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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT: Mayor announces school sidewalk projects for 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
10/8/2008  11:00:00 AM
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Mayor announces school sidewalk projects for 2009
Mayor Nickels’ 2009-2010 budget adds $3.5 million for more sidewalks

Mayor announces school sidewalk projects for 2009, October 8, 2008SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels today named five schools that will receive sidewalks and significant pedestrian improvements as part of the 2009 Safe Routes to School Program.  The city will upgrade walkways and crossings at Sacajawea Elementary, North Beach Elementary, Blaine K-8, Kimball Elementary and Concord Elementary.

“We’re continuing our commitment to improving pedestrian safety and one of our priorities is making it safer and easier for children to walk and bike to school,” said Nickels.

In addition to the Safe Routes to School Program, the mayor’s 2009-2010 proposed budget includes an additional $3.5 million for sidewalk construction.   Since 2002, the city has aggressively boosted pedestrian safety efforts, building nearly 300 blocks of new sidewalk, adding new crosswalks and improving safety at existing crosswalks with curb ramps and pedestrian countdown signals.  Under the mayor’s proposed biennial budget, the city expects to build about 26 more blocks of new sidewalks.

In conjunction with International Walk to School Day, the mayor also celebrated the city’s completion of its 2008 Safe Routes to School projects with a ribbon cutting at Sanislo Elementary.  The 2008 projects were completed before the start of school at Sanislo Elementary, Broadview Thomson Elementary, Dunlap Elementary, Bailey Gatzert Elementary and Summit K-12 School.  

“I am thrilled with the results of the Safe Routes to School program,” said Council-member Jan Drago.  “The safety enhancements made at these schools in 2008 are remarkable.  It is wonderful to see the city making it easier for so many children to walk and bike to school.”

Designed and built by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the Sanislo project included a new concrete walkway, curb ramps, improved crosswalks, a planting strip and a repaved roadway.  SDOT partnered with Feet First to secure a $30,000 grant from the state for the Sanislo project.   

The Safe Routes to School program is primarily funded through the voter-approved Bridging the Gap transportation levy.  Through the program, the city works closely with school staff, students and parents to identify solutions to make walking and biking safer and more accessible.  Over the life of the nine-year levy, SDOT anticipates making major improvements at 30 schools across the city.

As part of Bridging the Gap, projects have also been completed at Northgate Elementary, Wing Luke Elementary and Arbor Heights Elementary.  SDOT has also installed new school zone signage around 102 schools over the past two years.

Bridging the Gap is the $365 million levy passed by Seattle voters in 2006.  It enables much-needed work by SDOT, such as roadway paving, sidewalk development and repair, bridge maintenance, and tree pruning and planting. It also supports the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, enhanced transit connections and large Neighborhood Street Fund projects.

October 8th is International Walk to School Day, which was created to bring leaders and children together to enhance awareness about the need for walkable communities.  The first official Walk to School Day was held in Chicago in 1997.Visit the mayor’s web site at www.seattle.gov/mayor. Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at www.seattle.gov/mayor/newsletter_signup.htm

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