The 2012 total includes seven miles paid for by the city (in Ballard, Beacon Hill, Greenwood, North Delridge, Wallingford and the University District) and four miles in Laurelhurst paid for by Seattle Children’s Hospital.
At a Seattle Neighborhood Greenways meet-up earlier this month, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw announced that the city is also planning to fund 11 miles per year starting in 2013, mostly from Bridging the Gap funds and some from the Bicycle Master Plan budget. The city will de-emphasize painting sharrows on busy streets (a recommendation by the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board), putting that (limited) budget toward greenways.
A press release from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (an umbrella of sorts for the city’s ever-growing number of individual neighborhood groups) also has a fantastic selling point to put the cost of neighborhood greenways in perspective: 10 miles of neighborhood greenways costs the same as 1 mile of trail.
To put that another way, 45 miles of neighborhood greenway costs the same as 1 mile of repaved arterial roadway (using last year’s U-District 15th Ave NE repaving as a price guide). I’d say that’s a fantastic deal.
Here’s a video of Bagshaw speaking at the meetup:
From Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:
Seattle streets will become more welcoming in 2012 to children walking to school, neighbors walking their dogs, and people biking to their neighborhood parks, libraries, and grocery stores. At a January 10 meeting of Seattle Greenway Organizers at the Beacon Hill Library, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw enthusiastically announced a set of pilot Neighborhood Greenways being planned by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) that are designed to make streets safer and more pleasant for people who live, walk, bike, and drive in Seattle’s neighborhoods.
The Neighborhood Greenways under review total 11 miles: seven miles in Ballard, Beacon Hill, Greenwood, North Delridge, Wallingford, and the University District and an additional four miles in Laurelhurst (funded by Seattle Children’s Hospital). These projects are intended to form the backbone of a new network of Greenways that effectively connect people to the places they want to go by giving them a choice to travel on quieter, safer streets around the city.
Councilmember Bagshaw, chairing the newly formed Seattle City Council’s Parks and Neighborhoods Committee, is excited to include Neighborhood Greenways on her agenda. “Greenways connect parks and schools, community centers and neighborhood business districts. Neighborhood Greenways help with transportation, and they help with getting people where they want to go within their own communities.” Councilmember Bagshaw and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who chairs the Seattle Transportation Committee, have taken great leadership initiative on Greenways.
Neighborhood Greenways are slow-speed, low-traffic residential streets made even more pleasant for the people who live, walk, and bike on them. By adding new park-like amenities and limiting cut-through traffic, Greenways are naturally attractive both for families, and for anyone seeking a safer, more connected community experience. By placing Greenways a block or two away from major arterials, Neighborhood Greenways create a great option for people who prefer to walk or bike away from congested streets. While many new dedicated walking and bicycling trails are beyond the reach of our City’s budget, 10 miles of Greenways can be built for the cost of a single mile of new trail, offering the potential to bring a high-quality network to all Seattle neighborhoods at a comparatively low cost. Greenways have the potential to serve neighborhoods where many people cannot afford a car. Neighborhood access by emergency service vehicles and freight delivery vehicles — and parking — is preserved along Greenways.
Motivated by concerns for public safety and a grassroots movement of citizens across Seattle demanding greater community connection, SDOT staff has been studying how other cities link people with their desired neighborhood destinations. By 2015 in Portland, for example, 85% of all residents will live within a half-mile of a Greenway. Portland’s safe streets policies have made streets safer for everyone whether they choose to walk, ride a bicycle, or drive. Portland’s traffic fatality rate is falling six times faster than the rest of the United States. Infrastructure that makes it safer for walking and bicycling automatically benefits drivers through improved safety and saved lives.
Portland Transportation Safety Engineer Greg Raisman explains Portland’s transportation philosophy, “If we focus on the most vulnerable, we’ll make a city that’s safer for everyone. If it’s safe for a child to go to their friend’s house to play, then it’s safe to drive when you have to.”