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STAR Center computer lab
Feet First "Walk & Talk" event
looks at potential for pedestrians at Yesler Terrace

SEATTLE — November 19, 2010 — On November 2, as the setting sun filtered warm autumn light into Yesler Terrace, Feet First Executive Director Lisa Quinn introduced a group of about 25 interested pedestrians to the goals of Feet First and their third "Walk & Talk" event.

“Feet First is the only nonprofit in Washington State strictly promoting walkable communities,” noted Quinn. “These Walk & Talk events are designed to showcase area redevelopments that incorporate features to promote walking, and to make people aware of walkable communities.”

Feet First Walk & Talk

Tom Tierney and Councilmember Nick Licata share the responsibility of introducing the goals of the redevelopment to the assembled pedestrians.

Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Tom Tierney outlined the goals of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment. "One of our key goals is to create a more walkable community, providing pedestrian enhancements that improve safety, mobility and access for all. We imagine Yesler Terrace integrated more fully into the community, showcasing how to make it easy for people to walk to their bus, to school, to work, to shop, to meet a neighbor."

Before the guided walk took off, City Council Member Nick Licata spoke about the potential of this redevelopment to enhance the lives of current and future residents. Then, equipped with maps of the neighborhood, the group set out to explore the possibilities on foot.

Feet First Walk & Talk

Feet First Executive Director Lisa Quinn welcomes guests in front of the Yesler Terrace community center.

The tour stopped at three different neighborhoods points, looking at street patterns, connections to other neighborhoods and trails, and amenities. Seattle Housing employee Brian Sullivan served as tour guide and explained the project as the group moved from place to place.

The first stop was on Yesler Way at Broadway. Yesler Way will be designed as the community's main street. East/west connections to downtown and Squire Park will be strengthened and the Yesler Way Bridge will be transformedd into a community gateway. The new First Hill Streetcar will start service in late 2013. The housing authority is working closely with the City on how the streetcar, buses, pedestrians, bicyclists and cars all operate together in this key intersection. With many children living at Yesler Terrace, now and in the future, it's important that this station area is safe and friendly.

Feet First Walk & Talk

Seattle Housing Development Manager Brian Sullivan discusses redevelopment plans with the walking group.

The second stop was at Tenth and Washington, which will become part of the secondary street grid providing north and south and east and west links on streets designed for people. The connection to Little Saigon will be improved. A grand stairway connection could potentially reinforce the entry to both Little Saigon and to the new Yesler neighborhood.

The third stop, at Ninth and Alder, provided the group the opportunity to discuss possibility amenities and the connection to Harborview Hospital. Capital improvements would encourage walking and enhance pedestrian safety and experience by providing green spaces and other amenities within easy walking distance.

The improved neighborhood connections will include linking Ninth Avenue to the core project through pedestrian pathways that maximize the view southward.