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Posts tagged ‘healthy lifestyles’


Community Greenways and Trails Project

Temporary Curb Bulb

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: Steve Shay

Urban Sparks’ Community Greenways and Trails Project is an education and funding project to help educate the public and powers-that-be about greenways, trails and active transportation as well as help fund physical projects.  Physical projects may include associated public amenities like bike racks and covered seating.

Using funding methods available only to a 501(c)(3), we’ll facilitate the excellent work being done by the various Greenways project leaders around the city.  If you or your foundation would like to make large tax-deductible or employer-matched gifts to support a particular Greenway or Trail project, please contact us.  If you’d like to support the broader education movement, we’re doing that too.

Here are a few links to plug you into the Seattle Greenways Movement: Read more »


Kirkland Greenways

The first Greenways group on the Eastside!

Kirkland Greenways is a steadily growing group of Eastside residents and business owners who want safe comfortable streets for all road users; whether you walk, run, jog, roll, drive or ride.  Kirkland Greenways brings together people from multiple neighborhoods, who are working together to identify and create a network of safe streets for people of all ages and abilities.

You can learn more on their webpage:

Photo collage of pedestrians, bikes, and wheelchairs.

Read more »


University Greenways

Make the dream of safe U-District bicycling into a reality!

University Greenways believes in the vision of a vibrant, thriving University District where everyone can walk and bike safely and comfortably within our community and to adjoining neighborhoods.

You can learn more on their webpage:

A map of a proposed University District Greenway


Undriving and Undriver Licensing

Undriving is an innovative program designed to reduce carbon emissions and oil dependency, ease congestion and parking, and encourage community connections. By increasing awareness of personal transportation options and eliciting individualized car-trip-reduction pledges, Undriver Licensing playfully engages people to make more informed and empowered transportation choices. Undriving is changing how people think about getting around.

You can learn more on their webpage:

Read more »


Healthy Habits Education

Photo Credit to Ronmerk

This program, run by Dr. Jeff Metzger, educates at-risk youth and elders about improved general nutrition, nutrition for individual constitutions, and nutrition to aid in illness/disease prevention and healing.  Individuals may also be treated as patients as requested and as appropriate.  All of these services will be provided to recipients, free of charge. Read more »


Marra Farm

Marra farm is a large ongoing project of Solid Ground and Lettuce Link.  Urban Sparks was the Fiscal Sponsor for these Marra Farm Projects:

Race and Social Justice Outreach Grant, NMF
This project in South Park, Seattle reached out to local organizations and the Spanish Speaking Community to establish an active neighborhood-led advisory board for Marra Farm, representing the diversity of South Park.

Multi-Purpose Tool Shed, Small and Simple Grant, NMF
Using a Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant, the Marra Farm Coalition built a small tool shed with an outside teaching wall, harvesting station & gathering place. It facilitates community building and increases farm functionality.

Starbucks Neighborhood Parks Program Grant
This Marra Farm Community Project built three welcoming entry signs with bilingual signage and two new vegetable wash stations and purchased two picnic tables, an apple cider press and a portable barbeque. These elements create a dynamic and engaging neighborhood hub for gathering, learning and playing.


Beacon BIKES (Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe)

walking, stairs, bicycles, bicycling, crosswalks

Formerly Beacon Hill Family Bike and Pedestrian Plan Committee (BHFBPPC),
this group morphed to become Beacon BIKES (Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe)
with a simple mission:  “We crave safe, family-friendly walking and cycling paths that link our neighborhood hotspots. For more information, please visit our Mission page.”

This was a wonderful project where a neighborhood refused to wait to see what a might trickle from a city-wide plan down to them.  Instead they brought their neighbors together to think about what they actually needed, while using professional planners to write it up.  They also thought about how to get parts of the plan as soon as possible and to prioritize what bear waiting.

Alta Planning + Design produced their beautiful plan.  This is an excellent example of how a neighborhood can begin the process of establishing Greenways.

For current info, visit Beacon Hill Safe Streets’ Facebook page.  They changed their name again!

* We were their fiscal sponsor for their D.O.N. Matching Fund Grant.
For more on Greenways, see our Community Greenways and Trails Project.


Hazel Heights P-Patch

We helped purchase this property for the P-Patch Trust.  In the process a covenant was put on the land to protect it in perpetuity, so that it can only be an open space or community garden — forever.

After the purchase, we also helped the Friends of Hazel Heights and the P-Patch Trust with the design and construction grant writing. Read more »


Staircases as Transportation

Staircases are great connectors.

Image from King County Parks

Seattle is full of staircases.  They go places that cars cannot go which makes them important to the web of active transportation – lower traffic routes that people can walk and bike – Greenways.  Besides providing healthy transportation, they can be fun.

Does a staircase near you need a bicycle runnel?  Contact us.

See how our stair climbing friends are celebrating staircases and places to walk.  Links below: Read more »


Urban Sparks Work Parties

Mayor's Clean Up Fremont DayUrban Sparks’ work parties are fun opportunities to spend some time with generous people doing good work. Get some fresh air and tidy up the neighborhood with great people.

Sometimes we broadcast a work party to our whole email list, but you can be one of the self-nominated volunteers that hears about every opportunity. Join our email list and mention volunteering.

Past Events

  • NW 46th Street Adopt-a-Street clean-up and Mayor Nickels’ Clean Seattle work day in Fremont.
  • Earth Share of Washington’s Day-in-the-Park, Golden Gardens
  • In 2005, we led a team of 22 volunteers to remove hundreds of pounds of ivy and spread mulch to keep it from coming back.
  • In 2004, nine of us removed lots of scotch broom, mustard, blackberries, and ten tall black locust trees.

I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain Bike RiderThe idea of mountain bike trails under Interstate 5 in Seattle was first proposed by John Zilly in his book, Kissing the Trail. Later, the Eastlake Community Council proposed it to the community and to the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the Pro-Parks Levy I-5 Open Space Park. Simon Lawton of Fluid Ride, a local downhill coaching business, drew up a course that got the mountain bike community excited. Then Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club (BBTC) and Urban Sparks started working to make it happen. Read more »


Magnuson Park Native Species Restoration and Bicycle Skills Course

Folks at Magnuson ParkUrban Sparks volunteers designed and built, with help from Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, the Cascade Bicycle Club, Bike Works, the BMX community, Fremont Rotary, Red Bull and Trips for Kids, an extensive Bicycle Skills Park at Magnuson Park. It had singletrack trail, log piles, obstacles, skinnies, and BMX jumps for all ages to play and build skills on. The Skills Park was built as an outdoor test area for the Cascade Bicycle Club’s 2005 Bicycle Expo with expectations that we could keep it for a year of two after Expo. Read more »


Bicycle Skills Parks

Family BMXing at Greenlake

We’ve been working to familiarizing the city of Seattle with the concept of bicycle skills parks. Bicycle Skills Parks come in all shapes and sizes. Where there is just a little space and maybe a desire to draw some activity to an underutilized spot, a skills park can be a small collection of obstacles that provide hours of practice and distraction for bicyclists who enjoy honing their skills. Much like skiing, skill cycling can provide a lifetime of incremental improvements.

For young people, skills parks can be very important places to build confidence and self-esteem. It’s common for student’s grades to improve after they’ve found a passion like BMX bike riding or skateboarding. For active people of any age, these are places of focus and escape from the tensions of daily life.

Read more »


BMX Jumps

BMX Jumps are one type of Bicycle Skills Park. Right now, BMX Jumps need attention to build awareness around this exceptional sport. Like skateboarding was a few years ago, BMX is still not understood. It has many of same healthy characteristics; it’s active, it doesn’t require scheduling, it’s practiced by kids and adults in a supportive environment, and it doesn’t require much space.

Read more »


Danny Woo International Garden

This is a fascinating community garden for senior Asian gardeners. It has been the recipient of many University of Washington design/build projects including the ADA garden spaces and “One Heart-Mind One Spirit” wall build by Jack’s nephew Jay. The garden is the center of a very strong community.

Danny Woo Garden website

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.


Ballard Commons and Ballard Skate Bowl

Ballard Skate BowlThe Ballard Commons Park has finally been built after 10 years of planning and a huge controversy over the temporary-turned-permanent skate bowl. Now it’s a beautiful park with a top notch skate bowl and a fountain that you can play in. Be sure you visit this contemporary park that has plenty of timeless amenities.

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.


Dahl Playfield Skate Spot

Skate Park DesignBoarders 4 Parks is a group that is designing and building a skate spot at Dahl Playfield. They are one of a growing number of groups who want to put opportunities for wholesome challenging physical activity for kids in neighborhood parks. We’ve enjoyed comparing notes with them.

Image credit to Seattle Skateparks and New Line Skateparks.

What are Others’ Projects?
Projects we admire and find inspiring.