Hey Look! People like Bikes!


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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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