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Women’s History Month | A Roadside Chat with Sara Colling

Sara smiles at a table with information about a Safe Routes to School project. Photo credit: Sara Colling

Blog stats: 400 words | 2-minute read

We’re hosting this Roadside Chat and other updates from our team at the Seattle Department of Transportation to celebrate Women’s History Month 2024! This month’s theme is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” We hope you enjoy this conversation with Sara Colling, our Safe Routes to School Program Manager.

Hello. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey to date.

My background is in public health where we say transportation is one of the ’social determinants of health.’ In other words, when people have the chance to be out and about getting to places in an active way and meeting neighbors, we’re healthier and our communities are healthier.

What projects have you worked on that you are most proud of? What obstacles have you overcome and what did you learn along the way?

I started on the outreach and engagement team at SDOT, and my two most challenging projects are the two I’m most proud of, and that’s the protected bike lane along Westlake and the Vision Zero project on Rainier Ave S. I got to work with Dawn Schellenberg (SDOT’s Communications Director) on the Westlake project and appreciated her leadership style to stick to values, listen to community members, try new things, and keep a sense of humor.

What is your current role at SDOT? What does your typical work week look like?

I’m the Safe Routes to School Program Manager and I get to have a full range in my work from walking with the Walking School Bus at Dunlap Elementary to developing projects that make their route more comfortable and inviting. Our team does this kind of work across all schools with a focus on higher equity-need schools.

Tell us more about how your family life influences your perspectives on transportation.

I have two daughters (6 and 4) and now see the transportation system through their eyes. So much is good (they ride free on transit and LOVE pulling that cord, and we can take Healthy Streets right to their schools) and so much is hard (I hold their hands tight when we’re waiting to cross an arterial and people driving are zooming by). I’m proud to be part of building a world slowly but surely where they can get around confidently and independently.

We’d like to thank Sara for her time and for helping us kick off our celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Thank you Sara for sharing your experiences!