Tag Archive: walking

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Nov 21, 2021

The wide street in SODO where Ramona, 34, was killed by a drunk driver in September of this year.

Jared was out walking on January 1, 2021 and was hit by a driver and killed, the first traffic fatality of the year. He was 23 years old.

In March, Rainy, 53, died after being struck by a car while crossing the street in Lake City. The next day, Luri, also 53, was killed by a driver while biking in Rainier Beach. They were the seventh and eighth people killed in road traffic in Seattle in 2021.

Donta, 43, died after a hit-and-run collision while walking on the sidewalk just south of Aurora Bridge in April.

Jennette, a 37 year-old mother, was killed in a hit-and-run collision while crossing Martin Luther King Jr Way at the Columbia light rail station in June.

Ramona, 34, was killed by a drunk driver while walking in SODO in September.

So far in 2021, 30 people have been killed on our streets and another 125 people have received serious, life-altering injuries, including 5 people killed in just the last month.

This is already the highest number in recent years, and we still have a month and a half of the darkest, wettest time of year.

A collage of images: A cross leaning against a tree, surrounded by flowers, a woman speaking next to a bike painted white, a crowd of people in the rain holding signs and flowers.

Memorials commemorating and honoring people killed by traffic violence on our streets.

This Sunday, November 21, 2021, is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

We remember the millions of people killed and seriously injured on our streets as well as their families, friends, and communities. We also give thanks to the first responders and other people in emergency services who are faced with tragedy every day. This tremendous burden and loss is often seen as unavoidable — that each incident is a completely accidental aberration, but that’s not the case.

Many of our city streets are designed for speed, rather than safety. But our city was intentionally designed this way, and we can make the choice to design it differently.

For World Day of Remembrance, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is collaborating with Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Department of Transportation, and other safe streets advocates to commemorate and honor those killed by traffic violence over the last two years (2020-2021), 53 people in total.

In the last two years (2020-2021), 53 people have been killed on our streets and another 272 people have received serious, life-altering injuries.

Traffic violence, like so much else in our city, is disproportionately killing and harming people of color, people with disabilities, elders, low-income people, and unhoused people.

They’re also geographically concentrated: of 53 deaths, 30 occurred in District 2, which includes Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, SODO, and parts of Chinatown / International District. Southeast Seattle is home to many communities of color, and has historically received significantly less infrastructure and safety investment.

Each number is a person, and each death has rippling effects on their family, friends, and community.

This map shows the locations in Seattle where 53 people were killed by traffic violence in 2020 and 2021. Locations are densest in Southeast Seattle and along Aurora Ave.

Victims of traffic violence are disproportionately people walking, rolling, and biking.

In the last two years, 37 people have been hit by cars and killed while walking, rolling, or biking, including 22 just this year. This includes 31 people walking, 4 people riding bikes, one person rolling in a wheelchair, and one person riding an e-scooter. People walking, rolling, biking, and accessing transit are disproportionately low-income people, people with disabilities, elders, kids, and people of color. We must do better to protect the most vulnerable people on our streets.

A group of people stand behind a yellow banner that reads "Seattle Neighbors for Vision Zero."

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 our pedestrian safety crisis has continued to get worse. In the last two years, traffic volumes dipped dramatically due to the pandemic and work-from-home measures, but deaths continued to rise.

The Vision Zero team at SDOT knows what and where the biggest safety issues are — 50% of fatal and serious injury crashes occur on just 11% of our street network (multi-lane, high speed, high volume arterial streets). The four most dangerous streets in Seattle are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way, Aurora Ave N, Rainier Ave S, and Airport Way in SODO.

On MLK Jr Way alone, there were 8 people killed in the last two years.

Long-term planning projects require massive amounts of funding, community engagement, and political support, but improve safety in a way that nothing else can.

But in addition to large-scale projects that re-design streets, small safety infrastructure can go a long way. 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.

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. In addressing this pedestrian safety crisis, we have to work together to find solutions that house people, give people safe, convenient mobility options, and support community needs so that we can all thrive.

An Asian woman holds a sign that reads "Vision Zero!"

What’s Next?

The Seattle City Council is currently poised to triple the Vision Zero budget in the 2022 City of Seattle Budget. We thank Councilmembers Morales and Lewis in particular for championing Vision Zero investments through this year’s budget deliberations. This funding is also a greater acknowledgement from our City Council that they are committed to Vision Zero and to improving safety on our streets.

Mayor-elect Harrell showed strong leadership championing safety improvements for Rainier Ave S when he served as the City Councilmember for District 2. Let him know that he has people who will support his decision to champion Vision Zero during his tenure as Mayor.

Care about ending traffic violence? Here are three ways you can help keep everyone safe on our streets:

  1. If you drive, maintain a safe speed and be alert for people walking, rolling, and biking.

  2. Send an email to Mayor-elect Harrell to ask him to support street safety during his tenure as Mayor.

  3. Get involved in advocating for traffic safety in your neighborhood.

A child fastens a hand painted sign that reads "Look out for pedestrians" behind a collection of flowers.

 

Mia, 29, died after being struck by a driver while walking in S Beacon HillMichael, 66, died while walking in West SeattleMichael, avid runner and cyclist, killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike in Seward ParkMikayla, 27, was a passenger in a car and died in Sodo Mike, 44, died riding a bike in Roosevelt Ly-Kui and Thin-Sang, both 56, died while driving in Hillman City Luri, 53, killed while biking in Rainer Beach Keith, a retired Kirkland Fire Captain, died after being struck by a car while riding a moped John, 55, killed while walking in Interbay Jennette, 37 year-old mother, killed in a hit-and-run while crossing MLK at the Columbia light rail station Emoke and Steven, recently retired and active community members, died after being struck by the light rail while walking accross tracks Hieu, 41, killed walking in N Beacon Hill James, 57, died after being struck by a vehicle while walking south of Georgetown Jeffery, 57, died driving in SODO Jeffrey, 30, killed riding a motorcycle Elenora, 28, killed after being hit while walking in Columbia City Douglas, 43, died after being struck by car while walking in Sodo Donta, 43, died after a hit-and-run collision while walking on sidewalk south of Aurora Bridge Dino, 31, died riding a motorcycle in Sodo David, 61, died riding a motorcycle in Pinehurst Aaron, 33, died while driving in Sodo Andra, 27, killed walking in S Beacon Hill Christopher, 38, killed in a hit-and-run while walking near Green Lake Xikuhn, 54, died driving in N Beacon Hill Unknown person, 72, died while walking in S Beacon Hill Unknown driver died in a car crash in interbay Simeon, 46, hit by a car and died while riding an e-scooter in Sodo Raymond, 51, struck by car while crossing street in a wheelchair Richard, 70, killed in a hit-and-run while walking across Aurora Avenue N Robert, 54, killed riding his bike after being hit by a car in Georgetown Ronald, died walking in the Mt Baker neighborhood Rong Xing, died walking in Sodo Ramona, 34, killed by a drunk driver while walking in Sodo Rainy, 53, died after being struck by a car while crossing the street in Lake City Penny, 75, died walking in Queen Anne Paul, 58, died walking in Lake City Norbert, 72, died while walking in Belltown

Thank you to the volunteers across Seattle who contributed to this photo collection to commemorate each individual who has been killed on our streets. It is sobering to compilation and a heavy reminder of why we do this advocacy.. Together, we will continue to push for #VisionZero and improving safety on our streets.

What’s Next for Stay Healthy Streets?

In the last year, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people outside—walking, skateboarding, biking, and rolling down the streets—and engaging with their neighborhoods in a big way. What’s next for the City’s temporary street programs?

 

Click to watch this video about the Stay Healthy Streets Program in 2020:

 

Background

In the spring of 2020, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways pushed the idea of Open Streets as one of our 8 Solutions for Safe Social Distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These streets are closed to vehicle through-traffic, and OPEN to people walking, rolling, and biking in the street (local access, deliveries, and emergency services are still allowed).

Thanks to the outspoken support of neighborhood advocates like you, the City introduced Stay Healthy Streets a few miles at a time until we had over 25 miles in 13 locations around the city, as well as two sister programs: Keep Moving Streets (recreation space near parks) and Stay Healthy Blocks (neighbor-run DIY Stay Healthy Streets). And they have been a HUGE hit! Communities have rallied around their local open streets, and are eager to make them permanent. For instance, SDOT surveyed people near the 1st Ave Stay Healthy Street in Greenwood and found that over 80% supported making it permanent, which is incredible given that any changes to streets tend to be controversial.

So what’s next for these beloved streets? 

 

 

Stay Healthy Streets

Thanks to popular demand last summer, Mayor Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the pilot Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, starting with streets in Greenwood (1st Ave NW) and Lake City. Now, the City is thinking through how to fulfill this promise to fund and construct permanent improvements. 

Most of the Stay Healthy Streets created so far have been on existing Neighborhood Greenways. All of these Neighborhood Greenways already went through a public engagement process and were prioritized for people walking and biking, and de-prioritized for people drivingwith the use of stop signs, speed humps, and signs. Stay Healthy Streets, for the most part, just clarified and reinforced the original intent of neighborhood greenways, by placing signs that say “Street Closed” to indicate they are for local access only for cars, and that people are allowed to walk in the street.

 

A group of kids on bikes ride around a round-about in front of a

 

Should Stay Healthy Streets be made permanent? YES.

We believe that Stay Healthy Streets should be the new default standard for Neighborhood Greenways. The physical barriers and placemaking being promised are reminiscent of the promises made when the City introduced Neighborhood Greenways. But many Neighborhood Greenways in Seattle are differentiated from other streets only by small signs and speed humps, and are not functioning in the way they were intended.

Stay Healthy Streets should include community placemaking and clear signage for people walking and biking on the street, and people looking for the street, and both signage and physical barriers for drivers trying to avoid the street—with simple, clear branding that’s easy to understand and makes sense with other Seattle programs and infrastructure. 

In addition to the community engagement process SDOT has already launched, we believe partnerships with the Department of Neighborhoods and community organizations to host festival streets, farmers markets, neighborhood block parties, and other gatherings will turn these street spaces into the community places we’ve all envisioned.

 

A montage of images of people walking on the street, a street park, and a boy waving while riding a bike.

 

What about where Neighborhood Greenways / Stay Healthy Streets aren’t working?

Sometimes, Neighborhood Greenways and Stay Healthy Streets haven’t reached their true potential because too much car traffic remains on the street. In those cases, the City should improve the street through diverters and other traffic-calming measures. But in other cases, the underlying Neighborhood Greenways, and hence the additional Stay Healthy Streets, aren’t successful due to the route being too inconvenient, hard to follow, or hilly compared to other alternatives, which results in comparatively fewer people using the routes. In these cases, we need to ask people what they want and find alternative ways to meet community needs

We can act quickly to put it in as a pilot, get feedback, then move to full implementation if it’s well-liked. Do people need better routes for transportation? Protected bike routes, sidewalks, and bus lanes can do that. More space for recreation? The Keep Moving Streets program increases public park space. Spaces for community gathering? Cafe Streets, pedestrian streets, and play streets. Improved traffic calming? Fund the Home Zone program adequately to allow neighbors to create systemic traffic calming for a whole neighborhood.

 

A tweet by Dongho Chang with a photo of people and tents crowding a street. It reads: Stay Healthy Streets are people and community streets."

 

Should this program expand? YES! 

These streets should be everywhere. We originally envisioned 130 miles of Stay Healthy Streets that could be rapidly implemented during the pandemic, but the potential is even greater. They should be in every neighborhood and accessible to everyone, as much a part of every neighborhood’s fabric as the local community center, plaza, or park space. These streets can connect people to transit stations, schools, parks, grocery stores, and jobs. And the streets can also be destinations themselvesplaces to play, meet your neighbors, and build community. 

Stay Healthy Streets are most valuable in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods with the least access to outdoor public spaces, and this can only be achieved by expanding outside of the existing network of Neighborhood Greenways, that are mostly in low density neighborhoods. Let’s create Stay Healthy Streets in dense, rapidly growing neighborhoods like the U-District, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Downtown, and south Ballard. We should also add Stay Healthy Streets in neighborhoods that have less access to traditional parks like in South Park and Lake City.

 

A tweet reads: "I highly recommend getting a Stay Healthy Block permit and renting a donut truck for a kiddo pandemic birthday party." with two photos.

Stay Healthy Blocks

Last year, instead of rapidly expanding the Stay Healthy Street program to more streets like Oakland and other cities, SDOT decided to go with a DIY Stay Healthy Blocks approach that  allowed neighbors to build their own mini Stay Healthy Streets. It was incredibly exciting in theory, but was hindered by overwhelming permit restrictions that made it inequitable and overly burdensome. Instead of working to improve the program, the City rolled it into SDOT’s existing Play Street program. As a result, Stay Healthy Blocks can continue only as single-day permits, likely focused around holidays and festivals. We would like to see a path forward for neighbor-initiated open streets of some kind, and are eager to work with SDOT to expand this program in a way that could be open to all.

 

A collage of photos of families walking, biking, and riding scooters on Lake Washington Boulevard.

Keep Moving Streets

Keep Moving Streets are collaborations between SDOT and the Seattle Parks Department that create more public park space for recreation and play.

 

People walking and biking in the middle of the street in front of a beautiful view of water and mountains at dusk..

 

Alki Point

Thanks to continual neighborhood advocacy, SDOT announced last week that the Alki Point Keep Moving Street is officially extended for at least a year, through spring 2022! In the meantime, SDOT is seeking funding for permanent infrastructure and conducting public outreach.

 

A rendering of Aurora Ave with one lane protected by concrete barriers for people walking and biking around Green Lake.

 

Green Lake

SDOT has announced that the Green Lake Keep Moving Street will continue, and local advocates are working to extend it around the west side of Green Lake on Aurora. Sign the petition here.

A film still of a woman with curly hair and a blue shirt holds a microphone up to a man with dark skin. Behind them, a person rides by on a bike in front of a lakeshore.

 

Lake Washington Boulevard

SDOT just announced that they will re-open the Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street this summer, and we are thrilled! Lake Washington Blvd has been periodically opened to people walking, biking, rolling, running, and skating during the pandemic—and it has been a HUGE hit. Our local group, Rainier Valley Greenways–Safe Streets, is leading the way to solicit community feedback and rally support, and to encourage the city to conduct responsive and equitable community engagement. Click here to see the latest and sign the petition to reopen the full three miles of Lake Washington Boulevard to people again this year. 

 

Thank you to everyone who advocated for, and got outside to enjoy, these amazing street spaces in the last year! Let’s keep a good thing going!

 

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

Fixing the Pedestrian Safety Crisis

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene unveiling a 25 mph speed limit sign.

Mayor Durkan and Lynda Greene (Dir. of SouthEast Seattle Senior Center) unveil a new speed limit for Rainier Ave.

We can and must keep everyone safe on our streets. This morning, Mayor Durkan outlined four excellent and long overdue strategies to get back on track. Join us and send a letter to the Mayor and other elected leaders thanking them for their leadership and ask them act quickly to implement safer speed limits, redesign our most dangerous streets, and get Vision Zero back on track.

Act Now! button

memorials for traffic violence victims

We are in the middle of a pedestrian safety crisis.

In the few weeks since we first wrote that Vision Zero is off track in Seattle (12 people had died and 70 had suffered life-altering injuries after being struck by vehicles when walking and biking on our city streets, so far this year), three more pedestrians have been struck and killed in two separate incidents:

  • On November 27, a woman in her 60s, Jin “Kimberly” Kim, was hit and killed at 42nd Avenue SW and SW Oregon Street in West Seattle while she was crossing the street from her apartment to the grocery store.
  • On November 29, a driver struck four pedestrians, killing two people: Rebecca Richman, 28, a recent law school graduate, and her brother, Michael Richman, 26, an actor and musician. Their father is still hospitalized and Rebecca’s boyfriend was injured.

This brings the total number of people killed while walking or biking in Seattle to 15 in 2019 alone, making this one of the worst years in recent memory.  

A pile of flowers on the side of the street with a sign that reads: look out for pedestrians.

And these are just the people who have lost their lives on our streets. There have been many others who have suffered life-altering injuries such as a 60-year-old pedestrian still in critical condition after being struck on December 4 while crossing the street at Columbia Street and 4th Avenue downtown — the same intersection where a woman was struck and killed in January of this year. And over two consecutive days, two people on foot were struck by drivers and injured at Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street.

The strategies Mayor Durkan outlined this morning are excellent and long overdue — we welcome and applaud these critical steps:

4 Big Steps for Vision Zero

1) Safer speed limits: Safer speeds save lives. We know that Seattle’s arterial streets are where 90% of road traffic deaths and serious injuries happen. That’s why it’s so important that the mayor sent an easy-to-understand message today about safer speed limits: once the signs are changed, wherever you see a painted centerline (indicating an arterial street) in Seattle, you should be driving 25 mph, and wherever you don’t, you should be driving 20 mph.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been working to reduce speeding for years. Back in 2015 our advocacy for traffic safety culminated in the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, the goal of zero traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. In 2016 our Safer Speed Limits for Seattle effort led to all 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets being changed to 20 mph. This made a huge impact for people walking and biking on neighborhood streets, but expanding these safer speeds to our busy streets has been slow and piecemeal. We’re thrilled that the Mayor is now taking on a systemic approach, and are eager to see it implemented as quickly as possible before more tragedies occur.

Slow Down

2) Red light running prevention: Running red lights endangers everyone, so doubling the number of cameras that catch and fine red light runners just makes sense. Automated systems like this limit biases in enforcement (and an ideal system would also issue tickets based on income to limit regressive impacts on low-income neighbors).

AuroraAvenueFastTraffic

3) Walking head start traffic lights: The majority of collisions between people walking and driving happen at intersections. We applaud SDOT’s new policy to double the number of traffic lights that give people walking a head start next year, with all traffic lights to follow.

Three pedestrians, one with a mobility aid, cross the street holding signs asking for safe crossings.

4) Vision Zero Task Force: This panel of experts will ensure we treat traffic violence like the public health crisis that it is, and provide transparency, accountability, and leadership for Vision Zero. A Vision Zero Task Force comprised of public health officials, first responders, roadway designers, and advocates for seniors, the disability community, and pedestrians, should analyze each and every deadly crash to provide recommendations for how what can be done to achieve Vision Zero. Part of their work will inevitably be analyzing what can be done about emerging trends like the rise in deadly-sized SUVs and increased distracted driving.

A group of people holding a sign that reads: Seattle Neighbors for Vision Zero.

What’s next?

These are welcome first steps but much more remains to be done.

Communities along Rainier Ave S and Aurora Ave N, Seattle’s #1 and #2 most dangerous streets respectively, have been clamoring for safer streets for years. The planned redesign of Rainier Ave S cannot come soon enough after years of delay. And sadly, Aurora Ave still lacks basic pedestrian safety improvements like sidewalks and safe crosswalks for long stretches, which must be addressed as quickly as possible. The city can do much on its own, but the recent fatalities on Aurora Ave, a state route, must also be a wake up call to state legislators. Redesigning our streets is the most effective and equitable approach to keeping people safer on our streets and should be the center of any effort moving forward, while education, encouragement, and enforcement should mainly be supplementary strategies.

If we are truly going to make progress on Vision Zero, we must give the Department of Transportation the political support to implement best practices and innovate new ways to keep everyone safe on our streets—even when those changes are hard. We see today’s announcement as a tremendous step in the right direction. We will continue our work until every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike and live — where no one loses their life or is seriously injured trying to get to where they need to go.

A protest at Rainier Ave S and Henderson in 2018.

Care about ending traffic violence? Here are three ways you can help keep everyone safe on our streets:

1) If or when you drive, maintain a safe speed (i.e., below the speed limit and suitable for conditions), and be alert for people walking and biking.  

2) Send a letter to the Mayor and other elected leaders thanking them for their leadership and reinforcing the need for safer speed limits, redesigning our most dangerous streets, and getting Vision Zero back on track.

3) Get involved in advocating for traffic safety in your neighborhood

Act Now! button

Together, we can help Seattle make the changes necessary to achieve Vision Zero, and make sure everyone makes it home safely.

Li Tan holding a sign that reads: Vision Zero!

Back to School!

It’s Back to School season! How are the kids in your life getting to and from school?

Did you know that 58% of students in the Seattle Public Schools District live within the school walk zone and are not served by school bus routes, yet only 30% of them walk and bike?

Particularly in schools with dangerous streets nearby, many parents who have the means to do so make the decision to drive their kids to school every day. The increase in vehicle traffic around the school leaves those kids who do not have the option, disproportionately low-income kids and people of color, in even more dangerous conditions.

Here at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we believe that every child deserves to be able to walk or bike to school safely and comfortably. 

If that’s your take too, we invite you to join our Safe Routes to School campaign! Click here to send a note to your elected leaders in support of Safe Routes to School, and keep updated on the citywide campaign!

AdjaAndDaughters

This year, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is working to address some systemic problems with both the Seattle Public Schools District and the Seattle Dept. of Transportation, including policies and processes in school planning, lack of communication, insufficient staff, and lack of funding.

We’re also building relationships with 10 focus schools: Bailey Gatzert Elem., John Rogers Elem., Lafayette Elem., Sacajawea Elem., West Woodland Elem., Wing Luke Elem., Mercer International Middle, Franklin High, Rainier Beach High, and Roosevelt High. We’re listening to school communities and learning what’s needed, what’s working and what isn’t. If you’d like to hear more or get involved in engagement with one of these school communities, email [email protected]

Speak up for Sidewalks and Schoolkids!

Thanks to your ongoing advocacy, the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition, of which Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is a part, included Safe Routes to School funding in the MASS Transportation Package. If it passes through City Council, we will have funding for an Active Transportation Coordinator to manage several currently ignored programs and processes, including the walking and biking school bus program and the School Crossing Guard program, which currently has vacant positions at one in three schools.

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We Need You!

  • Sign up here to receive updates on the campaign.
  • Share information with families and community members at your children’s school. Check out this one-pager.
  • Support funding for Safe Routes to School in the City of Seattle budget by sending an email to the Seattle City CouncilUse this form to support the MASS Coalition asks, or draft your own email to [email protected]
  • Send an email to your School Board Director highlighting transportation as an issue and Safe Routes to School as a solution. Find your director here. Several of the School Board Directors are up for re-election this fall — email candidates and attend forums to make sure that candidates know that you care about making sure kids are safe when walking and biking to school.
  • Spread the word about vacant School Crossing Guard positions in your neighborhood. These positions are paid, neighborhood-based, green jobs, perfect for those seeking local, part-time work.

KidsGroupWalking

Thank you for your advocacy!

Be well,
Clara

claraClara Cantor

she/her/hers
(206) 681-5526
Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

Fun and Safe Ways to Walk or Bike to School!

Are you looking to encourage your child and their friends to walk or bike to school this school year (and beyond)? Consider organizing a walking school bus or a bike train!

 

070829-F-0870P-001

 

A walking school bus — what is that?

A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school together with one or more adults, or older students. It can be structured in many ways, but is most commonly a route with designated meeting points and a schedule of parents or volunteers who take turns walking the group to school.

What’s a bike train?

Similarly, a bike train is a group of children who bike to school together, accompanied or led by one or more adults, or older students. Bike train leaders should have some bicycling skills, understand traffic laws and feel comfortable riding on the road.

What are the benefits of a walking school bus and a bike train?

Studies show that fewer children walk to school today than even just a few decades ago, and many children don’t meet recommended daily levels of physical activity. For many parents, safety concerns are one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk or bike to school.

The walking school bus and bike train models are safety-first, by design. But they’re also fun, social, and active ⁠— providing school age children with easy, comfortable access to a healthy lifestyle, as well as improved skills for walking and pedaling safely in the city. Parents benefit too ⁠— they get to enjoy greater piece of mind knowing that their children are being protected by ‘safety in numbers’ as well as the presence of adult supervision.

There’s a terrific community-building aspect to these models as well. With a rotating schedule of parents or volunteers coordinating together to lead the walking school bus or bike train, it can be a great opportunity for people to meet other families in their neighborhood.

Did we emphasize “fun” enough? A walking school bus or bike train is a delightful daily activity ⁠— for both the kids and adults involved. Give it a try! And share your experience with us ⁠— contact Clara with your walking or biking to school stories: [email protected]

 

Kids Crossing

 

Tips for organizing a walking school bus:

  • Check out your neighborhood walkability checklist, and the City of Seattle’s Safe Routes to School Walking Maps. Determine the safest route to walk to your school and map your route, including what stops are needed.
  • Invite families who live nearby to walk, and alert school faculty and staff, who may be able to connect you to additional families.
  • Test your route, noting approximate walking times.
  • Identify the number of adults or older students needed to supervise walkers and draft a rotating schedule. Download walking school bus leader schedules and information forms, and recruit volunteers.
  • Check out these safety training guidelines and determine what’s needed for both kids and adult volunteers on your route before kicking off the program.
  • Have fun!

 

A group of smiling kids riding bicycles down the street.

 

Tips for organizing a bike train:

  • Determine safe routes for biking to school with a City of Seattle Bike Web Map, and draft a potential route, including the stops that are needed.
  • Invite families who live nearby to bike, and contact potential participants (e.g. school faculty and staff, law enforcement officers, local bike shops, bike teams/clubs, other community leaders).
  • Pick a route and do a test bike ride, noting approximate biking times.
  • Identify the number of adults or older students needed to supervise bikers and draft a rotating schedule. Check out these scheduling tips for bike train leaders and other guides.
  • Check out these safety training guidelines and determine the safety training, skills and equipment needed for kids and bike train leaders before kicking off the program.
  • Have fun!

 

 

Happy walking and biking!

Li Tan Portrait

Written by Li Tan,
Safe Routes to School Intern
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Big Wins This Month in City Council for the MASS Coalition! Next Steps 9/30

MASS SNG

BIG WINS!

Thanks to your advocacy, the first three pieces of the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Transportation Package passed UNANIMOUSLY through City Council!

We have the energy and momentum to pass the remainder of the package by the end of the year — Save the Date for our next big push on Monday, September 30, 2:00pm for several important policy improvements for people walking and rolling. This second set of policies sailed through committee on September 20th, and will come to a full City Council vote on the 30th!

Champions:

Huge thanks to Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Abel Pacheco, and Teresa Mosqueda for sponsoring these three critical pieces of the MASS Transportation Package, and to the rest of the council for voting to pass them! Thank them at:  [email protected] (email) or @SeattleCouncil (Twitter)

What passed:

  1. A Bicycle Safety Ordinance making it harder for politicians to delay or delete bike projects.
  2. A resolution requesting full funding for Bicycle Implementation Plan projects, including the Beacon Ave Trail, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the Georgetown-to-South Park Trail, the SODO-to-Georgetown connection, and two-way bike lanes on 4th Ave downtown.
  3. A resolution requesting that SDOT build off-sidewalk bike and scooter parking (in-street bike corrals) to ensure pedestrian access on sidewalks, especially for those of us with disabilities.

We’re not done yet.

We packed the council chambers and sent hundreds of emails, and together we showed the strength of community support behind sustainable transportation measures. Then, following the Climate Strike on September 20th, we filled council chambers again and spoke out passionately for safer sidewalks and pedestrian-first signal-timing. This second set of MASS Transportation Package policies were approved in committee. And now they move to a full council vote.

We need you on Monday, September 30, at 2:00pm as these important pedestrian policy improvements move to a full council vote. It’s people-power — your voice, your presence, your mailed in comments, that can move these policies over the finish line. 

Email the Mayor and Councilmembers now to show your support.

 

The MASS Transportation Package – Safe & Equitable Transportation for All

These are the first of twelve total pieces of the MASS Transportation Package — which includes policy reforms and investments in sidewalks, bus lanes, and bike paths that will help you get where you need to go safely and efficiently. Find out more about the package in this interview.

We need to connect Seattle’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, minimize reliance on private vehicles, create walkable and roll-able communities, and ensure safe and equitable access to transportation for all people, particularly for those who have been historically and are currently under-served. Please support the MASS Transportation Package.

Take Action:

 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
she/her/hers

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

The Home Zone Solution: Making Streets Without Sidewalks More Walkable

A group of people talking around a table with a large map covered in post-it notes.In 2018, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways set out to pilot a quick and cheap way to make Seattle neighborhoods safer to walk, bike, and live in for people of all ages and abilities. Our solution? Neighborhood “home zones” — a low-cost model that’s been implemented with success in other countries.

home zone problemThe Problem

A number of Seattle neighborhoods lack sidewalks, including large areas of North Seattle, which has the highest concentration of older adults in the city. Combined with increasing cut-through traffic, the lack of safe places to walk makes many neighborhood streets dangerous and uncomfortable. Given the current rate of city funding for pedestrian infrastructure, it’s going to take Seattle 300 years (at a minimum) to make every neighborhood safe for walking. We think this timeline is unacceptable and we set about creating a Home Zone demonstration project to show the city that more immediate, low-cost solutions are possible.

home zone solutionThe Home Zone Solution

A Home Zone is an area that is protected from lots of fast-moving cut-through traffic so that streets are safe enough to walk on. Home Zones direct thru-traffic to arterial streets that surround a neighborhood, keeping local access for residents, emergency access. Home Zones can use a variety of design improvements such as diverters, speed humps, and other elements, but focus on improvements that have the best “bang for our buck”, recognizing that Seattle’s pedestrian budget is stretched very thin.

A Pilot Project

Licton Springs is one of a number of neighborhoods that were annexed by the City of Seattle years back without existing sidewalks. We worked with neighbors in the Licton Springs neighborhood to identify a multi-block area to establish the Home Zone demonstration project, and community leaders from within the neighborhood to help coordinate the project. Over the course of the year, volunteers with the “Meridian Project” gathered at community design meetings, did door-to-door outreach, and toured the neighborhood streets to take note of known street hazards as well as opportunities for future traffic-calming.

Results to Date

This project is still underway, but the results have already surpassed our expectations on two fronts—one being the level of enthusiasm and participation from a multi-generational base of neighborhood volunteers; but also, and most notably, the unexpectedly brisk buy-in from the City, whereby Seattle is ready to invest $350,000 in a pilot Home Zone project of its own, based on our persistent vision and promotion of this model.

A young child points to a map while speaking to an adult.The initial community design workshop was a vibrant affair, packed to capacity, with a high level of participation across the room. We had a robust turnout of 60 people, including kids, elders, homeowners, renters, business owners, and members of the local deaf community. Food was provided and short presentations were made, but the bulk of the 2-hour meetup involved maps, markers, and sticky notes—and community members deeply engaged with each other in identifying both the hazards of their local streets and possible solutions. The community identified traffic-calming, art, and wayfinding ideas to be explored further. Building off of this large meeting, we hosted two smaller strategy meetings and a community walking audit to formalize the initial input we gathered.

A home-made wayfinding sign with walking times and distances, decorated for Halloween.Local community volunteers created a delightful wayfinding sign, pointing to popular nearby parks, libraries, and shopping districts, within walking distances noted. Sites have been selected and designs drawn up for self-watering planter box chicanes, now only awaiting official permits before they can be put together and installed on the street through a community work party. A street mural is also in the works: We’ve selected potential locations and are talking with local artists about designs — installation is expected in June when the pavement will be dry and warm enough for the paint to adhere properly.

Going Forward: A Model to Replicate

One of our key goals going in was to inspire the city of Seattle to adopt the Home Zone model as a large-scale, systemic solution that’s affordable, and immediately within reach. In November 2019, Seattle City Council approved a budget of $350,000 for the city to create its own Home Zone pilot project, building on ideas we developed.

 

For more details about the Home Zone model, see our handy Home Zone FAQ.

Community Outreach Around Green Lake

Story by Tom Lang, Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets

If you have been to Green Lake, you probably walked, biked, or drove through the Starbucks intersection (NE Ravenna Blvd / NE 71st Street / E Green Lake Way/Drive). This intersection is confusing, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Because La Escuelita Bilingual School is right next door, and since many sports teams and families use the play fields nearby, fixing this intersection is a huge priority for Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets (GLWSS), a brand new member of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition that re-formed early this year. Since February, GLWSS has focused on the impending 2019 re-paving project that will see the installation of two-way protected bike lanes around the entire east side of Green Lake. While we support the project as a whole, our group has several proposed changes to the SDOT plans which would make the park, playfields, and business district safer and more accessible to pedestrians and people on bikes. By slowing speed limits, narrowing the car traffic lanes, and “squaring up” several intersections, this project will now result in greater predictability, visibility, and safety for all users.

 

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On PARK(ing) Day in September, we hosted two pop-up parks — one at the Starbucks intersection and another at the Kidd Valley intersection (N 50th Street / Stone Way N / Green Lake Way N).

One of the goals of PARK(ing) Day is to encourage residents to re-imagine their streets — exactly what we had been doing all summer as we talked with our neighbors about redesigning the two troubled intersections. Our small but mighty team of volunteers planned and organized a park at each of these intersections: next to Starbucks in the morning and in front of Kidd Valley in the afternoon.

With generous donations from both of these business, we were able to provide coffee to our morning visitors and milkshakes in the afternoon. We invited the students from La Escuelita to join us and add to our community art project. We set up a putt putt course in front of Kidd Valley and rewarded golfers with a coupon for a free milkshake. We had a great time transforming these spaces in the streets into places for people to gather and enjoy themselves.

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

 

At each of these locations we talked with our neighbors about SDOT’s re-paving plans. The most common response we heard was that people hadn’t yet heard about the project. Despite the mailers and community meetings, most people didn’t know the details, and were eager to learn. We gathered another 30 signatures of support on this day and helped more people see
the potential in their streets.

Following a successful summer of community outreach, the Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets Group leadership met with SDOT project managers and went over the 60% design for the re-paving project — including many of our suggestions. We are very happy to see the Starbucks intersection will be much safer in 2019, and the proposed stoplight added at N 52nd Street has been removed from their plans. These are big wins for our small group!

Unfortunately, we learned in November that SDOT removed the bike lanes from the street design for N 40th St. We’re distressed at the precedent of removing a route designated on the Bicycle Master Plan, and awaiting more news from SDOT in early 2019. If you’d like to get involved, visit us at GLWstreets.org and drop in on our monthly meeting!

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

We’re going to keep moving forward with our primary task: to make the streets around Green Lake and Wallingford safer for people of all ages, abilities, and transportation choices. Remember — one important role of our community group is to educate our neighbors about current transportation projects, build community connections, and get people thinking in creative ways about how we use our streets.

Speak up for Sidewalks and Schoolkids!

Friends,

Did you see the news this week that nearly $3 million that would have funded sidewalks and crosswalks for schools has been siphoned into the city’s “general fund”?

This funding would have helped children at 25 schools across Seattle walk to class safely by investing in projects like enhanced crosswalks, traffic calming, and walkways. Instead these projects will be delayed, adding to the 300-year backlog of sidewalk projects.

We need you to speak up now in support for funding sidewalks and crosswalks so that kids in Seattle can get safely to and from school.

Act Now! buttonkids-crossing.jpgSeattle Neighborhood Greenways has championed the Safe Routes to School program since our founding in 2011 as a core piece of our work. We’re committed to making every neighborhood a great place to walk and making sure every child can safely walk to school. But in order to do that we need our city leaders to increase funding for safe routes to schools and sidewalks.

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We need you to act now and send a letter to your councilmembers asking them to ensure that Safe Routes to School are adequately funded and kids can get safely to and from school.

Act Now! button

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

Be well,
Clara

 

 

clara

Clara Cantor

she/her/hers
(206) 681-5526
Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

P.S. Whether or not we win back this funding, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways will continue to advocate to adequately fund safe routes to school and sidewalks next year, and hope you will stay engaged in this effort.

Sign up here to volunteer with us or Donate here. Thank you.

Speak up for Walking and Biking in Seattle’s 2018 City Budget!

We care about making every neighborhood in Seattle a great place to walk, bike, and live, but too many important projects are being delayed or watered down.

That’s why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is leading the charge as part of a new transportation alliance Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS)We’re calling on the Mayor and City Council to go beyond general statements of support for transportation and environmental issues, and act now to align our city budget with Seattle’s values.

Walking

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, backed by the MASS alliance, has four main city budget priorities this year:

  1. Safer Intersections. Halt spending on adaptive signals, which prioritize cars over everyone else, until the technology can prioritize people walking and biking.
  2. Traffic Calming. Fund a Home Zone pilot project, using diverters and traffic calming to limit and slow traffic on residential streets, particularly in areas with no sidewalks.
  3. Basic Bike Network. Add additional funding to get people to and from the new Arena and into and through Uptown and South Lake Union.
  4. Equitable Street Parks. Restore funding to successful Pavement to Parks projects with an equity focus.

Act Now! button

Act now to ask City Council to support these priorities, and join us on Wednesday, October 24 at 2:00 pm at the Transportation Committee Budget Hearing. Public comment is at the end of the meeting, likely around 4:00 pm.

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

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 clara

Clara Cantor

(206) 681-5526
Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

Website – Twitter – Facebook

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