Green Lake Park and Woodland Park are North Seattle's biggest parks, drawing thousands of people playing, walking, strolling, running, biking, swimming, and rowing every weekend and even on weekdays. In addition, there are many schools and child care facilities either directly adjacent or nearby to the major streets to be repaved.
Just as people walk and bike in the parks, people should be able to safely and comfortable walk and bike to the parks.
That's why the Seattle City Council created the "Greenways Initiative" within the Parks & Recreation Department in 2015. This program is specifically intended to improve bicycle and pedestrian access and safety to and through parks.
The state and city has several other related policies. For example, under state law, cities and school districts may designate school & playground zones that reduces a street's speed limit to 20 mph within 200 feet of a marked crosswalk on a dedicated route to a school or playground. In these areas, traffic fines increase and can be enforced with a traffic camera.
With so many people using the parks for recreation, it's imperative that we continue to make the streets safer so people feel more comfortable getting to and through the parks safely. And with so many adjacent schools and child care facilities (Bethany Community Church, Billings Middle School, La Esquelita Bilingual School, Green Lake Elementary School, Interlake Child Care, and Seattle Waldorf, to name the adjacent ones), plus the Green Lake Library and Green Lake Community Center, it's also important that we make sure kids in particular are safe.
That's why the protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings in this project are so important.
Protected bike lanes are a proven way to improve pedestrian safety by calming all traffic on the street and providing a "refuge" for pedestrians within the bike lane's buffer at crossings.
We believe the City should also go the extra step by reducing the speed limits throughout the corridor where adjacent to the parks and schools, adding speed hump and rectangular rapid flashing beacons at pedestrian crossings, and possibly traffic cameras to enforce school/playground zones.