When city planners selected the “hybrid” route for the Central Area Greenway in March, the project officially became the largest and most ambitious greenway the city has ever attempted. What wasn’t settled was how the northern section of the greenway would weave through Capitol Hill’s steep terrain north of Galer St, while avoiding 24th Ave, to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the Montlake Bridge.
In order to “crowdsource research” on the best route to Montlake, greenway supporters are inviting the public to meet at Montlake Elementary School this Saturday at 2 PM for Silly Hilly: a thigh-buring walk/ride through four of the potential route options.
“If you look at it, there isn’t a good way to go unless you go way out of your way,” said Silly Hilly organizer Merlin Rainwater. “What we would really love is to have greenways on both sides (of 23rd Ave).”
If the hilly part of the event doesn’t sound like your ideal Saturday afternoon, then show up for the silly:
Groups will set off on scavenger hunts to document and photograph ridiculously steep hills, sidewalks without curb cuts, scary intersections — as well as more moderately steep hills, good sidewalks, calmer streets, and other wonky things while donning festive hats, blowing kazoos, and exhibiting other silly behavior.
Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, greenways attempt to encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. The Central Area Greenway, initiated by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, will eventually connect the I-90 Trail to Interlaken Park. Work on the southern section of the greenway is scheduled to start this year.
Steep terrain prevented planners from deciding on a northern route, as many of the streets off 24th are above a 10% grade — the steepness at which many cyclists choose to dismount and walk. Some have argued improvements to 24th Ave should include a dedicated bike lane to avoid the hills altogether.
Potential features of the Central Area Greenway include:
- Pavement markings and signage to alert motorists to expect people bicycling
- Improved crossings to make it easier for pedestrians and people on bicycles to cross
- Way-finding to let people know where and how far away the neighborhood destinations are located
- Median islands, traffic circles, curb bulbs and speed humps to help keep speeds low and drivers from using neighborhood streets to avoid main streets.
The greenway project will get built alongside the planned $46 million overhaul of 23rd Ave.
Silly Hilly will take place Saturday, April 26th at 2 PM, at the Montlake Elementary School.