December 2020: Year in Review                                                                    View this email in your browser

The People Power of SNG Persists⁠: A Look Back at 2020 from Director Gordon Padelford

You would need thousands of words to fully describe a year as difficult as 2020, but as I think about Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, looking back on our work together this year, three surprisingly positive words keep coming to mind: responsive, resilient, and revolutionary. Read Gordon's letter

2020 Citywide Wins

Stay Healthy Streets: Safe spaces for people during the pandemic, and beyond

This spring, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways advocates pushed the idea of opening streets to people and closing them to vehicle thru-traffic, giving people extra space to recreate and get around within their neighborhoods during the pandemic, and beyond. SDOT responded by implementing over 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets in 13 locations around the city.

The success of the initial roll-out inspired neighbors across Seattle to use their local streets for daily physical activity and getting around — by foot, bike, and scooter like never before — radically altering how people view their streets and allowing us all to reimagine what these public spaces can be like for communities.

Read more

Safe Routes to School Funding Maintained

The City of Seattle saw major budget shortfalls this year due to COVID impacts, including steep cuts to walking and biking transportation projects. Advocates like you pushed back against the austerity measures, and were able to restore funding for many critical projects, including $9 million for Safe Routes to School, which will backfill revenue lost due to COVID-related business slowdowns and sales tax losses, and will help kids get safely to and from school once in-person classes resume.

City offers access to "Cafe Street" permits to help businesses survive

Small businesses in Seattle have struggled to serve their customers and keep their employees on payroll during the pandemic. As recently reported, 624 local restaurants and bars have closed due to the pandemic. At the urging of local business owners, and with persistent advocacy from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, the City of Seattle eventually granted free and easy access for sidewalk permits and “Cafe Streets” — street spaces like parking lanes and even full-block closures — to enable local restaurants and merchants to create safe outside space for their customers and employees. The Cafe Streets program has provided a lifeline for local businesses (see the short video), and has now been extended through October 2021.

Whose Streets? Our Streets! workgroup launches

Whose Streets? Our Streets! (WSOS), a majority-Black group, convened in July 2020 by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, is dedicated to revising laws and policies related to traffic enforcement and policing of our public spaces to better meet the needs and support the lives of all street users — in particular, the BIPOC community, which has historically been excluded from the full and free use of this shared public space. The WSOS workgroup has been meeting steadily, and will roll out a statement of recommendations and values next month at the 39th Annual Seattle MLK Jr Day Rally and March!

New Vision Zero steps: reduced speeds, giving peds the 'green'

The City continued to make progress towards Vision Zero — the goal of having zero people die or be seriously injured in traffic on our streets — by reducing the speed limit on 200 miles of Seattle’s streets and installing 250 traffic crosswalk lights that give people walking a head start.

Bike share is back, and now there's scooter share too!

Bike share returned to Seattle this year, and multiple companies are now offering scooter share. People took 333,000 trips by bike share and 81,000 trips by scooter share this year! Pro tip: you can give to SNG everytime you ride on a Lime bike or scooter by joining their “Lime Hero” program.

Reports from the Neighborhoods - South

Long-requested Rainier Ave improvements: Here at last!

After five years of delays, this summer SDOT implemented critical “Phase 2” safety  improvements to Rainier Avenue, the single most dangerous street in Seattle for road deaths and injuries. The street layout improvements include dedicated bus lanes to make the 7 more reliable, safer crosswalks, and lower speed limits. Watch this short video about the grassroots activism that led to Rainier Ave getting this sorely needed attention — featuring SNG board member and longtime Rainier Valley Greenways - Safe Streets organizer, Phyllis Porter!

OPENing Lake Washington Blvd (to people) has been a hit!

In early October, Rainier Valley Greenways - Safe Streets and SNG led a petition to keep Lake Washington Blvd open. With more than 1,000 responses in under a week, this was by far our most emphatically supported petition to date. Following on the success and popularity of the summertime Keep Moving Street closure (to cars), SDOT opened (to people) the northern portion of Lake Washington Blvd during the Thanksgiving holiday, and has done so now again through the end-of-year holidays (Dec 18 - Jan 3). That’s meant abundant lakeside walking, rolling, running, biking, and dancing for the Southend communities!

Alki Point neighbors rally for 'open street' to be permanent

Part of Beach Drive SW on Alki Point has been closed to regular vehicular traffic and opened to people walking, biking, roller skating, and more this year. It’s been a huge hit! Neighbors have celebrated over chalk-art nights, created their own petition, and launched this fabulous video campaign asking the City to “Make it Permanent!

Community outreach begins for Beacon Hill biking and walking infrastructure

Beacon Hill Safe Streets and other community groups have long held a vision for a continuous walking, biking, and rolling route running the full length of Beacon Hill. This would also serve as the first continuous all-ages-and-abilities bike connection between SE Seattle and downtown. As of this fall, planning is finally underway. With support from a University of Washington grant, SDOT is partnering with community organizations in an extensive outreach effort, including a community survey launched in October.

Three additional safety improvements for Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill Safe Streets has fought for years to fix some of the most dangerous intersections in their community: 

Community victory: Duwamish Tribe Longhouse
will get a safe crossing in 2021

After years of advocacy, 2021 will bring a slate of improvements to West Marginal Way helping people access the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center. SDOT will build a temporary crossing signal as well as a new sidewalk on the west side of the street and a new bike connection to the Duwamish Trail. Huge congratulations and thank yous to the Duwamish Tribe for leading this effort and to SNG neighborhood groups Duwamish Valley Safe Streets and West Seattle Bike Connections for supporting this critical project.

Full funding secured for the long-awaited Georgetown-South Park Trail!

Neighbors in South Park and Georgetown have long advocated for a safe walking and biking connection between their two communities. Local organizers and advocates at Duwamish Valley Safe Streets have done extensive outreach, engagement, and video storytelling. And this fall, City Council approved $5.2 million to fully fund this vital connection for Duwamish Valley communities that have been bearing the brunt of the West Seattle Bridge closure overflow traffic. In addition, there will also be spot improvements connecting a route from Georgetown through SODO to downtown — watch for these updates in 2021!

West Seattle neighbors turn crisis into opportunity with bridge closure

The sudden closure of the West Seattle Bridge this spring wreaked havoc on the daily commutes of thousands of West Seattle residents. Responding to this closure, WSBC, DVSS, SNG, and others, sent a detailed proposal to the City, which became the basis for most of the City’s Reconnect West Seattle bike improvements plan. Reconnect West Seattle sets a goal of getting 10 percent of all people crossing the remaining east-west bridges at peak hour to do so by bike. The city has committed to completing many of the recommended projects, and in the meantime WSBC has been busy offering bike commuting advice, un-burying sidewalks, and collaborating to create new trail connections. 

Reports from the Neighborhoods - Central

Basic Bike Network: 4th Ave bike lane construction begins!

This fall, SDOT constructed the first section of the long-awaited 4th Ave bike lane downtown! This critical piece of the downtown Basic Bike Network has taken years of advocacy and rallying to overcome repeated delays. More construction is due next year to complete the 4th Ave connections. With the addition of protected bike lanes on Bell St, people on bikes can ride from Chinatown-International District to Fremont safely and comfortably! Thanks to all who rallied, advocated, and sent emails to their elected officials in support of the #BasicBikeNetwork. Gaps remain, but this is a huge step forward.

Ship Canal Trail: A poorly conceived detour gets re-routed

Construction work for Seattle Public Utilities’ Ship Canal Water Quality Project necessitated a detour for people walking and biking along the Ship Canal. The City’s original plan led walkers and bikers along Nickerson Street, in north Queen Anne — a dangerous route marked by heavy freight use. Swift advocacy by Queen Anne Greenways volunteers led to a safer route being chosen, leading through the Seattle Pacific University parking lot.

Funding secured for a key all-ages and abilities route to the Seattle Center!

We won $777,000 for this vital east-west connection and green street between South Lake Union and the Seattle Center. When constructed, Thomas St Redefined will create an all ages and abilities walking and biking route between the state’s most popular bus route and the new hockey and basketball arena that opens in the fall of 2021.   

Successful "walking school bus" pilot at Bailey Gatzert Elementary

Central Seattle Greenways, in partnership with SDOT, helped parents at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School launch a successful walking school bus program. We provided training, materials such as safety vests, and stipends for walking school bus leaders on four routes the parent organizers developed. Though the program was cut short due to COVID-related school closures, Gatzert families are excited about restarting and growing the program when pandemic restrictions ease.

Reports from the Neighborhoods - North

Safe routes to three new light rail stations in 2021

Northgate Light Rail Station: Construction is progressing on the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge, which will provide access to the light rail station that opens next year. Many groups have had a hand in bringing this about, including SNG neighborhood groups Licton-Haller Greenways and Pinehurst Greenways.

Roosevelt Light Rail Station: "For a four-year period, the short stretch of NE 65th Street between NE Ravenna Blvd and 39th Ave NE killed one person and seriously injured at least one other person every year. But a hard-fought safety project installed in Spring 2019 has cut collisions by more than half and has so far eliminated deaths and serious injuries" (Seattle Bike Blog). This street redesign took years of advocacy from neighbors organizing with NE Seattle Greenways and others.

University District Light Rail Station: University Greenways and the U-District Mobility Group fought for and won a huge sidewalk and bike lane between the station and the UW Campus. Green Lake Wallingford Safe Streets and University Greenways won an improved crossing of I-5 to help connect people in Wallingford to the new station. 

Getting around Green Lake is getting safer!

2020 saw substantial progress on the Green Lake-Wallingford paving project, helping people get around Green Lake as well as access the park. The project included neighborhood priorities of squaring up the East Green Lake Way intersection near Green Lake Village and adding pedestrian crossings, thanks to the dedicated advocacy and outreach efforts by SNG neighborhood group Green Lake-Wallingford Safe Streets.

Safe crossings to save lives in Lake City

Lake City neighbors have been using a new crosswalk and signal to access the library, senior center, and other community destinations. This intersection, at NE 125th St and 28th Ave NE, is the location where Maria Banda was tragically killed by a hit and run driver last year and where safety improvements have long been advocated for by community organizations including our local group Lake City Greenways.

Lake City Way will be receiving several new crossings and pedestrian improvements, including a new sidewalk on 30th Ave NE, a high priority for the Lake City neighborhood greenway. 

Ballard and Fremont: Building community through neighborhood organizing

Neighbors came together in Ballard and Fremont this year to build community and help each other through the pandemic. Our local group, Ballard-Fremont Greenways, advocated for people-focused streets, more space for walking and biking across the Ship Canal, and improved pedestrian crossings at 11th Ave NW and NW Market St. Volunteers also created a neighborhood routes map to help people bike safely through local streets — currently at 2,000 views!

Greenwood neighbors make robust strides for safer streets

Tireless years of advocacy and do-it-yourself gusto have paid off for SNG volunteers in the local Greenwood-Phinney Greenways group. Among their recent achievements: 

  • They were just awarded a $25,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant for their Home Zone plan.
  • New sidewalks were completed on both sides of Greenwood Ave N between N 137th St and N 145th St.
  • Neighbors organized DIY Stay Healthy Blocks on N 73rd Street from 3rd Ave NW to Linden Avenue and along N 103rd Street (image above with Councilmember Dan Strauss). 
  • They were awarded an additional NMF grant to slow cut-through traffic using mini parklets as part of the NE Home Zone project.

Save The Dates!

You've made it to the end of 2020 and to the end of our newsletter! Keep our people powered movement going into 2021 with a contribution today. 
Copyright © 2020 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, All rights reserved.

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