Now dubbed the Central Area Greenway, the project is due to be designed and built on an accelerated schedule in 2014 so that it is ready to use before a major repaving project begins on 23rd Ave. Only Phase 1 of the greenway and repaving projects (between S Jackson and E John Streets) are planned this year, though later phases will stretch north to E Roanoke and south to Rainier.
The neighborhood greenway was funded after planners of the repaving project decided against including bike lanes on 23rd Ave itself, at least for the first phase. Plans for the street repaving project include a road diet and new, wider sidewalks. Currently the most dangerous street in the neighborhood, plans would change the street from four lanes of speeding traffic to one lane in each directions plus a new center turn lane.
Central Seattle Greenways (of which I am a member, so I apologize if the following references too many streets you are not familiar with) has developed their preferred route for the neighborhood greenway (roughly 25th Ave south of Columbia, 22nd/21st Ave north of Columbia with connections at Columbia and/or Pine Streets). That route would be a great addition to the neighborhood, connecting many community destinations like commercial centers, the library, several schools, community centers and parks. I’m excited that it is funded, and I’m sure it will get a lot of use.
But being part of a community effort to pick a single neighborhood greenway route that sufficiently meets neighborhood transportation and safety needs has made it all the more apparent to me that trying to use neighborhood greenways as a way to meet the city’s “complete streets” ordinance is an inherently flawed exercise. Destinations line 23rd Ave, and geographic constraints sometimes effectively isolate the blocks on one side of the street from the other. Will a neighborhood greenway on 25th Ave really increase the safety and access to 23rd Ave destinations for someone who lives at 22nd and Yesler? Does a neighborhood greenway on 21st Ave help someone who lives on 24th Ave walk or bike across Madison? Probably not.
I hope the experience planning Phase 1 work informs the future phases and future complete streets projects in the city. Building neighborhood greenways is a good idea, but they do not make busy streets a block or two away “complete.”
Want to learn more or submit your comments to project planners in person? You have three chances this week:
The project team will be available at drop-in sessions in the project vicinity at the end of January. Staff from the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway and the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvement Project will be on hand to answer your questions and take comments.
January 28, 3:30 – 6 p.m.
Douglass-Truth Library, 2300 E. Yesler Way
January 29, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
SOAR, 801 23rd Ave S
January 31, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Miller Park Community Center, 330 19th Ave E
South Park Green Spaces and Vision Plan
Want connected trails and more access to green spaces in South Park? Get involved with the Seattle Parks Foundation and a coalition of other groups in the South Park Green Spaces and Vision Plan. From SPF:
Upcoming Public Meetings: If you live or work in South Park, please come to an upcoming public meeting to share your priorities for South Park green spaces:
- Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Both meetings will be held at the South Park Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave. S.)
You can also fill out a short survey to tell us what you think. Please visit www.southparkgreenspace.org for survey options in English and Spanish.