A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Greenwood native needs a few more backers for her cross-European and Asian cycling trip

March 14th, 2012 by Doree

Last month we told you about Greenwood native Amie Thao, who, along with her partner, Olli Tumelius, are cycling 15,000 miles across Europe and Asia. They are eating their way across the land, sharing food with locals and documenting the stories on their website, International Supper Club.

The couple are currently in Portugal, and still raising donations to help fund the trip. Their Kickstarter campaign now has 96 backers who have pledged a total of $5,511 dollars towards their $7,500 goal. They have 11 days left to raise the rest of the money — or they get nothing. Thao and Tumelius will provide gifts for various donation levels. Check out the fundraising campaign here.

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Greenwood native cycling across Europe and Asia to break bread with locals

February 22nd, 2012 by Doree

Next week, Amie Thao and her partner, Olli Tumelius, will begin cycling 15,000 miles across Europe and Asia, searching for good meals and good stories along the way. The 29-year-old Thao and 31-year-old Tumelius are calling their trek the International Supper Club.

Olli Tumelius and Amie Thao.

They will start at the western edge of Continental Europe and end at the eastern edge of Asia. Thao came up with the idea for the journey after cycling 5,000 miles across Europe in 2011, sharing meals with strangers along the way.

“My love of food and cooking led me to spend a lot of time in kitchens. Everywhere I went, I found that people were struggling with how to make meaning from their lives. Meal time is the perfect space to sit together and tell stories,” Thao said in her press release.

Amie and Olli ride their bikes in any kind of weather.

In an email exchange with PhinneyWood, Thao said she graduated from Greenwood Elementary School in 1993, and has fond memories of Top Ten Toys and the Greenwood Library. Her parents still live in the neighborhood.

The pair are soliciting funds through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, and were featured in that website’s Staff Picks as one of their favorite projects. The International Supper Club is trying to raise $7,500 for the trip.

Route map for the International Supper Club.

The pair will be posting stories of people they meet and regular updates of their trip on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. And you can see a short video of their project here.

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Get involved in Phinney-Greenwood’s new ‘greenway’

February 13th, 2012 by Doree

Recently we told you about a new city program that is bringing “greenways” to several neighborhoods, including Phinney Ridge and Greenwood. A greenway is a road that parallels an arterial, but is designed to be more pedestrian- and bike-friendly and less car-oriented, to help people get around their neighborhoods without fighting car traffic.

Our neighborhood greenway group has had two meetings so far, and is soliciting more input and participation. The next meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 April 5, at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N.

There are a number of ways to get involved:

For more information about greenways in other neighborhoods as well as Portland, The Seattle Times had a lengthy article today.

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Neighborhood ‘greenway’ coming to Greenwood-Phinney

February 3rd, 2012 by Doree

A neighborhood “greenway” is coming to Greenwood and Phinney Ridge, and you can help make it happen. The next meeting of our neighborhood greenway group is from 6-7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N.

The City of Seattle is creating 11 miles of greenways through seven neighborhoods this year as part of a pilot program. Greenwood-Phinney’s greenway could be along 1st Avenue NW from NW 85th Street to NW 58th Street.

“Greenways connect parks and schools, community centers and neighborhood business districts. Neighborhood Greenways help with transportation, and they help with getting people where they want to go within their own communities,” City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said in a recent press release.

The Neighborhood Greenways under SDOT review total 11 miles: seven miles in Ballard, Beacon Hill, Greenwood, North Delridge, Wallingford, and the University District and an additional four miles in Laurelhurst (funded by Seattle Children’s Hospital). These projects are intended to form the backbone of a new network of Greenways that effectively connect people to the places they want to go by giving them a choice to travel on quieter, safer streets around the city.

Neighborhood Greenways are slow-speed, low-traffic residential streets made even more pleasant for the people who live, walk, and bike on them. By adding new park-like amenities and limiting cut-through traffic, Greenways are naturally attractive both for families, and for anyone seeking a safer, more connected community experience. By placing Greenways a block or two away from major arterials, Neighborhood Greenways create a great option for people who prefer to walk or bike away from congested streets. While many new dedicated walking and bicycling trails are beyond the reach of our City’s budget, 10 miles of Greenways can be built for the cost of a single mile of new trail, offering the potential to bring a high-quality network to all Seattle neighborhoods at a comparatively low cost. Greenways have the potential to serve neighborhoods where many people cannot afford a car. Neighborhood access by emergency service vehicles and freight delivery vehicles — and parking — is preserved along Greenways.

Motivated by concerns for public safety and a grassroots movement of citizens across Seattle demanding greater community connection, SDOT staff has been studying how other cities link people with their desired neighborhood destinations. By 2015 in Portland, for example, 85% of all residents will live within a half-mile of a Greenway. Portland’s safe streets policies have made streets safer for everyone whether they choose to walk, ride a bicycle, or drive. Portland’s traffic fatality rate is falling six times faster than the rest of the United States. Infrastructure that makes it safer for walking and bicycling automatically benefits drivers through improved safety and saved lives.

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Seattle Neighborhood Greenways meeting tonight at Greenwood Library

January 4th, 2012 by Doree

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is hosting an informational meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. tonight at the Greenwood Library. The organization is a coalition of neighborhood groups working towards creating a network of greenways throughout the city.

This is an opportunity for our local neighborhood walking and biking experts to come together to learn what greenways are, meet one another, map out their favorite routes around the ridge and determine if and how they might want to contribute their expertise to this growing, citywide effort.

Many people say they would like to ride bikes and walk as part of their everyday errands, but also say they don’t feel safe doing so with the current bike infrastructure that mixes fast moving traffic with vulnerable users — children, seniors, families and other cautious people uncomfortable with the status quo of bike lanes and “sharrows” positioned on arterials.

An ideal solution to encouraging many more people to safely begin biking and walking for everyday transportation is the creation of an interconnected citywide network of Neighborhood Greenways — low volume, traffic calmed roads, typically one street off of arterials, connecting local destinations within neighborhoods and surrounding neighborhoods to each other. Greenways can incorporate water runoff treatments such as bio-swales and linear parks along with tree plantings to clean the air and water.

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Cyclist ends 4,200-mile ride across America at Broadview-Thomson School

November 15th, 2011 by Doree

Chris Figureida rode his bicycle 4,200 miles from Maine to Seattle, speaking to thousands of students along the way about the benefits of eating healthy and exercising. He ended his journey on Monday afternoon at Broadview-Thomson School, just north of Greenwood.

Chris Figureida shows his cycling route on a map. Photos courtesy of the American Heart Association.

Figureida’s “Cycle For Heart” tour was in support of the American Heart Association and Rotary International. He met with 40,000 students across the U.S. About 200 of them were at Broadview-Thomson, where he told the students that his ride took 81 days, required him to eat 4,000 calories of food each day, and he drank only water (not sugary sodas).

Figureida encourages the students to flex their muscles.

His equipment included his bike, a tent, GPS, cell phone, iPad, and a solar charger for batteries. He bought all his food at stores along the way.

Next year, Figureida plans to bike from California to Mt. McKinley in Alaska and back, and speak to school children along the way about being healthy and active.

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West Woodland celebrates International Walk to School Day – and Daniel Bagley, too

October 5th, 2011 by Doree

Schools around the country celebrated International Walk to School day today. In South Phinney/East Ballard, West Woodland Elementary School counted more than 250 students who walked or biked to school.

The bikes started piling up outside West Woodland’s doors this morning. Photo by Anastasia Schemkes.

Students received special stickers from parent coordinators and the Sierra Club this morning as they arrived at school. The Sierra Club is promoting its “Beyond Oil” work to get more people out of their cars.

October is Walk and Wheel month, and most schools are encouraging students to walk or bike to school instead of having mom and dad drive them. Thirteen Seattle Public elementary schools have special events planned this month.

If you’ve got photos of Walk to School events from your school, please email them to us.

Updated Thursday: We just got some photos from Daniel Bagley Elementary in Green Lake, which pulls kids from Greenwood and Phinney Ridge, too. Bagley mom Lexy reports that more than 150 students walked to school yesterday, many of them as part of a Walking School Bus.

Two Walking School Bus routes converged about 1/2 mile from school to form a mega-bus of 50 kids and 20 parents. That’s one way to stop traffic on Aurora!

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Phinney-Greenwood one of top neighborhoods in city’s Walk Bike Ride Challenge

August 4th, 2011 by Doree

Seattle Department of Transportation’s “Walk Bike Ride Challenge” program challenges people to get out of their cars for the summer, and they’re even having a friendly neighborhood competition to see who can save the most car trips or car miles.

So far, Phinney-Greenwood is in the top two or three neighborhoods in certain categories:

  • #2 for the number of participants signed up
  • #3 for trips switched to walking, biking or riding
  • #3 for miles of driving saved
  • 4,850 miles of driving saved so far

The graph below shows PhinneyWood in third place for miles of driving saved (behind Queen Anne and Ballard). The SDOT blog shows a graph of the number of trips switched by neighborhood.

Sign up for Walk Bike Ride and you’ll receive weekly emails with encouragement and tips, and for every trip you switch you earn a chance to win prizes like an electric bike, iPad, one-night stay at the Pan Pacific Hotel and more.

Check out the Seattle Walking Map and the Seattle Bike Map to help you get around. Walk Bike Ridge goes through the end of August.

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Not too late to sign up for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge

July 6th, 2011 by Doree

Seattle’s Department of Transportation is encouraging people to walk, bike or ride public transit in July and August to get in shape, reduce greenhouse gases, and save money on gas and car repairs.

Enter the Walk Bike Ride Challenge, switch at least two car trips per week to walking, biking or riding transit, and be entered to win one of the following:

  • Electric bike from e-Moto
  • Apple iPad
  • Pan Pacific Hotel stay
  • Zipcar $250 gift card
  • REI $100 gift card
  • Nordstrom’s $100 gift card (supplied by Commute Seattle)
  • $100 gift card good at seven farmers’ markets

“Summer is a great time to try walking, biking or riding transit to work, to get to know your neighborhood and to start lifetime habits that keep you healthy,” Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said in a press release.

Those entering the challenge get weekly emails with tips on walking, biking and riding and can track their individual progress and the program’s collective impact online. The more trips one reports, the higher the chance they have of winning.

The WBR Challenge is part of the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Way to Go, Seattle! program. It encourages people to walk, bike, ride transit and carpool more by offering incentives, tools and information and runs on a two month cycle. The current cycle is for July and August.

Click here to sign up for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge.

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