Our walking audits are unique and great community engagement tools. On our audits we work with community members, elected officials, and city staff to assess the community and identify barriers and opportunities to walking so that the city or neighborhood can take steps toward improving places for people to walk. Community members are encouraged to come along and share their comments and observations. We bring along cameras for children and adults to record specific points of the walking experience.
On January 24, 2015 Feet First coordinated a walking and biking audit in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle that included, a group of Mercer Middle School staff members, students and their families, neighbors, cycling advocates, a local business owner and transportation planners from Seattle Department of Transportation.
The goal of the walking and biking audit was to make observations and recommendations on ways to improve walking and biking access for students and families on their way to and from school.
Improvements along 16th Ave S between S Dakota St and Asa Mercer Middle School driveway rose quickly to the top of our list of safety issues. In the walking and biking audit report we recommended the following three issues be addressed:
- Curb stops be installed to prevent vehicles from parking on the sidewalk,
- Planting strip or swales be installed, as appropriate, or find other engineering options to address drainage issues.
- Widen existing sidewalk to allow for student access by both bike and foot to complete a safe connection to existing trails
After presenting our recommendations to the City, we are pleased to learn that Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks Department are working together to support our recommendations. This is huge win for the Mercer students and families! The project is anticipated to be completed by December 2015.
Take a look at the conditions students face when walking or biking to school (photo taken June 16, 2015).
Photos taken during our Walking Audit, January 2015 by Mercer Middle School students.
A big part of our work on Safe Routes to School has been to coordinate with the different stakeholders around the school including Mercer Middle School Administration, the Beacon Hill Food Forest, and neighbors adjacent to 16th Ave S. We will continue to work with SDOT and Parks to ensure community members are engaged so that this multifaceted safety project is successfully implemented.
Stay tuned in for more updates as the project progresses!