Lots of great things are happening in our neighborhood these days to support safer and more people-friendly streets, one of the focus areas of the Ravenna/Bryant Community Association.
Bike and walk to school programs are blossoming in our community. In addition, the neighborhood greenways movement has sprouted up, and we’re fortunate that Seattle’s second greenway is under construction right here in our neighborhood!
A couple of upcoming events highlight these efforts:
- The 39th Ave. NE Neighborhood Greenway is nearing completion, and a ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for this coming Friday, October 26. The timing is early morning so that Thornton Creek students can participate, and in fact the kickoff event and the greenway are right along the route of one of the Thornton Creek bike trains! Neighbors and other community members are welcome too.
- It’s also “International Walk to School Month,” and Bryant Elementary has been running walking school buses each Friday in October to encourage more kids to walk to school. Bryant has had as many as 90 kids participate, and this upcoming Friday, October 26, promises to be the biggest one yet.
These events are part of the growth of walking and biking to school throughout our community that we discussed at the October 4 Back to School Community Meeting. Programs are growing rapidly at several of our local schools — Bryant, Thornton Creek, and Eckstein, among others.
For the past six years, parents have been working to increase the number of kids getting to school under their own power and it has paid off in terms of reduced car traffic volumes near the schools during drop-off and pickup times, as well as healthier and happier kids who are alert and prepared as they arrive at school. In fact, these programs have been so successful that this past year both Bryant and Eckstein won city-wide awards for the numbers of kids getting to school on foot or by bike!
At the October 4 meeting, it was great to hear from principals at several of our schools who are focused not only on what is happening within the schools but also on the relationship of these schools to our community. Principals Sherri Kokx (Eckstein), Chris Cronas (Wedgwood), and John Miner (Thornton Creek) all spoke of the importance of programs that help create safer streets, more welcoming communities, and healthier kids.
Creating safer streets requires reducing traffic volumes and speeds and helping neighbors feel comfortable and safe walking and biking to their local destinations. Partnerships are forming between school administrations, parent groups, neighborhood greenways organizers, and community councils, and are an example of how when we all collaborate, we can improve our neighborhoods.