A citizen’s group in Seattle’s northeast neighborhood of Ravenna has a new tactic to get the city to listen to them: annoy them with logic.
They relentlessly Tweet at, email, and visit the city when they see a road or traffic problem that needs attention. Andres Salomon leads the Ravenna neighborhood group that they call “Northeast Greenways.”
“Neighborhood greenways are areas where traffic has been calmed, speed limit is usually lowered to 20 miles an hour, and they are not prioritized as a throughway for cars,” Salomon said. “Instead, it’s prioritized as a place where people can play in the street.”
The group isn’t only about creating greenways. Salomon says his group has been involved in a few road management projects that have brought things like longer pedestrian crossing times, bike lanes, and “curb bulbs” to the Ravenna neighborhood. Curb bulbs essentially extend the areas that pedestrians have to move out onto the road before crossing the street. They prevent cars from taking fast, sharp turns.
Salomon says the idea isn’t just to advocate for pedestrians and bicyclists. He thinks these kinds of projects and improvements will also benefit drivers, who have been involved in 68 accidents along the main Ravenna drag of 65th Street between June of 2013 and June 2016.
“One of the frustrations that I have is that, as a community, we come and tell the city ‘this intersection is really dangerous,’ and the city doesn’t listen because nobody has been seriously injured or killed there,” Salomon said.
So, what do they want?
“There are very few crosswalks on 65th, there are no turn lanes so for drivers, especially during rush hour, there’s a lot of honking and people swerving around,” Salomon said. “For people walking, there are a lot of drivers making right and left turns and they’re in a rush to do it. I’m not a fan of the way the traffic signals work there.”
What Salomon does to air his grievances about 65th is he Tweets pictures of the problem intersections with his potential solutions crudely painted on top of the picture using a program such as Microsoft Paint. The city can actually see what he’s requesting. Sometimes he gets a response.
On Thursday, June 16th, at 8 a.m. Northeast Greenways is holding a rally and walk that starts at 65th and 12th. The group will march up to about 36th to hopefully catch the attention of the Mayor and Seattle Department of Transportation.