Find Posts By Topic

Seattle Transportation Plan | Smash the Box, a community-based organization partner, tells the story of fun, inclusive, and innovative community outreach in Beacon Hill

Editor’s Note: SDOT is partnering with community-based organizations to develop the Seattle Transportation Plan. Smash the Box has partnered with us to reach the Beacon Hill community in a fun, inclusive, and innovative way, to ensure community members are represented in the Seattle Transportation Plan. As part of this, Smash the Box is running an outreach initiative called “Our Streets Need…”

This blog post was written by Yes Segura (He/They), the Founder of Smash the Box, who explains the work they’re doing to engage the Beacon Hill community in developing the STP.

Smash the Box is one of the community-based organizations (CBOs) partnering with SDOT to develop the Seattle Transportation Plan.

We’re a multidisciplinary, community-driven urban planning and design firm that was established in 2017. Our motto is, “Don’t think outside of the box. That box is outdated. Smash the box, recycle it, and repurpose it back into our ecosystem.”

Smash the Box was founded by Yes Segura, in response to the lack of Queer, Transgender, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) – owned urban planning businesses in Seattle and throughout the United States.

Since August of this year, we’ve been running the “Our Streets Need…” Beacon Hill-focused Seattle Transportation Plan (STP) outreach initiative to envision our neighborhood’s transportation future.

We’ve been asking our neighbors, “What will our future transportation system look like in the next 20 years?” We’re using the hashtag #BeaconHillSTP to promote this initiative.

Graphic with text that reads, "Our streets need...What will Beacon Hill's transportation systems look like in the next 20 years? Tell the Seattle Department of Transportation what changes our streets need. Visit #BeaconHillSTP #SeattleTransportationPlan
Example social media post about “Our Streets Need…”

Community engagement for the STP is taking place in three phases, and we’ve been engaging our Beacon Hill neighbors at every step.

  • Phase 1: Establish our shared vision. As a foundation, we asked members of the community, “What Do Our Streets Need?” This served as a prompt to get people thinking about what ultimately will become our collective vision for the STP.
  • Phase 2: Define the future of our transportation system (we are here!). From our outreach efforts during Phase 1, the Beacon Hill community shared 345 comments via the STP Online Engagement Hub interactive map! Although the interactive map is now closed for comments there are still plenty of ways to include your voice, ask questions, and get involved during Phase 2, which will run through December 31, 2022. The Online Engagement Hub has also been updated with new opportunities to engage! This is another easy-to-use interactive feature where you can vote by liking with a “❤️” actions you’d like SDOT to take, share what future you’d like to see in Seattle’s transportation network, and how you’d like to get around in the future.
  • Phase 3: Prioritize our transportation network. Phase 3 is the final phase of public engagement and will run from January 2023 – June 2023. Smash the Box, along with all CBO partners, will provide a final report with policy recommendations, which will then be integrated into the drafted STP. The drafted STP will be released in this phase for the community to respond to.

Our progress with the “Our Streets Need…” campaign speaks to how representation matters. Many past community outreach efforts have failed to uplift the voices of those who have historically not been given the opportunity to be heard. Choosing Smash the Box, alongside other CBOs, to lead outreach with the people they serve speaks to SDOT’s commitment to a community-driven outreach approach.

Phase 1

Video showing table at Seattle Latinx Pride 2022. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.

During Phase 1, which ran from May to August 2022, we hosted a table at Seattle Latinx Pride 2022 and the August Beacon Arts Street Fair. At these events, we used a flat screen TV connected to our laptop to demonstrate how easy it was to leave a comment via the STP Online Engagement Hub.

Table at Seattle Latinx Pride 2022. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.

Additionally, we teamed up with the Little Purple Library to provide our community with transportation-themed books for all ages. We also partnered with SDOT and scooter-share company, Veo, to give away transportation-related items at the event. Those helmets were a hit!

Table at the August Beacon Arts Street Fair. The book pictured close to the camera is authored by local resident Roxy Robles. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.
Table at the August Beacon Arts Street Fair. The book pictured close to the camera is authored by local resident Roxy Robles. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.

As part of this work, we put a flier at every little library in Beacon Hill. That’s 14 little libraries! Our #BeaconHillSTP supporters list has grown to nine organizations, who are all providing STP information to their members.

Phase 2 – We are here!

In Phase 2 we wanted to start taking the feedback we received from the first two events and ask questions based on that information. At Seattle Trans Pride 2022 and the September Beacon Arts Street Fair, we used the survey tool Mentimeter to ask questions such as “How would you feel safer walking, biking, busing, light rail’n in Seattle’s streets and public spaces?” We used a flat screen TV connected to our computer to show responses and comments from the community in a livestream format so event attendees could see what people were saying.

Table at Seattle Trans Pride 2022. Person is filling our a survey online at the table. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.
Seattle Trans Pride 2022. Photo Credit: Yes Segura.
Click the above image to see the full results!

We’ve also been walking around the neighborhood and talking to community members about the #BeaconHillSTP.

Person standing by a bicycle in the middle of a grassy area.
Tero Binuya is one of Beacon Hill’s neighborhood locals who does flashy street bike tricks around Beacon Hill. Photo Credit: Yes Segura

So, what’s next?

Get ready for it: the STP Online Engagement Hub has been updated with new ways for people to share their feedback with us in Phase 2. 

We’re seeking out volunteers to help chalk – spray paint a #BeaconHillSTP #SeattleTransportationPlan stencil around our neighborhood. Doing this will help the effort to get noticed. We hope this will increase community input across all the ways people can make their voices heard to create the STP. For more information, please email us at

Instagram post showing the #BeaconHillSTP and #SeattleTransportationPlan hashtag written in chalk on a sidewalk in Seattle.