Tag Archive: racial equity

Speak up for Vision Zero and the Solidarity Budget!

Yesterday, someone died while travelling on our streets. Same with last week. This is unacceptable. Everyone has a right to get to where they need to go safely.

Seattle has committed to Vision Zero, the goal to eliminate road-traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. But we are failing to reach that goal. One big reason why is that the Vision Zero program has been chronically underfunded. Decades of neglect have created a huge backlog of high-speed streets that see crash after crash, and often lack basic safe places to walk, roll, or bike.

Right now, with your help we can triple the Vision Zero budget, and invest in safety projects like sidewalks, safety redesigns, crosswalks, and traffic calming where they are needed most.

Two easy ways to ask the City Council to invest in Vision Zero and the Solidarity Budget in the 2022 Seattle City Budget:

  • Phone in to give public comment: Thursday morning, Oct 28, when Seattle City Council discusses the transportation budget! Public comment starts at 9:30 am, sign-up opens at 7:30 am. You’ll get a second opportunity during the public hearing on Nov 10 at 5:30 pm. How-to guide here.
  • Click here to send an email of support to the entire City Council

So far in 2021, 26 people have been killed by traffic violence on our streets, including two people killed in two separate incidents just in the last week — and we still have two months of the darkest, wettest time of year. And traffic violence, like so much else in our city, is disproportionately killing and harming people of color, disabled people, elders, low-income people, and unhoused people. Each number is a person, and each death has rippling effects on their family, friends, and community. We must do better.

We also recognize that safety on our streets doesn’t just mean safety from speeding vehicles, and that people are being killed on our streets by systemic racist policing, by gun violence, and because they are currently experiencing homelessness. That’s why we’ve endorsed the Solidarity Budget, asking Council to defund the Seattle Police Department and reinvest in communities, including in Vision Zero. The Solidarity Budget is a collective call towards a city budget that centers the needs of the most marginalized and vulnerable Seattle residents and aligns our budget with our shared values and priorities.

A young girl holds a sign that says

Earlier this year, the City Council doubled the Vision Zero budget for 2021. Now, they are voting to make that change permanent. Councilmember Lewis has also proposed an additional increase that would triple the Vision Zero budget going forward. This funding would make a huge difference in the number and quality of safety improvements our city is able to install each year, and the number of lives we’d be able to save.

We’re also supporting amendments proposed by Councilmember Morales increasing safe places to walk in both new sidewalk construction and Home Zones.

Other important proposed amendments to make the budget better reflect our city’s values and priorities:

  1. Lake Washington Boulevard: Conduct equitable engagement to design and implement permanent improvements for Lake Washington Boulevard.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Safety: Ask SDOT to come up with a plan to make this high crash corridor safer for people walking, biking, and accessing transit.
  3. 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.
  4. Smart Planning: Demand accountability for the “Citywide Integrated Transportation Plan,” which may undercut our efforts to make safer streets.

Act now to ask the City Council to invest in Vision Zero and the Solidarity Budget in the 2022 Seattle City Budget:

  • Phone in to give public comment Thursday morning, Oct 28, when Seattle City Council discusses the transportation budget! Public comment starts at 9:30 am, sign-up opens at 7:30 am. You’ll get a second opportunity during the public hearing on Nov 10 at 5:30 pm. How-to guide here.
  • Click here to send an email of support to the entire City Council

 

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

SNG pushes for Racial Equity within our organization, our movement, and our City

In so many aspects of an individual’s daily life — where they can afford to live, their ability to own a private vehicle, how far they need to go to get to work or even the nearest grocery store, what kind of access they have to the public transit systems, how safe they are when crossing the street, and how they are viewed by law enforcement on our streets — race and racism play a huge role in determining a person’s ability to get where they need to go in Seattle.

A graph showing percentage of pedestrian fatalities relative to population. The graph shows that share of pedestrian fatalities is higher than the relative percentage of population for people who are Native, Hispanic, Black/African American, and 65 and older.

National statistics from Dangerous By Design, 2014 – Smart Growth America.

Only by changing the underlying systems that create race-based disparities in our community can we achieve racial equity.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways works to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live — for all people. Achieving this vision requires addressing racial disparities in our transportation systems and accurately advocating for the needs of all communities. As a historically white-led organization working in transportation and environmental movements that are predominantly white, we have both a responsibility to address how systemic racism influences our movements and also the privilege that will help us to make a difference in changing it.

That’s why, at the beginning of 2019, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways ratified a Racial Equity Action Plan. In it, we make two pledges:

  • Internally, SNG commits to becoming a racially, culturally, and socially diverse organization that treats all people with respect and dignity and recognizes the interconnected nature of overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination.
  • Externally, SNG strives to redress the historical and systemically-rooted inequities in transportation and city investments. We endeavor to do this work in solidarity with communities of color as a trustworthy and respectful partner.

Ziyi Liu presents research on feelings towards bike routes in the International District.

We also outline a plan of action over the next three years. This includes individual racial equity plans for our neighborhood groups, many of whom have already begun this important work, as well as continued education, outreach, and relationship-building.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is dedicated to a vision in which every neighborhood in Seattle is a great place to walk, bike, and live. Great places reflect the needs of all people, and lift up their values and culture, because they are co-created by people of every race, age, language, ethnicity, gender, ability, level of wealth, and immigration status. While SNG recognizes that an individual’s intersectional identity impacts their ability to feel safe on the street and in public spaces, this Action Plan focuses intentionally on racial equity — we believe this targeted, race-first approach will ensure that racial equity goals are not diluted, and will provide a foundation for understanding and addressing intersectional challenges related to other forms of oppression.

Three people smile in front of a festively decorated DVSS booth at a summer festival.

We seek participation of people of color as group members, leaders, staff, and partners. We welcome and embrace the diversity of experiences and knowledge of everyone in our city, particularly with regard to race, age, language, ethnicity, gender, ability, level of wealth, and immigration status.

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