Thursday, August 30, 2012

Neighborhood Greenways effort taking shape in Lake City

Residents wrote popular routes and difficult areas for pedestrians and bicycles on a map of Lake City.

The Lake City Greenways project recently had its kickoff at local coffee shop and bakery Kaffeklatsch. About 20 neighbors gathered for a presentation and to brainstorm about how the innovative pedestrian and bicycle program could be applied to the Lake City neighborhood.

Residents listen to the presentation.
Greenways are essentially residential streets, generally running near main arterials, with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds, where people who walk and ride bicycles are given priority over auto traffic. Streets are reconfigured with speed calming devices and pavement markings.

Greenways are a more affordable option to sidewalks, an important part of infrastructure lacking in Lake City and much of North Seattle.

According to the program, sidewalks cost from $1 million to $3 million per mile to build; Greenways typically cost $100,000 to $300,000 per mile.

More from the Seattle Greenways project:

  • Greenways provide safer bicycling and pedestrian connections.  Pavement markings alert people driving to expect people walking and bicycling. Improved crossings and curb ramps make walking easier and safer.
  • Greenways help people across busier streets. Improved crossings at main streets help people walking and bicycling get across streets.
  • Greenways guide people along the route to get them where they are going.  Markings on the pavement and signage let you know where your Greenway goes and what’s nearby, such as parks, schools, and business districts.
  • Greenways reduce auto cut-through. Speed bumps and traffic diverters can keep cars trying to avoid main streets from speeding through on neighborhood streets.
  • Greenways reduce auto speeds. Speed bumps and other road treatments can help to slow automobile traffic on greenways.
  • Greenways provide more "eyes on the street." More people out on the street walking and riding their bicycles makes for a safer and friendlier community.
  • Where is the "green" in "Greenways?" Biking and walking can be a form of transportation that is relaxing, pleasant, and inclusive. Greenways provide easy access to open space and have many park-like functions that can be very climate-friendly. New trees, public art, rain gardens, and gardens are an integral part of evolving our streets to be pleasant places to bike and walk.

During the Lake City meeting residents mapped their walking routes, flagged difficult intersections, brainstormed possibilities, and shared information.

A street mural in Seattle
As a kickoff to the program in Lake City, planners hope to create a neighborhood street mural, a tool some Seattle neighborhoods have successfully used to calm neighborhood traffic and make drivers aware that they are driving through an active community.

Lake City Greenways organizer Janine Blaeloch said the best sign of success during the kickoff "was a lot of sentences starting with 'What if...?'"

Below is a video shown during the presentation about Portland's successful Neighborhood Greenways program.

You can learn more about Neighborhood Greenways in this publication:

1 comment:

  1. How can I get involved in this group..BTW..I know how to do bicycle helmet fittings and so can help out this Thurs....Lynn Chapman


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