Neighborways by many names...
Many cities in North America and Europe use strategies and tactics to encourage street play, reduce traffic, slow car speed and improve safety and biking/walking on quiet residential streets. In North America they are sometimes called neighborways, neighborhood greenways, bicycle boulevards or bike/walk streets. Some of the best examples of well-developed Neighborways include Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.
Seattle has made great strides in developing Neighborhood Greenways over the past year and a half. Much of the momentum was created by the Seattle Neighborhood Greenway Association, a volunteer coalition comprised of residents and community leaders who represent 19 neighborhoods across Seattle. The main purpose of this group is to plan and advocate for safe, equitable and comfortable streets for people of all abilities. Currently there is a 30 member Core Group that represents local neighborhood groups, as well as a steering committee who are committed to city-wide active transportation efforts, including Seattle ‘s Bicycle Master Plan. They work closely with Seattle’s transportation department, as well as schools, churches, elder services and non-profit organizations.
Since the groups inception in 2011, neighborhood associations have received several grants and city funds to support the public process, design, and development of a citywide neighborhood greenway system. The first 1-mile greenway was completed in June of 2012 in the neighborhood of Wallingford. Other planned neighborhood greenways for late 2012 include Beacon Hill, Delridge, Ballard and Ravenna/Bryant.
Portland is a U.S leader in creating connected networks of safe bike and pedestrian friendly streets. Starting in the 1980’s, Portland started to build their first bike boulevards, along with bike lanes and multi-use path. In 2006, 29% of Portland households were within ½ mile of these first generation facilities. Committed to making Portland even more active transport friendly, planners, residents, and elected officials introduced neighborhood greenways as a way prioritize both walkers and bikers, especially users that were interested, but wary due to safety and comfort concerns. Currently there are 16 neighborhood greenways to date that are accessible to 60% of Portland households within 1 mile of these facilities. Not only do they create safer streets, but connect users to Portland’s extensive bike network, including city wide bike lanes and multi-use paths. By 2015 they hope to have 80% of residents within just a mile of a neighborhood greenway. Many of these active transportation efforts coincide with Portland’s Master Plan and Healthy Connected Neighborhood strategy that focuses on making healthy options affordable, attractive, and convenient for all residents.
The City of Vancouver started to envision greenways in Vancouver in the early 1990’s when the Mayor appointed a Urban Landscape Task Force in 1991. The task force created a report that defined greenways to include streets in both downtown and residential neighborhoods. This report was later approved in 1995 as the Vancouver Greenways Plan and consisted of two components; City Greenways and Neighborhood Greenways.Vancouver currently has 9 established neighborhood greenways. The city defines them as small-scale connections for pedestrians and cyclist that link users to parks, historical sites, amenities, and commercial districts. Vancouver currently has 53 miles of greenways and will eventually total over 86 miles. There goals is to ensure residents/visitors are no more that a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride from a greenway.
Neighborhood greenways are considered a partnership between residents and the City. While the City provides assistance in design, development and construction, they are initiated and maintained by local residents. Grants are also available from Vancouver’s Neighborhood Matching Fund to support neighborhood based groups that want to make improvements to city public lands. The City also has a policy with which residents can turn their street into a park. Neighborhood Greenways are mini-parks that meet the unique needs of a community: blocking off portions of a street to provide gardens, walk and bikeways, water features and fountains, benches, and more. The Green Streets Game has been designed to assist a community in developing their own neighborhood greenway plan, in accordance with the City’s Neighborhood Greenways Policy.
Chicago – They are in infancy of planning for neighborways. Neighborhood groups are starting to suggest bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, including neighborhood greenways, to Chicago’s Department of Transportation.
Minneapolis included neighborhood greenways in their 2011 Bicycle Master Plan, with the goal of converting their existing bike boulevards into Neighborhood greenways over time.
Ithaca, NY – They created a study and conceptual plan which was completed in 2011 and the public process is planned for 2013.