Speed Limit Victory in Seattle!

Last Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution to lower speed limits on all non-arterials citywide to 20 miles per hour, and to lower speed limits to 25 mph on unsigned arterials in the center city, which will dramatically impact streets in our area in a positive way.

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This victory is huge, as the 20/25 mph campaign was one of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ citywide goals for 2016, and was accomplished with three months to spare. This legislative achievement is also a big step forward for the citywide Vision Zero campaign.

Lower speed limits pave the way for the Seattle Department of Transportation to be able to more quickly implement traffic calming, due to the fact that the department looks at the relationship between the speed limit and what drivers are actually driving when making determinations.

SDOT has also noted that they had begun setting traffic signals to the new 25-mile-per-hour standard as early as the beginning of 2015, with the result being that traffic appears to be moving more efficiently.

Memorial Walk for Desiree McCloud

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Central Seattle Greenways will lead a Memorial Walk and Solutions Meeting to honor the life of Desiree McCloud and to bring attention to the many collisions that have happened to people who bike along streets with streetcar tracks including East Yesler Way, where Desiree McCloud crashed on her bicycle. The Seattle Department of Transportation is still investigating the cause of the crash. Our solutions meeting afterward will focus on the broader issue of safety in streetcar corridors.

The Memorial Walk will start in front of Bailey Gatzert Elementary School at 1301 E Yesler Way. We will walk across the street to the ghost bike marking where Desiree crashed her bicycle.  Desiree’s mother, Penny McCloud will speak, as well as other community representatives.

Girl Scout leader, Magic player, Geek Girl Desiree McCloud was a dynamic young woman completely engaged in a positive way with many communities in Seattle. Gifts in honor of Desiree can be given to a scholarship fund being set up for girls in science at the Girl Scouts of Western Washington at http://bit.ly/1UgDhyF

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways honors people who have died walking and biking on Seattle streets. We only do Memorial Walks with the full blessing and cooperation of families of the victims. This advocacy honors families, provides a forum for the community to grieve the loss together, and gives communities an opportunity to address street safety.

The Memorial Walk will conclude with a Solutions Meeting with City officials at Yesler Community Center at 917 E Yesler Way to look for solutions to make our streets safer. Central Seattle Greenways has posted a petition for safer streets with streetcar tracks including East Yesler Way at http://bit.ly/1Q6v91N

Capitol Hill Station Access Audit

BY DAVID SEATER

On February 29, 2016, Central Seattle Greenways volunteers and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff met at Capitol Hill Station to conduct an accessibility audit of the station area. We focused on three priorities: safety of street crossings, obstructions in crosswalks and along sidewalks, and sidewalk capacity. The station is expected to serve 14,000 riders every day in 2030, making safety and accessibility of the entrances a significant priority.

The map below shows the audit area. Intersections that were assessed are circled, station entrances are marked with stars. Specifically, the intersections were: Broadway E & E John St / E Olive Way, Broadway E & E Denny Way, Broadway Ave E & E Thomas St, Harvard Ave E & E Olive Way, and 10th Ave E & E John St.

Map

Assessed intersection are circled in red, station entrances are marked with green stars. (Map from Google Maps, annotations by David Seater)

We identified several common problems at the intersections and the sidewalks connecting them:

  • Obstructions (poles, hydrants) in or very near curb ramps
  • Obstructions (poles, signal cabinets, A-boards) blocking painted crosswalks
  • Ramps misaligned on opposite sides of a crosswalk
  • Ramps turned at an angle to the crosswalk
  • Drivers making dangerous turns through occupied crosswalks
  • Difficult crossings of John (at 10th) and Olive (at Harvard)
  • Sidewalks narrowed by obstructions (trash cans, newspaper boxes, A-boards, shelters)

Easy Wins – Quick, low cost solutions:

  1. Relocate trash cans and newspaper boxes to be further from crosswalks and ramps
  2. Move trash cans and newspaper boxes closer to the curb to open up sidewalk space
  3. Work with businesses to prevent A-boards from blocking crosswalks and sidewalks
  4. Install crosswalk markings and signs at Harvard & Olive Way and 10th & John
  5. Install better signage and lane markings to prevent left turns from northbound Broadway to westbound Denny Way
  6. Coordinate with King County Metro to place bus shelters without obstructing sidewalks
  7. Patch utility cuts with asphalt to cover existing gravel and create a smooth surface
  8. Remove or replace the old bike rack on the sidewalk on the west side of Broadway between John and Thomas

Future Opportunities – Sidewalk and ramps:

  1. Relocate or underground utility and signal control cabinets. Many of these are placed directly in the path of marked crosswalks, creating a barrier and reducing capacity. This is particularly apparent at the main station entrance on the southeast corner of Broadway E & E John St.
  2. Relocate utility and signal poles, many of which are blocking marked crosswalks. Some of the poles are partially blocking ADA ramps.
  3. Relocate fire hydrants that are blocking crosswalks and ADA ramps. These are particularly difficult for people with impaired vision to navigate around.
  4. Align ADA ramps on both sides of crosswalks so that people walking across the street can travel in a straight line without encountering an unexpected curb.
  5. Orient ADA ramps to be aligned with the crosswalk instead of at an angle. In particular, avoid using a single ramp that directs people walking into the middle of the intersection. The new ramp directly in front of the main station entrance at Broadway E & E John St is a particularly egregious example of what not to do.

Safety Improvements – Arterial crosswalks:

  1. Rechannelize E John St / E Olive Way to add left turn lanes at Broadway E. The lack of turn lanes here causes drivers to change lanes unexpectedly as they approach and move through the intersection.
  2. Add left turn signal phases in all directions at Broadway E & E John St / E Olive Way. When the intersection is busy it’s common for drivers attempting to turn left to loiter in crosswalks or in the intersection waiting for a gap in oncoming traffic without watching for people crossing in the crosswalk. This leads to dangerous situations when drivers try to turn through an occupied crosswalk.
  3. Improve the crossings at Harvard & Olive Way and 10th & John with raised intersections, curb bulbs, or other traffic calming measures. Many drivers do not yield to people trying to walk across these intersections.

Examples:

Obstructed crosswalk, Broadway E & E John St

Obstructed crosswalk, Broadway E & E John St (photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Obstructed Crosswalk 2

Obstructed crosswalk, Broadway E & E John St (photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Obstructed crosswalk, Broadway E & E Thomas St

Obstructed crosswalk, Broadway E & E Thomas St (photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Sidewalk obstructions, Broadway E & E Thomas St

Sidewalk obstructions, Broadway E & E Thomas St (photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Left-turning car stuck in crosswalk, Broadway E & E John St / E Olive Way

Left-turning car stuck in crosswalk, Broadway E & E John St / E Olive Way (photo from David Seater)

Illegal turns into occupied crosswalk, Broadway E & E Denny Way

Illegal turns into occupied crosswalk, Broadway E & E Denny Way (photo from David Seater)

Failure to yield, 10th Ave E & E John St

Failure to yield, 10th Ave E & E John St (photo from David Seater)

Old bike rack, Broadway E between E John and E Thomas Streets

Old bike rack, Broadway E between E John and E Thomas Streets (photo from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways)

Places for People: 12th Ave Square Park Now Open

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12th Avenue and E James Court in 2008. The property on the left is now an apartment building, the property on the right is now a park. (Click for enlarged view)

East James Court used to be a little cut through street with parking along both sides, remarkable only in its unremarkableness, a way for cars to get between 12th Avenue and 13th and to store their cars for a two-hour block of time. But not a place where anyone likely felt a strong desire to spend a whole lot of time.

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Now East James Court is a complementary space next to the newest park in central Seattle, directly between Capitol Hill and the Central District. On April 14, the grand opening ceremony was held for this park, which includes one of the biggest pieces of public art to be added to Seattle Parks properties in many years, the “Cloud Veil”, designed by Ellen Sollod.

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The grand opening ceremony. Photo credit: No Spandex Required

The grand opening ceremony. Photo credit: No Spandex Required

Visit 12th Ave Square Park to witness another example of spaces for cars becoming places for people. Grab a coffee at Cherry Street, or a bite to eat at Ba Bar, take a seat under the Cloud Veil, and marvel at the difference on 12th Avenue now compared with a few short years ago.

 

Nominate the Worst Intersection in Seattle

For the past three years, the worst intersections in Seattle for pedestrians, according to the readers of the Walking in Seattle blog, have all been close to Seattle’s downtown, along Aurora and Denny Way.

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2015’s “winner”- Terry Ave and Denny Way.

We suspect our readers have a number of intersections that they would like to nominate as worst in Seattle, most of them within our central Seattle greenways boundaries. You can nominate an intersection through April 30 at Walking in Seattle and readers will decide if it is truly awful enough to be worst intersection in Seattle.

Pavement To Parks at Capitol Hill Community Council

The Seattle Department of Transportation is seeking ideas on what to do with a segment of street on Capitol Hill that it has singled out as being one of several sites that it wants to transform from underutilized street to park space in 2016.

The segment of road is on Summit Avenue between Olive Way and E Denny Way. This one-way segment serves only as a cut-through for traffic coming off Denny or Summit, and creates more potential for pedestrian conflict when there are already several busy streets coming together in the area. It also contains two parking spaces and a Pronto station. The parking will go; the Pronto station is set to remain part of the newly reimagined space.

What to do with this segment of Summit Ave?

What to do with this segment of Summit Ave?

 

At the Capitol Hill Community Council meeting this Thursday, April 21, SDOT will be on hand to gather feedback about what could be done in the new parks space. For these projects, the changes must not be permanent as the Pavement to Parks projects are essentially pilot projects to see how well the spaces function as park space.

Join us on Thursday and take part in this exciting new program. You can also check out the first Pavement to Parks project in Seattle on First Hill at the intersection of Union, University, and Boylston.

The CHCC meeting will be held at 12th Avenue Arts at 6:30 PM.

Summer Parkways is coming to the Central Area!

Where can you bike, walk, dance, climb rocks, skateboard, see bike polo, listen to music, and so much more? Summer Parkways! Three miles of streets and the four parks they connect will come alive on Saturday, September 12. Be there! Pages from SSP Postcard

Summer Parkways kicks off with a grand opening celebration of the first section of the new Central Area Neighborhood Greenway, providing safe and comfortable streets for people biking and walking from S. Jackson to E. John. Join us at 11:00 a.m. at Garfield Community Center for the speechifying, ribbon-cutting, and celebratory bike parade.

At the same time, the buff and adventurous Disaster Relief Trials contestants will set off to gather water and other necessities, travel over challenging terrain, and generally do the things we’d need done in a natural disaster. Cheer them on at the start line! (See Tom’s post on Seattle Bike Blog for more info and great video.)

Summer Parkways festivities go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bike a bit, and then take in some music, bounce around on a harness trampoline, climb a rock, eat some food, and meet some folks from around the neighborhood, other parts of the city, or out of town.

As you’d expect, it’s going to take a lot of volunteers to pull this off. If you’d like to help, go to http://www.cascade.org/summerparkways, and use Cascade Bike Club’s volunteer portal to find the right fit.

The following weekend, on September 19, the focus shifts to Ballard for another family-friendly fun-packed party in the streets.We’re modeling Summer Parkways after the incredibly successful Sunday Parkways events in Portland. Check out this video to see why we’re so excited.

Ted Virdone braves Seattle rain with Central Greenways

Who is willing to give up a Saturday morning to spend it out in the rain?

Central Greenways fearless volunteer leaders - Merlin and Brie - talking at Columbia and 18th  about plans for Columbia St. and Ridge Route greenways.

Central Seattle Greenways volunteer leaders, Merlin and Brie, talking at Columbia and 18th about plans for Columbia St. and Ridge Route greenways.

Happily, several Central Seattle Greenway volunteers and Ted Virdone, a staff member for Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. We met on Saturday, January 17 at a cafe for a quick ‘briefing’ before heading out on a bike tour of planned future greenways. It was an exciting opportunity to educate Ted and Councilmember Sawant on Central Seattle Greenways and the work happening in our neighborhood to make streets safer for all users.

After visiting one of the first implemented greenways in the East District, we set out to explore short segments of multiple routes that the community is hoping to see established in the near future, including:

  • Columbia St. Greenway
  • Ridge Route Greenway
  • Union St. Protected Bike Lane
  • 27th Ave Greenway

 

You can help move these and other projects forward in 2015. Already this year we’re seeing movement on the Madison BRT Project, construction of the Central Greenway paralleling 23rd Ave from Rainier Ave S to Montlake, and Vision Zero. Come out and join your neighbors in a movement for safe streets.

Ted Virdone, surrounded by Central Greenways volunteers, discussing a future greenway route in the central neighborhood.

Ted Virdone, surrounded by Central Greenways volunteers on January 17, discussing a future greenway route in the central neighborhood.

Central Seattle Greenways meets the second Monday of each month at 6pm. Check our Facebook page or sign up to join our email list for details of upcoming meetings and projects.

Join us 12.6.13 to discuss future Greenways

Join us Friday, December 6th at 6:30 PM at the Central Cinema to discuss how we can help bring safe streets to our neighborhoods.

360 image by Adam Parast

SDOT has secured funding for two greenways in our neighborhoods! The top candidates are the “23rd corridor greenway” now called the Central Greenway which you may have heard about at the open house, and our priority “ridge route” now called the Ridge Greenway that is already a popular way for people to walk and bike along the ridge of the CD/Capitol Hill. That’s a lot of funding for safe and comfortable streets in our neighborhoods! 

This is a really exciting and important time to get involved. We really need all hands on deck for the next few months to make the most of this opportunity. Come to the restaurant area at Central Cinema Friday December 6th at 6:30 PM to get involved. If you can’t make it but still want to help please be in touch.
How you can help
  1. Make introductions to local groups, organizations, churches, councils etc. SDOT will be able to make some presentations to these groups, and we may end up partnering with SDOT for these conversations or conducting some of our own outreach.
  2. Help us host smaller neighborhood meetings: SDOT is planning to host another mega meeting, but it would be wise for us to host a few smaller meetings in Capitol Hill and the Central District. This is something I hope to discuss further next week – come with your ideas!
  3. Spread the word: Do you know someone who is interested in getting involved? Bring them next Friday to our meeting! Or invite them to the Google Group. We will also need your help spreading the word about other upcoming events and talking to the public about what greenways are (hint: think traffic calmed streets with safe intersections)

We hope to see you on Friday!

Nov 6th public meeting on 23rd corridor greenway possibilities

Montlake Greenways leader Lionel Job explains potential safety improvements for seniors, kids, and people accessing the Boyer Clinic.

Montlake Greenways leader Lionel Job explains potential safety improvements for seniors, kids, and people accessing the Boyer Clinic.

Tonight, in a packed room, neighbors Capitol Hill, Montlake, the Central District, and Madison Valley heard about what greenways are from SDOT. Top concerns voiced by community members were the potential impact of the 23rd Ave arterial repaving project putting additional cars onto neighborhood streets, being able to safely cross arterials, speeding and volume of school drop off car traffic, and the need for safe routes for families to walk and bike to where they need to go. There was no consensus about where greenway safety improvements would be best suited. Negative emotions ran high about the 23rd Ave E arterial repaving project and spilled over into other conversations.

Central Seattle Greenways hopes SDOT and safe streets advocates are able to refocus the conversation on the neighborhoods’ shared concerns of reducing cut through traffic on neighborhood streets, slowing speeding drop off traffic, and providing safe ways for our aging population to walk to parks and kids to safely bike to school.

Nov 6 23d corridor gway meeting

There is common ground to have a quality conversation moving forward. In addition, we hope that the conversation about the 23rd Ave E arterial project and greenway safety improvements can be separated.

Thank you to everyone who came out in support tonight! We will need your passion, ideas, and hard work moving forward to help create safer streets in our communities. If you would like to sign our letter thanking SDOT for investing in safer streets in our communities and to receive updates from your local greenway group please click here.