As we gear up to launch our Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets program for 2018, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the growth of the program in 2017 and let you know what we have in store for next year.
Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets (YVYC) is a participatory budgeting initiative in which Seattle residents democratically decide how to spend a portion of the City’s budget on small-scale park and street improvements. In 2017, the program resulted in the submission of 894 ideas from community members. These ideas were evaluated by 263 community participants on our project development teams and narrowed down to 10 projects per City Council District. In June, 7,737 people voted for their favorite ideas and 33 projects moved forward for funding and implementation in 2018. Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation will begin implementing the projects in 2018.
Overall, YVYC 2017 was successful, with strong engagement in each participation phase. However, our evaluation has shown that we need to invest more in strengthening the program’s focus on equity and ensure that historically underrepresented communities can easily access and participate in the program. To help achieve this goal, we plan to convene a steering committee in January 2018. This community body will advise, guide and assist on key programmatic concerns related to equity, funding structures, outcomes, and accountability.
In addition, we will be working to create more sustained and consistent community connections throughout each phase of the program by providing clear, concise, and transparent information that makes it easy as possible for people to get informed and participate.
Learn more about our program evaluation and plans for next year by reading our 2017 Program Review and 2018 Planning Document. This report details who we interacted with, where it happened, what the interaction was, and how folks felt about it. It also provides a sneak peek at our action plan for 2018 and how you can get involved.
Lastly, start thinking about some changes you’d like to see in your neighborhood! We’ll be launching Your Voice, Your Choice 2018 in January by collecting your ideas for small scale park and street improvements.