Walking just got a little bit safer in Lake City, thanks to families who attend Olympic Hills Elementary School. New safety flags and flag buckets have been installed at 30th Ave NE and NE 137th St to help increase pedestrian visibility at that intersection. The bright orange flags were decorated in both English and Spanish by Olympic Hills Elementary students. The project is just one part of a Safe Routes to School Grant the school received from the WA Dept. of Transportation.
Neighbors identified this intersection as a particularly difficult one along 30th Ave NE, where cars often speed and there’s little pedestrian infrastructure. It’s also located in Little Brook, a high-density micro-community sandwiched between 30th Ave NE and Lake City Way. The area falls just on the cusp of the Seattle School District’s cut-off boundary for bussing, leaving many kids in Little Brook with a long walk to school. The Seattle Dept. of Transportation has promised to mark a crosswalk at this intersection, tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of January.
A parent-led Walking School Bus has traveled this route regularly throughout the school year. Other Walking School Busses are active in the area too. Families participate weekly, meeting each other at designated locations throughout the neighborhood then walking to school together. Feet First, a non-profit organization promoting walkability, has been partnering with Olympic Hills on this and other projects. If you’d like to help out, there’s an MLK event planned for January 20th. Volunteers will gather to help clean up obstacles on one of the Oly Hills walking bus routes. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.652.2310 ext. 5.
The Safe Routes to School funding supports education and walk-to-school campaigns like these. Funding will also go to the construction of a new sidewalk, curb and street trees on NE 130th between 25th and 28th. Construction is just beginning and will provide a walkway connecting Olympic Hills Elementary to the Lake City Branch Library and Lake City’s retail core.