We're excited to announce that Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has selected the southeastern corner of Licton Springs for its pioneering home zone pilot in North Seattle! Home Zones represent an innovative and inexpensive approach to increasing walkability, safety, and the sense of community in neighborhoods that lack full sidewalk coverage. The pilot will cover the area north of 85TH, south of 92ND, west of I5 and east of Wallingford Ave. N Below is a map of the area, as well as some of the ideas that have already been proposed for the pilot:
This area was chosen, in particular, because it represents a small well-defined area in which to prove out the concept. If the pilot is successful: it could be expanded both to other areas in Licton Springs and throughout greater North Seattle.
Why are home zones something to get excited about?
It is known by many that Seattle has a sidewalk, or rather lack thereof, problem. As shown in this map prepared by SDOT in 2015, over a quarter of Seattle is laking sidewalk.
Most of the need is concentrated in North Seattle, predominantly north of N 85th. And while Licton Springs is lucky to have the best sidewalk coverage of any neighborhood this far North, it still has less sidewalk coverage than any of the communities immediately to the south of it.
There's an often repeated claim that Seattle promised all these areas sidewalk when they were annexed so many decades ago. And, while I haven't definitively been able to determine if that claim is fact or folklore, the city is slowly keeping that promise. The only problem: starting at around $500K+ per a single block, sidewalks are expensive. At the current rate of expenditure, it will take over 300 years for all of Seattle to have sidewalks.
What are Home Zones and how do they aim to solve this problem?
A Home Zone is an area that is protected from lots of fast moving traffic so that streets are safe enough to walk on. Home Zones keep local access for residents, emergency access, and deliveries while discouraging cut-through traffic. Home Zones can use a variety of street improvements to accomplish this but focus on improvements that have the best “bang for our buck” recognizing Seattle’s pedestrian budget is stretched very thin.
Home Zones are meant to:
- Make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk in a neighborhood
- Reduce cut-through traffic and speeding by keeping this traffic on the arterials (not increasing traffic on other neighborhood streets), while allowing neighbors to get to their homes, emergency access, deliveries, etc.
- Enhance the quality of life for neighbors and strengthen our community (one way to do this is by integrating community art).
In essence: Home Zones aim to offer a drastically less expensive alternative to improve the walkability of currently unsidewalked streets, while also achieving a greater and more cohesive sense of community than can be made with sidewalks alone.
Can I donate to the effort?
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways which is a local nonprofit working to make every neighborhood a great place to walk, bike, and live, is currently supporting this project with staff time and resources. You can donate to help make this a reality at seattlegreenways.org. Or contact [email protected] for more information.
What happens next? How can I get involved?
If you live in or near the pilot area or want to give input on the very first North Seattle home zone, you can find more information about the details of this project here. Additionally, we encourage you to fill out the survey here or email us at [email protected] to be kept up to date on the project.
The first public in-person meeting to provide feedback will be held at the Meridian Health Center (10521 Meridian Ave) starting at 6:30 PM September 13th. If able, please register your intention to attend the meeting on Seattle Greenways home zone website.
We hope to see you there!