I hadn’t planned on writing a New Year’s Day post. I’ve spent the last ten days of 2013 horribly sick with the flu and am still on the mend. I’d have chosen to spend the day indoors, close to my tissue box, but I’m the healthier of the two adults at the moment so I braved the outside world to make a quick run to the pharmacy.
It’s not flat, but it’s a short route: two quiet blocks to the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway, eight blocks of Greenway, and one block along an arterial (i.e. busy street) to the store.
I’m fortunate to live so close to the Greenway, and our Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway is the first in Seattle–we celebrated its opening in June of 2012. I love the Greenway and go out of my way (uphill!) to use it regularly, but it’s just paint and signs–no added stop signs and speed bumps like the newer Greenways enjoy. I’d like to think that motorists notice the Neighborhood Greenway sign and keep an extra watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, but all too often if people aren’t forced to slow their cars, they won’t.
Case in point: today at 3:30, still light out for a bit, I’m riding along the Neighborhood Greenway and notice an SUV approaching from my right, about 100 feet (two houses) away. I’m already at the traffic circle, but I stop and wait. I probably had enough time to cross the intersection before him and I have the right of way, but in this situation I tend to assume the driver won’t see me. I’m glad I stopped because he was going a bit over the speed limit, had a cell phone to his ear, and didn’t even glance my way.
I worry that our Greenway isn’t slated to be finished as it’s more exciting to unveil new projects, but I hope I’m wrong (looks like SDOT calls it “complete” so I’m not holding my breath). It’s a real treat to ride along the new Ballard and Fremont Greenways, knowing cross traffic has stop signs.
So here’s to more Complete Streets in Seattle for 2014!
From the National Complete Streets Coalition:
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.
Looks like SDOT has a Complete Streets page, too, though their description doesn’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling as the one above.