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The Green Way to Travel in Your Neighborhood

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “neighborhood greenway”…maybe you have not. This is a new concept here in Seattle. A neighborhood greenway offers a safer and more comfortable place to walk and ride a bike. Making small changes to sidewalks and residential streets and making busy intersections easier to cross supports healthy, active travel.

Neighborhood GreenwayRESIZEDMany things make Seattle neighborhoods great. Each one has a unique history, attracts a variety of small local businesses, have great parks and schools. And tying these pieces together is our transportation system. The type of street and how it is used effects the way it feels. In general there are two types. The bigger, busier streets are known as arterials that move large amounts of cars, trucks, buses and sometimes have bike lanes. The smaller, calmer streets are residential. In Seattle it is not unusual for them to be pretty narrow, maybe only 25 feet wide. These streets usually have parking on both sides of the street and may or may not have curbs or sidewalks. Car speeds are generally slower due to the narrow width and collision rates are low. Residential streets are perfect for neighborhood greenways.

Neighborhood greenways provide people of all ages and abilities with attractive places to walk, ride a bike, skate and run. The amenities added can be especially beneficial for families, children and seniors who might find these routes more comfortable than busier nearby streets. Local access to homes along neighborhood greenways is always preserved and there are usually minimal, if any changes to on-street parking. Changes can include sidewalk improvements, pavement repairs, bicycle parking, speed humps, stop signs and crossing improvements that may include ADA ramps, crosswalk striping, rapid flash beacons or signals. Locations for greenways are selected through a combination of data and feedback from the community. In fact, many residents are so enthused they’ve started Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to help bring them to their neighborhood. The goal is to have a connected network throughout Seattle.

In 2012, the city completed a greenway in Wallingford. We asked a few people along the route what they thought of it so far. Here are a couple of quotes.

Walking School BusRESIZED“We love living near the greenway and use it almost daily! My children are little and ride upon my bike, but I look forward to the day they’ll fly solo and we can form a little bike train along our favorite street.” -Madeleine, Wallingford Resident

“I have noticed that dogwalkers seem to favor the greenway as part of their morning or afternoon loops.” – Adrian, Wallingford Resident
“I like the idea of it because it makes you feel safer.” – Amy (11 years old), Wallingford Resident

The next neighborhoods to get greenways are Ballard, Beacon Hill and Delridge. On April 11, SDOT is hosting an open house at the Ballard High School Lunchroom to share latest details and answer questions about the Ballard Neighborhood Greenway. The meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6:30 p.m. We hope to see you there and hope you enjoy traveling the “green way.”