Archive for the 'information' Category

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Walking Safely In and Around Your Seattle Campus

This is a guest post from David Sportsman of Degree Jungle, a college student resource site.

Creating a more accessible and safer walking environment should be every locale’s goal. Seattle has realized how important it is to ensure the safety of its citizens ranging from students to professionals to senior citizens. People face several common pedestrian issues that are grouped as such:

  • Safety and Security
  • Crossing the Road
  • Walking Along the Sidewalk
  • Destinations/Locations
  • Making a Change

Safety and Security

There are specific issues that can be addressed; motorists or drivers drive too fast around the campuses, and students or pedestrians steering clear of walking at night to avoid accidents. In addition, there are some pedestrian laws that are not followed or acknowledged by cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists on and around the campuses. Other issues involve a large number of crashes entailing pedestrians, and the lack of access for pedestrians with physical disabilities.

Crossing the Road

Although crossing the street is not seemingly a difficult thing to do, there are some issues that many motorists and pedestrians come across. There are a number of people that find it difficult to cross the streets or roads especially when the streets or roads are extremely busy. Fortunately, there are tools that can be used to improve the safety of pedestrians when it comes to crossing the street. The street or road crossing experience normally comes down to the behaviors of the motorists and the pedestrians.

In addition, it involves the crossing or intersection designs. The driving speed is just one of the many factors that influences the motorist’s behavior. It is safe to say that a motorist that drives his or her car slowly has more time to look around, react on time when he or she needs to, and to stop for pedestrians. When there are more students on the street, they enhance the motorists’ attentiveness.

Walking Along the Sidewalk

Moving along the sidewalks is one of the key components of a campus that are safe to walk on. The conditions of the sidewalks, as well as along the roads and streets influence the students’ comfort, safety, travel, orientation, and the community’s visual quality. Sidewalks that are blocked by poles, trees, trash bins or cars make it difficult for pedestrians to walk there. For this reason, it could be dangerous, especially when the street or road is busy and the students have to make use of the busy sidewalks. Sidewalks that are not properly maintained by the community are another issue that can influence the safety of pedestrians.


Well kept destinations or locations encourage students to walk. Attractive campuses with beautiful trees, stunning blossoms with varied intoxicating scents, and perfectly manicured bushes will definitely encourage more students to walk, as opposed to areas with too many buildings, garages and parking lots around or nearby the campuses.

Making a Change

The pedestrian issues that many students around campuses face can be solved by discussing the issues with the campus officials or even with the community members in the surrounding neighborhoods. By working together, it makes it easier to care for and maintain the campuses, sidewalks, roads, and streets. It is advisable to discuss necessary funding that could improve or enhance the safety of students and pedestrians.

David Sportsman is an experienced freelance writer who has an extensive knowledge on a wide range of subjects. He contributes to Degree Jungle a college student resource site.


Austin vs. Seattle: How do they compare?

This article was written by Matt Schexnayder from

Austin is known as the “live music capital of the world”, and for good reason. Home to the ACL music festival, SXSW, tons of music venues, and of course Austin City Limits, the longest-running music program in television history, Austin knows a thing or two about music. In addition to that, they having amazing food (especially BBQ), they are one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, and more recently they are becoming a hotbed of entrepreneurship.

Seattle, on the other hand, has just as much going for it. While some of us may just think of rain and coffee, residents know there is much more to Seattle than that. In addition to being the birthplace of Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee, the city is also a thriving cultural center that boasts one of the most literate populations in the country. And thanks to the Space Needle, the city has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world.

These two cities have been compared to each other before, and in more ways than one. Besides the loveable population, distinct culture and the general desire for people to relocate there, they are also two of the most bike/pedestrian active cities in the nation. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways they are similar, and what each city has done to improve its pedestrian safety.

Walking is the oldest and most affordable, efficient, and environmentally-friendly form of transportation known to man. Currently, both cities are seeking to improve pedestrian safety and encouraging more walking by creating an environment where pedestrians can walk safely and comfortably.

Unfortunately, so far this year there have been a higher number of pedestrian deaths in each city. Back in April, three pedestrians were hit and killed in a single weekend in Seattle; that is definitely a cause for concern. And in Austin, during the first 10 weeks of the year, there had already been three fatal pedestrian accidents and one serious injury. Add another week to that and there were four more!

This sort of thing cannot continue to happen. Thankfully, both cities police departments and city officials are doing everything they can to make sure this number doesn’t continue to climb year-over-year. Some of the measures being taken include increasing funding for pedestrian improvements, recommending new and revising old policies, and to some extreme going undercover as pedestrians and giving tickets to those that don’t yield.

With these steps in place, hopefully this will lead to less pedestrian related incidents and more safety and comfort for those walking around in these cities. Seattle once ranked in the top three safest cities for walkers. So with the right push, ideally we could see both Seattle and Austin in the number one and two spots in the country.

This article was written by Matt Schexnayder. Matt is on the marketing team and writes for the Storage Facilitator blog. Need to find self-storage in Seattle? Use to search thousands of facilities for free and reserve the best unit to fit your needs.


Walking News Roundup – 10/14

A few local news items and links:

  • Town Hall Seattle is hosting a Walkable Cities event with planner, architectural designer, and author Jeff Speck to speak about creating walkable cities. “Speck, co-author of the landmark bestseller “Suburban Nation” and author of the new “Walkable City,” offers insight into what urban planners actually do and how cities can and do change, laying out a practical—and eminently achievable—vision of how to make our cities work.” The event is on November 19 at 7:30 pm
  • SDOT is accepting applications for mini grants to fund projects that educate students about pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage walking and biking to school.
  • Feet First is accepting applications for the International Walk to School challenge.
  • The Thomas Street Overpass for pedestrians and bicycles is now open
  • Seattle Neighborhood Greenways have a calendar of local walking and biking events.
  • Walking in Seattle is on Twitter – follow us on Twitter

Walking in Europe

I recently spent three weeks in the British Isles and Paris with an eye on the pedestrian experience. Now back in Seattle, I’m here to share what we have to learn from Europe (and what they could learn from us).

While Seattle is thought of as a pedestrian-friendly city in America, the experience walking in Seattle is very different than walking in the walkable European cities of Dublin, London, and Paris.

Seattle pedestrians are known for our almost robotic patience in waiting for the walk signal. On my visit to Europe, it took a while to get used to the fact that nobody, other than tourists, waits for the signal.

Walking is often called a mode of active transportation but it definitely felt more active in Europe than in Seattle. Watching for traffic, sidestepping slow moving locals and lost tourists, and hopping between narrow sidewalks and narrow roadways meant walking in Europe took more effort. It feels pretty passive by comparison to ignore cars and thoughtlessly obey crosswalk signals while walking here in Seattle.

Abbey Road cover, photo taken in London

Crosswalks like this (and albums like this) are not the norm in London

While urbanists often consider America as having poor pedestrian infrastructure, the experience is different between the continents. Crosswalks as shown on the cover of Abbey Road are the exception in England. Crossing is often done at your own risk, as pedestrians aren’t given the right of way like they are here and road markings for pedestrians are fewer and less clearly marked.

Marked pedestrian crossings can be far apart, and crosswalk signals often have a long wait for a short time to cross. Jaywalking in the British Isles was made easier by helpful labels on the pavement telling you which way to look.

Helpful street markings for jaywalkers

Helpful street markings for jaywalkers

Some areas had few crossings of major streets, like parts of downtown Dublin, giving pedestrians limited options for walking. In contrast, Edinburgh had plenty of narrow pedestrian alleys, called closes. While walking down small dark alleys wouldn’t be a comfortable experience in most parts of America, feeling safe, was never an issue in the northwestern part of Europe. In the many pedestrian areas that I walked through, there were very few beggars, homeless, or mentally unstable individuals. Not being asked for money or otherwise interrupted by someone on the street seemed to make for a much more comfortable pedestrian experience. We don’t often consider homelessness in the context of the pedestrian streetscape, but there is a relationship there that is worth consideration.

Trafalgar Square in London

This is far from Westlake Park

As far as the built environment goes, there were some pedestrian only areas like Grafton Street in Dublin, the Shambles in York, and parts of the Latin Quarter in Paris that were highlights of their respective cities, but I felt the well-used public living rooms were an even better pedestrian amenity. From busy squares in York and the crowded but comfortable Trafalgar Square in London to the River Seine with hundreds of Parisians enjoying their wine and cheese at sunset, there are no public spaces in Seattle that compare, and certainly not our busiest public parks like Victor Steinbrueck Park and Westlake Park.

Those great public spaces and pedestrian streets make the biggest difference in making walking in Europe more pleasant than walking in Seattle, but their success isn’t due as much to the architects that designed them as it is where they’re located. In the next post, I’ll share some lessons I learned from the European transportation infrastructure and how our focus is wrong if we want a similar experience here.


A walker wonders: What do I do about a dangerous sidewalk?

A reader sends in a question about a dangerous sidwealk:

On Saturday night when walking to Husky Stadium I fell on a sidewalk that has buckled due to a tree between the sidewalk and Montlake and I have many questions?
#1 – How can I get someone to listen to me about getting this very dangerous patch of sidewalk fixed? I was not seriously injuried (that I know of) but it’s only a matter of time.
#2 – Is this a City of Seattle issue?
#3 – Does it do any good to fill out the form to request it gets fixed when there is so many that need help?
I have no intention of sueing them. I just want it fixed. It’s been getting worse over the years. Thank You for any help!!

According to the city, “Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks adjacent to their property. They must make sure snow and ice does not pose a hazard to pedestrians. They must also repair cracks and other damage.”

Even though it is the property-owner’s responsibility, you should still submit the city’s sidewalk repair form, as SDOT can mark the damaged area with paint to warn other pedestrians and issue a “Street Use Warning” to the property owner.


Walking News Roundup – 5/4

Here’s a roundup of news and links.

Car vs. pedestrians infographic

Here’s a very interesting infographic on pedestrian safety:

California Car Accident Lawyer


Walking news roundup – 4/4

More walking-related news from the area:

  • Pedestrian improvements will be completed by early April on NW 90th Street between 13th and 14th Avenues NW. Improvements include wider sidewalks, improvements to curbs and planter strips, as well as providing safer access to local schools, services, and bus rapid transit. Click here to see details and a map.
  • Undriving, the Seattle-based organization that issues undriving licenses has won a national advocacy award for “joyful enthusiasm” (via Seattle Bike Blog)
  • The Duwamish Trail has opened:

    Looking for an easy walk or bike ride? Try the Duwamish Trail, approximately two-and-a-half miles along the west side of the Duwamish River in West Seattle. It’s a wonderfully flat trail, starting from the lower South Spokane Street Bridge, following West Marginal Way Southwest, southward to the First Avenue South Bridge.

  • Summer streets schedule has been released, including Ballard, Alki, Greenwood/Phinney, Rainier valley
  • On your next walk, check out the Paper Mache creature sinstalled near Hing Hay Park
  • Feet First has an urban greenway ramble planned for 4/11:

    This walk will begin with a tour of the Children’s Playgarden, and then follow the Mountains to Sound greenway to Lewis Park on Beacon Hill, passing little known parks and stunning viewpoints along the way. The walk will conclude with a visit to Jimi Hendrix Park, adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum, where plans for this new community gathering space will be discussed.

  • Join Feet First, Latona Pub, and Seattle-based brewery Two Beers for a beer-drinking Earth Day celebration:

    You are invited to join this unique Earth Day celebration highlighting the work of beer lovers and supporting our people powered movement. This one of a kind event benefits Feet First, the only organization in Washington working to ensure there are walkable communities across the state. Your ticket gets you a Feet First pint glass, a big frothy mug of Two Beer’s limited edition Hand Truckin’ Wheat Ale, and the chance to toast Mother Earth with craft brewers and pedestrian advocates.


Walking news roundup

There’s a lot of news out there to cover – here are a few stories:

And a couple SDOT news releases that I don’t have links for:

  • “Seattle Department of Transportation’s Roadway Structures crew will construct a new staircase near the southeastern city limits at 72nd Avenue South between Rainier Avenue South and South Taft Street.” The stairway will be closed starting next Monday through early May. “The new staircase will be wider with hand rails on both sides, and will sport a new bike runnel making it easy to roll a bike up and down the stairs.”
  • “Repairs are underway on the Duwamish Trail in West Seattle. The asphalt trail has been heavily damaged in places by tree roots and needs to be repaired for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.”
  • NE Ravenna Blvd between Green Lake and 15th Ave NE will be repaved. “Work includes grinding and removing the existing asphalt roadway, repairing areas of the concrete roadway base, repaving, upgrading pedestrian curb ramps and building a curb bulb at E. Green Lake Drive N. and N.E. 71st Street. Work is expected to be completed by the end of summer, dependant on weather conditions.”
  • Also, the pedestrian paradise known as the Ballard bridge will have a closed west sidewalk starting next Monday and continuing into April due to a painting project.

One final thing – the nomination period for the worst intersection in Seattle ends this Sunday.


City of Seattle Encore walking resources

The city of Seattle has published a walking resources web page with links to numerous walking resources including groups of walkers around the Sound, various walking tours, and other walking events. The list includes over a dozen different pedestrian activities this year, public and non-profit websites and organizations related to walking, and links to walking tours related to public art, public clocks, and the public market.