Category Archives: Walking

After helmet law repeal, what’s next for CSG in 2022? Continuing to push for safer streets for all

On Thursday of last week, King County’s Board of Health voted to repeal its bicycle helmet law due to its disproportionate enforcement against unhoused people and people of color.

This change was the culmination of a successful advocacy effort led by Central Seattle Greenways, Real Change, and Cascade Bicycle Club. Our three organizations came together to launch a Helmet Law Working Group in part because of discussions within CSG’s Racial Equity Committee in July 2020 about how to reduce unnecessary contact between police and people who bike in Seattle.

We applaud the Board of Health’s decision, which we believe sets King County on a path to encourage helmet use through expanded access and education rather than criminalization, to create true safety for bicyclists by prioritizing safer streets, and to treat disparities in policing as a public health issue. We are deeply thankful for all of our partners – local as well as national bicycling and transportation groups – who supported our call to repeal the helmet law and worked with us to make this happen.

You can find coverage of Thursday’s vote in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, Crosscut, KUOW, KING 5, and other outlets. Additionally, the South Seattle Emerald published an op-ed urging repeal ahead of the Board of Health vote, which was written by Ethan Campbell of Central Seattle Greenways, Vicky Clarke from Cascade, and Tiffani McCoy from Real Change.

An excerpt from the New York Times’ article on the repeal of the King County helmet law.

After this exciting development, what is next for CSG in 2022? Well, we have a few efforts underway that all involve advocating for safer streets for those who walk, roll, and bike in our community.

Last year, CSG volunteers worked together with Beacon Hill Safe Streets to write a letter requesting interim safety improvements for bicyclists on 12th Ave S between E Yesler Way and S King St. This section of 12th Ave S is a critical and heavily-used corridor that connects the Central District and Chinatown-International District with neighborhoods north and south. We have been in dialogue with SDOT about our requests, and are tentatively hopeful that we will see safety improvements for both bicyclists and pedestrians at 12th Ave and E Yesler Way this year.

Now, we are also looking further north to 12th Ave between E Yesler Way all the way to E Aloha St. This important connection through Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the Central District currently features substandard bike infrastructure – unprotected bike lanes or sharrows – and lacks marked crosswalks at many locations. We have identified that frequently-blocked bike lanes, fast vehicle speeds, and risk of collisions (particularly at intersections), among other issues, are key challenges along this corridor. A biking audit organized by CSG in early February saw high attendance and engaging discussions about opportunities for improvements, and we look forward to advocating for changes in the coming months.

CSG has also started to explore improvements for those walking and rolling on E Olive Way between I-5 and Broadway, a stretch that sees some of the highest pedestrian traffic in the city. A CSG walking audit in early February identified a lack of crosswalks, long crossing distances, and poor signal timing as problems at multiple locations. We plan to explore ways to create a more safe and comfortable pedestrian experience on this stretch of E Olive Way—stay tuned, or get in touch if you’d like to join this effort!

Other priorities for CSG in 2022 include restarting our collaboration with Bailey Gatzert Elementary School on their Safe Routes to School initiative, working with community on the future of our Central Area Stay Healthy Streets, supporting the Garfield Super Block project, and continuing to monitor and shape improvements like the Pike/Pine Renaissance project and bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E.

To join us in this work, consider subscribing to our Google Group, attending our monthly meetings, or just getting in touch by email at

Capitol Hill Station Access Audit


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.


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.


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)

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.


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.