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Wallingford neighborhood greenway opening celebration Saturday

Photo from Wallingford Greenways

The Wallingford neighborhood greenway is complete, and there will be a two-block community street party to mark the opening Saturday starting at 4 p.m.


Join us as we celebrate the opening of Seattle’s first neighborhood Greenway! We will be closing 44th (from Bagley to Sunnyside) to car traffic and opening the space for a neighborhood party. Activities will include chalk art, games, walks and rides along the Greenway, bike powered smoothies and much more. This Celebration will be similar to Seattle’s “August Night Out” event with a focus on spending time outside celebrating public space. Bring your family, friends, food and games to the event as we celebrate this new addition to Wallingford.

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The 44th/43rd Street neighborhood greenway is the first such project to come from the city’s recent citizen-led neighborhood greenway movement. It was paid for by the Neighborhood Project Fund, under the leadership of Cathy Tuttle and Wallingford Neighborhood Greenways. For more details on the project, see our previous post.

But that’s not all! There will also be a Kidical Mass ride from Green Lake to the party. Also, the two words family bikers have been waiting to return: Gelato Bike.

Madi of FamilyRide is leading this Kidical Mass from Green Lake to the Greenway Party this Saturday, June 16th. Depart NE Green Lake, on the grass around the playground at the Green Lake Community Center, and we’ll follow this route.

Meet at 4pm, ride at 4:15pm, arrive for Ribbon Cutting, Kid Parade, road chalk, hot dogs, bike blenders, and GELATO from D’Ambrosio Gelato in Ballard and Cap Hill! Marco and Enzo, the family gelato team, make the bestest, most authenticest, and most generousest gelato in town.

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15 responses to “Wallingford neighborhood greenway opening celebration Saturday”

  1. Sam Kemmis

    I live in Wallinford, but am I missing something? Last time I was up on 44th there wasn’t anything but a few sharrows at the intersections.

    1. That and the signs are pretty much it. Some half-assed, incorrect intersection treatments and a promise that the law about how close you can park a car to an intersection will be actually enforced here (it should be enforced everywhere as a matter of course), and some signs. And there’s the half-assed, incorrect attempt to make Stone Way easier to cross.

      Fortunately for the cycling community, the 44th/43rd route was already a decent route, especially in the uphill direction. This is basically what a greenway is. A publicized side street route. We probably won’t achieve the success Portland has simply because our side streets are so narrow you’re always in a canyon of cars anyway, and our greenway routes dead-end in random places, not really connecting neighborhoods all that well. Also because we half-assed the Stone Way crossing, whose failure will be used as an excuse to zero-ass future arterial crossings.

      1. (I shouldn’t paint with too broad a brush — not all the intersection treatments are incorrect. Just the ones where you pull up to stop signs and have a bike lane off to the side. Instead you should stay in line with traffic so you don’t have to merge back after the intersection. This design is teaching stupid, unsafe cycling techniques that reinforce everyone’s belief in cyclists as secondary, inferior road users.)

      2. Eric

        I suspect the intersection will fail because there’s a very steep hill on 43rd on the East side of Stoneway. I don’t know anybody that would choose to bike that way when you could take the much more gradual approach of biking up the Stoneway bike lane. If you’re “willing but wary” you’ll then go to Burke, if you’re a commuter cyclist then you’ll take 45th…

      3. The 44th/43rd route is bad at connecting neighborhoods, but most of the other routes aren’t. There’s a part of me that’s glad we didn’t waste too much money on it, and a part of me that weeps that our first greenway will be so half-assed, potentially poisoning future support for them and making greenway groups look like liars.

  2. no traffic lights

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe there is a naked bike ride in the center of the universe on Saturday.

    I’ll show up, but only if you promise I won’t be arrested.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Yes. I believe the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway celebration is more of a clothed event. But maybe if your body paint is on the conservative side…

  3. I would love some Fremont Solstice Parade cyclists to streak by the Wallingford Greenway Celebration!

    @Al & Eric, the Wallingford Greenway http://seattlegreenways.org/neighborhoods/wallingford/ is the first mile link of what we hope will be six to eight miles connecting the Wallingford neighborhood. It is also the first mile of 250 miles connecting Seattle by low stress routes.

    We’ve made a lot of progress in a year. Be patient. In 10 years, we will have a network of safe healthy streets for people who want and need to walk and bike.

    1. eric.br

      thanks, cathy, for the reminder to be patient. i appreciate everyone’s efforts to make our streets safer.

      i did stumble across this greenway a couple nights ago while heading up wallingford ave n, and my first thought was “this feels like a lite-cola version of a bike boulevard in portland”. things like appropriate arterial crossings, speedbumps to slow traffic, and massive signage other than sharrows (sorry, tom) are the reasons these have been so successful in our sister city to the south. lacking these few components, our success will will only be defined by whether or not the current greenways movement is successful in keeping in mind the *quality* of our greenways over *quantity*.

      let’s set our sights high.

      1. Breadbaker

        While I share the other concerns, at least west of Wallingford, neither 44th nor nor Burke (on which I live) nor 43rd ever make you worry about the speed of cars; the streets are too narrow and too parked up, 24/7. So I wouldn’t think a speed bump is called for. West of Wallingford, by the park, can be a little dicier.

      2. Matthew

        Although I’m relatively new to Seattle, I’m surprised at how little traffic calming has apparently been tried here. I understand that arterial streets are supposed to generally be faster moving streets and probably not optimal for biking, but that doesn’t change the fact that you still have to CROSS these streets on a bike. Try crossing Leary in Ballard as a pedestrian or a cyclist. It’s like playing Frogger. Why we can’t get a few lights or 4-way stops installed is beyond me. Any study of the average speeds on these streets will immediately reveal that traffic moves well above the posted limit most of the time. It seems like it’s going to take a serious accident involving a pedestrian or cyclist before anything gets done.

      3. Andres

        I think quality *and* quantity are important. I’ll take 200 miles of mediocre but rapidly improving greenways that criss-cross the city over 10 miles of perfect greenways. That’s the situation we have now with trails like the Burke. They’re absolutely wonderful to ride on, but if it’s out of your way or closed down for repair (*cough*), you’re SOL. Greenways are cheap and SDOT’s plan is to monitor and improve things if necessary. We need to ensure that the monitoring is relevant (ie, they’re measuring things that actually matter), and that the political will and funding are present for greenway upgrades, if deemed necessary.

        For example, neighbors on the 39th Ave NE greenway have expressed concern that drivers already cut through 39th, and it will get worse with the addition of stop signs. I suspect we’ll need to implement diverters, but it’s an uphill battle to claim “we need to build X and spend Y more for something that _might_ be a problem”, vs “we’ve taken measurements and seen an increase in problem behavior between these two streets; we will build X and spend Y to fix the issue.” We need to first get some form of greenway implemented, so that people are aware of greenways, neighbors don’t freak out about it, people start using them, and SDOT can pitch improvements based on actual data.

      4. eric.br

        eh, you get what you pay for. if you want miles of substandard greenways andres, go for it. (just don’t then wonder why everyday folks aren’t putting themselves or their kids out on ’em.)

      5. wave

        Matthew, actually Seattle along with Portland and Vancouver has been one of the leaders in traffic calming since the 1970s, particularly with the neighborhood traffic circles (there are hundreds), chicanes (mid-block slalom course), and diverters. What you’re talking about is perhaps more about pedestrian refuges across wide streets, or mid-block ped-actuated signals. Good things, but not necessarily traffic calming.

    2. The problem isn’t the intent of Wallingford Greenways (though I’m not sure what 6-8 miles of greenways in Wallingford really buys you — Wallingford side streets, like most in Seattle, are pretty easy and safe to navigate on foot and bike, and pretty straightforward in their layout).

      One problem is that the side streets don’t form corridors that connect neighborhoods, only the major arterial roads do. This is a challenge. In addition to real funding, it requires system thinking — what are the key city-wide corridors? Another problem is that SDOT is incompetent at designing bike facilities. When I bike around Seattle most of the paint targeted at cyclists directly tells us to act against our interests. Wallingford is home to some of the most galling examples. Sharrows on 45th instructing cyclists to ride in the door-zone and weave in and out of the row of parked cars. The amazingly stupid Dick’s bike lane (don’t get me started — absolutely every damn thing about it is wrong). And now, on the Wallingford Greenway, mini-bike lanes that instruct cyclists to pull to the side and allow cars to pull past at intersections, which is precisely the most important time for bikes to be in-line with other traffic — serialized, not parallelized (there are many reasons for this, should be obvious if you think about it). SDOT continues to get these things wrong all over town, teaching cyclists and motorists alike bad practices and bad habits.

      This is a real shame, because a huge part of the potential of greenways is that they can teach cyclists good, sensible habits for riding in the road in a low-stress environment. I guess that’s too much to expect when SDOT doesn’t know what good cycling habits are.

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