Seattle and Bellevue are among 58 U.S. communities that have earned 2016 “Walk Friendly” status from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). According to PBIC, the Walk Friendly Community designation is awarded to applicant communities on the basis of “a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning.”
Seattle is the only Walk Friendly Community to reach Platinum-level recognition “due to top-notch planning and engineering, outstanding outreach and education, and strong enforcement and evaluation practices.” Highlights noted by PBIC include:
- Evaluation practices, including multiple pedestrian counts each year at almost 50 locations.
- Web-based Pedestrian Master Plan with clear goals and performance indicators (for example, reaching out to 10 new schools each year).
- Clear new directives for pedestrian mobility around work zones.
- Installation of speed enforcement cameras at 14 schools.
- Seattle Summer Parkways, free summer events that keep cars off several miles of city streets so people can walk, bike, dance, eat, and play in safety.
- Adopting a complete streets ordinance that “directs SDOT to design streets for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and persons of all abilities, while promoting safe operation for all users, including freight.”
- Reducing the speed of vehicles on city streets by: (a) installing thousands of traffic-calming devices and (b) starting in 2016, lowering speed limits on 10 arterial corridors, the central business district, and selected residential streets.
- Managing parking by: (a) abolishing minimum parking standards in downtown and (b) providing parking-reduction incentives for large development projects.
Bellevue’s designation as a Silver-level community is based on its “excellent engineering practices, planning programs, and high mode share for transit and walking.”
For King County data on commuting by public transportation, walking or biking, see Community Health Indicators. In its Transportation section, Communities Count posts data on commuting, neighborhood connections, and traffic safety (including traffic collisions and injury/fatalities in King County cities).