The purpose of this newsletter is to provide
information, inspire involvement, and make things work
in this great city.
"Pedestrian Summer," a campaign I initiated to promote walking and the safety of pedestrians,
began in May and will continue through "Walk to School Day" in early October. With the support
of the Council, Mayor, City Departments, community organizations, and businesses, the campaign
hopes to increase safety through education, engineering and enforcement, and to promote walking
by sponsoring community events throughout the summer.
The goals of the campaign are to foster more respect and civility between pedestrians and
motorists and to improve driver behavior by increasing awareness about pedestrian safety.
Our ambition is to transform driving culture in Seattle by making motorists aware of pedestrians,
and to help walkers learn how to keep themselves safe. The long-term goal is to get people more
excited about walking by creating a safer and more pedestrian-friendly cityscape.
This campaign also demonstrates the City's commitment to walking as a vital mode of
transportation, a healthy form of exercise and a fun way to build community. Having more
people walking reduces pollution, cuts traffic congestion, and helps promote public safety.
The Pedestrian Summer campaign ties together various public and private programs to encourage
walking and pedestrian safety, in four components:Encouragement: guided walking tours and parade participation by pedestrian advocates
Pedestrian Summer officially kicked-off Saturday, May 24 at the Rainier Valley Runaround
fun run with the unveiling of a new pedestrian safety brochure and the Columbia City Map,
the fifth neighborhood walking, biking and busing guide produced by the Seattle Department
David Grossman, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research
Center points out that on average, a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle every seven
minutes in the U.S. Harborview is supporting Pedestrian Summer with the conviction that
we have a unique opportunity to take pedestrian safety to a new level by concentrating our
efforts in a campaign like this.
It is crucial to remember that when pedestrians and vehicles come into conflict, it is the
pedestrian who suffers the damage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
in 2001 there were 4,882 pedestrian deaths, and 78,000 pedestrians hospitalized due to traffic crashes.
On average, a pedestrian was injured every 7 minutes. Of children ages 5 9 who were killed in
traffic crashes, 22 percent were pedestrians. Most pedestrian deaths (69%) occurred in urban areas.
In Seattle, for the period January 1996 to June 2002, there were 923 hospitalizations of
pedestrians who were hit by motor vehicles, an average of 142 hospitalizations per year.
Five percent of those who were hospitalized died.
You can avoid being a statistic by walking safe and driving safe. As a pedestrian, your
responsibility is to cross at corners, look before you start to cross or into the next lane,
obey traffic signals (a flashing "Don't Walk" means don't start across the intersection, not
"Run"), and use good judgment to stay safe, no matter who has the right of way.
As a driver, you must keep in mind that every intersection, whether marked or not,
is a crosswalk, and pedestrians have the right-of-way. You should avoid passing other
cars stopped at crosswalks and wait until all pedestrians have cleared the intersection.
Obeying the speed limit will leave you the time to stop safely and prevent an accident.
Pedestrian Summer is a City of Seattle program, and is also co-sponsored by PEMCO Insurance,
State Farm Insurance, Vulcan, Safeco, Puget Sound Energy, Turner Construction, the Washington
Traffic and Safety Commission, and Flexcar. More information and a listing of events can be
found on www.pedsummer.org
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HIGHPOINT PLAN APPROVED
On Tuesday, May 28, the City Council unanimously approved legislation to enable the
redevelopment of Seattle Housing Authority's High Point community in West Seattle.
Under the redevelopment plan, the existing 716 low-income units will be demolished and
replaced by a mixed community of 1600 new units.
High Point is the third of SHA's major housing projects to be redeveloped. Like the others,
it was originally built during World War II as worker housing, and the buildings are poorly
constructed and deteriorating. High Point was also designed to be separate from the rest
of the community, with minimal community facilities.
The new High Point will have a mix of income levels, including homeownership, a restored
street grid that connects to the larger city grid, and a new community center, community clinic,
park, and library, along with neighborhood retail spaces. It will also be a significant step
forward in sharing the benefits of sustainable design with low income households, with green
building principles used in the housing units and a completely new natural drainage system that
is cutting edge in its design and minimal in its impact on the environment.
As with the other SHA redevelopments, the low-income housing units will be fully replaced
either on or off site, and an additional 109 units will be supported through Section 8 vouchers,
with all residents receiving relocation benefits.
The High Point plan received overwhelming community support, and had so little controversy
that few have noticed its truly revolutionary design. The new High Point will add more than
800 units to Seattle's housing stock, create a new community integrated with those surrounding
it, and extend the benefits of sustainable design to low and moderate income households.
This will be a truly extraordinary project, and one that all Seattle will be proud of.
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MONORAIL: SEATTLE CENTER AND LANDMARK ISSUE
As the monorail moves forward with further planning and design, the City Council will have
to decide a number of contentious issues, two of which are currently very active. It's important
to remember that the City of Seattle is not constructing the Seattle monorail, which is under
the management of an independent authority, the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority (SPMA).
As the monorail plan is developed in detail, I believe that the City should fully cooperate
with the SPMA, and not obstruct the SPMA in carrying out its responsibilities as agreed to by
However, the City does have the responsibility for ensuring that the interests of the
City are thoroughly reviewed and protected during the development process. Since the City
owns the Seattle Center, it has the ultimate decision making power as to whether or not to
grant the SPMA the ability to construct the monorail on this property (the SPMA has the
authority to condemn private property, but not city property). The City Council also has
the ultimate authority to determine what will be required to be protected under the historical
designation of the current monorail.
In the area of the Seattle Center, there are now four alternative routes being considered,
two of which cross the Center. I am concerned that the construction of the monorail across
the Center grounds may not be compatible with the environment of the Center's open space.
There are other issues to consider as well, including the loss of tree cover, construction
difficulties, and the relationship of the proposed route to other Seattle Center activities.
At the same time, it is important that the monorail stations serve the Center and that the
merits of the alternatives be given objective review.
I believe that the alignment that goes around the Seattle Center on Mercer Street
meets the community's interest in a station that is convenient for Uptown, offers a much
more productive station on the east side of the Center, and avoids conflicts on the Center
grounds, and I would strongly lean towards the Mercer Street route. However, I am willing
to consider the merits of other routes if it can be demonstrated that they clearly alleviate
concerns about the impact on the Seattle Center. Fortunately, the Council does not need to
make a decision until the Environmental Impact Statement is completed.
With the designation of the existing monorail as a landmark, legislation will soon come
before the City Council identifying what elements of the monorail should be preserved.
I support preserving the vehicles and memorializing the route, but I do not support keeping
the columns and beams on Fifth Avenue. The vehicles and route are an appropriate way to
commemorate the historical significance of the monorail, while the cost and impact on the
urban environment of preserving the columns and beams outweigh the added value of retaining them.
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MAPLE LEAF COMMUNITY GARDEN
At last, years after being identified as a high priority in the neighborhood, Maple Leaf
and the Northgate area will have a community garden. In late April an agreement was signed
by the heirs to the property owner and the City for the purchase of a vacant lot on NE 103rd
just east of 5th Ave. NE. The property is close to numerous apartments and condominiums, an
ideal location for residents who need garden space. The property sale should be finalized in August.
"The community is thrilled to know that this site will be preserved as open space and will
soon be developed into a community garden where neighbors can grow produce and also make new
friends," commented Barbara Maxwell, a Maple Leaf resident who led the planning effort. "It has
been a longstanding dream since this property was first nominated for acquisition by the Maple
Leaf Community Council in 1988."
My office has worked collaboratively with the neighborhood for the last four years to make
this happen. The Maple Leaf Community Council developed the initial design for the community
garden. The funding for the land purchase is a combination of money from a Neighborhood Matching
Grant, a Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Grant, the King County Conservation Futures Fund and private
The combination of persistent and committed effort on the part of the community and great
support from City staff, especially Deirdre Grace of the Department of Neighborhoods and Lise
Ward and other staff in the Parks Department, made it possible to achieve one of this neighborhood's
dreams. Together with the pending construction of a library branch and community center, the garden
will represent further steps toward implementing a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood revitalization
that was envisioned in the community plan approved by the Mayor and Council in 1993.
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"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action."
-- James Russell Lowell
"Some friends I have lost to death, others by the sheer inability to cross the street."
-- Virginia Woolf
Citizen participation and
engagement are critical for maintaining democracy --
fostering it is a key task of elected officials. It's my
hope that this newsletter will inform you about issues,
inspire you to get involved, and that together we can
make things work better in this great city. Please send
me your feedback, so we can keep things lively, interesting, and
useful. And please forward it along to friends who might be
Your Seattle City Councilmember
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