Tag Archive for 'City Council'

City Council Considers Transportation Funding Ballot Measure

This November, Voters could decide to provide up to $27.2 million for transportation funding in the city through an $80 vehicle license fee. The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee has recommended a package to benefit all modes of transportation with this funding, however this measure is not yet on the ballot and it’s up to the City Council to decide what to do.

Several council members are hesitant to propose an $80 fee, with Jean Godden (who is up for re-election) proposing only 1/4 of what CTAC recommends for pedestrian and bicycle projects.

PubliCola has a great reviewof the options and the discussion around these proposed ballot measures.

This Wednesday evening, you have the opportunity to influence the council as to which measure to put on the ballot. Here is Feet First‘s announcement and call to action:

Please come out on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 5:30pm for the Seattle Transportation Benefit District public hearing in the City Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall to make your voice heard.

The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC-III), with representation from business, transit, pedestrian and bicycle organizations, has spent the past seven months deliberating on the best approach for spending up to $27.2 million that could be generated from implementing an $80 vehicle license fee as part of Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District.

The committee developed and recommended a package that benefits all modes – with most of the investment going to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. Recognizing transportation needs are large, the committee also recommended putting forth a proposal for an annual Vehicle License Fee (VLF) of $80 to Seattle voters as early as this November to support these investments.

The council is now back peddling and we need them to stand strong. This is why we need you to be there this Wednesday to let them know that you strongly support CTAC III’s recommendations and you urge them to support CTAC-III proposal.

Here are talking points you may consider sharing with city council:

  • Since it costs about $8,000 a year to own a car offering transportation options is the most inclusive approach to meeting a citizen’s needs for getting around.
  • Non-drivers do face an uphill battle, as many of Seattle’s neighborhoods are still difficult to navigate without a car, but the revenue from the Vehicle License Fee will provide Seattle with the ability to continue to improve transportation options beyond the automobile.
  • In these challenging economic times, one of the most progressive things a city can do is offer residents an accessible, comprehensive transportation system that is not dependent on automobiles, which more and more people cannot afford.
  • We need to fund the pedestrian plan that we spent two years creating. This investment begins building on a vision common to most Seattle’s residents: healthy, sustainable lifestyles with safe, strong communities.

When: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 5:30pm
Where: Seattle City Council Chambers in City Hall

Let’s encourage council to put our money where our feet are and invest in achieving a livable and walkable vision for Seattle.

Thank you for your support.

While getting this past the council is one issue, convincing the voters will be another issue entirely. Passing an $80 fee to have it rejected at the polls would be a real disappointment. It’s tough to say how the city will vote, but getting the measure for the highest funding of transit onto the ballot may not necessarily be the best option. If you have an opinion, be sure to show up and speak up this Wednesday evening.


Walk & Talk in Capitol Hill with Sally Clark

Sally Clark (recently interviewed by Walking in Seattle) will be leading a walk through Capitol Hill as part of Feet First‘s quarterly Walk & Talk series. The walk will stop at three places in the neighborhood to highlight recent changes that have made the area more walkable. The livability enhancements featured include green space, multi-modal investments, and mixed use and compact development.

The walk starts at 5:30 on Tuesday, March 24 at the Odd Fellows Building (entry to the right of the Odd Fellows Cafe) at 1525 10th Avenue. Tickets can be purchased online for $7 for members and $10 for non-members online – the cost is higher if purchased the day of the walk.

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A reception will follow at the Baltic Room at 1207 Pine St.


Walking the new waterfront with Sally Bagshaw

Many people who support walkability are opposed to the Alaskan Way deep bore tunnel, but there’s no question that removing the viaduct presents an opportunity to transform the waterfront. Sally Bagshaw shares her vision for the waterfront:

I can just taste what our Waterfront will become. Imagine walking with me – or your best friend – just a few short years from now, from Safeco Field up to the Olympic Sculpture Park. Satisfied with another Mariner’s victory…

Her post includes conceptual renderings of the waterfront and imagines what the waterfront could become for walkers. Grab your walking shoes and rose-tinted sunglasses and take a stroll to the future.


Streets for All Seattle update

Great City posts an update on the Streets for All Seattle campaign. The city council approved a budget that includes some increased funding for pedestrian needs, though not as much as the mayor had proposed.

Streets for All Seattle puts it all in context.


PubliCola argues for accelerating the Pedestrian Master Plan

In the budget review process, the City Council decided to reject the mayor’s proposal to fund the Pedestrian Master Plan. By doing this, much needed safety improvements will be delayed. Erica C. Barnett at PubliCola argues that implementing the pedestrian plan should be accelerated so that pedestrians aren’t put at risk.

[B]y slowing implementation of the already-behind-schedule pedestrian master plan, the city is all but ensuring that dangerous intersections get fixed more slowly than they would have if the master plan was a higher priority, and that puts all pedestrians at risk.

She points to the intersection of 15th Ave. NW and NW 87th St. where a 12-year-old boy was critically injured in a location without a lit crosswalk sign.


Neighborhood pedestrian malls

A few months ago, city councilmember Sally Clark suggested opening up Pike and Pine Streets to people on foot. It doesn’t sound like that was the best location to have people filling the streets, so she is now looking at other neighborhoods for a temporary pedestrian mall.

University Avenue, “The Ave” is busy at night, but many shops close early. What if The Ave was from time-to-time closed to traffic to become a pedestrian mall? It is something Seattle City Council Member Sally Clark thinks is worth a try.

She is not talking about streets fair or markets, just a chance for people to stroll the street and window shop and hopefully spend some money.

Of course with any new idea there are people who say that it won’t work. But this isn’t a totally new idea, the Summer Streets events are similar and have been very successful at getting people to come out and enjoy their streets, rather than just driving on them.

The Ave seems like the perfect street to be made car-free as it’s relatively narrow with many street-facing businesses. Traffic can be easily reroute to any parallel street and buses routes can default to the same alternate routes that are in place during the U District Street Fair.

Broadway Ave seems like another good candidate, though it is wider and carries more cars. Same with 45th St in Wallingford. Where else in the city could be a good place for a pedestrian mall?


Council to reject funding for Walk Bike Ride

The mayor’s proposed budget, which includes funding for pedestrian projects through additional parking fees and taxes, is being reworked by the City Council. PubliCola covered the council’s discussion and decisions to reject funding for these projects.

The council agreed to raise parking rates, but not as high as the mayor had requested, and without parking fees on Sunday. The council also agreed to raise the commercial parking tax, but not nearly as high as the mayor had requested. The decisions by the council were not unanimous and some council members fought for maintaining the Walk Bike Ride program funding in the budget:

“If we accept these cuts, we will be pushing back [the pedestrian and bike master plans] even further,” Licata said. “I would encourage council members to think again about whether the [parking tax] could be nudged up a bit to take into account some of these really pressing needs.” O’Brien added that viewed in the context of a $300 million-plus transportation budget, the $20 million proposed for pedestrian and biking programs “is really just a drop in the bucket. … It’s hard to tell the public that these are our top priorities.”

After the council agreed to cut the commercial parking tax, the mayor released a list of projects that would have to be cut. Funding for the pedestrian master plan would be totally cut, as well as for the complete streets program, and red light cameras, along with numerous other transportation projects and services.


Last budget hearing for pedestrian project funding

This Tuesday night at City Hall is the last public hearing for the city’s 2011 budget. Mayor McGinn’s budget proposal includes about $2 million for pedestrian projects next year, including more sidewalks, curb ramps, walking/biking trails, stairways, and pedestrian lighting.

There is some opposition to the funding sources for these projects as funds will largely come from increased parking rates. There is concern that the increased parking fees will keep people (and their money) away from downtown Seattle’s businesses. The Stranger examines what the effects might be of increased parking rates and suggests that increased downtown parking rates will be good for businesses.

The City Council appears apprehensive to support this budget with the increased parking fees, and Dan Bertolet at Publicola calls on the City Council to lead:

Unless they can propose a realistic and equivalent alternative source of funds for Walk Bike Ride projects, how can council members possibly claim with straight faces that they believe it’s important to create walkable, transit-rich communities in Seattle? (The recently approved $20 license fee is slated to fund about $2 million in Walk Bike Ride projects starting in 2012.)

The change we need will never happen until we start spending serious dollars on the right things, and the reality is, $5 million per year for Walk Bike Ride projects is only a meager first step. But new funding requires either new taxes or cuts—either of which is bound to piss off someone, somewhere. Where does that leave the city’s leaders? Well, it means they actually have to lead. And to do that, they might have to upset the status quo.

However, it may require a strong show of support to embolden the council enough to support the mayor’s budget. Feet First is encouraging people to come out to the final budget meeting:

City Council needs to hear from you about protecting funding for pedestrians in this year’s budget!

Your voice is crucial to the decisions that are being made about the budget.

The final budget meeting is this Tuesday at City Hall, in the 2nd floor City Council Chambers. Sign-in is at 5 pm and the hearing begins at 5:30.

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Seattle Art Walks

City Councilmember Nick Licata has created a site to identify Seattle’s many neighborhood art walks. From Madison Park to Ballard to Georgetown and everything in between, this gives you a good overview of where you can go to walk and experience local art.


Show of support for budget needed

Streets for All Seattle is organizing to make a strong presence at the remaining two budget hearings. You can RSVP to receive a T-shirt from them.

The City Council needs to hear from you about the importance of funding pedestrian, bicycle and transit improvements. At the two upcoming budget hearings the City Council will listen to members of the public like you and make crucial decisions about the budget. We need more budget hearing heroes to demonstrate strong community support for Streets For All Seattle.

The next budget hearing is this Wednesday evening at The Brockey Center at South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Avenue SW, 98106, at 5pm.