Signals, Sidewalks, and Sports

Dear safe streets supporters, I want to let you know that we won funding for an innovative pedestrian solution called Home Zones, a walking and biking route to the Sonics arena, and fought and stopped the spread of signals that only prioritize cars! But unfortunately, safe routes to schools did not receive a much needed boost in funding. Yesterday, the Seattle City Council approved changes to Mayor's proposed budget and the mayor signed the final version. The mayor's initial budget was a mixed bag that increased funding for sidewalks, but cut funding to two programs that help enliven our streets as places for people: Pavement to Parks and Summer Parkways. We hope to restore those programs when the timing is right. Despite earlier reports, we were able to ensure full funding remained intact for the popular Play Street program which allows neighbors to temporarily open their streets to play.   kids-crossing.jpg  

The Setback

As you may have heard, the Seattle City Council unfortunately diverted nearly $3 million that would have gone to increase funding safe routes to schools into the "general fund" to pay for other priorities. 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. But thanks to our advocacy, Councilmembers O'Brien and Herbold indicated that they would like revisit this issue in the spring. We will continue to advocate to adequately fund safe routes to school and sidewalks, so if you have a connection with a school community or PTA please let know. Read more in the Seattle times: "Seattle budget proposal: Divert $2.7 million in red-light fines from safe-school projects"   home zone meeting summer 2018 We are delighted to announce that our concept to rapidly make more areas of Seattle walkable, called Home Zones, won $350,000 and City of Seattle approval. Recognizing that 26% of our streets lack sidewalks and that current funding means we won't work through this backlog for over 300 years Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is committed to both increasing funding and finding efficient ways to make our streets more walkable. Our Home Zone idea helps implement the efficiency strategy. In essence, our Home Zone idea will be an area that directs thru-traffic to arterial streets that surround a neighborhood, while allowing only local traffic within a neighborhood — thereby making it safer and more comfortable to walk within the neighborhood. We have been working on a DIY pilot with a neighborhood in Licton-Springs this year, and the City of Seattle will be implementing an official pilot in 2019. Thank you to Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda for proposing this budget addition. For more, see our FAQ on Home Zones and the Crosscut article. People walking in a cityscape.     The City Council also restricted funding to "adaptive signals" systems which to date have been used to prioritize moving cars at the expense of everyone walking, biking, or taking transit. In order to build more of these signals SDOT would need to demonstrate they aren't just prioritizing cars over everyone else. The proviso, put forward by Councilmember Mike O'Brien, reads in part "The Council’s intent is to develop signal technology that prioritizes the safe and comfortable movement of people, not just vehicles. Pedestrians and bicyclists should have frequent and ample opportunities to cross the street, and transit mobility should be prioritized over SOV traffic on key corridors. Signal policy should align with Seattle's adopted climate, public health, safety, and mobility goals." For more See our FAQ on Adaptive Signals and the The Urbanist article "Eleven Ways Adaptive Signals Frustrate, Discourage, and Endanger People Who Walk." New Seattle Storm arena New Seattle Storm arena Last, but not least, the City Council passed a "statement of legislative intent" from Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda that pledged to find funding for the Thomas St neighborhood greenway which would be the only all ages and abilities walking and biking route connecting South Lake Union and the new Sonics arena located at the Seattle Center.   Thank you to everyone who advocated, volunteered, or donated. With your ongoing support we will make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live. Sincerely, Gordon Padelford headshot croppedGordon Padelford Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways   P.S. Now is a great to time give to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, because your gift will be tripled by generous support from our Board Members and the Bowline Fund.