Tag Archive for 'organization'

Could Seattle support a strong volunteer-run pedestrian organization?

As of 2009, 3% of Seattle commuters bike and almost 8% walk to work. Over 13,000 bikers in Seattle and the region make up the membership of Cascade Bicycle Club, however there’s no organization for pedestrians with that type of membership.

Could an organization dedicated to walking be as successful as Cascade?

Feet First is a walking-focused organization, but they’re not trying to bring pedestrians together on a large scale. They do support walking in the city through their grant-funded safe routes to school program and neighborhood maps.

Perhaps since walking is such a common activity, pedestrians have no group identity the way bikers do and would not join together in such strength. I’m not aware of a large, successful walking organization in any other American city, but the benefits of one could be significant.

A visible, volunteer-led organization could do the following: Lead and coordinate social, educational, and historic walks open to all fellow walkers; Effectively disseminate news and events related to walking to the pedestrian community at large; and Work together as a group to improve conditions for walking.

Walkers around the city could get involved with this organization and partner with existing organizations to support, not replace, an organization like Feet First.

One concept to unite pedestrians into a single pedestrian body focused on the aspects of learning, acting, and walking is outlined in this presentation.

While there may be some interest in a new organization for pedestrians, could an organization like this earn enough support to become “Seattle’s walking body”?

To be successful, this volunteer-run organization would need a dedicated group of leaders and supporters, in addition to partnerships with other organizations. Are there enough walking enthusiasts out there to lead something like this? And enough people who identify as pedestrians to join in support?

This linked survey is intended to gauge interest and support to answer the questions above. Please feel free to distribute this link to others who may be interested and respond to the poll below.

[poll id=”11″]


America Walks

DC’s StreetsBlog has a good profile of the walking advocacy organization America Walks:

People tend to identify most strongly with things that set them apart. If everyone’s doing something, it hardly seems worth calling attention to the fact that you do it too.

Which may be part of the reason it’s been hard for pedestrian advocacy organizations to build a strong identity around walking.

America Walks is the only national organization dedicated to pedestrian rights and walkability. The fifteen year-old organization supports community-based walkability movements, such as Seattle’s Feet First. America Walks is putting together a national coalition of organizations that support pedestrian mobility, including the American Heart Association and the Rails to Trails Conservancy, and predicts expanding from 70 coalition members today to 500 by 2012.

They also hope to gather 25,000 signatures for their vision statement:

By 2020, walking in everyday life is embraced across America. Streets and neighborhoods are safe and attractive public places that encourage people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and incomes to walk for exercise, recreation, and transportation. Walkable community policies promote health, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social equity.

DC StreetsBlog concludes:

If that’s the future, it’s also the past. After all, as America Walks points out, “In 1969 walking made up 40 percent of all transportation trips, but in 2008 walking trips decreased to 11 percent.” Although walking is good for our heart rates and waistlines, modern road design can make it hazardous to our health: in the past 15 years, 76,000 pedestrians have been killed.

“We need to create places where you feel safe and comfortable walking along the street and even in the street, playing in the street,” says Bricker. “Crossing the street needs to be easy, accessible and safe.” He points to simple additions like crosswalks, raised median islands, and countdown signals as innovations that immeasurably improve the pedestrian experience.

Funding for active transportation has risen dramatically from 0.1 percent of the federal transportation program in 1992 to 2 percent this year. Considering the fact that 11 percent of all trips are by foot, America Walks wants to make sure walking gets its fair piece of the pie.

And though creating a strong identity among walkers can be challenging, Bricker says, “We don’t hear people saying, ‘this is not important, walking is not part of the transportation system.’ People understand that walking is a fundamental part of life.”


Triangle Walk and Talk

In case you missed the Walk and Talk with Councilmember Rasmussen on Tuesday, there’s a write-up on Seattle Transit Blog:

Last night Feet First (great pedestrian advocacy group) hosted their second Walk & Talk tour guided by Tom Rasmussen. The tour started in the Triangle of West Seattle (bounded by 35th, Alaska, and Fauntleroy) and headed east stopping at destinations along the way, ending at a casual reception.

The first stop was the YMCA followed by the new “Link” development. The Triangle is an interesting area. Up until just a year or two ago the whole area consisted mostly of light manufacturing and auto dealership, a large number of which are out of business now. The area is prime for redevelopment, due to its location and underlying zoning. As a casual observer of developments in this area over the last few years it’s interesting how omnipresent the themes of transition and parking are.

There are also some more details over at STB about the implementation of RapidRide bus service.


Walk & Talk tonight

Just a reminder, despite the wet weather, Feet First is hosting a Walk & Talk in West Seattle with City Council Member Rasmussen at 6 pm tonight. Click here for event details.


Walk & Talk with Councilmember Rasmussen

Feet First, the Seattle walkability advocacy organization, is hosting a walk and talk with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen in West Seattle.

Take a short walk (1.5miles) and learn how walking and transit are becoming a key part of supporting health, economy, and vivrancy of this area. Thie ‘Triangle’ is in the heart of the West Seattle peninsula and soon will be home to West Seattle’s first Bus Rapid Ride network.

Find out how the City of Seattle is creating a more pedestrian friendly future, which retains locally-owned small businesses. Senior Planner, Susan McLain from the Department of Planning and Development will be on hand to answer your questions.

Enjoy meeting and chatting with new people and also browsing small local businesses along California Ave SW! The Walk & Talk will end with an evening deck reception overlooking the Puget Sound at a local sustainable urban farm in West Seattle.

The event is on Tuesday, August 31, at 6 pm and there is a cost of $15 for non-members ($10 for members).

You can RSVP via the facebook invitation.


Feet First

Feet First is a walkability advocacy organization based in Pioneer Square and is part of the America Walks Coalition.

One of the biggest things that Feet First does is promote safe walking routes to school by partnering with parents and local schools. The organization also publishes walking maps of neighborhoods throughout Seattle, which include parks, bus routes, and other information you’d want to know when walking in the Central District, North Beacon Hill, and other neighborhoods.

The organization hosts periodic walks with city council members in various parts of the city. Additionally, you can sign up to become a walking ambassador to lead walks in your neighborhood that encourage others to walk more.

You can find out more by becoming a member of the organization (membership fees start at $30) or visiting their website at feetfirst.info.


Streets For All Seattle Kickoff and Fundraiser TONIGHT

Streets for All Seattle is having an event tonight in Fremont at 7pm:

Please join us Thursday, July 29th, 7pm, at Nectar Lounge in Fremont for the Streets For All Seattle Kickoff Party and Fundraiser as we rock out before the City’s budget season begins.

Over the past three months our Streets for All Seattle coalition has grown in strength and size: over sixty organizations have endorsed our campaign, we’ve trained over one hundred volunteers, and thousands of people have signed on in support of our vision. Just as important, our elected leaders have reiterated their support for our goal of $30 million dollars in annual dedicated funding for pedestrian, bicycle and transit investments, but we know that our voices will need to be actively engaged in the budget process, which is why your support is so valuable.

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Streets for All Seattle

Streets for All Seattle is a campaign to increase funding for the pedestrian and bicycle master plans. The campaign has identified $30 million of potential funding sources that could be dedicated towards creating more complete streets (safe for all users) in Seattle. The funding sources aren’t identified on their website, but they do identify quite a few supporters, and it’s rumored that the mayor’s office may have been a catalyst for starting this public campaign.

Their website has a nice slideshow on the history of streets. You can also sign up to support the campaign on their website and find them on Facebook and Twitter.