Another Family Greenway Ride!

What were the odds? As if a bike train on the newest neighborhood greenway this coming Friday weren’t enough, a family bike ride is planned for the pending Ballard greenway next Sunday!

There’s a strong bike-to-school connection for this one as well. It’s being organized by Shannon Koller, who is doing fantastic work helping kids bike to Loyal Heights Elementary, along with folks from Ballard Greenways.

The goal of the ride is to get families out riding on the funded but not yet constructed NW 58th St. neighborhood greenway to learn about this great new route that will improve access to several local schools.

From Shannon:

“You and your family are invited to a Family Bike Ride on the Ballard Greenway on Sunday, October 28 at 10 a.m.

Greenways are designed to connect people on bikes and on foot to their neighborhood destinations on low-traffic streets.  The Ballard Greenway, primarily on NW 58th Street, has been funded by the City of Seattle and is currently in the design phase.   This charming east/west route in south Ballard is scheduled to be complete in Spring 2013 and will connect us to the Burke Gilman Trail and link us to other neighborhoods.

Meet at the Ballard Commons Park (5701 22nd Ave NW) at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 28 to ride along with us as we learn more about this exciting project.  We’ll first explore the west side of the Greenway to see how it links with the Burke Gilman Trail, pass by the Ballard Library, then explore the east side of the Greenway before returning to the Ballard Commons and on to the Ballard Farmer’s Market.  Volunteers from the Ballard Greenway will be on hand to answer questions about the project.

The ride is short (approximately 2 miles) to accommodate our younger family members.  We will encounter gentle hills, roundabouts, marked and unmarked intersections, uneven and cracked pavement, traffic lights, and a bike lane.  In other words, this will be a perfect opportunity to teach our emerging urban cyclists about how to successfully navigate these elements in a supportive and fun environment.”

Should be a great opportunity to meet other families and bike-to-school and greenways advocates while checking out NW 58th and touring the proposed greenway.

Bike train Friday morning? And a family bike ride on Sunday? Sounds like a great weekend of bike to school and greenways connections!

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Celebrate a New Greenway: Join the Bike Train!

Seattle’s second neighborhood greenway is scheduled for completion, and it happens to coincide with one of our favorite walk and bike to school projects, the Thornton Creek bike trains!

The new greenway runs along 39th Ave. NE, which happens to be the southern bike train route to Thornton Creek.

Childrens Hospital is the sponsor of this new greenway through their Livable Streets Initiative. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has also been doing a great job of working with the city and with neighbors to help get greenways like this one implemented throughout Seattle. While this is only the second one constructed to date, more are planned in the coming years.

Many readers will be familiar with them, but for those who may not be, a neighborhood greenway is a local street with features that create a safer environment for walking and biking to local parks, schools, and other neighborhood destinations. Some of the best greenways will help kids and families get to school more safely.

39th Ave. NE under construction.
This connection to the BG is complete now!

Childrens recognizes that kids and families will be a primary user group of the new 39th Ave. NE project. The greenway should help Thornton Creek students — and some from Bryant and Eckstein as well — navigate their way across arterial streets and get to school a little more easily and safely. With the greenway nearing completion, Childrens has scheduled a ribbon cutting ceremony to coincide with the October 26 running of the Thornton Creek bike train!

What could be cooler than a bike train on a greenway? Greenways and bike trains are two new cutting edge walk and bike initiatives here in Seattle, and it’s really fun to see them connected in this way. Hopefully this event will help demonstrate to the community the value and fun of both neighborhood greenways and of kids walking and biking to school.

Here are the details for next Friday’s event. While it’s timed for the departure of the bike train, neighbors and other community members are welcome to join too.

Riding with the Thornton Creek bike train is really fun and inspiring. If you have a chance, swing by the southern station next Friday morning and hop on board!

The Thornton Creek bike train rolling along last spring.
The greenway project has improved these arterial crossings.

SDOT Mini-Grants

It’s mini-grant time of year again!

Do you live in Seattle? Kids go to a Seattle school? Are you interested in helping create a walk and bike culture?

Consider applying for a Safe Routes to School mini-grant from the Seattle Department of Transportation, and get some financial assistance to shift the culture at your school.

The grant round for 2013 is open now, with applications due in early November. The maximum grant amount is $1000, and funds will be available for use beginning in the 2013 calendar year.

These grants can be so helpful in launching or enhancing a bike and walk program. Past grants have been used for:

  • Incentives, prizes, and treats to reward kids who walk or bike to school
  • Safety improvements like signage or flags for arterial crosswalks
  • Small infrastructure improvements like new bike racks
  • Promotional materials to encourage families to walk or bike
  • Bike rodeos and other education programs or events
  • Lots of other creative programs and projects to help families get to school in a sustainable way

These grants are really a cornerstone of creating a walk and bike to school program at your local school. Some dedicated funding can make all the difference in getting started.

Get together with other parents, your PTSA, staff, and your school administration and consider applying for the coming year!

It’s Walktober!

International Walk to School Month begins today! Spread the word at your school and let’s get Seattle kids walking.

Bagley Elementary had three walking school buses last year and are adding some more for 2012-13.

At West Woodland, they’ve had a big walking school bus going for years! They’ve established some great guidelines to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for, and has fun as well.

Even at bike-crazy Bryant Elementary, walking school buses are all the rage this fall! Bryant has established four stations — each a few blocks from school — and parents are hosting meet-ups every Friday, and then families are walking to school en masse.

At Dearborn Elementary, in past years they’ve even had the principal and teachers lead their walking school buses!

If you want more info or some examples from these schools, let us know and we’ll set you up!

The Seattle School District passed a new transportation policy last year that requires each elementary and K-8 principal to establish at least one walking school bus by the 2013-14 school year. Let’s hold them to it, but also show them how it’s done by getting out and walking this fall.

Walking school buses can be simple or complex. In the old days, we just walked to school, right? But often we picked up friends along the way because that made it more fun. In its essence a walking school bus is no more than that: just a fun and healthy way for a group to get to school together. It can have timed routes with multiple stops, or just be a simple meet-up location for several families to leave together. Or a “bus” can be informal, with friends and neighbors just electing to walk to school together.

It’s never too late to rally some friends to walk or bike, or even to organize a small event. Feet First has made some nice template posters available that can easily be adapted, and posted at your school.

Let’s get Seattle school kids walking now! What are you doing at your school to help build this kid-powered movement?

Even Bryant’s walking. Well, and biking too!