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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.

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!

news-lead-click

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).