Archive for the 'events' Category

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Author of “Walkable City”, Jeff Speck, to speak at Town Hall in Seattle

Jeff Speck, co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream has recently released a book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time.

In the book, Speck supports walkability as necessary for safety, health, the environment, and economic vitality. He was interviewed in a recent article in Metropolis Mag and spoke about the importance of walkability. One of the questions raised was about parking – here was his answer:

What I tell the cities that I work in is that parking is not a right. It’s a public good. And it must be managed by the public if it’s going to properly serve the city. When the parking meter was first invented in Oklahoma City, it wasn’t introduced to raise revenue but to help businesses create turnover. Many cities today believe that parking is somehow a civil right. They also believe, incorrectly, that raising the price of parking will hurt business. But my book is not about getting rid of the car; it’s about putting the car in its place. What I see is the dangerous possibility that we will repeat some of the mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s by shutting down streets entirely. What works in New York, where merchants don’t depend on cars for their business, won’t work elsewhere. We’ve already seen that strategy ruin the downtowns of 150 cities in the second half of the twentieth century. So we have to be careful.

Town Hall Seattle is hosting him to speak on this coming Monday, November 19, from 7:30-9:00. Tickets are available online or at the door at 1119 8th Avenue starting at 6:30 pm.


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.


National Walking Day April 4

From the American Heart Association, National Walking Day is coming up. On Wednesday, April 4, participate in a local noontime walk starting downtown at 1200 5th Avenue. More information below and at

SEATTLE – The American Heart Association (AHA) has designated Wednesday, April 4, 2012 as National Walking Day in an effort to encourage more Americans to adopt active lifestyles and lower their risk for heart disease, the leading killer in the United States.

Walking has the lowest dropout rate for any physical activity, and walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can improve circulation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and promote weight loss, according to the AHA.

“We are proud to collaborate with the American Heart Association for National Walking Day,” says Ron Heller, Pacific Northwest Regional Executive for Union Bank, the sponsor for National Walking Day. “At Union Bank, we are committed to responsible banking and supporting total wellness in the communities we serve. On April 4, we are calling on Puget Sound companies to get involved by encouraging their employees to bring their sneakers to work and take a walking break during the day.”

Community Walks
The AHA and Union Bank will host a one-mile group walk in Downtown Seattle from the Union Bank branch at 5th and University Streets, noon – 1:00 p.m. Companies and individual walkers are invited to participate.

The Union Bank Everett Main branch, 332 SW Everett Mall Way, will also host a walk at noon for employees, area companies, and the public.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will host community walks at various locations as part of National Walking Day. For a list of locations and times, visit

The City of Bothell is organizing a walk at noon for employees, area companies, and the public. The walk will begin at the police station parking lot, 18410 101st Ave. NE, and walkers will be provided water and snacks at the finish.

Organize Your Own Walk
Anyone can be part of National Walking Day by lacing up their sneakers and going for a walk. Companies and organizations that wish to promote fitness and organize group walks can find free resources at Organizations with the highest participation in the small and large categories will receive the AHA’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award.

All individuals that walk 30 minutes will be entered to win Brooks shoes and a month’s supply of snacks from Popchips. Group walk coordinators must email information to or individuals can enter from April 4 – 12 at

Put Some heART in Your Step: Shoe Decorating Contest
Tap into your creativity and style up your shoe in honor of National Walking Day. Decorate a pair of tennis shoes any way you like, then take a photo and e-mail to Photos will be accepted from Saturday, March 24 through Saturday, April 7 and posted on the AHA’s Facebook page, Winners of the Put Some heART in Your Step shoe decorating contest will be selected on April 13 and will receive a new pair of Brooks shoes.

National Walking Day is part of the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative to help Americans achieve ideal cardiovascular health. To learn more, visit or call the local AHA at (206) 632-6881.


Transportation Advocacy Day

Join Feet First and other advocacy groups on Transportation Advocacy Day to meet with your elected official and support pro-pedestrian legislation.

Over the past months, staff and dedicated volunteers from organizations representing walking, biking, transit, rail, and public health have met to plan events and the policy developed the Transportation Advocacy Day platform to include:

  • The Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill (SHB 1217) – this provides cities and towns broader authority to establish 20 mile per hour limits on non-arterial streets to lower accident rate and help protect vulnerable users.
  • The Safe and Flexible Street Design Bill (HB 1700) would encourage higher-quality bike and pedestrian facilities by allowing greater flexibility in design standards.
  • Support for the Transportation for Washington principles to Fix it First and Save Lives, More Transit, and Build Health and Great Communities.
  • Legislation to integrate health in transportation policy, planning and investments for public safety, health, and better transportation choices for all.

Here are more details:

  • Where:United Churches in Olympia
  • When: January 31, 2001 8am to 4pm
  • Cost: FREE,breakfast & lunch provided!
  • Transportation: Carpooling from Seattle and pick up from the Olympia Amtrak station is available

Sign up through the Transportation Choices Coalition.


Road Safety Summits coming up

The mayor’s office is holding several road safety summit meetings.

The Road Safety Summit, through two public forums, an online survey, and in-person outreach, is providing a chance for the public to give their input on three questions:

What do you think are the highest priority safety problems to solve on Seattle roads?
What do you think are the most important things to do to make Seattle roads safer?
We often talk about what government can do to promote safety. What are the ways that non-governmental groups can promote safety?

The times are listed below or on the Road Safety Summit site:

Public Forum #1:
Monday, October 24th, 6pm in the Bertha K. Landes room at City Hall

Public Forum #2
Tuesday, November 15th, 6pm at the Northgate Community Center

Public Forum #3
Monday, November 21st, 6pm at the Southwest Community Center

I have a few items on my pedestrian wishlist that I’d like to bring up. Changing jaywalking laws is worth looking into as well.


Feet First celebrates 10 year anniversary

Tonight marked the 10 year anniversary celebration of Seattle’s pedestrian advocacy organization, Feet First.

During the evening’s activities, Mayor Mike McGinn spoke, encouraging the audience to support Proposition 1, the $60 car tab fee on the ballot to improve roads and public transit. He spoke of the value of walkable neighborhoods and suggested taking advantage of small conversations with friends and neighbors to speak of the positives of walkability, saying “the little things add up.” He also shared a fact from a study, indicating that the single biggest factor influencing people to walk in their neighborhood is not sidewalks or a grocery store, but the presence of a tavern.

Several city council members were also in attendance, including Richard Conlin, Tim Burgess, Tim O’Brien, and Jean Godden.

Matt Lerner, Chief Technical Officer of Walk Score, gave the keynote speech, sharing examples of the influence of walkscore (4 million daily searches), and urban examples from other cities, including Parklets from San Francisco and bicycle boulevards from Vancouver. Lerner finished by encouraging the Feet First community to accomplish the next 10 years of goals in the next 5 years, saying that the efforts of the organization are needed for the issues of global warming, the obesity epidemic, and childhood safety.

Feet First started in 1995 as a group of concerned citizens whose first major action was convincing SDOT to build a crosswalk signal in Green Lake. Since then, the organization has grown to 3,000 supporters and 100 members.


City Council Considers Transportation Funding Ballot Measure

This November, Voters could decide to provide up to $27.2 million for transportation funding in the city through an $80 vehicle license fee. The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee has recommended a package to benefit all modes of transportation with this funding, however this measure is not yet on the ballot and it’s up to the City Council to decide what to do.

Several council members are hesitant to propose an $80 fee, with Jean Godden (who is up for re-election) proposing only 1/4 of what CTAC recommends for pedestrian and bicycle projects.

PubliCola has a great reviewof the options and the discussion around these proposed ballot measures.

This Wednesday evening, you have the opportunity to influence the council as to which measure to put on the ballot. Here is Feet First‘s announcement and call to action:

Please come out on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 5:30pm for the Seattle Transportation Benefit District public hearing in the City Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall to make your voice heard.

The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC-III), with representation from business, transit, pedestrian and bicycle organizations, has spent the past seven months deliberating on the best approach for spending up to $27.2 million that could be generated from implementing an $80 vehicle license fee as part of Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District.

The committee developed and recommended a package that benefits all modes – with most of the investment going to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. Recognizing transportation needs are large, the committee also recommended putting forth a proposal for an annual Vehicle License Fee (VLF) of $80 to Seattle voters as early as this November to support these investments.

The council is now back peddling and we need them to stand strong. This is why we need you to be there this Wednesday to let them know that you strongly support CTAC III’s recommendations and you urge them to support CTAC-III proposal.

Here are talking points you may consider sharing with city council:

  • Since it costs about $8,000 a year to own a car offering transportation options is the most inclusive approach to meeting a citizen’s needs for getting around.
  • Non-drivers do face an uphill battle, as many of Seattle’s neighborhoods are still difficult to navigate without a car, but the revenue from the Vehicle License Fee will provide Seattle with the ability to continue to improve transportation options beyond the automobile.
  • In these challenging economic times, one of the most progressive things a city can do is offer residents an accessible, comprehensive transportation system that is not dependent on automobiles, which more and more people cannot afford.
  • We need to fund the pedestrian plan that we spent two years creating. This investment begins building on a vision common to most Seattle’s residents: healthy, sustainable lifestyles with safe, strong communities.

When: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 5:30pm
Where: Seattle City Council Chambers in City Hall

Let’s encourage council to put our money where our feet are and invest in achieving a livable and walkable vision for Seattle.

Thank you for your support.

While getting this past the council is one issue, convincing the voters will be another issue entirely. Passing an $80 fee to have it rejected at the polls would be a real disappointment. It’s tough to say how the city will vote, but getting the measure for the highest funding of transit onto the ballot may not necessarily be the best option. If you have an opinion, be sure to show up and speak up this Wednesday evening.


StreetZaps organizing “Seattle Remembers Sammy” benefit

StreetZaps is an organization aiming to increase awareness and reduce risk of electrical issues that can endanger pets and others while walking.

Last Thanksgiving, Sammy was killed by an electrical charge from an ungrounded light fixture on a Queen Anne street. The organization is currently trying to stage a benefit for owner Lisa McKibben in memory of Sammy.

The benefit is being scheduled for October. If you are interested in helping, advertising, or contributing silent auction donations to benefit Seattle Humane Society and Seattle Animal Shelter, please contact Blair Sorrel, the organizer behind StreetZaps, at

For more information about avoiding the dangers of ungrounded electrical currents, keep reading:


Blair Sorrel, Founder

Contact voltage is a chronic hidden hazard that can readily victimize an unsuspecting dog, walker, or both. No dog lover could possibly observe a more horrifying scene than witnessing his beloved pet instantaneously maimed or tragically electrocuted. When you exercise your pooch, please exercise greater prudence. Common outdoor electrical and metal fixtures may shock or even kill your vulnerable dog. And depending upon the current, the walker will be bitten and like poor Aric Roman, suffer permanently. But you can, indeed, self-protect.

Just start to adopt this simple strategy — EYEBALL THE BLOCK, AND AVOID A SHOCK. Take a few seconds and make your trajectory toward generally safer, free standing, non-conductive surfaces, ie., plastic, wood, cardboard. Intuit your dog’s cues and if it’s resistant, change directions. Work site perimeters may be live so try to elude them. If necessary, switch sides of the street or your hands when leading to skirt hazards. If you traverse the same route, you may memorize locations of potential dangers. Carry your pooch when in doubt. Consider indoor restroom products like PottyPark when external conditions are chancy or RopeNGo’s hardware-free leash and harness. And don’t rely on dog booties as a palliative as they will actually
put your pet at even greater risk since the dog can’t tell you they’re leaking! To learn to more, please see StreetZaps. A safer walk is yours year round if you are willing to open to your eyes and mind to it.


Wallingford Architecture Walk

Via Feet First – there’s a walk this coming Saturday the 11th at 10 am:

Join the Wallingford Community Senior Center and Sustainable Wallingford on the annual Wallingford Neighborhood walk series. Participants of this walk will explore the architecture of homes around the neighborhood.

Join Wallingford Walks on the second Saturday of each month from May through September. The walks vary in distance, duration and theme and will be led by knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the topic and the neighborhood. For more information about upcoming walks, contact Nora Erwin-Stewart by emailing or Katheen Cromp by emailing or by calling 206.-461.7825


Open houses for construction projects

An open house is coming up for improvements to Orcas Ave S as well as for the Mercer West Project:

Improvements proposed for Mercer Street from Dexter Avenue N to Elliott Avenue W

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting an open house at Seattle Center, June 8, to talk about the preliminary designs for the Mercer West Project, including the underpass at Aurora Avenue and the two‐way conversion of Roy and Mercer streets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N. In addition, SDOT will show recommendations for West Mercer Place and West Mercer Street, based on the evaluation of alternatives and input from stakeholders. The project team will be available from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Rainier Room (within the Northwest Rooms Plaza) to solicit
ideas from the public and answer questions about current preliminary design concepts for:

– A wider Mercer Underpass at Aurora Avenue North;
– Converting Mercer and Roy Streets from one‐way to two‐way operation;
– And improving intersections, street connections and bike access.

Open House Details:
Seattle Center (at the intersection of Warren Avenue North and West Republican Street)
Northwest Rooms Plaza: Rainier Room
4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

The Mercer West Project would complete the City’s vision for a direct, two‐way connection between I‐5 and Elliott Avenue West, continuing where the Mercer East Project leaves off. The proposed improvements include:
• Widening Mercer between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N, including the underpass at Aurora to provide three lanes in each direction, left‐turn lanes, wider sidewalks, and a bicycle path;
• Converting Mercer Street to two‐way operation with two lanes in each direction and turn pockets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
• Converting Roy Street to a two‐way street with one lane in each direction and bicycle lanes between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
• Creating a new Sixth Avenue N connection between Mercer and Harrison Streets; and;
• Closing Broad Street to re‐connect the street grid between Ninth Ave N and Fifth Ave N.

For more information on the Mercer West Project, visit:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is holding an open house on June 16 to discuss pedestrian improvements proposed for South Orcas Street.

Date: Thursday, June 16
Time: 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Dearborn Park Elementary School
2820 S Orcas Street

A new sidewalk, curb and street trees are proposed for South Orcas Street between Beacon Avenue South and 28th Avenue South. If funding becomes available, these improvements could continue on the south side to 32nd Avenue South. There is also a potential for bicycle improvements.

Also at the meeting, project staff will explain the pedestrian and bicycle programs that are coming to Dearborn Park Elementary School.