Seattle Neighborhood Greenways “Wonkathon”
Yesterday members of the Seattle grassroots and planning community met to have a “wonkathon” around Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “Greenways” refers to a type of enhanced residential street that is fused the benefits of a bike boulevard with additional consideration for pedestrians. The key features of a good greenway is a safe and inviting space for bikes and pedestrians where cars keep to residential speeds and volumes are low. A lot of the tools that are used to build “greenways” are the things that local residents have fought for in the past: Street trees and canopy; Traffic calming to keep people from using their street as a cut through to avoid arterial traffic; Safety improvements that help kids get to school; Better pavement and ADA compliant ramps; etc.
When you think of a greenway, it really is just a first class residential street. It is a street that is safe enough to let your kid play basketball in and one that you want to use to use just to go for a walk on. As a concept, sometimes people get hung up on the idea that greenways make it more difficult for cars to drive around, but I have rarely met a homeowner that wants 40 mile an hour traffic in front of their house. Not only does is it actually dangerous, but it feels dangerous, it is noisy, and actually can depress the value of their home. People who live on residential streets want cars to drive at residential speeds and greenways are one tool to get there.
At the Wonkathon yesterday, I ended up being the unofficial photographer along with the coordinator. Below are a couple of the best shots from the event, which are also available on Flickr.