Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director
Let me tell you a story about one person who reached out to neighbors over the past few years, and with their help – and a little help from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways – built a park, got safer routes to their local school, slowed traffic on one of Seattle’s most dangerous streets, and helped well over one hundred neighbors meet each other for the first time.
I’m talking about Janine Blaeloch, founder of Lake City Greenways, who led the effort to develop Olympic Hills Pocket Park, gathered neighbors for crosswalk actions to slow Lake City Way traffic, and helped with the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School sidewalk project.
What is extraordinary is that I could have as easily told you this same story a dozen times and more about Greenways leaders throughout Seattle – Phyllis Porter and Deb Salls leading Rainier Avenue South road rechannelization efforts, Don Brubeck and Deb Vandermar who were instrumental in the road safety and safe intersection efforts along 35th Ave SW, leaders at University and NE Seattle Greenways who visited business owners up and down Roosevelt Way NE and helped to make protected bike lanes on Roosevelt a reality, leaders at Licton Haller and Greenwood-Phinney Greenways who are helping five local school groups plan for their Safe Routes to School priorities.
In the four years that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been in existence, we’ve been planting a garden. The seeds we’ve nurtured have been people in our 19 local coalitions and the local priorities they have grown organically. 2015 is the year these seeds really began to sprout and come into full bloom.
We’ve been busy working citywide as well as locally. Mayor Ed Murray proclaimed Seattle as a Vision Zero city with the goal of ending serious road injuries and fatalities by 2030. We hosted the first Tactical Urbanism Design Competition for bold street safety experiments in September during PARK(ing) Day, and in November, Seattle voters passed the Move Seattle Levy, believing in Seattle’s potential to build safe and pleasant streets for people.
Every year for the past five years, leaders of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways 19 local groups have chosen 10 priorities for us to focus on as a citywide organization. These priorities have ranged from the Olympic Hills Greenway, to road safety projects along Rainier Ave S. Last year we selected one priority for each City Council District and three citywide priorities. We had success in all of them!
And every year our priorities have become more ambitious. In 2016, local leaders voted on our most ambitious advocacy priorities yet. In 2016 we’ll focus on Safe Routes to School engineering improvements as defined by local PTSAs, Complete Streets, and a Vision Zero initiative to lower the speed on our streets 20/25 mph.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has grown into an organization able to take bold steps to move towards the city we hope to become. We welcome you to join us and to discover what safe and healthy streets can bring to you, to your friends and family, and to a city we are all proud to call home. Join us!