Let’s fund Safe Routes to Parks in Seattle’s next levy

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 1.11.35 PMAlmost every Seattle resident agrees: Parks should be safe and fun. But so should the routes to get there.

Like parks, safe streets become places where people gather and play. They become spaces where neighbors can be neighbors as well as safe ways to get from homes to destinations.

So why not embrace streets that lead to a park as a vital part of the park itself?

That’s why Cascade Bicycle Club is organizing an effort to include $2 million a year in Safe Routes to Parks funding as part of the 2014 Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Details from Cascade:

One of my favorite things about Seattle is our parks. Magnuson, Green Lake, Discovery, Seward, Alki … I could go on and on.

But too often parents find the streets and sidewalks too unsafe to walk or bike with their kids to their local park.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, a citizens advisory committee is drafting Seattle’s next levy that will be on the ballot in the fall of 2014 and will fund new investments in our parks.

We’re calling for this next parks levy to fund safe routes to parks by transforming low-speed, low-traffic streets into park-like environments that are safe for families to walk and bike on.

Sign your name in support of funding safe routes to parks >>

And then show your support at a public hearing on Nov. 7.

The number one reason people use Seattle parks is for exercise. So shouldn’t it be safer for families to walk, run and bike to their parks?

That’s why Cascade is working with the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways group to build a coalition of organizations to change this. We’re calling for next year’s city parks levy renewal to include $2 million a year to make routes to and through our parks safer — especially in neighborhoods in the most need of safer streets and access to parks.

To show support, we’ll be delivering a petition with hundreds — maybe thousands — of signatures at a key public hearing next Thursday, November 7.

Join the effort. Sign your name in support of funding safe routes to parks >>

Then let us know that you’ll attend the public hearing on Nov. 7 too.

When caring neighbors work together, we see time and time again how we can create a better world for our children. Thank you for all that you do.

Sincerely,

Brock Howell
Policy & Government Affairs Manager
Cascade Bicycle Club

UPDATE: More details from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:

We are asking for $1.9 million per year for the life of the Parks Legacy levy to help the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation work together to:

  1. Provide equitable access to parks
    1. Help kids, grandparents and everyone in-between safely and comfortably walk or bike across busy streets to parks
    2. Create “gateways” between parks and neighborhood streets to welcome community members safely into their parks
    3. Upgrade trails through parks for people of all ages and abilities who want to walk or slowly bike comfortably, safely, and conveniently to where they want to go.
    4. Weave our parks into the fabric of our city by creating mini parks along neighborhood greenways similar to the popular street end parks.
  2. Create family friendly recreation events for people of all ages and abilities
    1. Create popular Portland Oregon style Sunday Parkways events that showcase our parks and local businesses and create a family friendly environment for walking and biking. These events will be free to the public and spread throughout the city providing equitable access to fun and healthy recreation.
    2. Continue to support walking recreation programs such as the Sound Steps Walking Program that seeks to “increase physical activity and social connection by working with people age 50 and older in a member-directed community walking program that is accessible and welcoming to all.”
For more information see our potential cost breakdown of the $1.9 million per year.
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8 Responses to Let’s fund Safe Routes to Parks in Seattle’s next levy

  1. Mike says:

    Here’s a good example. I live about a quarter mile from Sandel Park, but to get there, I have to cross 3rd Ave NW. There’s no crosswalk and traffic is fast – definitely faster than the posted 30 mph. So my daughter and I wait patiently for a break in the traffic. And wait. And wait.

    Of course very few people stop for us to safely cross, even though that’s the law.

  2. Bike Parking says:

    Ample bike parking at the parks is also needed, in order to encourage people to use bicycling as transportation to the parks. I haven’t surveyed them all, but Green Lake is undersupplied. The one bike rack at the south end is tucked out of view down by the rowing facilities, and it’s a short rack. In the last few years, presumably as part of the Parks levy work, the Parks Dept. paved over the gravel parking lot across the street (And why? we need fewer impervious surfaces, not more) to improve conditions for people to drive. If we are to make people feel invited to bike to the parks, then parking for bikes should be prioritized over parking lots. Just to note, most folks would want their locked bikes in view of the passersby at Green Lake, not across the street in the auto parking lot, where they would be out of view. Time to provide more of a welcome to the neighbors who bike.

  3. merlin says:

    Last year, shortly after I retired, I decided to ride my bike to explore the string of parks along Puget Sound, starting with Elliott Bay Park and continuing up through Discovery Park and Golden Gardens to Carkeek Park. I planned to use my new City of Seattle Bike Map for wayfinding. This ride convinced me that we need much better bike access to our parks! Most of the paved paths in the parks did not appear on the bike map; bike and pedestrian accesses that were not also automobile access points were not on the map and were not signed. This was especially challenging at Discovery Park and Carkeek Park, where I wandered around on my bike at the margins trying to figure out how to get in.

    • Van says:

      Carkeek Park is particularly terrifying with those sharp turns on gravel, when we went we ended parking our bikes way up on the main entrance because I had the dog carrier and didn’t want to risk a crash. Can’t imagine someone with a kid carrier making it. Also, people in cars were taking those turns pretty fast and kicking up dust. We did see other bike parking under weeds inside the park, and an absurd amount of space dedicated to car parking, in case, you didn’t want to, I don’t know walk through the park?
      But even parks closer to me, like Paramount and Twin Lakes, seem to assume you drive rather than walk or bike to a park. Glad someone else noticed this problem.

  4. Ints says:

    While this might not be applicable for the outlying parks at least in the near term, it would be nice to see Parks and Rec coordinate with SDOT to prioritize this effort. One potential opportunity could be to work with Puget Sound Bike Share to provide space for the bike share stations at parks where possible. There are plenty of parks in the initial roll out areas that would be ideal locations for this. Occidental, Steinbrueck, Denny, Mc Graw plaza, Cal Anderson, Olympic Sculpture Park, South Lake Union plus all of the pocket parks,…. Typically, bike shares have to lease property or at least use of ROW (sidewalk) for locating stations, why not have parks be part of a solution that gets people to these locations within destination areas and builds on the idea of providing improved access to parks for city residents as well as visitors? This would not only bolster the rationale for developing a safe, interconnected cycling network between parks with greenways, but it would improve access to parks for those who can ride (or walk), and make bike share more than just a convenience for in city professionals and visiting tourists.

  5. Doug Bostrom says:

    OT: Thanks for the stickers, Tom! :-)

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