Your Voice, Your Choice: Fix a problem in your neighborhood

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SEATTLE – There’s a sidewalk in your neighborhood but wheelchairs can’t get through.  Maybe you’ve noticed a need for maintenance on your favorite trails.  Well, there’s $2 million Seattle city dollars waiting to be spent on projects of your choosing.

It’s called Your Voice, Your Choice.

After-school activities are wrapping up and a Rainier Beach High basketball game is just about to start.  So that makes this intersection of Henderson and 53rd Ave pretty busy on a Friday night.

“Students would just jaywalk to cross the street and cars would almost hit them which is really dangerous,” said Rainier Beach High School senior Justin Gabriel.

So Gabriel used his internship with the city of Seattle to join a pilot program.  Youth would find a community problem and the city would fix it.  Gabriel submitted his idea to repaint the crosswalk near his school.

“They painted the sidewalk like into a really cool sidewalk with Rainier Beach colors of blue and orange so it would be easier for drivers and students to look at,” said Gabriel.

So successful the neighborhood improvement program is now open to every Seattle resident.

“Tell us what’s your idea to solve that issue you have in your community, who is going to benefit, and where’s it located,” said Jenny Frankl with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

You can do it on this website by clicking here.  Make sure to submit your idea by the end of the month.

“A flashing beacon to create more visibility around the crossing, there’s curb ramps which creates more accessibility when people are crossing the streets, there’s trail improvements so if we’re looking for a walking path,” said Frankl.

Small-scale improvements to parks and streets.  SDOT and the parks department make sure your idea is feasible and costs less than $90,000.  Then in June, the community votes on the projects that will get the funding and move forward.

“The community gives the city a directive and they follow it,” said Frankl.

Just like the case at Rainier Beach High School, all thanks to Justin Gabriel for speaking up.

“People wanted safer routes to school and how students can walk across the street with no fear,” said Gabriel.

You have until February 26 to submit your ideas.  Throughout the month the neighborhoods department will host community meeting throughout Seattle where people can ask questions about the process.

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