Green in the face and on street

In the spring, the Cascade staff made a trip to Portland to meet the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, members of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and to ride the lovely streets we’ve heard so many good things about.

Portland has an amazing bike network with an incredible array of bold implementations – bike signals, bike boxes, cycletracks, bike bridges, protected crossings – that have lead to dramatic increases in ridership. What stands out most to me, is Portland's network of Neighborhood Greenways.

Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds where bicycle and pedestrians are given priority. And Portland has miles of them, and they are a joy to ride. If you want to turn green, check out the map of their Greenways network.

I’m all for arterial treatments. Seattle has done a good job of laying down paint for bikes on arterials, which makes it easier to get to a wide variety of destinations. Neighborhood Greenways, however, will have great appeal to people who are intimidated by riding with traffic. That is to say: a lot of people.

Happily, a movement for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has blossomed.  Beacon Hill has been working to secure safe, family-friendly walking and cycling paths that link their neighborhood hotspots. Wallingford has identified its first Greenway project, to run along 43rd and 44th Streets between Stone Way and I5. Ballard, Laurelhurst and now the University District are also up and running.

If low-stress roadways that offer a greater connection to community sound good to you, now is a good time to get involved.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Meetup & Potluck
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6:30pm - 8:30 p.m.
Mosaic Coffeehouse, Wallingford
4401 2nd Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105

This will be a great opportunity to network with and learn from other neighborhood organizers working to build Neighborhood Greenways in Seattle. Whether you're interested in getting safe bikeways in your own neighborhood and wondering where to start -- or just interested in learning about this emerging grassroots movement in Seattle -- you are invited to join us! Seattle City Councilmember, Sally Bagshaw will also be in attendance. Sally is a proponent of Neighborhood Greenways, and it would be a big help to show her that the community agrees.

One thing to note: from Cascade's view, Greenways aren’t intended to displace or eliminate vital arterial projects that often provide the best connectivity between origins and destinations. We see them as wonderful and necessary complementary projects. Based on what we know about Portland though, it's clear that Neighborhood Greenways will go far in attracting people to even ride in the first place. And that's an important first step for many people to take.