Category Archive: Uncategorized

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 Letter From Gordon

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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.
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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

 

Voices from the Coalition

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Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a grassroots coalition, and we’re all about people. All of our work depends on volunteer time and energy, and in this moment our community is finding new ways to support each other. Hear from volunteer leaders from across the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition about how they’re staying connected and continuing safe streets advocacy in a time of pandemic.

 

BRIE GYNCILD, Central Seattle Greenways: 

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

I’m spending hours on the phone daily with close friends and family, waving at neighbors as we pass each other at safe distances, and spending a lot of time on Twitter. I’m also enthusiastically attending Zoom meetings and more traditional conference calls.

What are you doing to support your community?

The primary thing I’m doing to support my community is staying at home, preventing any role I might play in spreading the virus. I’m also sharing reliable information with those who aren’t getting it through other means, and I’m coaching someone in my Buy Nothing group as she starts her first garden. 🙂

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

Central Seattle Greenways is moving forward with the Bailey Gatzert Safe Routes to School effort in ways that we can finalizing materials, including an online survey; communicating with groups through newsletters and email; working with the UW Professor, Rachel Berney, that we’ve been collaborating with to find a way for her class to work with us differently than we originally envisioned.

What are you doing to support your own self care?  

I’m trying to get to bed on time and get good sleep. I’m eating nutritious and satisfying foods. I’m learning all that I can about the virus itself as research develops, about which policies are effective, and about how to keep each other safe *and* sane. I’m also listening to music, gardening, and finding opportunities to laugh regularly.

 


 

 

PhyllisPorterTestifyingAtCityHallPHYLLIS PORTER, Rainier Valley Greenways & Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Board:

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

I stay connected to people by reaching out to see how they are doing during these times. Reaching out to ones I haven’t heard from in a while due to being busy. I co-started a Zoom Group. Invitations are extended to paternal cousins. We catch up from where we left off. Our first and second meetings were with cousins from Tennessee, Mississippi, New York, and Illinois. We also discuss how COVID-19 is affecting our lives and each local community. At the end of our discussion we pray for our parents, any sickness among family members, and for the global family. The family created a social media page with Messenger to relay weekly messages of a concern or a happy event — an aunt’s death, and a new baby cousin’s birth was relayed this week.

What are you doing to support your community?

I involved community in a real life coronavirus scenario (mine – I was sick, but tested negative, thankfully) keeping them informed on what we can do as individuals and a community to stay healthy and safe. I posted a video of myself for those who didn’t know of anyone who had the virus or had tested for it. I wanted to show that this pandemic is real and is touching people in our own community. A big concern people have share with me is about the wait time for getting results — how you deal with that, waiting in anticipation, and how to cope with the worrying. I answered by saying, “Try not to focus on the what if, but the what is — Now.” Mental stability is very important at this time and there is no need to think the worst, panic, or have unnecessary emotions about what hasn’t been proven yet. I told them I took this as any other illness — treat your symptoms, get rest, drink fluids and when feeling better exercise. I posted another video with the negative results and thanked everyone for their concern and their part in helping me recover. I ended the message with an encouraging note about the benefits of a riding a bicycle, taking good care of yourself, and telling someone “thank you”

What are you doing to keep this safe streets / SNG work going?

I read info posted on SNG and my local coalition to stay informed. I reply if I have something to add.

What are you doing to support your own self care?

First, I take heed and follow all precautions and measures set forth. It’s flu and pneumonia season and being a person with a history of pneumonia, I take care of myself. Rest treat medical symptoms as or if they develop. I eat healthy and continue to exercise. I dance to music  and recently started riding my bike inside on a trainer for exercise. Starting tomorrow evening, I am riding in our first Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) Ride and Exercise series. I am also a one of the ride leaders. I will be receiving some pointer from a European triathlete and triathlon coach during this Zoom ride series. 

 


 

MichaelHerschensohn headshot

MICHAEL HERSCHENSOHN, Queen Anne Greenways:

What are you doing to support your community?

I am making grape jelly from grapes frozen last summer that I’ll share with neighbors. Also emailing friends; going for walks with my granddaughters while keeping distances. On these walks we’ve been meeting lots of neighborhood friends which makes us feel connected to them, and they to us. This is the only time I’ve ever agreed with Mark Ostrow about the narrowness of the sidewalks along the Willcox Wall, but the whole boulevard should be car free. Left that one out of Gordon’s map.

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

Frankly, very little. I regret that; however, I see very little room for it except for managing the start-up of the Play Street project and the money we’ve raised from the city. Taking part in Coalition meeting totally uplifting. While every single one of us expressed cheer in the face of fear, we’re really all locked up in our little boxes.

What are you doing to support your own self care?

Daily bike rides while the sun shines. Writing one article a week on the history of Queen Anne for the Queen Anne Historical Society’s website. I am exploring ways to acquire goods without going to stores. (Looks like it means sending family members under the age of 50).

 


 

KathleenBarryJohnsonWithChickensResizedKATHLEEN BARRY JOHNSON, NE Seattle Greenways:

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

I’m getting really good at Zoom and teams, so I can see people’s faces. I’m calling someone in my family at least once a day.

What are you doing to support your community?  

My husband and I sent notes to all our neighbors to make sure we all have each other’s contact info and can reach out if there is a need. I’m working with a friend on the block to organize some socially distant street games like badminton and horse shoes. Also, I’m working with a group to organize “Sing Your Heart Out Seattle” a sing along time on Sundays (starting 3/29) at 2 p.m. More details to come.

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

We had a meeting last week. Missed the coalition meeting but will be connecting on other meetings online.

What are you doing to support your own self care?

Biking – as often as I can, walking the dogs, watching our baby chicks grow.

 


 

AndrewKovedPPBLANDREW KOVED, Queen Anne Greenways: 

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

Social media, phone calls, video chats, and I plan on sending postcards and letters too. There is a great opportunity to disconnect from the noise of the 24/7 news, and tune into the smaller aspects of life, friendship, community, and self. We’ve gotten so carried away in the past few years with always being connected, this will be a great change to supply each other with more meaningful and worthwhile connections.

What are you doing to support your community?

Being available, being present, and being engaged. Too often I am physically somewhere but mentally distant, or a don’t pick up a phone call when I know I should; there is so much of our daily lives that reduces the quality of our community. That folks will be more sedentary, and we can finally engage at length without worry of other obligations or distractions, is an opportunity to build community.

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

People are realizing the value of the street and their surrounding 15 minute neighborhood now that their travel is limited. I want to help bring these joys, and the many flaws, into relief.

What are you doing to support your own self care?

Choice of what to focus on is fundamental to our life — we at Greenways know this to be true with our focus on safe streets despite a world fixated on cars. I’m making sure that I focus on the many joyous, fascinating, engaging, enjoyable parts of life. The lens of pandemic can be crippling, but there are so many other ways to take in the whole world.

 


 

PeachesThomas headshot - cropped

PEACHES THOMAS, Duwamish Valley Safe Streets: 

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

Making a conscious effort to check in with my loved ones as often as I can. I have done this by creating group message threads. We all share information with each other and fun stuff too. I am also homeschooling our 11 year old Triplets. 

What are you doing to support your community?

By donating, staying informed, and passing along relevant resources to others. People are working tirelessly to help others during this time and I want to pay it forward as often as possible. Something as simple as reaching out and offering kind words or acts of appreciation can help keep people uplifted. 

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

I’m actively seeking advocacy development and training webinar opportunities, reading up on current cyclist and pedestrian policies, and strategizing creative ways to stay engaged with our members at DVSS during this time of social distancing. 

 What are you doing to support your own self care?

Going for a daily walk has helped a lot. Meditation/affirmations, limiting my time on social media and binge watching my favorite shows and movies.

 


 

Kathy DunnKATHY DUNN, West Seattle Bike Connections: 

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

Calling family members around the country more often to check in.

What are you doing to support your community?

Donating to local charities.

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

Reached out to our group to solicit possible alternative safe activities for Bike Everywhere Day/Month and to get ideas on how the current situation could affect our activities and priorities.Planning for a video conference version of our monthly 1st Tuesday meeting.

What are you doing to support your own self care? 

  • Walking the dog, biking to shopping and errands, switching from in person to online piano lessons with my teacher. 
  • Picking up the occasional growler of beer at a local brewery to drown my sorrows. 
  • Making sure I don’t bring home any germs to my husband and daughter. 
  • Watching the free Metropolitan Opera broadcast reruns online. Tonight starting at 7:30 Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” will be available for 24 hours. Great music, lots of comedy and a happy ending, just what I need right now. https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/
  • Going to bed earlier so I can get up earlier to go out when the crowds are smaller. By afternoon, the Alki promenade is swarming with people.

 

Photo Credit: Alex Garland

Photo Credit: Alex Garland

DON BRUBECK, West Seattle Bike Connections:

What are you doing to stay connected to people?

Talking to my kids, far-flung siblings, and a few friends on phone and WhatsApp. I’m also participating in the conversations on our WSBC Google Group.

Taking care of and playing with the toddler in our household. 

What are you doing to keep your safe streets work going?

  • Participating in conversations in this groups and in our WSBC Google Group, and promoting WSBC sharing of bike ride routes for people to do solo.
  • Submitting Your Voice Your Choice ideas and promoting participation.
  • Participating in a Duwamish Tribe steering committee for trails project feasibility study, meeting via conference calls.  

What are you doing to support your own self care?

  • Limiting news media and social media to about two hours a day. with none for at least an hour before bedtime.  Listening to more music instead. 
  • Taking a walk or going for a bike ride every day. 
  • Practicing social distancing and good hygiene to the extent possible when living with a toddler and two working healthcare workers.

Community Spotlight: Peaches Thomas in New Role for Duwamish Valley Safe Streets

PeachesThomas

Peaches Thomas, a long-time Traffic Safety Advocate, has stepped into a new role as Community Outreach Coordinator with Duwamish Valley Safe Streets. She will be working to create opportunities for residents, specifically youth, to foster a culture of walking and rolling.

You may recognize Peaches from her role last year co-leading community outreach for SDOT’s pilot Home Zone project in South Park, or from her work as a member of the advisory board for the Georgetown to South Park Connection.

Peaches recently received the Unsung Hero Award, presented by the South Park Neighborhood Association, recognizing outstanding individuals who have been working quietly toward the overall betterment of the South Park community. Peaches received the award in honor of her dedication to the community during her time as a Seattle Public Schools Crossing Guard for Concord International Elementary School in South Park.

Peaches believes in empowering communities through advocacy, outreach, and education. In her experience working within Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, residents feel safer when their shared spaces are equitable and accessible to all. She hopes to one day travel to Egypt, Ghana, and France.

Come Celebrate! Annual Volunteer Party

Come Celebrate!

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Friday, January 31, 2020, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA

RSVP Here

Volunteer Party 2020 (2).png

Join Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to celebrate what you helped accomplish in 2019 and kick off 2020 with good food, drinks, and friends!

Featuring special guests Elliot Helmbrecht the Mayor’s Transportation Advisor, and Dongho Chang the City’s Chief Traffic Engineer. And come for the art, kids activities, and fun for all!
All are welcome — you don’t have to had volunteered with us in 2019 to come celebrate!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Friday, January 31, 2020, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA (1414 S Weller St)

RSVP Here

Check out the Facebook Event Page to invite friends and share.
Have a few minutes to help us set up, run, or clean up the event? Email: [email protected]org 

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a volunteer-powered grassroots organization and community. We’re throwing a party to celebrate all of the wonderful people who make our coalition and our movement the wonderful community that it is. We’ll be celebrating all of the progress that YOU made possible in 2019, and looking forward to an exciting 2020 ahead. To learn more, check out our year-end wrap up here.

The Japanese Cultural & Community Center of WA is centrally located on the new King St Neighborhood Greenway. It is located within easy distance of the numerous King County Metrobus routes on Rainier Ave, S Jackson St, and 12th Ave S, notably the 7, 9, 106, and First Hill Streetcar. The facility is wheelchair accessible and has all-gender bathrooms. All are welcome!

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