Thanks to voter-approved funds provided by the Move Seattle levy, today the City of Seattle began construction on its first 2016 Safe Routes to School project at Mercer Middle School.
“Thanks to Seattle voters’ approval of Move Seattle, we will make major investments to maintain our roads and bridges, make our streets safer, and give people new options to move around and through Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Our Move Seattle investments begin right here, with the groundbreaking of our first Safe Routes to School project of 2016.”
Following through on the levy commitment to complete a Safe Routes project at every public school in the city, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is building a paved, off-street trail to give Beacon Hill schoolchildren a safer place to walk and bike.
Approved by voters in November 2015, the nine-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding for Safe Routes ($207 million), Maintenance and Repair ($420 million) and Congestion Relief ($303 million).
Parallel to the busy 15th Avenue S, the new trail at Mercer Middle School will replace a gravel path and connect the northeast entrance of the school to a pedestrian crossing at South Spokane Street and Lafayette Avenue South. Approximately 2,000 feet long, the 12-foot wide path will be adjacent to Jefferson Park on Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) property and connect two neighborhood greenways. The project is a partnership of the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, SPU and SDOT.
SDOT will construct 12 Safe Routes to School projects this year, encouraging active commuting by schoolchildren and families. The Safe Routes program is part of Vision Zero, the city’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Safe Routes projects improve safety for communities by building healthy places where kids can safely walk and bike to school and through their neighborhood.
Thanks to Move Seattle levy funds, SDOT has budgeted $6.7 million for Safe Routes to School projects at the following schools in 2016:
- Aki Kurose Middle School
- Arbor Heights Elementary
- Bailey Gatzert Elementary
- DF Day Elementary
- Bryant Elementary
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary
- Mercer Middle School
- Montlake Elementary
- Rainier Beach High School
- Salmon Bay Elementary
- Sanislo Elementary
- South Shore K-8
“Safety, especially for children, is the number one priority for SDOT,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “Connecting neighborhood greenways and next to a park, this Move Seattle Levy funded trail will keep our most vulnerable residents safe as they travel daily to and from school.”
A Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) grant is funding education and encouragement aspects of the project. Construction is funded through Seattle’s local funds and the grant, with the total cost of project construction estimated at $955,000.
To learn more about the Safe Routes to School Five Year Action Plan, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/srts/SRTSActionPlan.pdf.
For more information about the Mercer Middle School project, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/SafeRoutesMercerMiddle.htm