Seattle Burb to Get Its Own Dutch-Inspired “Traffic Garden”

The traffic garden is a Dutch invention: a safe, controlled environment that gives children a chance to practice bicycling and walking in conditions that mimic city streets.

There aren’t many places like this in the United States. But White Center, just outside Seattle, is poised to get one, reports Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog:

Learning how to be safe and comfortable with active transportation is also a good thing for the community, which is why White Center leaders and Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Project worked to develop a plan and win a King County Parks grant to open Washington State’s first traffic garden in Dick Thurnau Park (the recently-approved new name for Lakewood Park).The park is adjacent to or within an easy walk of a middle school, a high school and several elementary schools. It has a well-used disc golf course, but underutilized tennis courts. The traffic garden is planned where the tennis courts are currently.

The hope is that this will not only provide opportunities for expanded traffic safety education for students at all levels, but that the traffic garden will be a community gathering place.

“The goal is to reach more students and to eventually reach adults, get families involved,” said [Cascade’s Ed] Ewing. “A lot of families use an existing basketball court in a different park to teach their kids to ride … We know there’s interest there.”

The garden has a pretty quick timeline. With $75,000 in King County grant funding now in hand, they hope to break ground in early 2016. Cascade, community members and King County staff will be working with Alta Planning + Design over the next couple weeks to develop a design.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington reports that curbside parking spaces in Georgetown will be converted into sidewalk extensions for a special event this weekend. And Reno Rambler reports that the “biggest little city” is attempting to capture some of the Paris magic with an open streets event Saturday.

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