barriers.
  2. Restore all Stay Healthy Blocks applications that have not been renewed.
  3. Provide the necessary equipment to permit holders to close the blocks.
  4. Work with the residents who want to make their Stay Healthy Blocks permanent.
  5. Assist residents to start Stay Healthy Blocks, especially in areas without adequate open space.

By making these changes SDOT will allow the Stay Healthy Blocks program to flourish and grow into a program that provides safe and healthy space for people on all of our city streets.

We need a program that provides public open space where it’s most needed, not just where homeowners can afford it.

Click here tell the City to support a Stay Healthy Blocks program that works for people! 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

Join us for SNG’s Annual Volunteer Thank You Party!

Vol Party Banner Color

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’
Virtual Annual Volunteer Thank You Party!

Friday, February 5, 2021, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
RSVP HERE for Event Link

Join Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to virtually gather, celebrate what our community came together to achieve throughout 2020, and to launch our 10th Anniversary year!

Join for a moment to say hello or stay the whole time to meet new folks and catch up with old friends. There will be a brief program at 6:00 pm.

All are welcome — you don’t have to had volunteered with us before to come celebrate!

Facebook Event Page here.

RSVP HERE for Event Link

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a volunteer-powered grassroots organisation and community. We’re celebrating all of the incredible people who make our coalition and our movement the community that it is. To learn more, check out our year-end wrap up here.

GreenwaysGramSend a Greenways Gram!

It’s been a tough year, and we appreciate the people who have been there for us as individuals, as an organisation, and as a movement.

Spreading the love is easy! Text a compliment or note of appreciation to 2 people you’re grateful for within the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways movement. Follow it with this message:

💚You’ve received a Greenways Gram!! 💚Pass it along 💚For more info: tinyurl.com/y6pwsfce 💚

If you don’t have the contact info you need, contact Clara at [email protected] or 206-681-5526

Responsive, Resilient, Revolutionary: Your Impact

Thank you for supporting Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. More than ever, we need your help this year to reach our annual fundraising goal. With your help, we can keep making an impact next year. Every amount counts and we thank you in advance for including us in your year-end giving. If you haven’t donated to our end-of-year campaign yet, this is one of those years that would really make a difference.

 

You would need thousands of words to fully describe a year as difficult as 2020, but as I think about Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, looking back on our work together this year, three surprisingly positive words keep coming to mind: responsive, resilient, and revolutionary.

Responsive, because after the pandemic hit, we paused, talked to our grassroots network and the public about what they were experiencing, and retooled our entire work plan to respond to community needs.

In the earliest days of the coronavirus spread, we heard people clamoring for space to get outside and safely walk, bike, run, and get to essential services. With crowded sidewalks and parks, people felt like they had nowhere to go where there was enough space to socially distance. So we developed a community-sourced plan to respond to emerging needs, incorporating suggestions from our partners and residents citywide.

  • The City of Seattle was inspired by our plan and has implemented 26 miles of Stay Healthy Streets and Keep Moving Streets so far. While not perfect, these streets have made a positive difference in our neighborhoods, and helped keep people healthy. That’s why Seattle became the first city in the nation to pledge to make 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets permanent.
  • The City has rolled out another piece of our plan: creating a new program to allow small businesses to expand into the street for socially-distanced outdoor seating and retail. More than 100 businesses have already applied for these permits, allowing them to safely serve their customers outside and keep paying their employees.
  • In response to the murder of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of police, we have embarked on an effort to not only rethink laws like “jaywalking” that are disproportionately enforced, but to reimagine traffic law enforcement itself. We convened Whose Streets? Our Streets!, a group of talented people of color with insights into transportation justice, who have been charting an equitable way to keep everyone safe on our streets.

 

Resilient, because despite the challenges of the pandemic, our network of 15 neighborhood groups has continued to stay active and organize for change across the city.

It has been a tough year, but because of supporters like you we have made significant progress.

I’m always amazed by the determination and energy of our volunteers, but this year I’ve been blown away. Our staff and volunteers have stepped up to support the communities we serve in amazing ways this year, from delivering food bank supplies by bike, to educating neighbors about safe places to walk and bike, to working to fix unjust systems, to building signs that neighbors can use to close their streets to cars. I have been in awe of the passion, energy, and fortitude displayed by so many of you who are determined to make our city a better place — thank you. Here a few numbers that demonstrate this remarkable resilience:

  • 1,598 new members joined SNG, just in the second half of 2020!
  • 2,179 advocacy messages were sent to elected officials.
  • 4,500 flyers were distributed, reaching every home along the Stay Healthy Streets.
  • 4 amazing videos produced to tell stories of resilience during the pandemic.
  • $43,000 raised at our annual event, Streets For People, getting us very close to our end-of-year fundraising goal. Can you help us finish the year strong?

 

Revolutionary, because few could have imagined at the beginning of the year we would have 26 miles of open streets for people — and that’s just the start of what gives me hope that big change is still possible.

No one could have predicted the sudden transformation we all witnessed on Seattle streets this year, with 26 miles of safe routes where people can walk, bike, run, roll, and play, and cars are only guests. 26 miles where our values of health, sustainability, and equity are manifest. 26 miles that show us daily life in Seattle can be radically different, quickly and cheaply. And in a dark and difficult year, this progress gives me hope for the future. Here are three more areas of progress that give me hope for the future:

  • $17 million for walking and biking projects: Despite a difficult year for the city budget, we worked with our allies to save millions of dollars for Safe Routes to School, the Georgetown to South Park Trail, sidewalk repairs, South End bike routes, safe routes to transit, and the Duwamish Longhouse crosswalk and trail. This budget victory gives me hope that Seattle will see the value of investing in a green and just recovery that puts people to work in good jobs and makes our communities safer and more convenient to get around in.
  • 200 miles of safer speeds & 150 safer intersections: Seattle rolled out safer speed limit signs on 200 miles of arterial streets, with the default limit now being 25 MPH. 150 intersections were upgraded with traffic lights that give people walking and rolling a head start to get into the intersection, which helps prevent collisions. These improvements give me hope that the city is making gradual progress towards our Vision Zero goal of zero serious injuries or fatalities on our streets.
  • The Basic Bike Network nears completion: With the construction of protected bike lanes on Bell St and part of 4th Ave, we are close to completing our vision for a downtown bike network that connects people to where they need to go. Gaps remain, but the progress makes me hopeful that when more people return to commuting downtown, many will choose to bike instead of drive because of the connections we are building.

 

In the end, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways isn’t really about sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, or trails. We’re about people. We’re about supporting people in one of the most fundamental of daily activities — getting from one place to another, safely, comfortably, conveniently. And despite all that has happened, we have achieved so much together this year thanks to your support.

We have nimbly responded to community needs, and proven that our network of neighborhood advocates is resilient and able to deliver revolutionary results even in difficult times. If you agree that we have contributed to creating a city that is healthier, safer, more equitable, and more sustainable, I hope we can count on you to chip in financially as you are able to, so we can continue to make progress in 2021.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Gordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gordon helping post Stay Healthy Street survey flyers. 

2020 Year In Review – Three Words to Describe Our Movement

GivingTuesEmailHeader_family-corral-rally_v2

 

A letter from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Director Gordon Padelford

You would need thousands of words to fully describe a year as difficult  as 2020, but as I reflect on Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, looking back on our work together this year, three surprisingly positive words keep coming to mind: responsive, resilient, and revolutionary

Responsive, because after the pandemic hit, we paused, talked to our grassroots network and the public about what they were experiencing, and retooled our entire work plan to respond to community needs. We developed a community-sourced plan to respond to emerging needs, incorporating suggestions from our partners and residents citywide. As a result of our work together, Seattle became the first city in the nation to pledge to make 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets permanent and created a new program to allow small businesses to expand into the street for socially distanced outdoor seating and retail. In response to the murder of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of police, we started a workgroup to completely rethink traffic law enforcement. 

Resilient, because despite the challenges of the pandemic, our network of 15 neighborhood groups has continued to stay active and organize for change across the city. I’m always amazed by the determination and energy of our volunteers, but this year I’ve been blown away. Our staff and volunteers have stepped up to support the communities we serve in amazing ways this year, from delivering food bank supplies by bike, to educating neighbors about safe places to walk and bike, to working to fix unjust systems, to building signs that neighbors can use to close their streets to cars. Here are a few stats that speak to this energy: we’ve welcomed 1,600 new active members in just the second half of 2020, sent 2,200 advocacy messages to elected officials, and distributed 4,500 outreach flyers to every home along each Stay Healthy Street. And I also want to take a moment for some key thank yous: to our phenomenal partners in the MASS Coalition; to social justice leader Aaron Dixon, for joining us for our annual racial equity seminar; to Councilmember Tammy Morales for speaking at our successful annual event, Streets For People; and to everyone else who has partnered with us this year.  

Revolutionary, because few could have imagined at the beginning of the year we would have 26 miles of open streets for people — and that’s just the start of what gives me hope that big change is still possible. We also won $17 million for walking and biking projects, and secured 300 safer intersections and 200 miles of streets at safer speeds. Plus, at last, we got Bell St and part of 4th Ave completed as part of the Basic Bike Network downtown. 

In the end, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways isn’t really about sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, or trails. We’re about people. We’re about supporting people in one of the most fundamental of daily activities — getting from one place to another, safely, comfortably, conveniently. And despite all that has happened, we have achieved so much together this year thanks to you. I hope you’ll enjoy this last newsletter of 2020, and keep us in mind for any end of year giving.

 

Sincerely,

Gordon Padelford headshot croppedGordon Padelford
Executive Director
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Bringing 15-Minute Neighborhoods to Seattle

Nick Tritt has been interning with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways over the past quarter as part of his UW Environmental Capstone Program. He conducted research on the 15 Minute Neighborhoods strategy. In the interview below, I asked him about some of his key findings. 

Gordon: If you lived in a 15-minute neighborhood what would your life be like?

Nick: Urban planning has long been focused on moving as many cars as possible and though mass transportations systems like Seattle’s own Link light rail are expanding, what if we thought about how to bring people’s daily needs to their own neighborhoods? What if instead, we made it possible so you could get all your daily needs within a 15-minute walk from home? A 15-Minute Neighborhood vision brings amenities like grocery stores, retail shops, restaurants, parks, childcare, and places of employment to where people live. When we focus on how the different spaces in our lives such as residential, commercial and recreation areas can be intermixed instead of in separate areas of the city, meeting all our needs by walking becomes the easy option, and likely the more enjoyable one! When you think of some of your favorite neighborhood streets in the city, I bet some of them are bustling, tree-lined main streets full of character where a short walk is all it takes to run some errands, meet a friend for coffee, and visit some favorite shops all while getting some exercise in along the way just by walking. Those lively streets and the folks who live among them are the heart of the 15-Minute Neighborhood vision.

15 minute neighborhood graphic from PPS

Gordon: What does a 15 neighborhood look like in theory?

Nick: All of the goods and services we need and want would be located in the same safe walkable radius from our homes. Compiling data from many pedestrian-focused academic papers and municipal transit studies show that the largest non-work needs of people in the day to day are:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Recreation & Exercise
  • Running Errands (mailing, appointments, dry cleaning, pet care)
  • Retail Shopping (clothing, electronics, books, home & hobby items)
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment (venues, theaters, art exhibits)
  • Natural Areas
  • Public Gathering Spaces
  • Restaurants & Bars
  • Places of Worship
  • Social Services
  • Child Care Services

Having a choice between similar amenities does matter, as several studies point out that with grocery stores specifically, people often frequent several different stores to purchase food. Consumers navigate their priorities of convenience, price, and specialty options to decide which store will fit their needs best when they shop.

It’s important to consider the distances most people are willing and able to walk for their needs. Industry-standard data points out that 5 minutes is the ideal distance and 20 minutes is the maximum a person is willing to walk before choosing a different option. At the average adults’ walking pace of 3mph, 15 minutes allows for about a ¾ mile around their front door. The close proximity of amenities in a 15-Minute Neighborhood makes multi-stop trips easily accomplished all within the same walking route.

Gordon: What weren’t you able to find during your research?

Nick: Some research still outstanding is survey data of the specific daily, weekly, and monthly needs of people beyond broader categories such as groceries, parks, and errands. Next step research is finding out more about the types of errands, recreational activities, and shopping habits people have and their frequency. Another unknown is data supporting how people may have different walking thresholds for different amenities and activities, which can inform the placement of new development.

Gordon: Where have 15-minute neighborhood plans been adopted?

Nick: Below is a map of cities around the world that are implementing versions of 15-Minute Neighborhoods into their official municipal planning documents, ranging from Barcelona’s famous Superblocks and Paris’s fresh new 15-Minute City plan, down to Charlotte’s Complete Neighborhoods and the 20-Minute Neighborhood plans from our regional neighbors in Portland and Eugene, Oregon.

15 minute neighborhoods map

Gordon: What are the core components of a 15-minute neighborhood plan around the world?

Nick: There are many things that 15-Minute Neighborhood style plans have in common regardless of where they are happening throughout the world. Mixed-use development is by far the most common trait among plans because when buildings and spaces have multiple uses and open zoning, the cultural, residential, educational, recreational, and commercial spaces coexist, potentially in the same building. Several plans layout the three D’s of urban walkability; Distance, Destinations, and Density. These factors represent having many areas that are easy to walk in a comfortable distance, presence of the most needed business and facilities destinations, and a dense enough resident, employer, and visitor population to financially support all the amenities in a neighborhood. 

Gordon: What are some of the supporting strategies that complement a 15-minute neighborhood strategy?

Nick: Strong bicycle infrastructure and multi-modal transit hubs are widely supported in cities with 15-Minute Neighborhood plans because they allow people on foot to go beyond their walkshed without resorting to cars. More bike lanes, especially those with physical barriers, provide extra protection and space from cars, while well-planned transit hubs can contain pedestrian facilities such as bathrooms, lockers, and information services. 

One other big similarity between cities planning for pedestrian priority is providing more green space and general vegetation in neighborhoods. Greening a neighborhood definitely involves well-maintained parks but also adding street trees, greenery, and pocket parks in vacant lots or oddly shaped and small pieces unused city space. Detroit, MI has made great strides to bring more nature into the city by turning a defunct railroad line into a 1.65-mile-long greenway and supporting extensive urban farm and garden opportunities throughout the city.

Gordon: What do you think should be a part of a 15 Minute Neighborhood plan for Seattle?

Nick: As Seattle progresses toward a more walkable city, we need to make sure that developmental change does not take away the character of our neighborhoods. This includes maintaining racial diversity and equity within communities. We must preserve affordable housing and fully engage with all community members to address everyone’s needs. The individuality of neighborhoods and their unique aesthetics, architecture, and landmarks are part of the intangible characteristics of walkability that make us want to take in the town on foot and feel the community pride with our neighbors and visitors enjoying the scenery. Fostering small independent business growth not only adds appealing character to a neighborhood but in mixed-use development, there is more opportunity for residents to live where they work and be that much more invested in their community.

Recently, the miles of new Stay Healthy Streets in Seattle show that when given the opportunity, communities come alive with activity in new public space options for families to gather, safely play and travel by walking or biking. We need to continue to find similar opportunities to expand pedestrian space through easily implemented temporary traffic lanes and parking minimization. Farmers markets in Seattle, notably the Ballard Farmers Market is an example of what could come from experimenting with reclaiming roads for community space. For less dense areas, being creative with using space in multiple ways such as getting a pop-up retail market or food truck corral in parking lots or school grounds lets less walkable neighborhoods experience having more amenities close to home.

Thanks for all your work on this Nick! For folks who want to support helping Seattle become a place where everyone can walk or roll to their daily needs, donate or sign up to volunteer

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.
JubilantRidersOnBasicBikeNetwork
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.

KidsGroupWalking

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!
20191105_104415

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

 

Older posts «