Seattle Neighborhood Greenways hosted their annual volunteer appreciation party late last week. And aside from booze and snacks, the night also included a list of people and campaigns that have helped further the cause of safe streets in our city.
People were invited to vote for their top choices, but all the nominees are impressive and deserve recognition. You can read more about each nominee in the SNG facebook album. So without further ado, here are the safe streets champions for 2015:
And our 2015 Greenways Champion is… well duh. From SNG:
Merlin wears many hats, or should we say bike helmets? She co-leads Central Seattle Greenways, leads Senior Ladies of Wheels, and is a member of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board and the Cascade Bicycle Club Board.
She is one of the city’s most passionate and visible (she’s everywhere!) advocates for bringing biking to the masses.
She has been a thought leader in Seattle on many issues including changing our language (crash not accident). She is never afraid to speak truth to power and frequently does.
Merlin R Rainwater has successfully advocated for changes to countless projects to make streets safer for people biking and walking.
Your whirlwind of efforts are appreciated! Thank you for all that you do!
Next, recognizing people who are trying new and creative ideas for our streets:
And the winner, of course, is the the Rainier Ave protected bike lane during Park(ing) Day. From SNG:
“Why not?”, said this group.
Let’s make Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street, safe enough for a parent to bike with their four-year-old.
A crew, led by visionary Shirley Savel, and leaders Adam Dodge and Travis & Erika Merrigan, built 2000 linear feet of bike lanes out of white chalk, white duct tape, green butcher paper and traffic cones on both sides of Rainier between Columbia City and Hillman City.
Now that we’ve seen a demo, let’s build it for real!
Next up, recognizing the people who do the typically thankless job of fact-finding so we can better understand where the biggest safety needs are in our neighborhoods:
And the top-voted group comes from North Seattle neighborhoods that teamed up to help spread the idea of auditing routes to local schools. From SNG:
Leaders in Licton-Haller Greenway and Greenwood Phinney Greenways recognized they all shared a common problem: the children in their communities lacked safe streets to walk and bike to school. Many of their local schools drew from the same neighborhoods as well.
Together these community groups trained parents and neighbors to do street audits and began a project to prioritize engineering improvements that would help children throughout their shared communities.
Next, the public servants who have helped further the cause from the inside:
And the winners are… Councilmember Bruce Harrell and the SDOT staff behind the Rainier Ave Road Safety Corridor project. From SNG:
Rainier Avenue South is Seattle’s most dangerous street. Residents have been asking for safety improvements for years. Thanks to these three public servants, change is finally coming to Rainier.
They responded to the (often heated) skeptics with data and compassion. They also engaged with supporters like Rainier Valley Greenways. They listened to the community, and crafted a thoughtful and measured approach to fixing Seattle’s most dangerous street that started in 2015 and will expand in 2016 with their continued leadership.
Your efforts are appreciated, and have resulted in a Seattle that is safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities! Thank you!
Next, working to bring diverse communities together:
And the winner is… Phyllis Porter! From SNG:
Phyllis Porter has become something of a celebrity in the world of walking and biking advocacy through her work helping Rainier Valley Greenways organize and push for a safer Rainier Ave S.
Phyllis has run countless meetings, given dozens of interviews to the media, and reached out to a massive number of com- munity groups. She has built connections with families torn apart by traffic collisions and helped them heal and ask for justice. She has helped lead the charge to finally fix Rainier Ave. She also writes for the Seattle Seattle Emerald, and we consider her a gem in her own right.
Your efforts are appreciated, and have made Rainier Valley safer for everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable! Thank you!
Next, recognizing people who are standing up for all the people who want to walk and bike more, but are wary of traffic dangers.
And the winner is… well, nobody else stood a chance on this one because Madi Carlson was in the running. From SNG:
Yes, Madi is one of those people who make you tired just listing all of their accomplishments. (She is the SeattleGreenways.org webmaster too.) And she does it all with a wave and a smile.
This year, we’re recognizing Madi because she has truly inspired hundreds of new people to take up family biking for everyday transportation. Madi led family camping by bike trips in the summer, Kidical Mass Rides that sometimes had more than 200 riders, and is about to lead her annual family bike ride to holiday lights and food bank drive.
What can we say Madi? You are awesome and have encouraged others to be awesome too. Thank you!
And finally, the award for the best safe streets advocacy:
And the winner by about $400 million is… Move Seattle! From SNG:
From phone banks to canvassing, to talking to our friends, local Greenways groups decided to make passing the Move Seattle Levy their #1 Priority in 2015.
Now let’s get to work to build our healthy new streets!
Cascade Bicycle Club’s Robin Randels accepted the award: