Responsive, Resilient, Revolutionary: Your Impact

Thank you for supporting Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. More than ever, we need your help this year to reach our annual fundraising goal. With your help, we can keep making an impact next year. Every amount counts and we thank you in advance for including us in your year-end giving. If you haven’t donated to our end-of-year campaign yet, this is one of those years that would really make a difference.   You would need thousands of words to fully describe a year as difficult as 2020, but as I think about 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. In the earliest days of the coronavirus spread, we heard people clamoring for space to get outside and safely walk, bike, run, and get to essential services. With crowded sidewalks and parks, people felt like they had nowhere to go where there was enough space to socially distance. So we developed a community-sourced plan to respond to emerging needs, incorporating suggestions from our partners and residents citywide.
  • The City of Seattle was inspired by our plan and has implemented 26 miles of Stay Healthy Streets and Keep Moving Streets so far. While not perfect, these streets have made a positive difference in our neighborhoods, and helped keep people healthy. That’s why Seattle became the first city in the nation to pledge to make 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets permanent.
  • The City has rolled out another piece of our plan: creating a new program to allow small businesses to expand into the street for socially-distanced outdoor seating and retail. More than 100 businesses have already applied for these permits, allowing them to safely serve their customers outside and keep paying their employees.
  • In response to the murder of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of police, we have embarked on an effort to not only rethink laws like “jaywalking” that are disproportionately enforced, but to reimagine traffic law enforcement itself. We convened Whose Streets? Our Streets!, a group of talented people of color with insights into transportation justice, who have been charting an equitable way to keep everyone safe on our streets.
  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. It has been a tough year, but because of supporters like you we have made significant progress. 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. I have been in awe of the passion, energy, and fortitude displayed by so many of you who are determined to make our city a better place — thank you. Here a few numbers that demonstrate this remarkable resilience:
  • 1,598 new members joined SNG, just in the second half of 2020!
  • 2,179 advocacy messages were sent to elected officials.
  • 4,500 flyers were distributed, reaching every home along the Stay Healthy Streets.
  • 4 amazing videos produced to tell stories of resilience during the pandemic.
  • $43,000 raised at our annual event, Streets For People, getting us very close to our end-of-year fundraising goal. Can you help us finish the year strong?
  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. No one could have predicted the sudden transformation we all witnessed on Seattle streets this year, with 26 miles of safe routes where people can walk, bike, run, roll, and play, and cars are only guests. 26 miles where our values of health, sustainability, and equity are manifest. 26 miles that show us daily life in Seattle can be radically different, quickly and cheaply. And in a dark and difficult year, this progress gives me hope for the future. Here are three more areas of progress that give me hope for the future:
  • $17 million for walking and biking projects: Despite a difficult year for the city budget, we worked with our allies to save millions of dollars for Safe Routes to School, the Georgetown to South Park Trail, sidewalk repairs, South End bike routes, safe routes to transit, and the Duwamish Longhouse crosswalk and trail. This budget victory gives me hope that Seattle will see the value of investing in a green and just recovery that puts people to work in good jobs and makes our communities safer and more convenient to get around in.
  • 200 miles of safer speeds & 150 safer intersections: Seattle rolled out safer speed limit signs on 200 miles of arterial streets, with the default limit now being 25 MPH. 150 intersections were upgraded with traffic lights that give people walking and rolling a head start to get into the intersection, which helps prevent collisions. These improvements give me hope that the city is making gradual progress towards our Vision Zero goal of zero serious injuries or fatalities on our streets.
  • The Basic Bike Network nears completion: With the construction of protected bike lanes on Bell St and part of 4th Ave, we are close to completing our vision for a downtown bike network that connects people to where they need to go. Gaps remain, but the progress makes me hopeful that when more people return to commuting downtown, many will choose to bike instead of drive because of the connections we are building.
  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 your support. We have nimbly responded to community needs, and proven that our network of neighborhood advocates is resilient and able to deliver revolutionary results even in difficult times. If you agree that we have contributed to creating a city that is healthier, safer, more equitable, and more sustainable, I hope we can count on you to chip in financially as you are able to, so we can continue to make progress in 2021. Thank you and Happy Holidays! Gordon Padelford Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways                   Gordon helping post Stay Healthy Street survey flyers.