2020 Year In Review - Three Words to Describe Our Movement

GivingTuesEmailHeader_family-corral-rally_v2   A letter from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Director Gordon Padelford You would need thousands of words to fully describe a year as difficult  as 2020, but as I reflect on Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, looking back on our work together this year, three surprisingly positive words keep coming to mind: responsive, resilient, and revolutionary Responsive, because after the pandemic hit, we paused, talked to our grassroots network and the public about what they were experiencing, and retooled our entire work plan to respond to community needs. We developed a community-sourced plan to respond to emerging needs, incorporating suggestions from our partners and residents citywide. As a result of our work together, Seattle became the first city in the nation to pledge to make 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets permanent and created a new program to allow small businesses to expand into the street for socially distanced outdoor seating and retail. In response to the murder of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of police, we started a workgroup to completely rethink traffic law enforcement.  Resilient, because despite the challenges of the pandemic, our network of 15 neighborhood groups has continued to stay active and organize for change across the city. I’m always amazed by the determination and energy of our volunteers, but this year I’ve been blown away. Our staff and volunteers have stepped up to support the communities we serve in amazing ways this year, from delivering food bank supplies by bike, to educating neighbors about safe places to walk and bike, to working to fix unjust systems, to building signs that neighbors can use to close their streets to cars. Here are a few stats that speak to this energy: we’ve welcomed 1,600 new active members in just the second half of 2020, sent 2,200 advocacy messages to elected officials, and distributed 4,500 outreach flyers to every home along each Stay Healthy Street. And I also want to take a moment for some key thank yous: to our phenomenal partners in the MASS Coalition; to social justice leader Aaron Dixon, for joining us for our annual racial equity seminar; to Councilmember Tammy Morales for speaking at our successful annual event, Streets For People; and to everyone else who has partnered with us this year.   Revolutionary, because few could have imagined at the beginning of the year we would have 26 miles of open streets for people — and that’s just the start of what gives me hope that big change is still possible. We also won $17 million for walking and biking projects, and secured 300 safer intersections and 200 miles of streets at safer speeds. Plus, at last, we got Bell St and part of 4th Ave completed as part of the Basic Bike Network downtown.  In the end, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways isn’t really about sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, or trails. We’re about people. We’re about supporting people in one of the most fundamental of daily activities — getting from one place to another, safely, comfortably, conveniently. And despite all that has happened, we have achieved so much together this year thanks to you. I hope you’ll enjoy this last newsletter of 2020, and keep us in mind for any end of year giving.   Sincerely, Gordon Padelford headshot croppedGordon Padelford Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways