Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Guest blog, by Paulo Nunes-Ueno, director of Seattle Children’s Transportation Department

Seattle Children’s kicked off the Livable Streets Initiative last year with the goal of working with our community to improve mobility, safety and livability in Northeast Seattle. A key focus was to achieve these goals through improvements to the walking and bicycling environment. Through the course of this effort, three central themes emerged:

• create neighborhood green streets to connect the Burke-Gilman Trail, local parks, schools, and existing bike and pedestrian paths

• improve access to and from the Burke-Gilman Trail, and

• develop safe crossings of major arterial streets

These themes were selected to support the hospital’s expansion project, neighborhood goals and the hospital’s mission.

A large effort was placed on gathering community input to inform the Livable Streets Initiative. At a well-attended workshop last November, community participants drew their thoughts on a giant map, provided input to design ideal streets and intersections, and perused booths set up by our partner organizations. All told, more than 100 individual project ideas came in, as well as hundreds of great comments and suggestions. We also gathered project ideas from existing plans (e.g. bike and pedestrian master plans, neighborhood street fund applications), and collaborated with the Seattle Department of Transportation to create the initiative.

Seattle Children’s transportation staff, with the help of a consultant team and Seattle Department of Transportation staff, scored this input in relation to the three themes, how it related to the transportation patterns near the hospital and the level of community support. Six projects rose to the top after this evaluation.

We are still looking additional feedback on the selected projects, so we hope you have the opportunity to drop by our upcoming workshop on April 30 at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The results of the project assessment to date and potential initiatives will be available for review. If you can’t make it in person to one of the workshops, check out the booklet and send us an email with your thoughts at livable.streets@seattlechildrens.org.

Construction on these projects is expected to begin in 2012.

If you have questions  you can call 206-987-6197.  If you have an emergency you can call our 24-hour hotline at 206-987-7744 or you can e-mail us at construction@seattlechildrens.org.