Prioritizing walking in both planning and funding decisions connects us to people, to places, and to other forms of transportation.
Feet First is involved in numerous activities aimed making Washington more walkable. We advocate to elected officials, participate on various committees, provide comments on plans and projects, and testify at public hearings.
Our advocacy work is supported by our policy committee, which is composed of board members and other volunteers who advocate for walkable communities.
Activities and Accomplishments
Feet First Policy
We develop policies to create more walkable environments. We use these policies to support decisions being made on the local, regional and statewide level. Take a look at our policy papers to learn more. If you would like to become more involved in affecting policy, consider joining the Feet First Policy Committee.
Safe Routes to School
A major priority for Feet First is advocating for the statewide Safe Routes to School program. This program provides help to school districts across the state in implementing efforts to help students walking to and from school. In 2009, we were instrumental in passing legislation codifying this program as state law. We also encourage the state legislature to maintain or expand funding for this program.
Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan
Feet First was a major contributor to the development of the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan, an important document guiding city policy on making is safe, accessible and inviting for people to walk. This plan was adopted by the city council in 2009. Feet First continues to monitor implementation of the master plan, promoting increased funding for sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements.
Feet First Cities Program
In 2010, Feet First created the Feet First Cities Program, an outreach effort to support cities working towards more walkable and vibrant communities throughout Washington State. We aim to highlight best practices and outstanding pedestrian projects, provide a forum for cities to interact and learn from one another, and give our technical guidance to cities to enable them to take action for a more walkable future.
Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program
As the Washington State Department of Transportation began the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program, we posed questions about the project’s impact on the character of nearby Pioneer Square. We wanted to know the effects that changes in traffic would have on people walking in the neighborhood. View the full text of the program administrator’s answers.
Sound Access for All
In the summer of 2012, Feet First was a leading member in a coalition that convinced Sound Transit to make a stronger investment in providing access for people walking to the future Link Light Rail station at Northgate, including the City of Seattle and Sound Transit to contribute $10 million dollars towards pedestrian infrastructure and a pedestrian bridge across I-5 to North Seattle Community Council.
At the state level, Feet First supports legislation promoting the rights and interests of people walking and bringing us closer to the goal of making every neighborhood walkable. We participate in the annual Transportation Advocacy Day, where transportation activists from all over the state descend on Olympia to ask state legislators to support legislation promoting transportation alternatives. During the 2013 session, Feet First was part of a broad-based coalition that supported passage of a bill allowing local jurisdictions to set speed limits on residential streets at 20 miles per hour.
To incorporate more walking into plans and policies, we sit on several committees:
- Alaska Way Viaduct South Portal
- Puget Sound Regional Council Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
- Seattle Schools Traffic Safety
- Safe Kids
- South Park Traffic Safety
- City of Seattle Road Safety Committee
A Thank You to Drivers from Feet First
Feet First salutes the safe drivers who make our streets and sidewalks work for everyone. Take a look at our eight driving guidelines for walkable communities:
- Give priority to people walking. Yield to people walking at unmarked crosswalks. According to law, there’s a crosswalk at every corner–even when there are no signs or pavement markings. Those walking have the right of way. Also, don’t resume driving until pedestrians are either at the curb or one full lane away from you.
- Create a wide margin for error. When yielding to a person at a crosswalk, give them 30 feet of space. Stopping this far away is less threatening, eliminates multiple-threat collision risk, and it saves everyone time. Also, be extremely cautious when turning left at signalized intersection.
- Set the pace. In 2000 Boise, Idaho, invented the Neighborhood Pace Car Program. Since then other cities have created similar programs. Take a look at Washington D.C.‘s program. Driving slower not only helps calm traffic but also brings peace and dignity to the streets.
- Park responsibly. Please do not play the parking lottery by stopping or parking on the sidewalk. Don’t block crosswalks or curb cuts, and don’t accelerate aggressively out of driveways. If you want to take action, you can download notices that encourage good behavior among fellow drivers.
- Walk for short trips. Many drivers are simply making short trips. But you have options. If you’re driving for errands, why not get your daily exercise too? You’ll also be contributing to the people-focused vitality of your city; plus you’ll save time by not having to look for parking!
- Smile and wave. Your smile and a simple wave can melt away the fear that your vehicle may stimulate in the mind of someone walking. Avoid any window tinting that makes you less visible or interferes with your vision–treatments that only block UV rays are available.
- Choose a safe vehicle. You may not know it, but outside the United States, vehicles are tested to determine how dangerous they are to people walking. Protect people and your own liability by purchasing a safe car. Look for the European New Car Assessment Program test results for crash information.
- Be an advocate for walking. Pedestrians have no paid lobby or organized industry. Feet First works as your advocate to create a safer, more-efficient transportation systems that serve the needs of all users. Get involved, become a Feet First member or volunteer your skills. Help us achieve our mission!