Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let’s Create a Great 23rd Ave Corridor Greenway

If you have not already heard, SDOT is planning to create a 23rd avenue corridor greenway as part of the $46 million 23rd Ave E complete streets project. Sign our letter and join us in thanking the City for the planned walking improvement and asking for a broader scope of study for the 23rd Ave Corridor Greenway project. This has not been a priority for Central Seattle Greenways (stay tuned for exciting news about the “ridge route!”), but it came about because planners were unable to accommodate safe walking, biking, transit, freight, and car traffic on 23rd Ave E itself as part of the street redesign.

First, Central Seattle Greenways applauds SDOT for putting first the needs of people safely and comfortably walking along and across 23rd Ave E. Currently 23rd Ave E divides our community and makes it hard to walk to where neighbors want to go such as bus stops, shops, parks, school and more. SDOT is planning to improve sidewalks and crossings on 23rd, which is most welcome. We hope this project will continue to place an emphasis on the mode of transportation that everybody uses, walking.

Second, Central Seattle Greenways requests that SDOT examine a wider range of options for the $4.6 million in funding that will go to a parallel greenway in this corridor. We strongly desire greenways to be built quickly, but we also must be strategic with how the City spends its limited budget. Specifically we request SDOT as part of this process to investigate:

  1. Whether a greenway on 24th/25th might better serve the Central District.
  2. Whether a 27th-Lake Washington Loop greenway might serve as a through route for people who do not need to access Capitol Hill and are instead trying to get between the UW/Montlake and the Central District. It has the added benefit of also serving Madison Valley.
  3. Whether a protected bike lane on 24th Ave E could serve as a better alternative for climbing the hill between Montlake and NE Capitol Hill.
  4. How SDOT can work with the Department of Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Schools to provide better access to these important community destinations.
  5. How whatever route(s) is/are chosen can connect through the SR-520 interchange project area in Montlake to the UW and Burke Gilman Trail. This corridor cannot simply dead end in Montlake. This is a critical junction for the City, which we have written about extensively.

(These options are visualized in a map at the bottom of this page.)

Central Seattle Greenways volunteers scout best route options for a greenway parallel to 23rd

Central Seattle Greenways volunteers scouted route options for a greenway parallel to 23rd

This is a complicated and very large project. Let’s make sure we get the most bang for our buck. Join us in thanking the City for the planned walking improvement and asking for a broader scope of study for the 23rd Ave Corridor Greenway project.

Thank you for all that you do. We hope to see you at the open house on November 6th from 5:30-7:30 at the Nova High School (300 20th ave E).

Map and letter not displaying? Try refreshing your browser.

Figure 1. Map of different opportunities that should be investigated as part of the 23rd Ave Corridor Greenway project.

View this map in a larger window.

A Year of Action: CSG is One Year Old!

Central Seattle Greenways was started a little over a year ago by Alexa (now in Portland), Tom, David, and Adam as the local chapter of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways serving the Capitol Hill, Central, Leschi, and Madrona neighborhoods. In barely over a year, countless neighbors have worked together to create a better place to live, work and play where anyone can get around safely by walking or biking. We did not do it alone – it takes a committed community of individuals, elected leaders, businesses, and groups to change our neighborhoods for the better.

For 2013, we have an ambitious list of priority projects that will help create safe and healthy streets for our children and our grandparents. We can’t do this alone. We hope YOU will join us in this community effort!

This blog post is organized for easy scanning by:

  1. 2012 list of accomplishments
  2. 2013 priorities
  3. How you can get involved
  4. More information on our projects

2012 List of Accomplishments

  • Melrose: We began to improve Melrose Avenue by obtaining a grant from the Department of Neighborhoods, hosting 5 community clean ups, 4 outreach events, numerous advisory committee meetings, a BBQ, a poetry reading, and selecting a firm to host three large community planning meetings (scroll down to learn about how you can get involved with this ongoing project)2012-06-01 08.50.50
    • Special thanks to: Mike Kent, the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee, Sustainable Capitol Hill, the Seattle Parks Foundation, Stewardship Partners, and others.
  • SR 520: CSG volunteers worked with many partners to identify and advocate for connections that are all-ages-and-abilities in the SR 520 reconstruction design.  We were able to fundamentally change the debate around the SR 520 reconstruction by focusing public attention on the failure of the design to serve people of all-ages-and-abilities, and its potential to better connect our neighborhoods if done right. The Seattle City Council, WSDOT, and the community now are all in agreement that more work must be done to provide quality connections before the design is finalized.520 Planning
    • Special thanks to: City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Richard Conlin, and Tom Rasmussen, the Mayor’s Office, Cascade Bicycle Club, the rest of the City Council, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Hill Community Council, the Montlake Community Club, Montlake Greenways, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and many others. Thank you!
  • Neighborhood Greenways: We researched, discussed, and proposed an all-ages-and-abilities network for the Capitol Hill, Central District, Leschi, and Madrona neighborhoods which has been incorporated in Seattle’s new Bicycle Master Plan.
    • We orchestrated two large public meetings to discuss potential Greenway projects in our neighborhoods.
    • Organized three route planning rides.417475_310374669011089_566492964_n
  • Safe Routes to Healthcare: CSG and Ballard Greenway volunteers engaged Swedish Hospital to survey how patients are arriving at healthcare and to identify safe ways the public can access the facilities as well as how patients can enjoy the surrounding neighborhood.
  • BMP: We analyzed and responded to the proposed Bicycle Master Plan Network Map.
  • Safe Routes to Transit: CSG volunteers shone a spotlight on the street car expansion needs for bikes and the Capitol Hill light rail station.
  • Changing the ConversationOur virtual activism engaged and informed neighbors about local pedestrian and bicycle issues through our TwitterFacebook, and Google Group (follow, like, and join us!).
  • Collaboration Is Paramount: As much as possible we tried to constructively collaborate with SDOT staff, WSDOT staff, City Councilmembers, executive staff, Capitol Hill Community Council officers, and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce board members, and the Cascade Bicycle Club amongst other groups.

2013 Priorities

2012 was just the start of great things to come. We hope you will join us as we work on:

  • MelroseMelrose PlanningCSG and the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee will work to finalize and begin to implement a community plan for Melrose Avenue and Bellevue Place Park.
  • SR 520: CSG will work with our allies to continue to advocate for family-friendly connections before the design is finalized.
  • BMP: We will continue to analyze and try and shape the direction of the BMP so that it sets us on a path where all-ages-and-abilities connections are recognized as the key to creating better biking infrastructure in Seattle.
  • Greenways – Central Ridge Route: CSG volunteers will team up with SDOT in the Fall of 2013 to begin to plan Capitol Hill and the Central District’s first greenway, what we are calling the Central Ridge Route (better name TBD). More information to follow.
  • Safe Routes to Health: Volunteers will continue to work with area hospitals to address access opportunities and potential partnerships.
  • Safe Routes to Transit: We will work with other Seattle Neighborhood Greenway groups and other organizations to continue to ensure that transit and walking/biking work together.
  • 23rd Ave Redesign: CSG plans to advocate for all-ages-and-abilities friendly facilities as part of the redesign of 23rd Avenue.
  • Events and Outreach: We are hoping to host more events in 2013. Get in touch if you have ideas you would like to share!Planning Ride

Get Involved!

If you simply want to stay informed we suggest liking us on Facebook and/or following us on Twitter (our Twitter and Facebook posts usually overlap). Additionally please feel welcome to subscribe to this blog (see the link on the sidebar), although we do not always post the most up to date news on this site.

If you want to get more involved we suggest joining our Google Group and introducing yourself and what projects you are most interested in helping with. We don’t bite – promise!

Learn More About Our Projects

The Melrose Promenade

In 2012, Central Seattle Greenways (CSG) obtained a grant through the Department of Neighborhoods to initiate a community vision planning process around the Melrose corridor. Throughout the second half of 2012, members of CSG and the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee (MPAC) coordinated a number of neighborhood outreach and improvement events – including regular Muffins on Melrose and community cleanups – to begin a conversation about what Melrose could be like in the future. The project has generated significant community interest, and in 2013 CSG and MPAC will be working to channel that energy into a community-driven and -supported plan for the corridor. The MPAC recently selected Berger Partnership to lead the project’s design and community involvement processes, which began in earnest with our first public meeting on January 24th. The Advisory Committee is also working to capitalize on the Promenade’s early success and community interest by applying for additional grant funding when available. Folks interested in contributing to the Melrose Promenade efforts can visit the project’s website (www.melrosepromenade.com), Like the Promenade on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelrosePromenade), or contact us directly atmelrosepromenade@gmail.com.

Safe 520 Campaign

For more about the 520 Campaign see our list of posts on the topic.

Safe Routes to Health

The Safe Routes to Health project “envisions a city where every health clinic and hospital can be comfortably reached by walking, biking , wheelchair and transit.”  We aim to partner with healthcare institutions to develop safe neighborhoods for active living and incorporate active transportation in healthy lifestyle choices.

We are just now meeting with potential supporters from major healthcare institutions.  Today we met representatives from Swedish Medical Center.  They have designated a physician champion for Safe Routes to Health, and have committed to including information about active transportation choices on their website and to developing a transportation survey for clinic patients and visitors.  Meetings with representatives from other healthcare institutions are in the works.

23rd Avenue Redesign 

See the Seattle Bike Blog post for more information and stay tuned.

Didn’t find what you are looking for?

Message us on Facebook, Tweet us, post a message in our google group, or send us an email centralseattlegreenways at gmail.com. Thank you for your interest!

Hey Look! People like Bikes!

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Earlier on our facebook page we shared a link to a new survey about attitudes towards bike infrastructure among Seattle voters. A few hours later, The Stranger did us all a favor and put up an infographic summarizing the key points. The results are pretty plain: Most people in Seattle like bikes and feeling unsafe on our streets is one of the main reasons people do not bike more in Seattle.

When it comes to transportation in Seattle, there is much more consensus about what needs to be done than some voices would have us think. 78% of the people surveyed stated that they were pro-bike. 60% of the people surveyed would like to ride more than they do today. 86% of the people surveyed support neighborhood greenways and 58% support building infrastructure that boosts safety for cyclists in Seattle, even if it calls for reconfiguring the roadway. That’s huge. Safe streets for everyone is a goal that almost everyone can agree on.

What’s more is that one of the biggest factors keeping people from getting on their bike is something that we have control over: Safety. 72% of those surveyed named feeling unsafe on the road as a barrier to getting on their bike, but we don’t have to settle for a bicycle network that only serves the most fearless cyclists. Neighborhood greenways help create an all ages and abilities alternative to biking on streets where less frequent riders routinely feel unsafe. Creating safe neighborhood connections with neighborhood greenways directly addresses a major barrier to biking and it turns out people think that is a good move for Seattle’s transportation mix.

Want to read the whole report? Check it out on Scribd!

[Source: The Stranger]

Active Transportation in South America

A lot has happen in the last few weeks. Here in Seattle, representatives from Central Seattle Greenways met with the citywide group to discuss which routes will be prioritized for next year and the multiuse trail on the Portage Bay Bridge has keep us busy as well. Meanwhile, you haven’t seen too many updates here on the website because I’ve been in South America, checking out how Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro have been adapting to the challenges of urban transportation.

Transportation Research in Rio!

South America has seen a number of innovative, and at times daring, active transportation initiatives that reflect a new vision about what they want their cities to be like. Gone are the days where cars were seen as the sole future of transportation, an ideal best embodied by  the completely master planned Brasilia. What we see today are cities all over the continent working to create places where people have more transportation choices and where cycling and walking can take root again. There seems to be a change in attitude towards cars and their role in society, including the quote from an ex-Mayor of Bogotá: “An advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation.“*

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Inspiration from Portland’s Neighborhood Greenways

The other week some of us with Central Seattle Greenways went down to Portland to see their neighborhood greenways in action. We had a chance to meet with representatives from many of the groups that have been active in creating a bike and pedestrian friendly city, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Alta Planning & Design, Friends of Trees, and the Urban Greenspaces Institute.

While we can’t copy/paste their strategy from Portland into Seattle, we did have over 40 miles on our bikes to reflect on what could work and what might not translate well to our city and here in Central Seattle. The biggest take away from the trip is that with not much intervention, we can dramatically change the feel of moving through the neighborhood. Greenways in Portland involve modest changes that are inexpensive to do, but end up creating safer and more effective streets for bikes and pedestrians.

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July 31st: Central Seattle Greenways Kickoff (Part 2)

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Save the Date!

Come one, come all!

We have two meetings coming up:

Monday February 27th at 6:30 at Cafe Vivace at Brix

We’ll be formulating a proposal for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Projects Fund.  Think along the lines of projects that demonstrate a capacity to build a stronger and healthier community, and “provide a public benefit and be free and open to all members of the public, and emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the neighbors and community members who will themselves be impacted by the project.”  To quote the grant guidelines.  Email centralseattlegreenways@gmail.com to RSVP or with questions!

 

March 4 at 2pm (location TBD) for a neighborhood route ride.  Additional information is forthcoming.

As per usual, information is available here, on our FB page and twitter (@CSGreenways).

Summary of first CSGreenways meeting at Central Cinema

On Thursday, February 9th, Central Seattle Greenways hosted its first community meeting at Central Cinema. Attended by nearly fifty Central District, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Madrona, Leschi, and Montlake residents, the initial meeting connected neighbors and generated ideas for how CSG should effectively advocate for safe, comfortable, and family-friendly neighborhood streets.

The evening began with brief introductions and an overview of neighborhood greenways – courtesy of the ever-popular Streetfilms – followed by updates from Bob Edmiston on Madison Park’s greenway efforts and Mike Kent on the sensational Melrose Promenade project.

Powered by delicious food and beverages from the Central Cinema kitchen, attendees then broke into three smaller groups to mark up maps with their home locations, destinations of interest, conflict points, problem areas, and popular routes. Adam has compiled information from the mapping groups into a singularly awesome map. The mapping groups quickly presented their results to the full group before jumping into the last piece of the meeting, breakout groups to develop concepts for community outreach, greenway route development, and grant seeking:

Outreach & Community Engagement Breakout Group

The outreach and community engagement group started with introductions, including why they were there, existing community ties and engagement, major interest areas and how they think they can help increase involvement from the broader community. The group discussed various outreach and community engagement options, paying special attention to how to involve groups and individuals that are traditionally underrepresented in discussions about neighborhood and transportation planning.

The group discussed avenues that other greenways groups used to begin this broader community engagement including summer block parties, multi-lingual outreach materials, and mailers. A central theme was how grade school students, their families, and schools could be integrated into greenway advocacy and planning as well as supporting bike to school programs and bike safety education. Engaging communities of faith, large institutions (Group Health, Swedish and Seattle University), businesses, neighborhood organizations and other neighborhood greenway groups was also discussed.

Next Steps

  • Clarify and develop communication materials
  • Identify community “ambassadors”
  • Identify key individual and organization contacts

Greenway Route Development

The route development group dove into the details of identifying east-west and north-south routes through Central Seattle. Discussions about routes were lively and dynamic. Everyone learned something new just by taking the time to draw on a map and talk about the community’s streets with other neighbors.

After much discussion, consensus emerged around several safe walking and biking needs:

1. An east-to-west route in the Cherry Street corridor. Columbia was a strong candidate, stretching from First Hill to just east of MLK. This project could be an opportunity to partner with Seattle U and connect Swedish campuses on First Hill and Cherry Hill. It would serve Garfield High School and Community Center, Coyote Central and the Cherry Street arts district, the historic Horace Mann building, and many of the neighborhood’s most original and defining restaurants, and could easily connect to a future route south into Leschi. Connecting to Madrona would be difficult due to grades, though options could be explored. Connecting to Marion on First Hill would require changes at Broadway, which could be an opportunity to partner with the First Hill Streetcar and the planned plaza there.

2. A family-friendly alternative to 34th Ave in Madrona. Suggestions included 32nd and 33rd Avenues. A family-friendly Madrona Drive could do wonders for family biking in the neighborhood, as it is the only real option for accessing the waterfront on wheels. There may also be opportunities to make connections between existing staircases and any neighborhood greenways to improve the walking environment.

3. A route connecting Judkins Park and Volunteer Park. This would provide a long, efficient and reasonable grade route across the neighborhood. Though there was no clear consensus on which roads are best for this, one idea would have been for a route the goes more-or-less on top of the “ridge” through the neighborhood. This would use 20th, 19th, and 18th Avenues south of Madison, and could connect to 16th or 18th Avenues north of Madison as a family-friendly alternative to 15th and 19th. This could connect Interlaken Park (a key route to the University and Montlake Bridges) to Judkins Park, the I-90 Trail and the future Sound Transit East Link light rail station. Challenges include crossings at Jackson, Yesler, and Madison as well as possible park trail enhancements and connections.

4. The Melrose Promenade. Already in the works, this project received full support from the group. Whatever we can do to help make that project happen, we should. Melrose could easily be the coolest street in the city, and could raise awareness about the nearby I-5 trail through Bellevue Place Park while making a safer connection to Pine Street.

5. An east-to-west route between Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park. Republican got a lot of support, as did Denny Way east of Broadway. This could be another opportunity to partner with the First Hill Streetcar and the Broadway light rail station, as the greenway could potentially connect to the planned Broadway cycle track if it is factored into the station plaza design. This could then connect to the previously mentioned north-south route.

6. A north-south alternative to Broadway. Federal between Thomas St and Miller St is a great option, but it needs to be repaved badly.

7. A north-south route through Madison Valley. This rould would need to connect to the Montlake and Madison Park plans at the north. 27th between Madison and Columbia (or even as far south at the I-90 Trail) was one suggestion as an alternative to MLK. 29th is also commonly used.

Grant Seeking

The grants group discussed upcoming and available funding opportunities for planning, design, and construction of neighborhood greenways. Several funding sources were mentioned for further research, including:

Next Steps

  • Identify a small group interested in doing further work on grants
  • Work with the routes group to identify a candidate for the Small and Simple application
  • Conduct outreach to businesses, organizations, neighborhood groups and individuals to build support for grant applications
  • Continue researching available grant and other funding opportunities

Hard at work

360 image by Adam Parast

Our inaugural meeting at Central Cinema was a blast! Thanks everyone who came out. We will have a meeting wrap-up and next steps soon…