This is a guest post by Phyllis Porter and Gordon Padelford. Phyllis Porter is an educator, advocate for criminal justice reform, and leader with safe streets community group Rainier Valley Greenways. Gordon Padelford is the Policy Director for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.
Rainier Ave S was infamous for being Seattle’s most dangerous street. With a crash every day on average, 7 businesses hit in the past year, and 630 injuries over the last three years, something had to be done. Business, community groups, and residents had had enough.
Last year the community came together to demand Rainier Ave S be made safer. For instance, a group calling themselves the Rainier Road Diet Supporters held a number of crosswalk protests.
The community group Rainier Valley Greenways rallied around a campaign called Safety Over Speeding to bring more attention to the problem. We collected signatures and photo petitions, created a Get Well Soon Rainier Ave Card for people to sign, posted flyers with the number of crashes next to dangerous intersections, and hosted a big crosswalk protest and rally.
The Department of Transportation responded to the community and overwhelming data by doing a safety corridor “pilot” between S Alaska St and S Kenny St, and planned to study an expansion of it for 2016. The pilot included adding a center turn lane to reduce turning collisions, adding bus priority to keep the popular route 7 on time, and improving crosswalks and signals for people walking.
The results are in and they are great! Aggressive speeding (over 40 MPH) is down 95%, injuries involving people walking are down 41%, a fear of bus delays never materialized (the #7 bus has not been slowed down), traffic still flows, and it is now much more safe and comfortable to be in Columbia City and Hillman City. King 5 did a piece on the results and interviewed the owner of Lottie’s Lounge who said “The road diet has really improved the quality of life. The benefits far outweigh the downside.”
The Department of Transportation said they would expand the safety project north to Letitia Ave S and south to Seward Park Ave S if the initial pilot was a success. Rainier Valley Greenways believes it has been, and that all neighborhoods along this dangerous street (not just Columbia City) deserve to be safe. They are hosting a Safe Streets Celebration on August 17th from 5:30-7:30 at the corner of Rainier Ave S and S Edmunds St to thank the city for the initial safety improvements and ask the city to complete the project. They are asking residents to join them on the 17th, and sign a petition thanking the city and asking them to complete the project.
Read more about what happened last year:
There will be 14 different guided walks up and down Seattle stairways as part of Stairway Walks Day, tomorrow from 10 am to noon. The event, which is organized by Feet First, features walks from the book Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo. Enjoy your Saturday morning by exploring neighborhoods from high and low as you ascend up and descend down our city’s unique stairway infrastructure.
The event is open to everyone, and this year Feet First is asking for donations to support their mission to make all Washington neighborhoods walkable. For more information, visit Feet First or sign up online at Brown Paper Tickets.
The walks include the following locations:
DOWNTOWN/ CENTRAL SEATTLE
- Magnolia Tour
- Queen Anne Tour
- The Olmstead Vision Tour
- Downtown Tour
- Eastlake/ N. Capitol Hill
- Madrona/ Leschi
- Fremont Tour
- Ravenna Tour
- University of Washington Tour
- Alki from Above Tour
- Fauntleroy and Morgan Junction Tour
- Longfellow/Pigeon Point Tour
- Deadhorse Canyon Tour
- Mount Baker Tour
Last week, someone drove their car into a historic building on Rainier Avenue, injuring seven people.
In response to this event, the Columbia City Business Association has scheduled a “walk-in” tomorrow near the location of the crash to encourage action from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). There have been several severe crashes on Rainier, including one just six months ago when someone drove over the curb and into a nail salon.
From 4:30 to 5:30 tomorrow, participants will cross Rainier Avenue at Ferdinand Street during each light cycle. All are welcome to join in, including latecomers.
Rainier is the “Main Street” for the Columbia City business district, however drivers often travel in excess of the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour therefore discouraging pedestrians from walking in the area and crossing the street.
The Business Association is asking SDOT to take action, specifically by providing the following:
- Longer crossing times for pedestrians on Rainier.
- Red light cameras at intersections to reduce the number of cars speeding through red lights.
- A slower speed limit through our “main streets” and business districts.
- Roadway design changes to reduce hazardous driving.
One possible roadway design change for this stretch of Rainier could be a lane rechannelization or “road diet”, which would add a center turn lane and reduce lanes for through traffic. In other locations, lane rechannelizations have been effective at reducing vehicle speed and collisions without affecting roadway’s ability to accommodate traffic. SDOT considers 25,000 vehicles per day as a maximum volume for a four-lane roadway to receive a lane rechannelization and less than 20,000 vehicles appear to travel this stretch of Rainier daily.
The Association is looking for SDOT to take action quickly so as to not allow further and potentially more devastating collisions to occur.
Mayor Murray and new SDOT director Scott Kubly have set high expectations for action by quickly deploying of a protected bike lane on 2nd Ave downtown. Can they do the same for Rainier before something worse happens?
Seattle’s second annual Stairway Walks Day will be taking place Saturday, February 8, from 10:00 to noon. Guided walks led by Feet First Walking Ambassadors will begin simultaneously in 18 different locations across the region.
The walking routes are based on those in the walking guidebook Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-And-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo.
Participating is free but spots are limited and last year’s event filled up, so read more and be sure to sign up if you are interested.
15-year-old Trevon Crease-Holden was struck on July 19th at Walden and MLK. The driver fled the scene has yet to come forward. As the teen continues to fight for his life, there will be a vigil walk this Monday, August 5 at 5:30 pm.
More information is available at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:
The Rainier Valley community is gathering on Monday, August 5 at 5:30pm the QFC on Rainier, 2707 Rainier Ave S, and walking four blocks to the site of the tragedy at MLK and South Walden Street. Trevon’s mother, Quianna Holden and other community leaders intend to speak at the Walden collision site. Representatives from local advocacy organizations and the Seattle Mayor’s Office plan to attend.
Trevon was on his way home with his little brother from a late night open gym at a local community center when they entered a marked crosswalk at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Walden Street. A vehicle travelling south on MLK struck Trevon and continued without stopping to provide information or render aid. Seattle Fire Department responded and Seattle Police continue to search for the hit-and-run driver.
Quianna Holden says she can forgive the driver for hitting her son, but she cannot forgive the driver for not coming forward. She went on KIRO TV to make a heartbreaking plea for the person responsible to come forward so she can at least have answers. His mother says Trevon is a good son, and a good athlete who hoped to start football this year at Franklin High School.
The Seattle Department of Transportation’s annual Walk Bike Ride Challenge has started. This program gives you a chance to win prizes as you ride the bus, walk, and bike to get around rather than driving. The details are below on how to enter and what you could win:
The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is on! This incentive program by the Seattle Department of Transportation is an opportunity to win great prizes as you try more trips by walking, bike and riding transit. These trips can be any trip you make; not just trips to work. If you convert 24 (or two per week) drive-alone car trips to walking, biking, car/vanpooling or riding transit between June 15 and September 9, you get the chance to win:
- A brand new bike and helmet from Gregg’s Cycles
- Family pack tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo
- $200 REI Gift Card
- $100 Nordstrom Gift Card
- $100 Farmers Market gift certificate
- $150 Zipcar gift certificate
- Car2Go membership and four hours of driving
- And more to come!
The more trips you report, the higher the chance you have of winning, so get riding, walking, rolling, and reporting right away! Sign up NOW for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge to create your individual profile, start a neighborhood, workplace, or other type of team (if you like), and invite your friends to join in the fun. You will also be entered in a weekly raffle to win a $20 ORCA card if you get a friend to take the Challenge.
Once you sign up for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge you become part of a community making your neighborhood and Seattle as a whole a more active and better place to live. The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is partnering with Luum this year and using a new on-line platform to track your progress, provide tips, and engage with fellow Challengers. So, what are you waiting for? Get moving, get active, get prizes!
Feet First is leading a series of free neighborhood walks on a May 4 and May 5. These walks are part of Jane’s Walks, a worldwide annual walking event, named for Jane Jacobs, the advocate for livable urban cities.
After the huge success of Stairway Walks Day in February, which had over 250 walkers attending 15 free walks, this event looks to be a hit as well. The walks will be led by Feet First’s volunteer Walking Ambassadors and “the conversation topics are as varied as the people taking part, from art and architecture to potholes and shortcuts and from video surveillance to the urban forest: anything that helps you and others better understand our cities and neighborhoods as places and spaces.”
The walk times are spread out throughout the weekend and the list of walks is as follows:
Saturday May 4 Walks
- Central District
- West Seattle Triangle
- Urban Orchard Walk
- Greenways, Festival Streets, Transit, and More on Beacon Hill!
- Pioneer Square, Present and Future (and Past)
- Exploring the Queen Anne Community
- Community at Work in Fremont
Sunday May 5 Walks
- Ballard’s Urban Diversity Celebrates the Past & Present
- Explore Fauntleroy
- Explore Rainier Beach
- Modern and Historical International District
- The Olmsted Vision
Visit Feet First for more information on times and locations.
Seatteites walk for safe streets
After a collision took the lives of an elderly couple and put their granddaughter and daughter-in-law in critical condition one week ago, hundreds marched in their memory and for safer streets in North Seattle.
The group assembled at Top Pot Doughnuts on 35th Ave NE, which provided free doughnuts and coffee to participants. From there, people followed the path similar to the one that Dennis and Judy Schulte followed before being hit.
The crowd included numerous families walking with their bicycles and strollers, local government representatives like Mayor McGinn and SDOT Director Peter Hahn, as well as walking advocates.
Memorial to victims at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE
Some people brought flowers and laid them at the memorial site at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE. The crowd stood on the wide roadway of 75th to pay their respects before heading back to the starting point.
It was a somber occasion and an important reminder of the need for safe streets advocacy as well as a reminder of the fragility and preciousness of human life.
Last Monday in North Seattle, a woman and her infant were put in critical condition and the infant’s grandparents were killed when struck by a driver with a history of driving under the influence.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has organized a memorial walk to take place one week after the crash – Monday, April 1, at 4pm. The walk will convene in front of Top Pot Doughnuts at 6855 35th NE.
The walk will pay respects to the family, but will also send the message that Seattle needs safer streets. The city has seen too many incidents like this – where neighborhood streets are the setting for car crashes and destroyed lives. The situation on our streets needs to change before something like this happens again.
This Saturday, February 9, is Stairway Walks Day in the Seattle area. Pedestrian advocacy group Feet First and authors of Seattle Stairway Walks, Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, have partnered to organize a day of 15 different stairway walks.
The event will start at 10 am in 15 different locations as Feet First walking ambassadors will take groups along one of the walking routes featured in Seattle Stairway Walks. The book, published by Mountaineers Books, features 25 walking routes up and down stairways.
Seattle has about 650 public stairways, which is third highest in the country behind Pittsburgh and San Francisco. These stairways are often known only by locals and are a special urban amenity that connect neighborhoods across topographical features that vehicles can’t traverse. This event provides an opportunity to discover new areas and learn some of the history behind this infrastructure that links our city together.
Participation in the walk is free after signing-up online. Several walks have already filled up, but the following have spots still available. Registration closes this coming Friday, so sign up soon.
Bellevue: Kelsey Creek
- Burien: Eagle Landing
Deadhorse Canyon (Renton / Rainier Beach area)
Eastlake/N Capitol Hill
- Lakewood – Seward Park
- Longfellow/Pigeon Point (West Seattle)
Madrona & Leschi
The event is sponsored by Caffe Ladro, which is offering free and discounted coffee to participants.