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.
If you want a bike and pedestrian shared use path on the Portage Bay bridge, add your name to our letter to WSDOT and SDOT!
The multi-use trail on the 520 bridge is a new, important link in the regional bike and pedestrian network, but the current plan is for the trail to end in Montlake. We see this as a half-built trail and have, along with other greenway and community advocates, been active in pushing for WSDOT to complete the trail by building the final link on the Portage Bay bridge. We believe that the neighborhoods of Seattle would be best served by a simple, safe and direct connection between Montlake and the Delmar lid (where I-5 and 520 meet), and are happy that we have been able to help put this back in the spotlight where it needs to be.
The current plan calls for people trying to reach Downtown, Capitol Hill, or Eastlake to wind through the neighborhood after the trail ends by Montlake Blvd. The problem is that these routes all have either steep hills, busy streets with high-speed traffic, or circuitous routes that can be up to double the length that the portage bay multi-use trail would be. While these routes serve local connections inside Montlake well, they don’t foster inter-neighborhood connections that are dramatically different from what we have today. A multi-use trail on Portage Bay would do that and if it is going to be done, now is the time to do it. If it is not built with the replacement now, the cost and hassle of jury rigging something later is going to make sure it never happens.
Next week is the last Community Design Process public meeting for the 520 bridge project. We need your help to ensure that the project links our communities together with high-quality and family-friendly pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. If done poorly, this massive construction project could make it even more difficult for people ages 8-80 to get around on foot or on bike. Our largest ask of WSDOT is the continuation of the multi-use trail from Montlake to Roanoake. Building this trail will better connect all of the surrounding neighborhoods and the region.
From Melrose Promenade:
“On Friday morning, we greeted morning commuters at the corner of Melrose and Denny with free muffins, coffee, and conversation at our second Muffins on Melrose event. Thank you to the dozens of community members who stopped by our table to learn more about our vision for the Melrose Promenade, and especially for all your encouragement and helpful advice. Thank you also to our volunteers who helped make the event a success!
Interesting fact: We counted more than 400 pedestrians and bicyclists passing through the intersection of Melrose and Denny between 8am and 9:30am. (Our friends at SDOT, did you hear that?) Who ever said Seattle couldn’t be a walking and biking sort of town?”
Your last chance to fill out SDOT’s survey for the 2012 Bike Master Plan update is quickly coming up! On July 3rd, SDOT will stop accepting survey responses from the community so that they can start analyzing the data for use in the update. If you’ve been waiting to fill out the survey, now is the time! Your response helps shape the priorities that will go into the Bike Master Plan update and that, in turn, will shape what gets built in the coming years. Even if you do not currently bike in Seattle (but would like to), your response to the survey can help make neighborhood greenways a priority for the city.
Last night, several members of Central Seattle Greenways and other Seattle Neighborhood Greenways groups attended a meeting in the Montlake Community Center on the Portage Bay Bridge section of the 520 bridge replacement program. We checked in with WSDOT to see what changes will be coming to our inter-neighborhood connections at the north end of Capitol Hill, and provide feedback on their proposals for active transportation facilities on the 520 lids and the Portage Bay Bridge.
As a greenways advocate, three connections stood out as being especially important in the new renderings and designs of the Roanoke area and the Delmar Lid, which will be between 10th Avenue East and Delmar Drive East. A bike/pedestrian connection on the Portage Bay Bridge, a new connection between Delmar Drive East and Boyer Ave E, and a link over I-5 on E Roanoke.
This morning was the very first Muffins on Melrose! Volunteers from Central Seattle Greenways and the Melrose Promenade Project came down to meet with joggers, dog walkers, and cyclists over free coffee and muffins between 7:00am and 9:00am today at the south end of the Melrose Trail.
We had a good turnout for a slightly overcast day and great feedback from the people who stopped to grab a blueberry muffin or cup of coffee with us. Muffins on Melrose will be back next month, July 6th, but you don’t have to wait that long to get involved with the Melrose Promenade: We have our first Melrose Promenade Community Cleanup next week, on June 10th! Sign-in starts at 10:15am at Melrose Ave E and E Republican.
Hope to see you there!