Tag Archive for 'Mayor'

Walking news roundup

There’s a lot of news out there to cover – here are a few stories:

And a couple SDOT news releases that I don’t have links for:

  • “Seattle Department of Transportation’s Roadway Structures crew will construct a new staircase near the southeastern city limits at 72nd Avenue South between Rainier Avenue South and South Taft Street.” The stairway will be closed starting next Monday through early May. “The new staircase will be wider with hand rails on both sides, and will sport a new bike runnel making it easy to roll a bike up and down the stairs.”
  • “Repairs are underway on the Duwamish Trail in West Seattle. The asphalt trail has been heavily damaged in places by tree roots and needs to be repaired for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.”
  • NE Ravenna Blvd between Green Lake and 15th Ave NE will be repaved. “Work includes grinding and removing the existing asphalt roadway, repairing areas of the concrete roadway base, repaving, upgrading pedestrian curb ramps and building a curb bulb at E. Green Lake Drive N. and N.E. 71st Street. Work is expected to be completed by the end of summer, dependant on weather conditions.”
  • Also, the pedestrian paradise known as the Ballard bridge will have a closed west sidewalk starting next Monday and continuing into April due to a painting project.

One final thing – the nomination period for the worst intersection in Seattle ends this Sunday.


Road Safety Summits coming up

The mayor’s office is holding several road safety summit meetings.

The Road Safety Summit, through two public forums, an online survey, and in-person outreach, is providing a chance for the public to give their input on three questions:

What do you think are the highest priority safety problems to solve on Seattle roads?
What do you think are the most important things to do to make Seattle roads safer?
We often talk about what government can do to promote safety. What are the ways that non-governmental groups can promote safety?

The times are listed below or on the Road Safety Summit site:

Public Forum #1:
Monday, October 24th, 6pm in the Bertha K. Landes room at City Hall

Public Forum #2
Tuesday, November 15th, 6pm at the Northgate Community Center

Public Forum #3
Monday, November 21st, 6pm at the Southwest Community Center

I have a few items on my pedestrian wishlist that I’d like to bring up. Changing jaywalking laws is worth looking into as well.


Mayor walking for health

The mayor is taking a lead in supporting healthy lifestyles and outlines a few things the city is doing to address public health concerns, several of which support walking:

Walk, Bike, Ride: We launched an update to the Transit Master Plan that will take a 20-year look ahead to the type of transit system required to meet Seattle’s needs through 2030. In 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will do projects in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans including 15 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, 20 miles of bicycle routes, re-marking 300 crosswalks, and 10 blocks of new sidewalks. focuses on creating great places in neighborhoods. Additional placemaking efforts will be integrated into urban design frameworks and include finding a solution to the Martin Luther King and Rainier intersection that enables buses, cars and pedestrians to move efficiently through the area, neighborhood plan updates as the Linden Avenue North Complete Streets project continues to take shape, and identifying the improvement necessary to make Metro’s new Rapid Ride corridors to Ballard and West Seattle walkable and comfortable for transit riders.

Encouraging Safe Routes to School: In 2011, SDOT will make the following improvements at 14 schools: four school-zone beacons, six signage improvements, new curb bulbs to improve pedestrian crossings at three locations, and sidewalk repair or maintenance at Concord Elementary and Van Asselt Elementary.

Creating great places: In 2011, we will work on land use and transportation changes near King Street station by developing a hub design strategy, pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding, streetscape improvements and bike parking. These projects will occur around light rail stations and King Street station in order to better make our transit hubs a part of our neighborhoods. And that helps make our communities more walkable.


Mayor asked about pedestrian issues in Maple Leaf

Mayor Mike McGinn joined residents in a walk through Maple Leaf, passing by Thornton Creek and area parks. The walk ended with a question and answer session, which addressed some pedestrian concerns, according to Maple Leaf Life:

Many of those attending were interested in pedestrian safety and the lack of sidewalks in much of Maple Leaf and Northgate. There were complaints about lack of walkability along Northeast Northgate Way and Roosevelt Avenue Northeast, and at the intersection of Northgate and Eighth Avenue Northeast.

“We’re seeing a desire by many people to live in a more walkable area,” McGinn acknowledged. “We should be prioritizing pedestrian projects. “


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.


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.

View Larger Map


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.


$2 mil for peds in mayor’s budget

PubliCola dives into the details of the mayor’s proposed $13 million Walk Bike Ride Plan. Of that, $5 million is expected in 2011 and pedestrian projects would get the largest piece at over $2 million.

Mayor McGinn’s office sent out this information about the budget:

What’s in the Walk Bike Ride package? More funding for:

Safe, Healthy Neighborhoods

  • More Neighborhood Street Fund projects that will improve neighborhoods. These projects have undergone an extensive ranking process involving district councils, neighborhood residents, and the Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee. These projects include:
    • Cedar Park: NE 12th St: new sidewalk between Sand Point and 35th Ave NE (2011)
    • Central District: E Union pedestrian and bike improvements between E Madison and 13th St (2011)
    • South Park: 8th Ave South: new sidewalk between S Director and S Concord Streets (2011)
    • Arbor Heights: 35th Ave SW sidewalk between SW 97th and 104th St (2012)
    • Crown Hill: 18th Ave NW sidewalks between NW 85th and NW 89th St (2012)
    • Pioneer Square: 3rd Ave S sidewalk repair between Prefontaine Pl S and S Washington St (2012)
  • Full funding for the Linden Ave North Complete Streets project.
  • Projects that speed up implementation of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans. This means more sidewalks, bike facilities, crossing improvements, stairways, pedestrian lighting, and other neighborhood improvements.
  • Getting started on the creation of a bikeshare program in Seattle.

A Dependable, Connected Transportation System

Frequent, Reliable Transit

Creating Great Places

We hope you can help us make Seattle a better place. Thank you.