Category Archive: Uncategorized

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

Volunteers Clear Sidewalks and Bike Lanes in South Seattle

By Bob Svercl, co-chair of Beacon Hill Safe Streets

A selfie with a white man in a red shirt. Behind him, a row of smiling people holding tools pose on a sidewalk next to an enormous wall of blackberry bushes. Himalayan blackberries are quite delicious, but they can be quite vicious when you’re trying to ride in the rain on a trail that has been enveloped by them, their thorny vines grabbing at your rain jacket; they make for an un-fun trip. So is being forced to trek across sidewalks half-covered in vines and mud and bike lanes buried in piles of slippery wet leaves, freshly leafblown (I’ve decided that’s a word) from the nearby sidewalk.

After dealing with delays or cancellations this fall on online requests to clear these obstructions from our car-free ways of travel, a handful of neighbors decided to grab some yard tools (including those of us who don’t even have yards!), attach them to our bikes & e-bikes, and do the work ourselves.

A before image on the left shows a bike navigating a narrow pathway overgrown with high blackberries. An after photo on the right shows two people standing proudly next to a wide, cleared sidewalk bordered by a short concrete retaining wall that was previously invisible.

Volunteers from Rainier Valley Greenways-Safe Streets & Beacon Hill Safe Streets started on the sidewalk of S Orcas St on Beacon Hill next to Dearborn Park Elementary School that was built in 2017 with funds from the Move Seattle Levy. Overgrown with vines and debris, the sidewalk was half-covered and thus half-unusable. We worked our way downhill with clippers, pruning shears, and a broom to cut through and clear the blackberry vines, knotweed, and various other plants that had spilled onto the sidewalk. To our surprise, we discovered a short concrete retaining wall that had been completely hidden by overgrowth. When we finished, the sidewalk had grown to a full 12 feet of useable space.

A before image on the left shows a sidewalk and bike lane covered with piles of wet, slippery, orange leaves. An after photo on the right shows the freshly cleared bike lane and sidewalk, much more inviting and accessible. The vehicle travel lanes are leaf-free in both photos.

The next month, word spread and we were joined by others as we tackled both the protected bike lanes and sidewalks along S Columbian Way between Beacon Ave S and MLK Way, followed by a section of sidewalk along S Graham St near its intersection with MLK Way. Next we joined with Central Seattle Greenways for a group effort clearing up to three-quarters of a mile of the brand new East Union Street protected bike lanes, drains, and sidewalks in the Central District.

Group selfie of white man wearing rain jacket smiling with women and a man standing behind him holding brooms and shovels in a parking protected bike lane that is newly cleared of leaves and debris, now pushed onto the nearby planting strip. Bicycle wayfinding signs with a Neighborhood Greenway sign are behind them.

Pro tip: snow shovels are very useful for picking up piles of mushy wet leaves, as they have a similar density to snow.

One of the best parts about doing this volunteer work was that while we were clearing the sidewalks and bike lanes, we saw many people walking and biking who were immediately able to utilize the safer pathways, and some even thanked us while they passed by. It’s really fulfilling to be able to witness the positive change from your own effort in real time, and I’m appreciative of everyone who took time out of their weekends to help out with these efforts.

A group of people, including a child in a pink shirt, stand on a sidewalk gathered around a cargo bike for a coffee break. Some wear reflective safety vests and hold yard tools.

We don’t plan to clear out all of the bike lanes, sidewalks, and other pathways that people rely upon as they walk, bike, and roll around our city, as that would be an insurmountable task. But we have shown that even a small scale effort can make a big impact on others.

Editor’s Note:

SDOT has only one bike-lane sized street sweeper, and this fall it was out of commission for repairs while wet, slippery leaves accumulated in bike lanes across the city, creating dangerous conditions for people biking, particularly on steep slopes. Neighbors in South Seattle stepped up to fill the void with a series of Volunteer Neighborhood Cleanups where they cleared sidewalks and bike lanes to increase accessibility for everyone.

Thanks to your budget advocacy this fall, the 2022 Seattle City Budget will also include and increase of $800,000 for active transportation maintenance including sweeping bike lanes, as well as repainting, replacing flex posts and more. Maintaining our transportation infrastructure should be the City’s responsibility, but we’re inspired by and grateful for neighbors who step up to take ownership of their community spaces and make sure that they are safe and accessible.

Big Wins from the 2022 Seattle City Budget

12 Big Wins for the 2022 Seattle City Budget!

Advocates like you across Seattle have rallied allies, given public comment, and written to elected officials to push for a city budget that aligns with our values and priorities. On Nov 22, City Council finalized the 2022 Seattle City Budget. And it includes substantial gains, including tripling the budget for Vision Zero — Seattle’s goal to have zero traffic deaths or serious injuries by 2030 — which has been chronically underfunded.

Street Safety:

1. Vision Zero: $5.1 million increase for Vision Zero street safety projects in 2022, via ongoing vehicle licensing fees and a new increase in the commercial parking tax championed by Councilmember Lewis. This increase nearly TRIPLES the current Vision Zero budget.

2. Home Zones: $1 million for this low-cost solution for traffic-calmed neighborhood streets championed by Councilmember Morales.

3. New sidewalks in District 2: $2 million for sidewalks accessing the IDIC Filipino Senior & Family Services Center, Rainier View Elementary School, and other locations in D2  championed by Councilmember Morales.

4. Maintenance: $1.5 million for sidewalk repair and curb ramps, and $800,000 for active transportation maintenance including sweeping bike lanes, planter box maintenance, replacing flex posts, and more, included in Mayor Durkan’s proposed budget.

5. NE 45th Street crossing of Interstate 5: $150,000 for this vital connection, in addition to the funding last year, which has not been used due to delays. Championed by Councilmember Pedersen.

6. MLK Jr Way Safety: A request that SDOT draft a plan and cost estimate to make this high crash corridor where 8 people have been killed in the last 2 years safer for people walking, biking, and accessing transit. This report, requested by Councilmember Morales, will be returned in September, 2022 in time for next year’s budget deliberations.

Public Space for People:

7. Lake Washington Boulevard: $200,000 for equitable outreach and permanent design for this beautiful public park space for people championed by Councilmember Morales.

8. Ballard Ave NW: $270,000 for designing permanent pedestrian and streetscape improvements, building on the successful temporary Cafe Street, championed by Councilmember Strauss.

Policing and Traffic Enforcement:

9. Parking Enforcement: 120 full-time positions moved from the police department to the department of transportation, which will now be conducted by un-armed city employees and governed by SDOT’s values and goals.

10. Data Collection: A request that SDOT analyze what it would take to collect street safety and crash data in order to move this work away from the Seattle Police Department. This report, championed by Councilmember Morales, will be returned by Sept, 2022 in time for next year’s budget deliberations.

Ongoing Planning:

11. Transportation Equity Workgroup: $1 million in continued funding for this important workgroup that has just released their initial Transportation Equity Framework.

12. Seattle Transportation Plan: A proviso on the $2.5 million funding this long-term, multimodal planning effort will allow Council and the public an opportunity to see plans and provide comment, and ensure that our values and priorities are incorporated. This opportunity, championed by Councilmember González, will open up this opaque process and have huge impacts on our abilities to make streets safer.

Click here to thank the City Council for doing the right thing, and get involved in Seattle Neighborhood Greenways by volunteering with us or donating to support our work.

What’s Next:

Read more about what this means and what’s next for Vision Zero, Home Zones, Lake Washington Boulevard, and Traffic Enforcement.

Vision Zero

This past weekend, we remembered and honored the 30 people who have been killed by speeding vehicles so far in 2021, including 5 people killed just in the last month. In 2015, the City of Seattle committed to Vision Zero — the goal to have zero traffic deaths or serious injuries on city streets by 2030 — but those numbers have been increasing, due in part to the program being chronically underfunded.

Advocates like you successfully increased the budget for Vision Zero street safety projects by $5.1 million via vehicle licensing fees and a commercial parking tax increase. Rather than a one-time increase, this revenue is ongoing, and will continue to fund street safety year after year.

The Vision Zero budget has strong safety and equity filters, so this funding makes a real difference to the streets and intersections where it’s needed most. Big-scale street re-designs make the most impact on safety, but small safety infrastructure like new sidewalks and crossings, traffic signals that give pedestrians a head start at intersections, protected left turns for vehicles, pedestrian refuge islands, and protected bike lanes can make our streets significantly safer for a fraction of the cost.

Home Zones

Home Zone is a low-cost, holistic plan that pushes through-traffic to surrounding arterials and traffic-calms a whole neighborhood of residential streets at once. After SNG and neighborhood organizers worked on a successful DIY Home Zone in Licton Springs, City Council adopted an official pilot of the program in 2019.

This program has been plagued by projects that are only partially completed and funding that has dried up, and people are demoralized. Councilmember Morales, advocating for her constituents in Holly Park and Rainier Beach that have been clamoring for a Home Zone since the program was paused due to Covid-related budget cuts last year, initially proposed an increase of $3.7 million. This number was cut down through the rebalancing process, but we will continue to advocate for increased funding so that we can fulfil promises and make real changes to neighborhoods desperate to calm speeding cut-through traffic.

Lake Washington Boulevard

In the summer of 2020, three miles of Lake Washington Boulevard, from Mt. Baker Park to Seward Park, closed to vehicle through-traffic and opened to people walking, running, rolling, and riding bikes. It was a wild success. During intermittent openings since, SDOT’s survey of nearly 7,000 people found that 65% supported keeping the street open to people all the time (not just on weekends) including a majority of 98118 residents, and respondents who identified as BIPOC.

In 2022, the City will conduct equitable community engagement that will create a design for permanent improvements to Lake Washington Boulevard.

And, SDOT just announced that Lake Washington Boulevard will open again this weekend, from November 25 – 28. If you get outside and enjoy it, share a photo and tag us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), use #AccessLWB, or email [email protected]. You can also join our volunteer workgroup to help create an Accessible Lake Washington Boulevard by emailing [email protected]

Policing

Although changes to the police department budget were not as dramatic as some might have hoped, the Solidarity Budget coalition (which SNG endorsed and collaborated with) did win many improvements (read the press release here). Despite promises nationwide after protests in the summer of 2020, Seattle will be the only major city in the country that divested from policing two years in a row, allowing investment in community health and well-being.

The biggest change came from permanently moving parking enforcement from the police department into the department of transportation. Parking enforcement will now be conducted by un-armed city employees and governed by SDOT’s values and goals. Seattle also took the first tentative step towards moving street safety and crash data collection into SDOT as well, as recommended by our Whose Streets? Our Streets! Workgroup.

Recent polling shows that traffic enforcement is an area of wide public consensus for the movement to divest from policing. The public is very supportive (73%) of transferring traffic enforcement duties away from SPD and to SDOT. This is a common sense solution that would both result in more equitable outcomes (traffic stops are the #1 way the public interact with the police, which as we know can escalate with deadly consequences) and result in a more pragmatic approach to traffic safety that will save lives and keep people moving safely. Our Whose Streets? Our Streets! Workgroup is continuing this advocacy.

As we celebrate these hard-fought wins, we also look ahead to the coming year, and continue to push for the #SolidarityBudget that would divest from policing and invest in community health and safety, including safe streets and thriving, walkable communities. We thank you for your tireless energy in helping to make it happen. You are making a difference!

Click here to thank the City Council for doing the right thing, 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

 

Action Alert: Demand Protection for Eastlake Ave Bike Lanes!

Protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave connecting the University District and South Lake Union are long awaited and eagerly anticipated.

But current designs show protection ending two blocks south of the University Bridge, leaving people unprotected through the most dangerous section of this entire corridor.Act now to demand a complete, protected bike connection through this vital corridor! Comment period closes Monday, Nov 22, 2021.

A photo of Eastlake Ave shows a wide expanse of pavement with three people biking next to some parked cars.

A Dangerous Gap in Protection

The current design, which includes a gap in the protection for people riding bikes between Fuhrman Ave E and Harvard Ave E, just south of the University Bridge, is unacceptable. This unprotected area is especially concerning due to the volume of high-speed vehicle traffic to and from Harvard Ave and the I-5 highway on-ramp.

Already A Heavily Used Route, Even With Current Dangerous Conditions

This bike route fills an essential missing segment for people traveling between the University District and South Lake Union, two of Seattle’s neighborhoods with the lowest rates of car ownership. And the route is already extremely popular: Despite current dangers, during peak hours, there are over 120 people on bicycles per hour riding along Eastlake Ave. The University Bridge has the second highest volume of people on bicycles in the city.

A map of car crashes shows Eastlake Ave with numbers at various intersections: 18, 89, 16.Yet it is an exceptionally dangerous route for people travelling by bike. From 2012-2017, there were 39 reported bicycle collisions along Eastlake Ave — and those are just those that were reported. The map above shows car crash data in the section where protection for people on bikes drops. Click here to see the full map. A comfortable, fully protected route along this corridor has the potential to increase the number of people riding bikes to where they need to go exponentially.

A video still shows a map of Seattle with the words Continuous Protection is Critical 

Bike routes are only as comfortable as their scariest section, and we can’t keep building bike routes that stop and start, dropping the protection for people riding bikes in the most dangerous sections. This design means the route won’t be comfortable for many including families, kids, elders, disable people, and new riders. 60% of Seattleites say they want to bike more, and safety is the number one reason they don’t. Fully protected bike lanes are critical for maintaining safety throughout the entire corridor, creating better bike network connections, and increasing ridership. Click here to learn more about our citywide campaign to #UnGapTheMap!

A crowd of people in colorful raingear biking down a green protected bike lane.

Seattle’s Climate Action Plan calls for an 83% reduction in road transportation emissions to reach our 2030 climate goals. Every effort should be made to increase the utility, safety, connectivity, and attractiveness of the city’s bike network to make bicycling a viable option for more people, for more trips. We appreciate the work that has been done to this point to plan for bike lane protection along the Eastlake corridor, and it is why we are pushing so strongly for the final block of this project to receive the same attention.

Send an email to elected officials now to demand a complete, protected bike connection through this vital corridor! Comment period closes Monday, Nov 22, 2021.

Click here to learn more about our campaign to #UnGapTheMap!

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remove Data Collection from the Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Clara Cantor
she/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

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

Photo courtesy of PATHSS Youth Participant L.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2021 Racial Equity Update & Opportunities

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways embraces the powerful idea that mobility — the ability to get to the goods, services, and opportunities of daily life, safely, comfortably, affordably — is a basic human right.  Yet we know that access to safe, healthy mobility is not equally shared in Seattle. Quite the contrary. In so many aspects of people’s daily life here — where we can afford to live, our ability to own or drive a private vehicle, how far we need to travel to get to work or to the nearest grocery store, how safe we are when walking, rolling, or crossing the street, and how we are viewed by police officers on our streets — race and racism play a huge role in determining our ability to get to where we need to go.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways works to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live — for people of all ages, languages, races, ethnicities, genders, and abilities. Achieving this vision requires changing the underlying systems that create race-based disparities in our city and starts with creating a movement that welcomes, supports, uplifts, and celebrates people of color at every level, and centers and amplifies the voices of those currently furthest from justice.

In 2018, we began work on a racial equity action plan that aligned with and added onto every part of our strategic action plan and theory of change. After three years, we’ve now updated our Racial Equity Action Plan for 2021-2024 to strengthen our goals and accountability.

Also new this year are two exciting scholarship funds:

  • Sponsorship for all volunteers to attend equity-focused workshops and training.
  • Sponsorship for BIPOC community members to attend continuing education workshops and training within transportation, urban design, and public space fields. This fund is open to people of color whether or not they are active volunteers within our coalition.

Find out more about our Racial Equity Action Plan here, or get involved in your local Greenways group today!

We are also gathering enthusiastic folks together for an ongoing racial equity workgroup to help us plan events, workshops, and programs. If you are interested, please contact: [email protected]

Last but not least, please SAVE THE DATE for our annual internal racial equity workshop: Thursday, Sep 9th, 2021 – more details to come!

Candidate Forums on Transportation, Equity, and the Environment

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

* * *

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

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

Summer 2021 VIP Tours

You’re Invited!

This Summer, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is hosting three exciting tours to show you the innovative and important projects happening all around the city — and you’re invited! Two tours will be on bike, and one on foot. All will be led by SNG’s Executive Director, Gordon Padelford, and will end at a Cafe Street where SNG will host a round of snacks at an outdoor table, and you’ll have time to chat with other people who share your passion for people-focused streets. RSVP to one, two, or all three by emailing: [email protected]

Bike Tour of North Seattle Projects

What: Tour exciting SNG advocacy projects in North Seattle by bike, led by SNG’s Executive Director. Our stops will include Outdoors On The Ave, U District light rail access, Stay Healthy Streets in dense neighborhoods, the new NE 65th protected bike lanes and Green Lake protected bike lanes, Aurora Reimagined for Vision Zero and safer sidewalks, the well-used 1st Ave Stay Healthy Streets, some Safe Routes to School improvements we’re proud of, the 17th Ave Stay Healthy Street, and the Ballard Ave Cafe Street. WOW!

When: July 20th, 5:30 – 7:00pm

Where: Starting at The Ave Cafe Street in the U District. Biking 9 miles slowly and stopping at key sites. Ending at the Ballard Ave Cafe Street. Join for as much or as little as you want! 

RSVP: Email [email protected]rg


Walking Tour of a 15-Minute Neighborhood

What: Tour exemplary projects with SNG’s Executive Director. We’ll stop and talk about pedestrian-only streets, Stay Healthy Streets, traffic enforcement and racial justice, Cafe Streets, pedestrian-only districts (Superblocks), 15-Minute Cities, the Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Pavement to Parks, signal timing, sidewalk repair, and the Melrose Promenade!

When: July 22nd, 5:30 – 6:30pm

Where: Starting at Capitol Hill Station Plaza. Walking 1.2 miles slowly (one hill). Ending at the Melrose Promenade. Join for as much or as little as you want!

RSVP: Email [email protected]


Bike Tour of South Seattle Projects

What: Tour important SNG projects in South Seattle by bike, led by SNG’s Executive Director. Stops will include the new Jose Rizal Bridge protected bike lanes and the Beacon Ave Trail project, the 18th Ave S Stay Healthy Street, Judkins Park Light Rail Station access issues; 25th Ave Stay Healthy Street; MLK protected bike lanes, Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street, Rainier Ave Vision Zero safety issues and improvements, racial equity and traffic enforcement, and the collaborative Columbia City Cafe Street! WOW — rare opportunity, not to be missed!

When: July 24th, 10:30am – noon

Where: Starting at the Jose Rizal Bridge and I-90 trail. Biking 8.5 miles, mostly flat, slowly, and stopping at key sites. Ending in Columbia City. Join for as much or as little as you want!

RSVP: Email [email protected]

Don’t forget to RSVP by emailing [email protected]

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10 Big Ideas for Seattle’s Next Mayor

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

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

The Moment & Opportunity 

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

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

10 Big Ideas For Seattle’s Next Mayor

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Traffic Stops Must Stop Leading to Black Deaths

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

 

A sidewalk made impassible by tree roots and crumbling pavement.

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

 

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

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

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