By Lisa McCrummen, NW Greenways Volunteer
Join NW Greenways on Saturday, October 29th from Noon- 3 PM to celebrate the new ‘Way Less Spooky’ safe street crossing victory at North 83rd St and Greenwood Ave North during the Hunger Goblin event.
A table will be set up for the community in front of Dabble to gather, meet neighbors, decorate crossing flags, make thank you SDOT cards … and check out what it feels like to safely walk and roll across the intersection.
Earlier this week the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installed a new crosswalk in the heart of Greenwood, at North 83rd and Greenwood, with all the bells and whistles: a traffic signal, a bike detector, signage and a crosswalk!
Neighbors are overjoyed by the news, especially NW Greenways volunteers who have been championing the crosswalk for years. The crosswalk creates safe space at a very busy intersection near Greenwood’s post office, library, two elementary schools along with many businesses, including the very popular Coyle’s bakery. The crosswalk also links the Neighborhood Greenway, a designated route labeled for bicyclists and pedestrians. It also connects Green Lake to First Avenue Northwest and then along other routes to Ballard.
“Urban Tacticians” had been concerned about delays of the dangerous crossing after waiting for years because of budget shortfalls and COVID –finally acted, installing a unique and very visible painted crossing; it was painted in the middle of the night, without city approval. Once up, neighbors attested that the area became much safer noting that cars were both slower, and courteous to ‘crossers’ and stopped blocking the mobility curb ramp for walkers and rollers, as they dashed into Coyle’s for a pastry or went to drop of mail.
But the urban guerilla crosswalk didn’t meet SDOT’s criteria and was ultimately removed.
While continuing to wait for SDOT to install a sanctioned crosswalk, thousands of neighbors who used this unsafe route were frustrated and concerned: traffic fatalities in Seattle follow a national upward trend and the SDOT is under pressure to make investments that improve safety on the city’s streets.
So, a big sigh of relief (and woo hoo) is being heard from neighbors overjoyed at their new ‘way less spooky’ crossing.
NW Greenways is encouraged by this and the renewed energy at the City of Seattle to make real change by creating a vision, making progress and (yes please!) seeking to leverage additional funds to more quickly realize opportunities that will support safer streets. During the summer, SDOT applied for a Safe Streets for All grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, to make safety improvements in areas around the city.
Northwest Greenways is a coalition of Greenways groups from the north end of Seattle that includes Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, Licton Springs, Haller Lake, Bitter Lake, and Broadview neighborhoods. Our group consists of neighbors working together to make our streets safe for all people to walk, bike, play, and live. We meet on the second Tuesday every other month to discuss how we can accomplish our goals. We occasionally organize events to spread our message on safer streets to our neighbors.