Big neighbohrood greenways meeting in Phinney tonight + Car Free Days jumps on board

Remember, there is a big neighborhood greenways meeting 6:30 tonight at the Phinney Neighborhood Center (6615 Dayton Ave N). SDOT leaders will be there, and it will be great chance to get involved and meet some of the people behind the citizen efforts that have taken off all around the city (and growing all the time).

Speaking of neighborhood greenways, the people behind one of Seattle greatest family biking resources — Car Free Days — has jumped on board. They have documented the struggles and joys of biking with kids in Seattle over the past several years. They know what families need in order to make family biking more appealing as a transportation option, and they think neighborhood greenways are the key:

Greenways fit with the kind of riding we do (parent and kid-powered transportation), and c0uld really be the key resource for making it safer and easier for kids all over this city to skip the minivan and ride bikes or walk to school!

So here’s where we get to the good part. Seattle communities and neighbors are wicked-strong and quite adept at killing projects. Examples? The Montlake/Madison Park neighborhoods blocked 520-bridge improvements for the last 30 years. The Laurelhurst community puts fear into the hearts of Childrens and UW planners. All over the city, neighbors have picked causes and marshaled their forces (time, energy, will) behind (and admittedly, usually against) them. The hands of the people hold a lot of power in Seattle.

And now Seattle neighbors are turning their attention to our streets. Instead of blocking something, we want to create. We’ve decided it’s time to take a sliver of our public space currently dedicated to cars and make that space safe for children and families.

Imagine how great it would be to have just onestreet within a few blocks of your home where you could walk with a friend, and know your kids could ride their bikes or safely play soccer with neighborhood friends. Yes, it would still be a street with cars and all, but the scale of the place would be different. Slower. People would be the priority, and cars, 0n this one street, would know they are visitors.

Now imagine how much better the whole city gets when we stitch together many these slower streets. Each street is focused on the needs and character of the neighborhood, but strategically connected to make a city-wide transportation network, allowing neighbors to safely and easily ride from say, their  house in Laurelhurst to the Ballard Locks. Or from Beacon Hill to Madrona. And from anywhere to Greenlake!

For a much more curse-ridden neighborhood greenways story, Cienna Madrid at the Stranger has written it for you:

The swiftness with which activists have spurred the city into action is commendable, sure, but the real shocker is that no one’s complaining about it. “There seems to be widespread support for enhancing biking and walking on low-speed non-arterial streets,” says Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan, who reports that his office has received absolutely no angry emails or bitchy voice mails about the projects.

That’s a big fucking deal in a city where residents have been known to bitch about their neighbor’s flower gardens being too bright. (Really.)

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