Tag Archive for 'Feet First'

3rd Annual Stairway Walks Day tomorrow

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:


  • 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

Stairway Walks Day coming up

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.


Feet First to lead free neighborhood walks May 4 & 5

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.


Stairway Walks Day this Saturday

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
  • Downtown Seattle
  • Fremont
  • Golden Gardens
  • Lakewood – Seward Park
  • Longfellow/Pigeon Point (West Seattle)
  • Madrona & Leschi
  • Mercer Island

The event is sponsored by Caffe Ladro, which is offering free and discounted coffee to participants.


Walking News Roundup – 11/26

  • Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board is looking for new members again. Here’s more information about the board and how to apply. Applications are due by December 17.
  • Queen Anne Greenways is hosting two meetings to meet others in the neighborhood and share ideas to improve walking and biking safety. The two times are: Tuesday, Nov 27, 7-8:30pm or Friday, Nov 30, 3-4:30pm at 2572 10th Ave W. Be sure to RSVP via email to Jody Lemke
  • Feet First has launched a “Rate Your Space” campaign, which uses WalkScore’s iphone app, to identify pedestrian issues that need to be addressed. The campaign will run through February 2013.
  • Feet First has a write-up on Immersus Walking Tours, which provides walking tours by foot in Seattle.
  • Feet First Walking Ambassador Mary Magenta is leading a Kubota Garden art walk on certain weekend days through January.

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.


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.


Feet First: Working on behalf of walkers

I recently sat down with Lisa Quinn, Executive Director of the non-profit organization Feet First which celebrated its 10 year anniversary recently. We discussed the organization’s current projects and future plans, and also talked about ways people can get involved.

Feet First’s mission statement is “Creating Walkable Communities.” The organization performs walking audits, creates walking maps, participates in community events, works with cities to provide input on pedestrian plans, and promotes safe walking routes to schools.

Safe Routes to School is a major focus for Feet First. They helped 61 schools across the state participate in International Walk to School Month. In Seattle, Feet First is a consultant for Olympic Hill, Roxhill, Dearborn, and Hawthorne Elementaries. The group will soon provide a neighborhood walking map for the area around Concord International School.

Quinn describes how Feet First’s school consultancy program works. “First, we take a step back and do a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis, and then we do a walking audit, and from there we are able to map out what we want to do for a school.”

“Schools may want a walking school bus, but they take a step back, they realize it’s not going to work, and what they really need is better signage…with our walking audits, it really helps the community be engaged in what outcomes they want to see,” she says.

Feet First is working with eighteen schools in South King County to identify walking audit routes and make recommendations. For each audit the organization works to foster communication between diverse groups including city planners, representatives of the school district, parents, and teachers. City of Renton planners are using Feet First’s walking audit report as a checklist of issues to address.

Compensation for many of Feet First’s paid staff comes from grant funding. Recently, this funding allowed the organization to hire a walking ambassador program coordinator. There are twenty trained ambassadors who lead walks in their neighborhoods and produce a number of published walks each month.

The ambassador training process, Quinn says, is “not just showing how to lead a walk, but giving people tools and knowledge on how to advocate for better conditions in their neighborhood.” Information about the ambassador training program can be found on Feet First’s website.

Feet First recently adopted and released an official Agenda outlining the group’s mission, goals, and specific initiatives for cities. The group’s evaluation of cities in the region concluded that Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle already follow the outlined strategies. These four cities have been recognized as Feet First Agenda Cities. The current goal, Quinn says, is to get five more cities to commit to meet the nine criteria and “pass a resolution acknowledging that they are Feet First agenda city and that they are making a commitment to continue to build a walkable community.”

Feet First’s approach has to implement small programs, learn from them, and grow gradually. Because of that, Feet First is not yet well known across the region. Quinn says, “Unlike bicycle organizations like Cascade, which has over 13,000 members, we don’t have that critical mass–except everyone’s a pedestrian.”

While Quinn sees a lot of similarities between the Cascade Bicycle Club and Feet First, she says getting people to identify as pedestrians has been a challenge almost like “herding cats.”

Feet First currently has about 100 registered members and they are holding a membership drive during the month of December to grow that number. Their website explains the three different levels of membership, including the benefits that new members would receive if they join this month. The organization is also welcoming volunteers to staff event tables, write blog articles, participate in the safe routes to school program, and attend public meetings. More information about these and other volunteer opportunities are listed on their website.

The organization’s current walking maps are available for download, and their walking maps for West Seattle are on display at eight kiosks in the neighborhood. In the coming months, Feet First will examine the potential of engaging walkers through technology. The organization is investigating creating their own mobile app that pedestrians could use to identify areas that present challenges for walkers.


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.


Feet First blog fills current gap in local walking news

While we’ve been going through a bit of a slow stretch here at Walking in Seattle, Feet First’s new blog has been providing regular reports for pedestrians.

In addition to a weekly “walk around the news”, they have reports on Feet First events, reported on the crosswalk construction at Aurora & 130th, and wrote a commentary on the 520 bridge construction.

Meanwhile, we’re working on an analysis of pedestrian safety statistics as well as looking into opportunities to help pedestrians better organize, and hope to return to more regular blogging soon.