HOW CANDIDATES STAND ON WALKABILITY (SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL): 2015

 

The Feet First Policy Committee reaches out to candidates about their perspective on creating more walkable communities. This year 26 Seattle city council member candidates responded to our annual Feet First Candidate Questionnaire.

 

Questions

 

1) Move Seattle: How could the Move Seattle levy be improved for people who walk?

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan: According to the City of Seattle website, “The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has funding to begin implementing the Pedestrian Master Plan, although the level of current funding does not approach the need identified in the plan”* Would you support increasing that level of funding? If so, how?

 

*http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian_masterplan/pmp_imp_fund.htm (Accessed June 7, 2015)

 

3) Rechannelization: In recent years a number of four-lane Seattle streets have been converted to three lanes (one lane in each direction plus a two-way left turn lane). These reconfigurations greatly improve pedestrian safety for people trying to cross the street.

 

Under what circumstances do you support converting arterials from four lanes to three in this manner? Are there any places where these lane changes have occurred where the road should be changed back to four lanes?

 

4) Light rail: A frequent criticism of Sound Transit’s light rail stops, such as the Mount Baker station in Rainier Valley, is the difficulty in walking between the stations and other destinations, including bus transfer stops.

 

How would you support local efforts to make the regional light rail network more accessible to people on foot?

 

How would you prioritize this issue compared with other transportation issues?: High priority, Somewhat high priority, Somewhat low priority, Low priority

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

Note: This questionnaire was sent before the state transportation budget was passed.

 

Sound Transit and the City of Seattle have agreed to partially fund a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across I-5 to connect North Seattle College to the Northgate light rail station. The agency estimates that the bridge would be used by 7,000 people per day. Sound Transit could provide additional funds to ensure the bridge’s completion. What would you do as a member of the city council to help accomplish that?

 

How would you prioritize this issue compared with other transportation issues?: High priority, Somewhat high priority, Somewhat low priority, Low priority

 

6) Walking in Seattle: What policies and programs need to be put in place to make walking safer and more enjoyable for all Seattle residents?

 

Links to Candidate Responses

 

1, Brianna Thomas

1, Charles Redmond

1, Karl Wirsing

1, Lisa Herbold

1, Shannon Braddock

2, Bruce Harrell (incumbent)

2, Joshua Farris

2, Tammy Morales

3, Kshama Sawant (incumbent)

3, Morgan Beach

3, Pamela Banks

4, Jean Godden (incumbent)

4, Michael Maddux

4, Rob Johnson

5, Debadutta Dash

5, Debora Juarez

5, Halei Watkins

5, Sandy Brown

6, Catherine Weatbrook

6, Michael O’Brien (incumbent)

7, Deborah Zech-Artis

7, Sally Bagshaw (incumbent)

8, John Roderick

8, Tim Burgess (incumbent)

9, Alon Bassock

9, Bill Bradburd

 

Brianna Thomas, District 1

 

1) Move Seattle:

Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan has no dedicated, stable source of funding. Originally, it had been funded in part by the employee hours tax included in the Bridging the Gap Levy. With that tax now repealed and Bridging the Gap expiring, the Move Seattle Levy is essential to secure desperately needed investments in pedestrian infrastructure improvements. Move Seattle includes funding for Safe Routes to Schools, sidewalk construction and repair, traffic signaling and crosswalk improvements, a crucial Northgate pedestrian bridge and other targeted neighborhood projects. Despite these investments, Move Seattle could be improved for pedestrians.

 

Move Seattle underfunds our Safe Routes to Schools program. According to WSDOT, 60% of parents cite unsafe road conditions as a factor in deciding how to get their children to school. When properly implemented, Safe Routes to Schools has proven effective at encouraging children walking to school. Further, the health and safety benefits of this program extend more broadly to pedestrians and bicyclists in the area. Yet Move Seattle only dedicates $7 million to Safe Routes to Schools. Even with additional revenue from speed cameras around schools (a funding source that will decline as residents avoid speeding around schools), total funding will be insufficient. I supported Seattle Neighborhood Greenway’s proposal for $38.4 million to be dedicated to Safe Routes to Schools and remain committed to finding supplementary funding for these necessary investments.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I support the full and stable funding of Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan and believe we can do it. We have many options at our disposal for funding necessary pedestrian infrastructure improvements. The Move Seattle Levy, though imperfect, will provide some additional funding for projects throughout the city. Revenue from speed cameras has been an effective source of funding for the Safe Routes to School program and should be expanded for use in pedestrian zones and retail areas. Our resurgent real-estate market will provide additional REET revenue that can be used for sidewalks, street lighting, traffic signals and other investments in pedestrian infrastructure. The City should actively promote the establishment of local improvement districts in our urban villages as a way of fostering economic development while using the funds to improve the pedestrian environment. An increase in the commercial parking tax reinstitution of an employee hours tax could also support pedestrian improvements while encouraging more environmentally friendly transportation options. Although the details would need to be hashed out and there are restrictions on use, modest impact fees on new development could help fund some pedestrian infrastructure improvements. Relatedly, I believe it’s time to expand the notion of a public benefit to include precisely these sorts of improvements and to mandate them in exchange for street and alley vacations. Of course, some of these options can be used to fund other important civic investments (e.g. implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan) and choices will have to be made.

 

3) Rechannelization:

Road rechannelizations have proven effective throughout Seattle. They improve pedestrian visibility at intersections, decrease pedestrian crossing times, decrease speeding and prevent dangerous passing attempts by automobiles, decrease the number of collisions and free up space for badly needed bicycle infrastructure. Moreover, they do not increase congestion or significantly increase travel times for drivers. Seattle has been using road rechannelizations since the 1970’s and the evidence is clear: they benefit residents who walk, bike and drive.

 

Our use of road rechannelizations should be data-driven and prioritized to improve public safety. Streets with a history of injuries to pedestrians and frequent collisions should be targeted, including, District 1, 35th Avenue SW and portions of Roxbury. There are no existing road rechannelizations that I think should be reverted back to four lanes.

 

4) Light rail:

Improving pedestrian access to light rail stops is a high priority. Light rail is the backbone of the public transportation network Seattle and the region need. We must do what we can to ensure that access to and from light rail is safe and easy for our residents. Ideally, the City of Seattle and Sound Transit would collaborate more effectively for this purpose.

 

Some significant investments in pedestrian access to light rail have already been proposed. Obviously, we need a pedestrian and bicyclist bridge over I-5 connecting North Seattle to Northgate’s light future light rail station. We also need improvements on 45th St to ensure safe and easy access across I-5 to the University District’s future light rail station. SDOT’s ‘Accessible Mount Baker’ proposal includes some smart traffic reconfiguration ideas and badly needed improvements to transit stops around the light rail station.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

This is a high priority project. The City of Seattle and Sound Transit have each pledged $5 million in funding for the Northgate pedestrian and bicyclist bridge. The State’s proposed transportation budget includes another $15 million, but has yet to be finalized. If State funding doesn’t materialize, the City of Seattle has hedged its bets by including $15 million for the Northgate bridge in the Move Seattle Levy and, also, by submitting its second TIGER grant application for federal funding. One way or the other, it looks like this project will funded. If State or Federal funding comes through, then the City will probably take the funds earmarked in the Move Seattle Levy and use them to fund the Access Mount Baker proposal, which I support. As a City Councilmember, I’ll work to make sure that the Northgate bridge ends up fully funded and completed, and that any additional funds from the Move Seattle Levy are targeted for public safety improvements to our pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

We have to find dedicated, stable and sufficient funding for the full implementation of our Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans. I believe we should commit to Vision Zero and prioritize the investments that will allow us to realize a substantial reduction in pedestrian fatalities and injuries throughout Seattle. We need to fully fund Safe Routes to Schools and ensure that all children can walk to school safely.

 

More importantly, and more generally, we need to change the public conversation about transportation. Seattle’s transportation system was built with cars in mind. Going forward, this needs to change. We have to invest in a public transportation system that will reduce reliance on automobiles. This is an environmental necessity, crucial for economic development and for addressing affordability in Seattle. Further, it’s absolutely fundamental to making Seattle a city where people can walk and bike safely and easily. Livable neighborhoods are walkable neighborhoods. This is a lens through which we must view our decisions on transportation and neighborhood planning, growth and development, parks and open spaces.

 

Charles Redmond, District 1

 

1) Move Seattle:

There could be additional funds for outreach education such as “not texting while crossing streets.” There could be specific identification of the areas around local schools where sidewalks or other protective areas for pedestrians will be built. There could be a section on integrating the various transportation systems into the pedestrian grid so that if you were within one block of an arterial which had a frequent transit line (bus or rail) that you would have indications on the street signage that such a transit option was nearby – much like we put small staircases on street signs to indicate there is a pedestrian access point up or down a hill.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I would support raising the level of support within the current budget to provide additional funding for pedestrian improvements, including adding protected walkways in areas where needed and adding significant additional transit signage on adjacent streets to arterials with frequent transit. I would reinstitute the so-called head tax as a means of providing about a dozen million additional dollars annually to go specifically to pedestrian improvements.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support converting 4-lane arterials into 3-lane (center turn lane) arterials under conditions which SDOT has identified already – traffic volumes below 19K with frequent left-turn situations. There are a number of additional arterials which could be looked at in terms of this criteria and which would result in a more consistent arterial approach. I haven’t experienced any converted arterial where there appeared to be any issue associated with either traffic flow or pedestrian or transit access. The examples so far have worked very well. I’m looking forward to the transformation of 23rd Avenue into a 3-lane arterial as 23rd currently has very high traffic speeds along most of its path and goes through very congested neighborhoods as well as by libraries and schools.

 

4) Light rail:

For starters I’d place transit signs on all adjacent arterials and intersecting streets which were within 4 blocks of a Link station – Sound Transit has consistently and continuously failed in their approach to signage. I would also work with SDOT to create easily-recognized and easily-navigated pathways from these adjacent arterials to the Link station. From the Link stations I’d have a series of wayfinding signs indicating the correct path and direction for a bus transfer – and not just using bus numbers but using the indicated directions of the bus on the wayfinding sign – much like subway systems use to indicate route directions for change stations. We could make access so much easier with a unified and overall consistent look and approach to our transit signage.

 

I would make this a high priority because the cost is very low, the implementation would be fairly simple, and the immediate effect on transit ease-of-use would be dramatic and would represent a very high return-on-investment in terms of usefulness versus cost and time to implement.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I would work with the City Council representative to Sound Transit and with the other Sound Transit board members to persistently encourage them to provide additional funding or seek additional grants to accomplish this bridge project. I would also work with the Northgate Merchants and Lake City/Northgate Chambers to see what matching funds might be available through businesses or through a business-government partnership.

 

I would make this a high priority because we need this connection as soon as the Northgate station opens and work on that project is well underway now and we need a secure funding source to begin the planning and construction of the ped/bike bridge in time for a Northgate station opening.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

The City needs a consistent set of signage indicating safe routes, safe crossings, access to transit, and other important elements such as location of public restrooms. The City needs to be much more aggressive about it’s safety programs and not rely solely on street signage such as billboards or small street markers to indicate a safety project or safety priority. Also, Seattle Police need to be involved with a series of emphasis patrols focusing on “failure to yield” and “red light running” and “right turn on red with out looking.” Emphasis patrols coupled with a much more effective public campaign would help but the emphasis patrols must be a regular feature (monthly, weekly, whatever) and the public campaign must involve more than just visible signs – it has to include media and it has to include Public Service Announcements distributed to all local media and used on a consistent basis by local media. The City needs to create a media partnership with the local AM, FM and TV broadcasters so we have a consistent and across-the-spectrum approach. The City also needs to partner with Comcast, Century Link and others providing backbone internet service and/or cable access so those firms can also provide an appropriate level of Public Service Announcement support. I would also like to see Olympia take a more serious approach to finding drivers culpable for harm they do pedestrians and cyclists with either increased fines for offenses or some form of dedicated community service as an imposition for causing harm to pedestrians or cyclists – even under so-called “no fault” accident conditions because the incumbency is on the operator of the two-ton vehicle not on the pedestrian or cyclist.

 

Karl Wirsing, District 1

 

1) Move Seattle:

To start, I would like to see more funding in there for programs like Safe Routes to School, because one of its core goals is to create truly connected, seamless and safe networks for kids and families (and, in turn, all pedestrians). Expanding the radius of signaled or well-marked crossings, clear signage, sidewalks and neighborhood greenways, for instance, should be an ongoing priority to improve pedestrian mobility and access.

 

The same goes, more generally, for putting a greater focus on smart growth and closing gaps in our pedestrian infrastructure throughout the city. I worked for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for 5.5 years, and we were strong advocates for increased investment in active transportation. One of the biggest challenges we encountered was getting the final sidewalks and trails and access points completed to make a community fully integrated at the street level—so that someone walking through a city can do so fluidly and intuitively, and without breaks and confusion points. I remember when we did some surveys in New Orleans in support of a rail-trail there, and we found so many tiny inconsistencies, like a sidewalk with a wheelchair ramp at one end but no ramp or exit at the other. These hitches are confounding to anyone trying to walk through the area.

 

I’m also a lifelong runner, and few activities expose the missing links in a system like trying to navigate through several miles of a neighborhood on foot. You get a painfully clear picture of where crosswalks are absent; where sidewalks are narrow, uneven or overgrown; where signage at one corner disappears at the next and leaves you trotting aimlessly. A great example of a more comprehensive, thoughtful approach, however, is what’s going on with the Burke-Gilman Trail through the University of Washington. Working with the city and Sound Transit, the UW is streamlining the rail-trail to improve access points and “mixing zones” where users will come in contact the most, such as at the new Link stop opening in 2016; creating multiple lanes to keep various users (walkers, runners, cyclists) out of conflict and moving as safely as possible; and working with other neighborhood partners to create more well-marked avenues and outlets to reach the trail from several blocks in any direction. I run and walk on this trail several times a week, and I can’t wait to see what the end result looks and feels like—especially when the detours are over!

 

Tackling these smaller-scale projects can seem granular in the scope of a $930 million levy, but they add up quickly to make a transformative difference for the pedestrian experience—and the quality of that experience is a fundamental component of smart growth, as well as a crucial measure of an active, healthy, connected Seattle.
2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Absolutely. Our current funding model feels like we’re shuffling cards in a deck, and dealing more to one priority generally comes at the expense of another. We need to break out of that cycle. The odds are long, but I’m a big supporter of investigating a city or county-wide marginal income tax—drawing progressively on our highest earners—with the aim of using that revenue almost exclusively for bike/ped/road/bridge/transit improvements and education. We need a new model, and these infrastructure improvements are simply too important to be subject to our current budget limitations.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I am generally uncomfortable with the notion of favoring one transportation mode over another, and I believe the right design can accommodate multiple modes smoothly and efficiently. In fact, many street improvements—like adding a median and bulbouts to help pedestrians cross, and also to improve pedestrian visibility to drivers—can actually improve the performance of an arterial even with reduced lanes. That doesn’t mean we should give every busy road a diet. But it does mean that if we are smart about the design, and carefully study how a road functions (including readily involving the affected neighborhoods in any planned work), we can make infrastructure improvements that aid everyone on the road, from drivers to cyclists to transit riders to walkers.

 

4) Light rail:

It’s amazing how we can spend so much money on a project like light trail—which is essential to Seattle, and needs to be expanded rapidly—and then forget about the small steps of helping people get to and move between our stations. What good is the light rail system if people don’t feel comfortable or confident walking to the station, or being able to find their way around after they get off? Pedestrian mobility depends on there being no gaps in the system, and having the signage and infrastructure to move easily and freely. So I would strongly support reexamining these stations from the pedestrian user experience, and taking every step to improve design to make sure we all know where to go, and how to get there on foot, as obvious as possible. These aren’t huge investments that will eat up major funding for other projects, but they are high value and infinitely smart and farsighted.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I’d be a vocal supporter of this investment. It’s precisely the sort of project that can seem small and isolated yet will result in huge dividends for many neighborhoods, including all the students who will suddenly gain foot access to the course and community offerings at North Seattle College (and countless others who will be able to take the train). Without this crossing, I-5 is a massive disrupter; there’s no safe way to cross it quickly without a car. Build the bridge, and suddenly you’re literally paving the way for 7,000-plus pedestrians to make all sorts of easy connections, from going to class to shopping to exercising to trying new restaurants and bars. It’s a big deal, and a very smart idea. Also, in the overall budget, it’s a relatively small expense that will continue to generate value for years down the road.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Make walking more enjoyable—that’s the key to me. After all, one of overarching challenges of getting more people out of a car and onto a bicycle or on foot is making that alternative mode desirable, if not downright preferable. We need to make walking to work or the store or to school something fun and easy for everyone, whether it includes a ride on the bus or a trip on the train, or just a casual stroll for a couple blocks down the street. That sounds simple enough, of course, but it all depends on having the infrastructure in place to ease the transition. Make sidewalks wide and even; make pedestrian crossings well-marked and relatively frequent; keep directional signage consistent and thorough; and so on. The best part is that these aren’t monumental investments. They are relatively minor, yet they are essential if you want more people to be out walking, and fewer people out driving on our over-taxed roads. Culture change hinges on the infrastructure we build to facilitate it, so we need to keep investing in a more active, foot-friendly city!

 

Lisa Herbold, District 1

 

1) Move Seattle:

I would have liked more investment in new sidewalk development, particularly in low income neighborhoods without sidewalks. Further I think the levy should have identified a sidewalk construction goal for each district rather than a total citywide number of blocks. In addition, I believe a yearly minimum commitment to funding the implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Master Plan, for each of the 9 years of the levy is an important objective and measure of our commitment to pedestrian safety. I supported the proposal to use the employer head tax, the commercial parking tax, and impact fees to reduce the property tax impact to the taxpayer without a reduction in the $930 million revenue goal. I also believe strongly that we should expand the use of dedicated automated camera enforcement revenues for funding pedestrian infrastructure. Currently only the revenue from school zone speed enforcement is dedicated. It should be expanded to include arterial speed zone enforcement as well as red light camera enforcement. This would increase revenues available for VIsion Zero priority projects significantly. Pedestrian safety projects that reduce the danger and harm to walkers should be of the highest priority.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I support increasing this level of funding. I believe the Ped plan funding should be $15 million a year. I would fight for a developer impact fee that would supplement the general fund. It is my priority to fund a more livable and healthy city, and that means improvements to our pedestrian infrastructure. In addition, as noted above, I believe strongly that we also should expand the use of dedicated automated camera enforcement revenues for funding pedestrian infrastructure. The dedication of automated camera enforcement revenue to pedestrian safety projects is considered a best practice.

 

3) Rechannelization:

Rechannelization can reduce vehicular speeds and make the road safer for pedestrians. These projects have demonstrated that they can decrease congestion and reduce crashes. They should be reserved for streets with frequent left turns and traffic volumes that meet the requirements. Yet communities are often very mistrustful of these projects. Consequently, they should be developed using a bottom up model of community engagement, rather than a top down approach. Otherwise the outcome can result in community opposition to the most reasonable reforms. For instance, what started as concerns about the proposal to reduce lanes on 35th SW has resulted in staunch opposition from some to any changes on 35th SW, including the reasonable plan to reduce speed limits on 35th SW.

 

4) Light rail:

I would consider this as a high priority goal. As I understand it, much of the difficulty relates to wayfinding and information availability about scheduling. Connections between light rail and bus routes are very important and not enough planning has been done to make those connections more seamless for the commuter. People should be informed with appropriate signage when they get off the bus about where the closest light rail station is. Similarly, when people get off rail there should be signage directing them to the nearby bus lines. To the extent possible, those sign should also include route time arrival information.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I am supportive of this additional funding and agree that Sound Transit could help provide the funds to connect the College and the light rail station. I would encourage the City Council representative to Sound Transit to carry this position to Sound Transit and ask that information be shared about what Sound Transit needs in the way of support and advocacy to encourage this outcome. Whether that means a Council Resolution, support for matching funds from another revenue source, or encouraging the public and groups like Feet First to contact the Sound Transit Board, I believe it’s always critical to strategize and share information with stakeholders about the opportunities to influence decision-making. I would rate this as a high priority, though as I am running to represent District 1, WestSeattle/South Park, I would expect the District 5 councilmember to lead on this project. But I do absolutely recognize the importance of timing on this project, since planning is already underway.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Among my highest priorities for Seattle is to ensure that Seattle becomes a more livable, healthy city. Walkability is a critical component to this objective. I believe funding is the biggest challenge. We need to backup our words and campaign promises with funding from the City Council. I am a passionate proponent of pedestrian safety. I will fight for funding for pedestrian infrastructure improvements such as: crosswalks, traffic calming circles, enforcement of speed zones and other emphasis patrols tailored to particular patterns of traffic safety violations (particularly around schools) sidewalk repair and new sidewalk development, and increased funding for metro services. I also am a proponent of public information campaigns and feel the City’s use of them to encourage better driving habits has been sporadic and inconsistent. To be effective the commitment to public education must be ongoing.

 

Shannon Braddock, District 1

 

1) Move Seattle:

More funding is needed for pedestrian improvements in the Move Seattle plan.  As a city councilmember I will be active in making sure we are making the needed pedestrian improvements especially in urban centers experiencing rapid growth and those that serve as major transit destinations.  It is critical that we do a better job of coordinating the Transit Master Plan, Bicycle Master Plan, and Pedestrian Master Plan to make sure they work well together and that we make strategic investments in complete streets as Seattle continues its rapid growth.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I would be a strong supporter of increasing funding for implementing the Pedestrian Master Plan in the annual budget process.  I believe that pedestrian improvements are cost effective ways to promote transit access, neighborhood walkability, safety, and local business access.  I would also look for ways to better coordinate investments by various city departments to improve pedestrian access.  Often departments work in silos on projects without coordinating with others. As utilities and other departments plan capital projects they should be looking to see if there is an opportunity to improve pedestrian access as part of their project.  Finally, I would work to make sure that as private development occurs, that developers are incorporating pedestrian design and funding into their projects.  Several new developments in West Seattle have recently including new pedestrian pathways into their projects.  We need to make sure the city is maximizing these opportunities as we grow and convincing developers that doing so will add value to their projects.

 

3) Rechannelization:

Any current four lane street in the city that carries under 30,000 cars daily should be a candidate for these conversions, and those streets that carry more than that should be evaluated for treatments as well.  The three lane alignment with a center turn lane gives pedestrians who might have trouble crossing the entire street with a safer place to pause.  It is also safer for cars and bikes and improves the neighborhood feel by reducing speeds to the posted limit.  I was strongly supportive of the recent project on Fauntleroy Way SW which has proven to be a big success in improving safety for all users.  I also support the city’s proposals to address safety on 35th Ave SW (not so affectionately known as I-35) by instituting a three lane alignment on parts of this corridor.  The proposals are sensible in that they correctly identify that traffic volumes on this arterial grow as 35th approaches the West Seattle Bridge.  So they would apply the three lane treatments to the majority of the corridor and only go to four lanes as traffic volumes build near the bridge access.  I would not support reversing any of the projects currently implemented in the city.

 

4) Light rail:

I believe that Sound Transit and the city have learned a lot about the need for good pedestrian access since the Rainier Valley segment was built.  Sound Transit now has a station access policy for stations.  All new light rail stations need to have good pedestrian and bike access in the radius around the station.  Every station needs to be also built to allow easy and safe transfers from buses without an onerous crossing like Mount Baker.  Currently the effort to better integrate Metro and Sound Transit in planning has resulted in early attention to pedestrian and bike access and better transit coordination than in the past as we plan stations in the University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate.  We also need to continue to look for ways to improve access at stations like Mount Baker which are already built.  I will make this a high priority because light rail is a 100 year investment which will help create new neighborhoods and it is always better to make the right decisions as you design and construct stations, rather than go back and try to fix them at a future date.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

There are many paths to funding this essential pedestrian and bicycle bridge. Funding will likely be a combination of Sound Transit, Seattle, and state and federal grant dollars.  As a city councilmember I view this project as a “need to have”, not a “nice to have”.  I will use my office and relationships with current Sound Transit board members to ensure this project is completed at the same time the Northgate station opens in 2021.  I view this project as a high priority.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

As a mother of three children in the Seattle public schools, I believe that it is critical to improve safe pathways to schools.  Too many kids can no longer safely walk or bike to school.  By instilling a value on walking to school we can raise a generation that prioritizes pedestrian improvements.  I would also work to better fund identified pedestrian projects in the master plan and to leverage private development as noted above in my previous answers.  I also believe there is some low hanging fruit to be realized.  The state of our crosswalks in many neighborhoods is extremely poor.  Vegetation is often allowed to grow over sidewalks rendering them unusable.  This is a big problem in the Delridge corridor of West Seattle.  And spot enforcement of autos that take right turns into crosswalks when the light turns are another opportunity for driver education.  I watch several near misses every day at 4th and James, right in front of City Hall.

 

Bruce Harrell, incumbent, District 2

 

1) Move Seattle:

Short answer: By investing even more into an infrastructure that supports, encourages and sustains a walkable community and by educating the public of the benefits of a walking community. As one of the leaders on the Council who worked on the Move Seattle levy, I believe we passed a final levy that balances a new and reshaped transportation infrastructure. More people are walking, biking, and taking transit; less than half drive alone to get to work. The smart phone has changed the way people move. My priority for the Move Seattle levy was safety and improving commute. The final Move Seattle levy included key revisions by the Mayor and Council to increase walking investments. I tripled the funding for the Accessible Mount Baker project to improve pedestrian safety. We prioritized nearly 50 million dollars for Safe Routes to our Schools. Investments will be made for 12-15 corridor safety projects, curb ramps at 750 intersections, 225 blocks of damaged sidewalks will be repaired, and the Burke-Gilman missing link will be completed. Better connections to light rail for pedestrians will be made. The levy will build 100 new blocks of sidewalks. I have heard concerns from the community that the Levy only funds 11% of the pedestrian master plan. Building sidewalks is very expensive and we will actually look at pilot designs to lessen the cost of building sidewalks—approximately half the cost goes into installing drainage. A walkable neighborhood improves public safety, a person’s health, the environment, and creates an engaged neighborhood. I most recently worked with SDOT to retime 34 traffic signals along Rainier Ave to allow for more time to cross. I have a proven record of making investments and enacting policies to build walkable neighborhoods. I have been one of the city leaders in this regard.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I support increasing the annual funding to implement the Pedestrian Master plan to a minimum of $15 million a year. A dedicated funding source must be established in order to consistently fund pedestrian projects. For eight years, the Bridging the Gap levy provided approximately 25% of SDOT’s funding and has been critical to addressing the backlog in maintenance, improving transit services, improving public safety for sidewalks, streets, and roads. However, we have a transportation maintenance backlog of $1.8 billion and we have to stay at a pace of $190 M per year to keep up with the backlog. Approximately $10-12 million was funded annually from 2009-2014 to improve the pedestrian system. The Move Seattle levy will help increase this investment with 11% of the funds dedicated to the pedestrian master plan. I have consistently maintained that we must establish new revenue sources that prioritize such investments.

 

3) Rechannelization:

As Public Safety chair, I have been a leader at promoting our transportation re-channelization efforts in terms of promoting safety. I have worked with community groups, advocacy groups, news media and committee members to support re-channelization efforts. Groups such as the Cascade Bicycle Club have endorsed my candidacy as a result. Based on the policy direction that I have given, I have asked the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop a plan to improve the coordination of the Bicycle Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, Freight Master Plan, and Transit Master Plan when re-designing corridors. This effort strongly aligns with a modal transportation prioritization hierarchy model in that we have made it clear that walking, available transit and safe bike lanes are the building blocks to establish vibrant, healthy communities. While we recognize we will continue to move freight through trucks, we have to recognize that safety is our priority. Therefore, I have advocated for the use of 8 categories for assessing prioritization of large capital projects using a 100 point system: total collision rate, bike and pedestrian collisions, infrastructure condition & risk, equity and health, environmental stewardship, priority corridors, future growth, and complete streets.

 

With this conceptual framework, we were able to establish, for example for cyclists, the roadway (163/342, 48%) was the predominant area for collisions with 56% of the collisions occurring at the intersection. 75% of all pedestrian collisions occurred at the intersection (298/396) with 58% occurring on marked crosswalks. With this information, we are able to align our capital investments with our commitment to increase safety.

 

Relative to Rainier Ave south, data would suggest that on Rainier Avenue South between South Jackson St. and South McClellan St, there is a range from 29,800 to 35,000 in vehicle volume. Between S. McClellan St. and South Genesee St., the volume of traffic is approximately 22,200. Between South Genesee St and Othello St the volume is 19,700. From Othello St. to S. Henderson St. the volume is 22,100. Based on recommendations from the City of Seattle’s Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, it is established that road re-channelization is recommended to work best on roads with daily traffic of 20,000 or less. Based on a Rainier road diet report from 2008, it was predicted that southbound transit would run 30% slower during high volume and 100% slower for car traffic if a re-channelization occurred. However, I believe this report was conducted using older data that did not recognize the changing modes of transportation and the fact that people will change modes when presented with feasible alternatives. With the mode share changing and new data presented, I have made it clear I support a comprehensive neighborhood process with residents and stakeholders to examine re-channelization with, as an example, between Edmunds S. and Kenny St and later between Letitia to Seward Park Drive.

 

Regarding changing back to 4 lanes, there have been cities that experienced rapid commercial growth, low residential growth, and had pre-existing road width to establish 4 lanes of traffic, but such 4 lane re-channelization is generally inconsistent with modern principles of smart urban growth and road safety.

 

4) Light rail:

Improving walk-ability and accessibility to the Light Rail stations in Rainier Valley is a high priority concern of mine. I was one of the original community activists who became involved in light rail advocacy when the decision was made to build the south end light rail above grade. I incorporated the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund as a means to mitigate the community damage caused by construction and to establish a light rail network more accessible to people on foot. I lived through the construction of Light Rail. My family and I use the Columbia City Station near our home and we have witnessed the change in ridership over the years. I believe we are finally achieving maturity and we are finally meeting our projected ridership goals with a 15% increase from 2014 to 2013. However, data suggests that folks are reluctant to walk more than .25-.5 miles to a light rail station. Low-income and non-English speaking populations are also more reluctant to change regular travel patterns of local bus routes or using a car. I am working to create better options for east-west connectors to Light-Rail stations with greater availability of Car2Go, taxis, for-hires, TNCs, Pronto, and other car-sharing tools. I will also bring an education and technology hub to the Rainier Valley, invest in small business growth and opportunities for Columbia City and urban villages at MLK at Holly St, Rainier Beach, North Beacon Hill, and North Rainier so these areas become destinations for commuters. I will strongly support our city’s growth management strategy to grow in urban centers and villages, locations close to transit and other services. About 77% of the housing capacity and 78% of jobs are within an urban center, hub urban village or residential urban village. With these investments, we will have more accessibility on foot as well.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I support the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge and consider it a high priority project. It is my understanding the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is estimated to cost $25 M. SDOT and Sound Transit have both committed to $5 M if all required funding is secured by July 31, 2015. Approximately $15 M from the Move Seattle levy will go towards the Northgate Bridge project, so we are projected to meet the funding required for the project. We applied for federal funding in 2014 through the TIGER Grant program but the project was not selected. I will pursue a federal grant again in 2015 for the project if sufficient funds are not met. Again, this is a high priority project.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

This has been a priority under my leadership as Vice Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee; member of the Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Policy Board; and member of the Transportation Benefit District. For the 2015-2016 budget, we redirected funds within the Pedestrian Master Plan and the School Safety CIP projects to establish a “Pedestrian Master Plan –New Sidewalks” CIP project. Approximately $2M from Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) funds are now directed to new sidewalks for 2016. Total funding for new sidewalks is $10M in 2015 and $9.2M in 2016.

 

I support the new proposed Move Seattle levy and prioritization of pedestrian safety projects in near-term actions within the next 3 years. These investments include making 27% of the city without sidewalks more walkable through the construction of up to 30 blocks of sidewalks connecting transit stops and community centers, using high-reflectivity crosswalk markings on all projects, modifying signal timing to favor pedestrians in neighborhood business districts, installing up to 25 pedestrian countdown signals each year, and helping employers develop walking programs for employees in our most walkable neighborhoods.

 

Even though Seattle’s 2013 commute mode share is still car heavy with 54% driving alone, 9% carpooling, 22% using transit, 10% walking, 4% biking, we know more people are actively choosing transit, walking, and biking when a safe infrastructure is provided. I support “Vision Zero,” the City’s goal of zero pedestrian and bicycle fatalities from a collision with a vehicle by 2030. I support reducing speed limits on residential streets and in business districts to 20 mph. In addition to reducing speed, we must also focus on education outreach and lowering distraction-related crashes. Data indicates drivers between ages of 16 and 25 were accountable for 37 percent of speed-related crashes. Total collisions involving distraction increased 36 percent in 2013 and contributed to more than 3,600 collisions. The field of vision is dramatically reduced between 20-30mph and 25-35 mph.

 

I have also demanded transparency in how we deal with accidents. In 2010, I created the City’s initiative to publish data such as collision information in an open format that allows the public to use city data to enhance openness and safety. I also required reporting information in unprecedented levels. Based on these efforts, we know that in 2013, there were 10,310 collisions on Seattle streets reported by police. The number of collisions has gone from approximately 16,000 in 2005 to approximately 10,000 in 2013, reaching historically low levels. There was a decrease of 13 pedestrian collisions per 100,000 inhabitants from 2012 to 2013 with Seattle ranking second lowest of 52 large cities in pedestrian fatality rates. The pedestrian linear collision rate per 100,000 has gone from 90 in 2005 to 61 in 2013. This data demonstrates that the City is headed in the right direction with our policy and budget decisions, but again, we can and will do even better.

 

As a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board, I was successful in advocating for $14 M in projects to South Seattle to support station area pedestrian improvements and transit speed and reliability corridor improvements. I was also successful in advocating for $16 M in Rainier Valley improvements and $5.5 M in Martin Luther King Way projects in SDOT’s budget and capital program. I have also been a key spokesperson throughout Seattle in AT&T’s “It Can Wait” efforts discouraging people from driving and texting. The safety concerns are enormous. These are the types of investments needed to make our city safer for pedestrians.

 

Joshua Farris, District 2

 

1) Move Seattle:

There should be time for more community feedback rather than having such a large levy be presented as the final plan to community councils. Our campaign supported Councilmember Nick Licata’s amendment to use progressive taxation to cover some of the $930 million costs with linkage fees, impact fees, and the employee head tax. It is regrettable that it failed by a 7 to 2 vote and the current majority on the council doubled down on regressive taxation that places the burden solely on the back of homeowners. Trolleys should not be funded by this levy. King County should pay their fair share as well.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I support funding and increasing funding for the Pedestrian Master Plan. Walkable neighborhoods make our city immeasurably safer, healthier, and civic places to live. The energy and environmental concerns of our time also demand we return to more walkable and human scale geography. I will be a passionate advocate for walkability and adequate progressive taxation to fully fund critical investments such as the Pedestrian Master Plan.

 

3) Rechannelization:

My concern with road diets is that they not be imposed on neighborhoods without adequate education, progressive funding, and support from the local community impacted by the development. Transportation improvement often redirects traffic to more residential neighborhoods and causes displacement of low income residents.

 

SDOT must do more to communicate with the people impacted by their developments and should work closely with the Office of Housing to mitigate social cost from the development.

 

Transportation and housing are inextricably tied together and must be approached from a collaborative perspective that protects citizens from rent hikes, development impacts to business, and drastic increases to property values that might cause displacement. Affordable housing should be available equally in all neighborhoods and all people should have the opportunity to benefit from transit improvements.

 

4) Light rail:

Some of the least walkable and sprawling areas of our city are in Southeast Seattle. As a community organizer in the South End, I understand that this is because we are the poorest district in the city. Our voices have traditionally mattered less to the downtown interests. The light rail is a positive good for the area but a lack of vision in creating easy, local access to the rail stations has prevented ridership from approaching what was predicted it should be.

 

There are nearly 30 blocks between the Othello and Columbia City light rail stops. That’s hardly walkable for one of the lowest income areas of the city. The at-grade layout of the light rail often causes gridlock on MLK in addition making pedestrian access so difficult. We seem to resist providing the smaller amenities to our large projects. Pedestrian access to light rail is structurally inconvenient. No provision was made for traffic signals and crosswalks leading directly to many of the Southeast District’s Light Rail Stations. The walking distances from the respective intersections are unwieldy and the stations themselves seem like isolated islands in the midst of traffic.

 

The new Graham Street light rail stop is a critical improvement built into the Mayor’s flawed “Move Seattle” levy. We need more East-West transportation options for people that travel across the District in their daily business. People shouldn’t have to travel from Rainier Beach to Downtown if they are going to Georgetown to work. Current high fare costs also serve as a disincentive for people to take the light rail rather than drive. We must bring those fares back down with progressive funding sources. The regressive taxation and neoliberal ideology must be challenged and discarded from our city planning if Seattle is to become a sustainable and prosperous city for all. For years, the collision data for intersections in the area of the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and MLK have been four to five times over what the city deems an “acceptable” level. These intersections at MLK and McClellan, at McClellan and Rainier, and at Rainier and MLK all have terrible crash statistics, yet I would like to see more detailed information on the technical nature (do they happen upon turns, are the lights poorly timed, etc.) of these crashes. Simpler solutions like signal timing and lowering the speed limit should not be overlooked as a tool.

 

Several plans have been offered to fix the Mount Baker Mess. In 2011, the DPD proposed a “bowtie” design for the area, turning both MLK and Rainier Ave. into one-way streets, northbound and southbound respectively. But now, in the hands of SDOT, there is a proposal for the Accessible Mount Baker plan which also redesigns the entire flow of traffic and makes major changes to Rainier and MLK.

 

This project would soak up tens of millions of dollars in the Move Seattle levy and take years to complete. This is a working class neighborhood which often appears to serve as a guinea pig for SDOT’s design experiments but the city prefers to describe these enormous projects as “bold’ and “visionary”. As I stated above, we must remember that often these large transit packages cause upheaval and economic loss to those least able to survive that kind of impact. City government can be insensitive to the fact that this kind of transformation is a painful process, especially in low income areas. A solid mitigation plan needs to be in place for such major structural changes should they be approved.

 

More investment in small businesses in the area, and economic development targeted and nurtured along these two large roadways would make it a destination area and not just a throughway.

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge is a very high priority that would improve the lives of people in North Seattle. Safe and convenient pedestrian access to all light rail stations is a priority. This should have been included in the original design for every station along the light rail line.

 

I know that we must all work together to make Seattle a city that works for the 99%. South Seattle has traditionally received the least support from the city budget, but we have to be able to compromise, work together, and share Seattle’s limited budget. Downtown Seattle will no doubt have to make the most compromises as the rest of the city begins to see more equitable investments with the new District Elections.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

In the downtown core, we should restore and expand the ride free zone.

 

Transit fares have doubled in the last ten years. We need more frequent transit service, more stops, and reduced fares. The fare increases should be rolled back and progressive taxation such as linkage fees, impact fees, employee head tax, and capital gains should be enacted to protect our transportation budget from austerity cuts.

 

In Southeast Seattle there is commercial real estate that sits empty for years at a time. Blight levies should be imposed on commercial real estate with rents set too high for local business to set up shop and we should use similar Land Use disincentives and incentives to protect people from being priced out of neighborhoods as we improve our city for all.

 

Tammy Morales, District 2

 

1) Move Seattle:

The levy sets some important targets for improving pedestrian safety for safe routes to school. However over the 9 year period, there should me more investment in addressing Across the Road and Along the Road priorities. I’m committed to increasing investment in better lighting, more crosswalks, improved shrub and tree maintenance to make pedestrian activity safer, especially for those with physical disabilities or visual impairment. Most of the Across the Road Top Tier priorities are in District 2, while the Along the Road priorities are in north Seattle. Across the city we need a stronger focus on helping pedestrians navigate their communities as safely as possible.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes. In its current form, I have trouble supporting the revenue model for this levy. I worry that the voters will reject a levy that does not have more diverse funding streams. I would support new revenue sources to support infrastructure investments – for example employee head tax and developer impact fees.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support using road diets to convert arterials when the project can improve safety and increase transit reliability. This tool has the potential to have negative impacts on local business so they need to be part of the decision-making process and even short-term impacts should have a mitigation plan in place. I fully support the Rainier Ave project and look forward to improved safety along the most dangerous road in town.

 

4) Light rail:

Community advocacy is critical to getting Sound Transit’s attention on pedestrian issues. I commit to helping organize communities as planning for new stations and infrastructure gets underway. We need to keep the pressure on to make sure that planning takes into account all the ways people get to transit stops and all the ways they use transit. Our neighbors need choices for how to get around the city, to jobs, to medical appointments, to the grocery store. Some need to use their cars, but many prefer to walk to access a robust transit system. To do this safely, they need pedestrian bridges, walkways, well-lit and well-maintained pathways. We need to take the time to listen to the community and incorporate their needs into our transit planning processes. If people can walk safely to and from transit, we can increase ridership, relieve road congestion, and boost economic activity in the community surrounding transit stops. The Columbia City Gateway project is a great example of how community advocacy and investment in their priorities can improve pedestrian accessibility.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

My understanding is that Sound Transit set a cap of $10 million contribution, which would have to be matched by the City of Seattle. I would advocate for both entities to increase their commitment by $2.5 million to reach the $15million funding required to complete the project. This would have to be done quickly to meet the February deadline for having a funding agreement in place.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Seattle is a city that encourages walkability and promotes pedestrian safety. Yet there are many policies that could be stronger and many ways to increase our investment in pedestrian access. I’m committed to partnering with SPD to enforce new, lower speed limits and to enforce failure-to-yield laws. The traffic division of SPD needs a bigger role in keeping people safe. We also should boost our efforts to implement a Complete Streets program, invest more in transit, increase crossing times for elderly and less-mobile people, and we need to implement impact fees to generate more revenue for pedestrian infrastructure.

 

Kshama Sawant, incumbent, District 3

 

1) Move Seattle:

The Move Seattle levy is expected to fund important public infrastructure projects, many of which, including building and repairing sidewalks, are long overdue. It also devotes money to vital street upgrades which will make neighborhood intersections safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users, particularly around transit hubs and schools. It unfortunately does not have funds for walkability throughout the city. The sidewalk desert north of 85th street will continue to lack the pedestrian access it needs, and that is the biggest direct improvement necessary for walkability.

 

However, I am also concerned with Move Seattle’s funding model. Washington has the most regressive tax structure in the country, and here in Seattle, property taxes are becoming staggering for people on fixed incomes. With Councilmember Licata, I supported replacing hundreds of millions in the levy with progressive taxes – the proposed Business Head Tax (aka, the Employee Hours Tax), and a Commercial Parking Tax. These changes would take some of the burden off of ordinary working people who own their home, and who might be conflicted between their desire for a walkable city and their concerns over their tax burden. The size of this levy, with it’s major property tax increase, might make it fail at the ballot box undercutting essential plans for sidewalk repairs, safety improvements, and other critical needs.

 

Advocates for a walkable city will also have to remain vigilant to make sure that the promised sidewalk improvements, safe routes to schools, and greenways actually materialize. While the levy is advertised to pay for many important projects and probably will, SDOT is not legally bound to use it for those projects. We have to make sure that walkability improvements and other things in the levy we support are funded and that money is not all dumped into Bertha overruns or the ongoing construction of Mercer Street in South Lake Union.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes. I support fully funding the Pedestrian Master Plan through taxing big business, like a Business Head Tax or Millionaire Tax. Besides being more just, progressive taxes also can generate far more funding, because Seattle’s super rich and big corporations have a lot more money. We need upgraded and improved pedestrian infrastructure as a part of a world-class public transit system.

 

3) Rechannelization:

Safety has to be a key priority in our street design. Traffic jams are a growing problem in Seattle, but the huge increase in traffic is not because of these lane changes. It is first and foremost because the cost of housing is going up so rapidly, and mass transit is underfunded and insufficient, that many people who have been forced to move far from their jobs and are driving long distances to work everyday. Many issues regular people face are connected, and at this point, there cannot be a meaningful discussion about traffic without also discussing public transportation and housing affordability.

 

4) Light rail:

Criticism of the design of these transit stops cannot be overstated. It can take five minutes to navigate the labyrinth of street crossings required to get to and from the Mt. Baker system. And many people risk their lives to get across the street sooner. I fully support the proposed pedestrian overpasses in these areas, and I also support transit advocates efforts to build a Graham St. Station on the light rail to make it available to a whole new neighborhood.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

Other government agencies like Sound Transit or WashDOT, are governed by the same political laws that we have here in Seattle. When we build strong movements and coalitions we can affect overall public opinion so elected officials have no choice but to fund important projects like pedestrian safety. I can do my part in city council and with the office of intergovernmental relations to help give these issues the attention they deserve so Sound Transit and the State take them seriously.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

We need to fully fund walkability improvements such as pedestrian overpasses, sidewalks in all neighborhoods, adequate pedestrian lighting, and safe routes to school. We also need to invest heavily in a world-class public transit system. This should include the increasing frequency of buses, increasing the number of routes, reducing fares, the Seattle Subway Plan, and building out commuter rail lines to the North, South, and especially the East side – all to reduce the traffic on our streets, and make the city safer to walk in. Not only will more public transportation make more transit routes available for more people to walk, it also reduces traffic, which will help make every pedestrian safer.

 

Finally, the issue of affordable housing has to be front and center in addressing the opportunities Seattleites have to walk. If people do not have the opportunity to live walking distance from work, they may have no choice but to drive their car, sometimes for hours a day. Support for affordable housing has to be an integral part of any pedestrian plan that hopes to meet the needs of all Seattle residents.

 

Morgan Beach, District 3

 

1) Move Seattle:

We could significantly focus funds to improve crosswalks, sidewalks and safe routes in neighborhoods where there is missing infrastructure. In District 3 there is a particularly concentrated lack of walking infrastructure south of Madison in the neighborhoods, particularly in the Mount Baker neighborhood where I work.    The lack of crosswalks in the southern part of my district accounts for a much higher rate of pedestrian related traffic accidents and serious issues of ongoing safety.

 

Additionally I believe we are missing a plan to address access for individuals with mobility issues within existing and future infrastructure projects.  There is no plan implemented or impact considered when blocking off significant portions of sidewalks during road and neighborhood construction projects for those who have mobility issues like those in wheel chairs, limited mobility, prosthetic limbs, seeing

and hearing disabilities or many other issues. It can be difficult even as an able bodied person to find your way around these impediments when walking around our city and we simply assume those with mobility issues will be able to as well, the consequence of which has been me seeing people in wheel chairs wheeling down non-protected bike lanes on Rainier Ave S because there was no other way around and no crosswalk for over a half mile. I would implement an accessibility focus with within infrastructure projects if I were elected and the Move Seattle levy passed.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I would support it and would primarily focus on funding collected from Business Improvement Areas and Local Improvement Districts that could be passed and implemented around the city and allow neighborhood prioritization of projects within the Ped Master Plan.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I think this is a good method for improving our arterials streets and have proposed this in several other instances through this campaign. Middle two way turn lanes also can allow better loading and unloading for businesses located on these arterial routes without impacting traffic, which remains a priority in my district as many of the small businesses rely on access to quick commercial loading zones.

 

Although I don’t think this can be a blanket implemented across the city, and would make adjustments to this configuration based on what transit projects, dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes and other projects made sense for each area. At present, I can’t think of an instance where these changes have occurred that should not have happened, although there is some speculation about the impact to 23rd Ave in my district right now and the outcomes for that arterial route on the current conversion. I am still supportive of the change.

 

4) Light rail:

This is an area that fell on the City’s shoulders rather than Sound Transit’s and I have been critical about our implementation of proper parking and pedestrian infrastructure placed around light rail stops in the southern part of the city. I would immediately support community integrated park and ride and pedestrian infrastructure built around these stations and allow these improvement to become cultural art and community hubs as well as safety improvements.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I think overall we need to develop stronger regional relationships related to transit, not only between us and Sound Transit, but with our counterparts in surrounding cities like Issaquah, Renton, Shoreline, etc. to build better systems together and had strong working relationships in place, and in consistent contact so that we can quickly identify and find solutions to issues like this pedestrian bridge funding. It would be one of my top priorities to form positive working relationships and open lines of communication to work on issues like this immediately. I believe in the long run this would also begin to spread out the costs of transit infrastructure projects. Seattle can only ‘go it alone’ for so long to maintain our regional transit and pedestrian infrastructure usability.

  • Somewhat high priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

My top priorities for walking are as follows:

  • District 3: Addressing missing crosswalk and sidewalk infrastructure, especially in the south part of the district.
  • District 3: Exploring the option of making certain high commercial corridors like Pike/Pine and Broadway pedestrian/transit only and shifting cars onto other arterial routes.
  • Citywide: Finding a solution to accessibility for those with mobility issues during construction re-routing, and making sure all future projects incorporate accessibility as a high priority alongside safety.
  • Citywide: Supporting investment in mass transit systems, and building proper parking, walking and business access by each stop.

Pamela Banks, District 3

 

1) Move Seattle:

I feel incredibly lucky to live in Seattle, a beautiful, vibrant, and very walkable city. I am very supportive of the Move Seattle Levy, to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe on the streets.  It’s a comprehensive approach for new sidewalks, better signage, and improved transit to reduce reliance on cars. I would also support additional funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and pedestrian malls.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, we must fund the implementation of the Pedestrian Master Plan to improve pedestrian infrastructure and safety. I would explore all funding options, including SDOT funds, a Parks Levy, and a local Transportation Investment District to ensure funds are adequate.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support these conversions, they are very effective in improving pedestrian safety with minimal impacts to vehicular traffic. I’ve said on many occasions that we need to look closely at each project and its individual opportunities to improve pedestrian mobility.

 

4) Light rail:

This should be a high priority because it goes to the heart of the problems people face with transit in Seattle. Communication, between customer and provider and between the different regional providers has been lacking. Right now, we could increase communication with the customer by improving the signage, improving the “One Bus Away” app to show connections, and adding local circulator buses in key areas. Moving forward, we have to work closely with Sound Transit and other local partners, with businesses and service-provider organizations to create the routes that people need. This was one of my most important projects during my time as a Senior Advisor at SDOT and I’m looking forward to continuing that work as a member of City Council.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

This project is a high priority. The council and Sound Transit have approved half of the funding for the project and the rest will be funded from a variety of State and Federal sources, and possibly from the Move Seattle Levy.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Walkability is one of the major draws of moving to Seattle and it definitely adds to the quality of life here. Safety is a number one priority, and I am a supporter of the Vision Zero plan. We need to prioritize safety by adding sidewalks, especially near schools, by reducing speed limits on arterial roads, and by looking at new solutions for snow removal. We don’t get a lot of snow in Seattle, but even 2-3 inches can make it impossible to get around. This is really a social justice issue as it has the most severe impact on physically disabled residents. I would also advocate for greenways and tree planting for several reasons. Greenways make walking both safer and more enjoyable.

 

I’ve lived in the Central District for over 20 years, and one of the things I love most about the area is that I can walk to all of my favorite restaurants and shops, to my dry cleaner and hairdresser. I know all of the owners, and can pop in while I’m passing. That makes the Central District more than a neighborhood, it makes it a real community. On City Council, I want to make sure that everyone has that feeling of community in Seattle, and I’m looking forward to working with Feet First to accomplish it.

 

Jean Godden, incumbent, District 4

 

1) Move Seattle:

I believe that listening to community input proved the best way to improve the Move Seattle levy, making it work for people who walk. I listened to the Wallingford neighbors when they requested language to enhance the pedestrian corridor along 45th between 4th Ave NE and Brooklyn Ave NE. The neighbors rightfully requested building an enhanced east-west pedestrian corridor by the time University Light Rail opens in 2021.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I definitely support increasing funding for the Pedestrian Master Plan. I am a strong and effective advocate for walkable neighborhoods and a fierce advocate of safe routes to schools. To change allocation of resources, it will require increasing the level of funding identified in the plan. I would support increasing pedestrian levels which I believe can be done by judicious reallocation of funds from the Move Seattle levy, by working to obtain state and federal grants, prioritizing Puget Sound Regional Council matching funds and, of course, by prioritizing pedestrian improvements in the Seattle Department of Transportation’s annual budget.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I believe we must consider transit options when assessing four lane arterials. For example, if arterials are located near a transit center and tend to generate increased pedestrian use, then a road diet makes sense. In addition, we have to consider public safety, if the arterial is located near a school, then again, the decision to reduce from four to three lanes also makes sense.

 

I am aware of any existing road diets that I would favor converting back to four lanes, particularly after having assessed the results of such improvements, both from safety outcomes and from studies showing no decrease in thru-put.

 

4) Light rail:

I have already made connectivity between transit modes a high priority. I did so when I worked on plans to enhance the NE 45th St Corridor for pedestrians and cyclists. It is imperative to have those safe pedestrian and bicycle routes installed across I-5 by the time the University District light rail opens in 2016.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I would rank the pedestrian and bike bridge across I-5 as one of the city’s highest transportation priorities. It is essential to enhance the Northgate transportation hub as one the city’s highest priorities and safe and convenient access from both the Eastern and Western sectors will be critical.

 

As a member of the City Council and the city Transportation Committee, I have already advocated for the Northgate Bridge as one of the highly ranked improvement in the Move Seattle Levy. How would I help make that happen? I intend to not only support Move Seattle, but also to work with our congressional delegation and legislative delegation to obtain federal and state funds for its completion.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Seattle’s transportation system must include a safe and accessible connection for walkers and cyclists over I-5 to the U District Link light rail station. I worked to include that connection in the Move Seattle plan that goes to voters this fall

 

After the mayor transmitted his Move Seattle levy proposal to City Council, councilmembers reviewed it and made changes to assure it best fulfills the city’s transportation needs for the next nine years. The plan needed to be broadly appealing to Seattle voters, because without the funding the levy will provide, there would be drastic cuts in our transportation budget. Street improvement would not get built and basic maintenance like street repaving would be drastically reduced

 

Michael Maddux, District 4

 

1) Move Seattle:

For one, it could be improved for all of Seattle if the funding mechanism spread the cost-burden around. We have significant need for investment in our infrastructure, need exacerbated by a terrible revenue structure handed down by Tim Eyman and a Legislature willing to capitulate to his demands. As we try to claw back some funding, I believe we can and should look to alternate mechanisms that we can do now, while exploring new, more progressive options, to ensure people of all ages, incomes, and abilities can have the opportunity to experience a safe, walkable Seattle.

 

From there, I think that ensuring the investments for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure are meaningful in size, and that the legislation is shaped to make difficult (or impossible) changes that would shift funds from one pot to another is vital. Having served on a committee that oversees taxpayer dollars (the Parks Levy Oversight Committee), I have experience in what this type of language looks like. As a member of the Parks Legacy Committee, I know all too well how the building of the investment priorities creates the coalition that will support such a measure. However, to maintain the trust of voters, it is important to live up to the promises made in a ballot measure.

 

One project I really would like to see is improvements to the corridor of 45th connecting U-District and Wallingford. I have heard some great ideas, notably a bicycle/pedestrian connection across 47th, and improvements to the pedestrian infrastructure, with traffic calming lane design, across the bridge itself (such as barriers between the sidewalk and vehicle lanes, and sound barriers to reduce noise from the freeway). Whether the funding for construction comes from Move Seattle, or we are able to look at other ways to patch together local, state, and federal funds, this is something that is a priority to me in the district (creating a safe bike/ped connection with the Brooklyn Light Rail station).

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I am very supportive of finding the revenue streams necessary to implement the goals of the PMP and Bicycle Master Plan. Where appropriate, I believe that utilization of developer impact fees is one source Seattle should look to when building out pedestrian infrastructure. (A side note – as you may be aware, this is not as simple as just doing it, thanks to the nexus requirement, which is not just a state law, but a constitutional question contemplated by the U.S. Supreme Court on multiple occasions).

 

Utilization of the Commercial Parking Tax to improve walkability and transit investments is also a revenue stream I support. I have heard concerns that increasing by 5%, for instance, would deter people from driving downtown. Aside from preferring folks take transit, I’m not convinced that adding $0.75 to $15.00 parking is going to deter folks who are driving downtown – rather that $15.00 price point more likely does.

 

I remain open to utilizing the Employee Hours tax as a means of revenue to provide funding for transit infrastructure that keeps people and goods moving through Seattle safely.

 

As part of an overall investing in Seattle scheme, looking to long-term bonds for non-vehicle transportation improvements across Seattle – spreading the burden over 30 years – is another avenue for funding I would look to.

 

Two more complicated – but much more progressive – revenue sources I would look to include a Capital Gains Tax on real property transfers that elicit $250,000 or more in profit (or whatever number makes most sense), as well as a local income tax.

 

Finally, ensuring that REET funds are spent on capital needs that take care of existing infrastructure first is something I would advocate for during budget time.

 

3) Rechannelization:

My understanding is that rechannelizations have been, on the whole, a success. Improving safety for all users, while improving mobility for all users. I haven’t had an opportunity to dive into what these look like across the city, and absent data showing the benefit was outweighed by alleged negatives, I would be hard pressed to support reversing one.

 

4) Light rail:

Being the only challenger with actual experience providing oversight of taxpayer dollars, I would work with organizations such as Feet First to make sure I had the right questions, and then ask them, and be persistent until the investments were made well. Regarding bus stops inexplicably dropping passengers at some distance from stations (something that is poised to happen at the University Stadium station), I would do the same thing. When in a position to make that call and have that planning conversation, I will do it. I do the same now when people ask about parks issues. I just don’t think that people should have to wait for me to be on council to be an effective advocate for things they care about. It’s this type of pro-active approach I take during my current job, and would apply as a member of council.

 

As we are continuing to attempt to increase ridership of alternate forms of transportation, we have to have connections between different modes that works for users, and is safe for all users. My number 1 priority on transportation would be east-west connectivity between Ballard and U-District, with meaningful investments in improving safety for vulnerable users while improving mobility (Ballard Spur). But all of the non-car transportation modes – buses, trains, bikes, and feet – must work well together if we are truly going to get more people out of their cars and into alternative modes of transportation.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I would partner with the District 5 council member, other willing council members, and organizations to rally support from community members, while continuing to work behind the scenes to figure out what needs to be done to make fully funding this overpass a reality. While I am also supportive of an overpass for pedestrians and cyclists connecting U-District and Wallingford, I would not pit these two needed projects against each other

 

This bridge will connect opportunity to light rail by making light rail a viable option for people attending North Seattle College. Additionally, with the amount of multifamily units on the west side of I-5 in Northgate, this will provide greater access to light rail to people currently residing on the wrong side of the freeway. Finally, this will create all the more incentive and reason to develop parking lots into housing on the west side of I-5.

  • Somewhat high priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

As we build out our pedestrian infrastructure and identify pedestrian zones, it is so important that we do so for all ages and abilities. Ensuring that sidewalks are wide enough, and that business signs are not taking up walking space that can encumber people who are blind or in wheelchairs with their business signs. Installing periodic benches and other places for people to sit for folks who may need to rest is another area I am interested in ensuring is part of our wider conversation around pedestrian infrastructure. In our parks, I would want to make sure we are following a model that Lynne Robinson of Bellevue has brought to my attention, ensuring that our ADA requirements are not met with just bare-minimum wheelchair tables near the entrance of parks, but ensuring our park experiences are available to all ages and abilities throughout the entirety of our parks. Finally, as we grow (especially in places like North Seattle), I would want to ensure that developments having a significant impact on motor vehicle usage participate in construction of sidewalks beyond the borders of their properties, and making the entire impacted area safer. An example would be a development in Northgate between 5th and 8th, and requiring the developer to provide sidewalks south along 8th with proper drainage to protect Thornton Creek and ensure a safe walking route to Olympic View Elementary is realized.

 

Outside of infrastructure, continuing to fund programming directed at engaging residents of Seattle, especially young people, in feet-based transportation I think is a huge step in the right direction. The health benefits for the individual from being more active, the health benefits to our city from decreased carbon products, are both awesome wins. Having been part of the Denny Award winning Parks Legacy Committee, I am proud of the work we did to enhance funding for programming through community centers for young people, seniors, and people with disabilities, and, through partnering with non-profit organizations advocating for more biking and walking, I believe we can ensure that the current generations in Seattle walk and ride more, and that future generations grow up learning and enjoying the experience.

 

Rob Johnson, District 4

 

1) Move Seattle:

The Move Seattle plan proposes about $3 billion worth of projects many of which will have positive impacts on our pedestrian infrastructure. The first step will be the passage of this November’s levy which will fund $930 million worth of those investments, including the revamp of major corridors outlined in that plan to make them much more multi-modal. In order to maximize our investments in pedestrian accessibility I will work across departments (SPU, City Light, SDOT) to ensure that we’re stretching our construction dollars and to allow for more funding to be spent on sidewalks and bike lanes in Seattle. With more than $2 billion in sidewalk deficits, we must also find opportunities outside the levy to increase funding to make our streets safer (see answer to question 2).

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I would like to see more funding for pedestrian infrastructure in Seattle. We need to continue to advocate for an increase in funding for bike/ped/bus connections as part of ST3 in 2016, both for the planned stations coming on line in the 2020’s and for the new projects/stations that will be included in the ST3 plan. We should be exploring increasing the city’s public spaces advertising and using the revenues to increase street furniture, real time transit information at stations, and traffic calming in our neighborhoods. We should be making it easier for neighborhoods to shut down streets for block parties, play streets, and to create permanent parklets, which are easy and very low cost solutions. Finally, we should be pursuing additional funds at the state, regional, and federal level to leverage the local investments we’re making.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I’m big supporter of these conversions and would like to see them expanded throughout the city. Studies have shown that they make the roads safer (i.e. people are actually driving the speed limit) but also move traffic more reliably by providing those protected left turns in a dedicated turn lane. With more than 50% of commutes into downtown Seattle are bike, ped, transit, or carpool/vanpool, we’re dedicating far less than 50% of our roadway space downtown to those modes and we will need to dedicate even more space for bikes/peds/transit if we’re going to meet our GHG emissions reduction goals, mode shift goals, and meet the speed and reliability goals transit riders are going to expect from the new Seattle bus service funded by the November 2014 measure. We also need to make sure the Safe Routes to School investments that are proposed in the November 2015 levy aren’t negated by unsafe road conditions nearby schools. As such, I think we should ensure that all our neighborhood streets speed limits are at 20mph.

 

4) Light rail:

The Mt. Baker station provided a great opportunity to create a multi-modal hub, with direct bus/bike/ped connections, but wasn’t designed with that in mind, so as such we’re having to reconfigure the neighborhood and its streets to align with that station design. I think that the Move Seattle Levy’s focus on multi-modal corridors (several of which I think should be in the south end) could help improve station access. I would like to see us learn from that mistake as we move forward with the design and final construction of similar stations (Husky Stadium, Roosevelt, Northgate) to ensure we’re not repeating the mistakes of earlier station designs. In order to accomplish that it will take someone that can work across various jurisdictions to create a common objective. I have the experience and connections within SDOT, Sound Transit, Metro, UW, and other major institutions to be able to effectively produce improved station design and outcomes.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

As an advocate, I helped fight for funding for the Northgate ped bridge in the recently passed state transportation package, and fought to have the ST board extend the funding they’ve apportioned for the bridge. With those funding sources in place we should have enough money to build the bridge, but if not, we should be using the station access funding in ST3 and in the Move Seattle levy to ensure that we’re completing that project. Dramatically increasing the Northgate station walkshed/bikeshed and ensuring access to North Seattle College would be a very high priority for me as a councilmember.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

I think we need to be taking more seriously our obligation to Vision Zero, our Complete Streets Ordinance, and our commitment to GHG reduction in Seattle. In order to accomplish all those goals, we need to be continually evaluating ways to reduce our speeds in Seattle (including 20mph on all neighborhood streets) increasing opportunities to take away parking for innovative street uses (parklets, food trucks, play streets, protected bike lanes), and considering more arterial redesigns. Add to that the need to find more resources to increase the funding to sidewalks in Seattle and we have a lot of work ahead of us. I’d also add that there’s a land use element here, I think that we should ensure people not only have safe places to walk, but great destinations to walk to. Working with the city to increase density in targeted places will both help reduce our environmental footprint as well as increase the amenities (restaurants, retail, neighborhood businesses) that people can walk to. With 2⁄3of our trips (or more) being non-work trips, I think providing more diverse land uses alongside more reliable transit and safer streets for walking and biking are the best way to reduce our GHG emissions, make our city safer, and improve public health.

 

Debadutta Dash, District 5

 

1) Move Seattle:

Having received almost half of all of the new miles of sidewalk constructed during the last two-years, the 5th District is benefitting from the City’s prioritization scheme for infrastructure.  Maintaining the focus on safety, equity, and connecting civic destinations will assure continued progress, but the need is great and the pace of construction is painfully slow.  With the levy composition settled, we need to consider how to generate additional revenue to expedite high priority projects including continuing and expanding the school zone safety camera program, and more stringent frontage improvement requirements.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I would absolutely support increasing funding.  As above, School Zone Safety Camera deployment as well as (should the legislature ever permit it) arterial speed camera fines.  Also, I would support the City going to Olympia for authorization to use traffic impact fees associated with development for nonmotorized projects in the communities where those projects are being constructed.  Finally, I would push to make sure that a sufficient percentage of the annual SDOT budget is committed to PMP implementation to assure measureable progress.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I believe safety should always be the paramount factor in managing Seattle’s rights-of-way, and support road-diets as one way to address that need.  Moreover, as every rechannelization project in the City’s history contributed to a reduction in crashes and injuries without causing significant delay – I don’t see any reason why, as a Council member, I should second guess the professional judgement of our City traffic engineering staff.

 

4) Light rail:

It’s embarrassing that ST spends so much on parking to support so few riders. I fully believe that ST should convert its parking and station access funds to one pool of flexible station access funds.  Moreover, ST should expend those dollars using a cost benefit model that looks at cost per boarding and commits resources based on the most efficient expenditure of those funds.

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

As the State has recently committed to fully funding the project, it’s difficult to answer this question.  I would have, however, supported making the bridge a priority for City TIGER fund applications as well as regional and state grants.  Finally, I would have pushed ST very hard on the issue of equity and sustainability given their misguided expenditure of funds for parking garages at Northgate.

 

6) Walking in Seattle:

With the plans and policies in place, we are heading in the right direction.  However, I believe that there are two areas that need attention to preserve and expand pedestrian infrastructure.  First, as has been addressed, is funding.  The City could spend the entire levy on sidewalks and crossings and only get halfway to completing the PMP. Second is pro-active monitoring, enforcement and maintenance.  Right now, the only way to keep sidewalks clear of vegetation is for the public to report problems to the City, which then sends a letter to the property owner.  Many people in Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities do now know who to call of that anything can be done – so nothing gets done.  Even if the property owner gets a letter, the City never actually follows up.  The City needs district inspectors that flag problems.  And if the owners don’t fix them promptly, has City crews clear the right-of-way and send a bill to the offender.  If they don’t pay – fine them and put a lien on the property.

 

Debora Juarez, District 5

 

1) Move Seattle:

In my district (Seattle’s North End), most of the streets lack sidewalks. The Move Seattle levy includes funding for new sidewalks, but only enough for 150 blocks citywide. This is much too low. My district alone has over a thousand blocks which lack any sidewalks. As a long-underrepresented area of the city, North Seattle deserves extra consideration for improvements to our pedestrian infrastructure, especially considering the fact that our district has a higher ratio of children and seniors compared to the city as a whole.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I would support raising the level of funding for the Pedestrian Master Plan. As Seattle is a city in the midst of an economic boom, we have plenty of large employers moving into town to take advantage of our incredibly livable city and our talented workforce. These employers, and the developers who profit by building the housing needed to absorb this growth, should be asked to contribute financially to building the pedestrian infrastructure necessary to accommodate their employees.

 

3) Rechannelization:

In general, I support this approach in areas where it can significantly enhance public safety while not significantly increasing travel times for transit riders and drivers. It is my understanding that these policies on average would only add 30 seconds to each half-mile of driven while also providing a boost to local businesses along the converted roads due to increased walkability.

 

4) Light rail:

A major transportation project that is happening in my district is the Northgate Transit Center Link light rail station. I am a strong proponent of constructing the pedestrian bridge over I-5 that would connect North Seattle College and the east side of the district with the new station. Also, better integration with the bus system and more east-west transit are needed in my district. These will be high priorities of mine on the City Council.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

As the only candidate in my race with experience working with municipal, county, regional, state, and federal government to bring projects to completion, I have made this pedestrian bridge a campaign priority. I would like to be on the City Council’s Transportation Committee and put this item at the top of the committee’s agenda.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Seattle already has a comprehensive Pedestrian Master Plan in place to make walking safer and more enjoyable for all our residents. However, this plan has been chronically underfunded. The city, and especially the North End, can do so much better. We need better pedestrian infrastructure, especially surrounding places frequented by seniors and children. I will provide the effective leadership necessary to get this done while on the Seattle City Council.

 

Halei Watkins, District 5

 

1) Move Seattle:

One glaring way that the Move Seattle levy could be improved is to dedicate more funding to the Safe Routes to School program. In North Seattle, we have several elementary schools with high ratios of students with free and reduced lunch that are lacking sidewalks in the surrounding blocks. This, to me, is an equity issue and Move Seattle can and should provide more funding to make sure that we have the funds to build sidewalks around those schools.

 

Aside from Safe Routes, we need to dedicate more money overall to pedestrian projects. There is only money provided to build 150 blocks of new sidewalks and repair 225 blocks of sidewalks. District 5 alone needs more than 150 blocks of sidewalks, let alone the rest of the city. I think that we need to prioritize sidewalk construction new our schools, parks, and transportation hubs to ensure that people can get where they need to go safely and easily. Additionally, funding for greenways is helpful to ensuring that neighborhood streets are safer for both pedestrians and bikers and encouraged lower driving speeds, resulting in fewer deaths and injuries.

 

I am heartened to see that Move Seattle includes $15M for the Northgate Pedestrian and Bike Bridge. I consider that to be one of the most important transportation and pedestrian projects in District 5 as it will connect North Seattle College with the upcoming Northgate Light Rail station. The Northgate Ped Bridge will not only shorten the route across I-5 but will also make it a much safer one.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I do support increasing that level of funding. The first places I would look, outside of the Move Seattle levy, are developer impact fees, a commercial parking tax, and employee head tax. I believe that we have to look to progressive and sustainable revenue streams to fund our most important services and basic infrastructure.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support converting arterials from four lanes to three in all (or nearly all) circumstances. It’s often controversial with neighbors but my top priority is safety for all people to get around using whatever mode they choose and that’s exactly what these changes result in.

 

I cannot think of any examples of where the road should be changed back to four lanes.

 

4) Light rail:

Yes, I fully support efforts to make sure that light rail stations are accessible to pedestrians. If our light rail stations are not accessible to folks who want to walk from their homes or from a transfer bus, ridership is going to be negatively impacted and the point of investing in the light rail becomes diminished. I don’t believe that we can really have one (light rail) without the other (access while on foot). That’s why I consider these projects a high priority.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

Yes! The Northgate Pedestrian and Bike Bridge, as I mentioned above, is a high priority for me and I believe one of the most important transportation projects in District 5. It would be such a missed opportunity to not connect the college with the light rail station and the bridge will serve as such a connector for our communities. Move Seattle puts aside $15M for the bridge and the state transportation budget includes another $10M, with the $5M that Sound Transit originally set aside, that gives us enough funding to complete this project. Additionally, we can and should look to federal grant money to see if we can alleviate some of Seattle’s portion.

 

If Move Seattle does not pass this fall, though I believe it will, the City of Seattle will need to go back to the table with Sound Transit to figure out how to get us to the $25-30M we will need to fund this project. Both entities should be stepping up to ensure that the Northgate Light Rail station is accessible from both sides of I-5.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

I cannot stress enough how critical sidewalks are in North Seattle. We have been lacking this basic infrastructure for years. I’ve doorbelled thousands of homes throughout the district and in every neighborhood, I hear about the need for sidewalks so that folks can get around safely and easily. While not every single street wants or needs a sidewalk, the vast majority do. I myself live on a street without sidewalks (8th Ave NE, sandwiched between 5th Ave and Roosevelt in North Seattle) and know firsthand how dangerous it is just to walk around my own neighborhood. I see parents pushing their strollers down our street or walking with their kid in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other and it’s terrifying to think how easy it is for people to be injured or killed. While sidewalks will not totally solve this in and of themselves but they will go a long way to differentiate walking space from driving space.

 

Sidewalks are expensive to build here in Seattle and we will have to look to find additional funding to make it possible. As I mentioned above, I support developer impact fees, a commercial parking tax, and employee head tax that could increase our ability to pay for some of these improvements. I also think that we can and should take a look at our bonding capacity to see if there’s room these to use bonds to pay for sidewalks.

 

One of my opponents believes that we should create local improvement districts and ask neighborhoods to vote to tax themselves to pay for sidewalks. This is the wrong approach for many reasons. First, it’s an equity issue. The areas of the city that are most likely to lack basic infrastructure tend to be lower income neighborhoods. I do not believe that we should be asking our low income communities to tax themselves for sidewalks when higher income neighborhoods received theirs from the city decades ago. Additionally, the LID plan allows for a handful of neighbors to torpedo a critical safety measure and doesn’t allow for much community engagement or true conversation about where the sidewalks should be. It’s a straight up yes or no vote for an entire neighborhood.

 

While there are many, many more programs that would increase safety and provide a more enjoyable walking environment here in the city, that last one that I’ll focus on is lowering speed limits to 20 mph. A lower driving speed drastically reduces the risk of injury or death in the case of collision and will absolutely make pedestrians feel safer.

 

Sandy Brown, District 5

 

1) Move Seattle:

The Move Seattle levy takes very large strides in improving pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety. However, there is a desperate need in North Seattle for more sidewalks to ensure pedestrian safety. The Move Seattle levy calls for over 100 new blocks of new sidewalks, however this doesn’t come close to covering the need. So far in my campaign I have canvassed the homes of over 15,000 District 5 residents, and one of the most consistent things residents complain about is a lack of sidewalks and unsafe road crossings. The Move Seattle levy could be improved by increasing funding for sidewalks, specifically for safe routes to school, routes to transit centers to better ensure more neighbors have easy and safe access, and at least our North Seattle arterials so that we can separate walkers from traffic cruising at moderate to high speeds.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes I would. Public safety is top priority of mine and I believe we should be leveraging all available sources we can to help fund the Pedestrian Master Plan. I would lobby for pedestrian improvements along SR99 (Aurora Avenue North) and SR502 (Lake City Way) to be included in the next statewide transportation plan. I see funding pedestrian improvements on other arterials as a priority for General Fund SDOT monies, and I have proposed a neighborhood-based LID vote with an SDOT match to further build out the Pedestrian Master Plan.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I strongly support the conversion of qualifying arterials from four lanes to three when it can be shown to have positive effects for the safety of automobile drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Road rechallening has calmed traffic, improved pedestrian safety and reduced accidents in places such as NE 130th/125th in Lake City and along Nickerson in North Queen Anne. I’m not aware of an instance in Seattle where the concept has had negative effects, and until I see one I will continue to feel this is a successful and appropriate strategy for improving safety on our streets.

 

4) Light rail:

District 5 is very excited to have Sound Transit Light rail stations open in the coming years. However, a great concern is how accessible the stations will be for surrounding neighborhoods. For the stations to be properly utilized, all people should be able to easily access them, be it by bus, car and especially on foot. To be fully usable, the new Northgate station must include the proposed pedestrian and bicycle bridge across I-5. Neighbors surrounding the Northgate station have expressed cocnern about the lack of sidewalks leading to the station, and the lack of crosswalks on streets such as Roosevelt, a main arterial that many neighbors would have to cross to get to the Northgate station. Also, east/west bus connections must be improved so that the new North End stations can be easily accessible.

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

If elected I would immediately lobby our Seattle ST board representatives to secure support from the ST board to use surplus funds to ensure completion of the bridge.

 

6) Walking in Seattle:

I’m delighted the rollout for Vision Zero took place in Lake City. Any pedestrian or bicyclist injury  is too many, which is why I support Vision Zero and Twenty is Plenty. As Seattle continues to grow we need to ensure all our neighborhoods are safe and livable. I’m looking forward to full implementation of Vision Zero, to a full build-out of our Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans and to creation of a smart and forward-thinking Freight Master Plan that will allow our city an integrated and efficient transportation system that serves all users.

 

Seattle is a fast-growing city with people here moving specifically for the walkability that our neighborhoods provide. People enjoy waking to work, to school, to the store and out to eat, and they vote with their feet by moving to our most desirable, walkable neighborhoods. I will look for any opportunity to improve neighborhood walkability, and look forward to working with Feet First when elected on issues to improve pedestrian mobility for all in District 5.

 

Catherine Weatbrook District 6

 

1) Move Seattle:

A commitment to specific projects would be the first improvement. I am concerned that the levy will divert funds to pay off the seawall overruns and possibly for the deep bore tunnel, robbing from the funds for projects currently suggested in the levy.

Our geographic restrictions mean that North-South travel is restricted to fewer routes, and we need to make sure those routes are as safe and efficient as possible. Two important projects where funds should be specifically allocated are the Ballard and Fremont Bridges, which are particularly challenging for pedestrian and bike travel. For the Ballard Bride, we need the designed cantilevered bike and pedestrian addition. For the Fremont Bridge, we need a way to reduce the number of bike and pedestrian collisions on that highly used route.

Another specifically named project should have been the fixing of our crumbling and uneven sidewalks, particularly along and to transit corridors and within urban village boundaries.

Right now the proposed, but not committed to, transit improvements aren’t paired with the ST3 plans, which are also in flux. I would have been happier with a specific dollar amount set for pedestrian improvements to light rail stations.

The transportation of goods is as integral to our city as Light Rail or pedestrian improvements. Retailers cannot sell product if it can’t reach them, and with Amazon’s introduction of same day delivery, we cannot afford to ignore the needs of freight transportation without putting both local and large businesses at risk. We need an integrated transportation plan for Seattle that includes freight plans, and this levy shouldn’t be moved forward until that need is addressed.

In addition, we must institute developer impact fees for transportation, which are a needed source of funding for safe pedestrian routes around new developments. We have to take advantage of the funding sources we have and that our current city council has ignored. Our current city council has chosen to continue putting the burden on property owners and renters.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Until there’s an integrated transportation plan for Seattle that includes all modal plans, and a focus on reducing conflicts between modes, we need to hold off changing funding priorities. Then we need to reexamine all the funding priorities. It will likely result in budget increases needed for pedestrian infrastructure.

 

3) Rechannelization:

We need to have an open public review of the safety, performance, and volume data not only for the modified roadways, but on the alternate routes to those roadways. We need to engage the communities around these routes in the conversation. The lack of transparency and completeness of available data, combined with many reports of an increase in injuries, traffic, and safety issues on parallel routes, concerns me. Only after a complete and transparent review, would I advocate for either additional lane constrictions, or the removal of existing ones.

We need to be conscious of parallel routes, and work to move as many people as efficiently as possible, but utilizing a corridor approach, rather than putting all modes on one roadway and serving none of them well.

 

4) Light rail:

Pedestrian lighting, quality walking surfaces, safe building design, perhaps some zoning changes so that sidewalks can accommodate increased foot traffic in the areas immediately surrounding light rail stops are all changes we should be putting into process and planning efforts.

  • Somewhat high priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

City Council needs to work with the Sound Transit Board to make this a priority for funding. Part of that is the communication of just how many people will be using this walkway, and how that will expand based on other changes we should be making in our transportation network.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

We need to spend time and money focusing on repairing and improving the pedestrian infrastructure we already have. Broken sidewalks and walkways, dark sidewalks, overgrown landscaping, and buildings that provide hiding places too close to sidewalks all reduce people’s willingness to walk. Sidewalk repair and lighting has been possibly the lowest priority in the city, and that is one of the first policies we need to change to improve walking safety.

The Office of Economic Development needs to continue working with various chamber groups in looking at why many long stretches of new retail space remain vacant even during our booming economy. These dark retail stretches discourage walking and we need to find ways to activate them.

Another obstacle to increased pedestrian activity is the lack of police presence, combined with the increasing number of homeless sleeping on the streets, and health hazards such as needles littering our urban sidewalks. People who don’t feel safe choose driving, even if the sidewalks are in good shape. The mayor’s minimal cost of living increase in the services budget (3.6%) doesn’t address the real needs on the street. Part of encouraging more pedestrian activity is making sure that we are engaging in mental health and homeless services as well.

 

Michael O’Brien, incumbent, District 6

 

1) Move Seattle:

I support the levy and feel it has an appropriate mix of transportation investments. What will be critical moving forward is as we build the projects funded in that plan, that we are using all of our tools (complete streets, vision zero, etc.) to ensure that the most vulnerable users are the top priority in the planning and design of these projects. The day of designing projects to maximize vehicle speeds and throughput are over and projects must now serve people first.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I am always looking for opportunities to find ways to increase funding to fully implement our pedestrian master plan and ensure that everyone in Seattle is safe when they choose to walk. While I didn’t support using the commercial parking tax or the employee hours tax to replace some revenue for the Move Seattle Levy, I do support those revenue sources as strong sources for future projects including funding the ped master plan. I also am open to creating innovative new tools to fund projects ped master plan projects.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support all of the rechannelizations that SDOT has done to date. They use a very robust methodology for determining where it is appropriate and have done outstanding work. I support keeping all of that good work inplace and looking for new opportunities.

 

4) Light rail:

As a Sound Transit Board member I will continue to be a loud voice publicly and behind the scenes advocating for the best pedestrian infrastructure at all of our light rail stations. There are some good examples, but there remains lots of work to be done to ensure that these billion dollar investments are optimized by creating excellent access. I also support city investments to support this work, such as the funding included in the Move Seattle Levy to improve access to all station areas.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

It is a top priority to fund this project and I will work to ensure that between city, Sound Transit, state, and federal sources, that bridge is complete by the time the station opens.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

The Vision Zero commitment is a great first step. Now we need to take the policy steps to ensure that we live up to that commitment.

 

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

 

1) Move Seattle:

Ensure the sidewalks are made safe.  There are too many cracks and bumps.  Provide Greenwood and North Seattle with sidewalks.  Add all way crossings at the heaviest intersections in downtown Seattle.  Add all way crossing at Seattle Pacific University during school hours.  Add lighted crossing at Pop Monger Pool in Magnolia.  Identify other unsafe crossings all around Seattle and improve visibility with lights/

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Thank you for the link.  Before moving forward I would approach the State Auditor’s office for both a fiscal and performance audit to identify waste in the department and potential opportunities for redirecting already existing funding.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I would change Nickerson back to 4 lanes.  There is not usage of the center lane and a bike path already parallels the road along the ship canal.  The only pedestrian usage of the road is at Seattle Pacific University.  I believe that SDOT needs to revisit all dieted roads and reassess the success or failure of the diet.

 

4) Light rail:

I am not familiar with this neighborhood.  When on City Council, I will meet with the neighbors and work with the Council members from the affected neighborhoods to identify concerns and talk with the people who live in the neighborhood about how to resolve any concerns.

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

I would give this a somewhat high priority.  I would like to review the research done on this project.  I would like see where the people are coming from and going to.  I am familiar with the area and I am struggling to justify the number of 7000 people per day.  My major question is that actual individuals or is it really 3500 people twice daily.

  • Somewhat high priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

Sidewalks need to be installed and safe.  Head strike hazards need to be eliminated.  Persons with limited sight need to be protected.  Sound marking all street signals is needed.  Standardization of the sounds is critical.  Street lighting needs to be improved in many neighborhoods.  Crossing flags should be more common all over Seattle.  We need to identify areas of heavy pedestrian traffic and focus on that first.  Downtown traffic must continue to flow smoothly so pedestrians need to obey the lights.  During rush hours in the morning and afternoon crossing guards should be stationed in the heaviest downtown areas to enforce safe pedestrian crossings.

 

Sally Bagshaw, incumbent, District 7

 

1) Move Seattle:

As a City Councilmember, two of my top priorities are public safety and livability. I believe that the Move Seattle Levy supports both of these.

 

The vision behind the Move Seattle Levy is a program designed to protect our most vulnerable travelers – pedestrians and bicyclists – from serious or fatal crashes. The Move Seattle Levy calls for over 100 new blocks of new sidewalks, increased signage and other pedestrian improvements, among many other beneficial improvements to bicycle, motorist and freight traffic. The Move Seattle Levy is intended to make transportation much safer for pedestrians and expand the walkability of our vibrant, growing city. I fully support the Move Seattle Levy.

 

I also support a program to fund sidewalks in addition to Move Seattle, which will incorporate and leverage money from Seattle Public Utility funds and local LID’s.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I have been a strong and vocal champion for the Pedestrian Master plan, as well as Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and our Bicycle Master Plan, and am a reliable advocate for additional funding. Leveraging investments from other City departments has already reaped good results.  A significant portion of upcoming levy improvements will be dedicated to pedestrian improvements.  Also, requiring private development improvements to fund pedestrian infrastructure is a means that all cities use, and is occurring in many of our rapidly developing neighborhoods.

 

I will continue to work within the Council to provide the Pedestrian Master Plan with one or more dedicated funding sources.   We must leverage every resource we have: Move Seattle, a local Transportation Investment District, Sound Transit funds,SDOT general funds, SPU sewer and water funds, Parks Levy – you name it. Funding safe and well-maintained streets and sidewalks continues to be a top priority for me.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support converting some of our four-lane streets in Seattle to three lanes.  Studies have shown that where this has been done in Nickerson, Dexter, and Stone Way for example. Pedestrian safety has greatly increased without adversely impact the flow of cars and freight.  Data supports this.

 

I want people in every neighborhood to be safe and to feel safe.  Good connections within and between neighborhoods will enhance the walkability and livability of our neighborhoods. I promote the concept of a transportation network where pedestrians, cars, trucks, and bicycles all have their separated spaces and priority

lanes as appropriate.

 

When I was in Copenhagen to see their transportation infrastructure in 2011, I appreciated their motto:  “Soft over hard”, meaning pedestrians have priority over bicycle riders, who have priority of cars/trucks.  It makes sense.

 

SDOT did a good job of taking “counts” and creating a base line of how many cars, trucks, pedestrians and bikes used these streets before and after the reconfiguration.  The data shows that traffic continues to move well and safety for all modes has increased.  That’s a win of which we can be proud.

 

4) Light rail:

Sound Transit placed the original stations with an eye to balancing route speed of Link Light Rail along this corridor with practical distances for walking. Difficulty walking was then exacerbated because Metro Transit was forced to reduce bus service in the area and eliminated certain routes that were less productive but nonetheless important to people wanting to get to the human services providers along the corridor.

 

In the short term, routes between our light rail station and the bus transfer stops must be clearly marked, properly lighted, and designed with CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) principles.  Perhaps circulators could be considered along the route to key human service providers if jointly funded by local businesses, non-profits, and Metro.  Working with businesses along the way,

pedestrian amenities such as lighting, benches or other seating could improve the corridor.  CM Bruce Harrell has proposed funding to improve the walking conditions in and around the Mount Baker station.  I support this.

 

Longer term, discussions between neighbors, Sound Transit, Metro, local businesses and the City must continue so that proper construction and infill occurs.

 

My focus in 2015 is to reduce congestion on our streets so people and goods can move throughout the city more efficiently and with less frustration. This will require all of us to use our streets differently: take a bus, streetcar or light rail when we can, carpool when possible, walk or ride a bike on a safe street, or drive at a time when roads are less crowded.

 

Taking a macro-view, improving our transportation network requires the State legislature to pass legislation this year to fund our roads, bridges, and signals. I look forward to working again with Rep. Judy Clibborn and Sen. Curtis King to finally pass an effective statewide package to fund our transportation infrastructure.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

Both the Sound Transit Board and my fellow Councilmembers and I unanimously approved an investment agreement for pedestrian and bicycle access at the Northgate light rail station and surrounding neighborhoods. The City and Sound Transit both have agreed to put in up to $5 million each into this anticipated $20 million project to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across I-5.  Connecting North Seattle Community College and Northgate Transit Center will be a boon for those attending NSCC as well as for those in the neighborhoods who would like to cross I-5 west of the Transit Station without a car. Monies have also been earmarked to create pedestrian connections between neighborhoods around Northgate to the Northgate

Transit Center.  This will vastly improve walking conditions for neighborhoods such as Maple Leaf, and encourage people to walk to the Transit Center.

 

The way this project will be funded is by leveraging resources from multiple sources including the federal government, State of Washington, Sound Transit and the City. Funding sources would include federal grants, money from a statewide revenue package, revenues from Sound Transit (voter approved local taxes, federal grants,

fare box revenues, borrowed funds (bonds), and interest revenues), and should be a line item in the next round of levy funding, including the Move Seattle Levy if it were to be approved by voters. The regional approach is required to fund this project. And it is a high priority for me.

  • High priority

 

6) Walking in Seattle:

I am a firm believer in the Vision Zero program for improving pedestrian safety and reducing injuries and fatalities for all modes. This is a critical part of transportation safety as we are working to eliminate all serious or fatal crashes in Seattle streets. This program calls for frequent repainting of sidewalks, repairing and building new

sidewalks that will improve walkability and safety for Seattle walkers, reducing vehicle speeds, providing training for children and drivers alike, adding separated cycletracks from cars and pedestrians and more. Safety is my chief concern as a member of the City Council.

 

Furthermore, one of my priorities as a City Councilmember is creating more neighborhood greenways for Seattle residents. Greenways will help residents connect by foot to their local parks, schools, libraries, and businesses, reducing the need for cars and promoting environmentally friendly forms of transportation. As a growing city, I believe that a walkable city is part of a vibrant city and I will continue to support measures that promote walking safety, efficiency, and enjoyable when I continue to serve on the City Council.

 

John Roderick, District 8

 

1) Move Seattle:

I am excited by a number of the pedestrian infrastructure proposals mentioned in Mayor Murray’s Transportation Levy to Move Seattle, but I would like to see the city reprioritize transportation spending to focus on pacifying our most dangerous streets, like Rainier Avenue South. As a resident of Rainier Beach, I have seen firsthand the tragedy that comes from a street with insufficient cross walks and high speed traffic. The City should invest more in small projects like pedestrian infrastructure and road calming measures rather than projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and focus solely on automobile traffic. I would advocate for reprioritizing pedestrian projects in the Levy to Move Seattle, and I would further encourage budgeting money acquired from parking meters in business districts to go towards improving pedestrian infrastructure in those same business districts.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I support increasing funding for the Pedestrian Master Plan. I believe that we should deprioritize funding for major road building projects in favor of projects that make our streets more compatible with pedestrian usage, as well as public transit and bikes.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support these reconfigurations and cannot, at the moment, think of any streets where this would pose a problem. We know that changing driver behavior requires more than just signage or warnings– often it involves redesigning the street to make it more pedestrian and bicycle frienly.

 

4) Light rail:

This is high priority because it speaks to a number of other issues with our transit system, notably equity.

 

Rainier Valley is highly unwalkable and its light rail stations are almost unusable by residents because of this. I live in this neighborhood just 2 miles from the Rainier Beach station but find it too difficult and cumbersome to make this trip by foot. This is an expensive transit system that is not adequately meeting its potential ridership because of this. Residents of the neighborhood are largely low-income earners who should be able to access our expensive rail network to commute downtown to jobs, businesses, and services.

 

There needs to be better and more widely available sidewalks, calmer streets, and enough density to support a walkable community. It’s clear that Sound Transit planners did not think of the present or future neighborhood when they built these stations as there is no thought given to bus transfers or walkability upon leaving the station.

 

I would support better implementation of Transit Oriented Development. With higher density and affordable housing surrounding the light rail station, as well as new businesses, sidewalks, and street-calming measures, a more walkable, dynamic, and accessible community can be created.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

This issue is high priority given the number of students and faculty at North Seattle College and commuters in the surrounding neighborhoods. Prioritizing this issue will also significantly reduce traffic congestion on I-5. One of my primary policy issues is transit. I am very interested in serving as a Sound Transit board member if elected and would ensure that my vote will be cast in favor of additional funding for this project.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

The city needs to shift its focus away from cars and start incentivizing alternatives, such as walking, bikes, and public transit. Our funding decisions should reflect the fact that our city’s priority must be to these alternatives.

 

Seattle is under pressure from the side effects of two decades of widespread economic growth. Our transportation networks are under serious strain, affecting productivity, constricting growth and damaging quality of life. Seattle is continuing to grow and we’re already on the verge of a crisis. We need to make it easier to navigate the city, to connect our neighborhoods with good roads that support transit, bicycles, and pedestrians. As a council member I would closely monitor our upcoming transportation levy to ensure it funds holistic projects and doesn’t simply replace funds we already allocated for transportation.

 

Affordable housing should be focused around high-frequency transit corridors and job centers in order to ensure workers can live near their work. Seattle should also expand its transit options in order to plan for the next decade of growth, always focusing on building housing that is convenient and affordable for people who don’t own cars. I will be a vocal advocate for expanding service hours with King County Metro and building a city rail system that emphasizes neighborhood-to-neighborhood transit. Additionally, I will ensure that sidewalks are prioritized because walking is the cheapest and most accessible way to get around our city and to access bus stops and future light rail stations.

 

Tim Burgess, incumbent, District 8

 

1) Move Seattle:

One major initiative I will pursue separate from the Move Seattle levy is a new city policy on building sidewalks; unfortunately, there isn’t sufficient time to do this work before adoption of the Levy is required.

 

My approach to sidewalks will generally involve three new policy steps.

 

First, the city should prioritize which sidewalks it will construct/maintain because of significant need; for example, Safe Routes to School, sidewalks used by the elderly and disabled, and other identifiable public safety needs.

 

Second, the city should remove the cost of drainage from sidewalk construction and instead cover those costs through our normal SPU drainage/storm water budget as we do for nearly every other project in the city requiring drainage/storm water mitigation. These costs should be borne by our water rate payers, a move that will significantly lower the costs of constructing sidewalks.

 

Third, the city should establish an office that will assist neighborhoods prepare which sidewalks they want to help construct (separate from item one above where the city will cover 100% of the costs) and then help with forming an LID much like the city of Tacoma does. We generally leave neighborhoods on their own and we don’t provide much assistance to help neighborhoods prepare for sidewalk construction. My plan would also increase neighborhood matching funds for these purposes and to address issues of inequity.
This is a significantly different approach to meeting sidewalk demand.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

The Move Seattle Levy increases funding for sidewalk and in my answer above you can see that I would change city policy to have the city more proactively help neighborhoods meet their sidewalk needs.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I have consistently supported street calming methods like you describe in this question. I don’t believe I would switch any back, at least not until I see evidence that the calming steps have interfered with mobility. So far, there is no such evidence.

 

4) Light rail:

I would make this a high priority. We should be doing as much as we can to make access and use of light rail convenient to increase ridership and reduce road congestion. A great example of this is Columbia City where the light rail station is several blocks away from the main business cluster. Making sure sidewalk along this route are clean and safe and well lighted is crucial.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

I strongly support this bridge over I-5. It will allow thousands of people to more easily connect with light rail. The city has identified this bridge as a high priority in the Move Seattle Levy.

 

6) Walking in Seattle:

I would lower the speed limit on all non-arterial streets to 20 mph and do so immediately. I would also increase traffic enforcement, especially for vehicles turning right at intersections (the single greatest danger point for vehicle-pedestrian collisions). I would increase funding for Safe for Routes to Schools. I would dedicate red light camera violation fines to sidewalk and street safety improvement, as my ordinance in 2013 did for school zone speed camera violations.

 

Alon Bassock, District 9

 

1) Move Seattle:

Move Seattle strikes a bargain by including something for everyone. For pedestrians, there will be new sidewalks, better maintenance of crosswalks, and improvements for safe routes to schools. Sadly, what is in the levy package is not enough. The plan should cover all safe routes to schools as a base line. I would prefer to see improvements to pedestrian facilities before work is done on arterials or large capital projects.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

I strongly support increasing funding to implement our Pedestrian Master Plan. I’ve previously called for complete funding for the bicycle master plan and full implementation within a decade. Were there still opportunity, I would both increase the size of the Move Seattle levy and shift the priorities within Move Seattle to better fund the pedestrian master plan. At a minimum, I would like to see all school have safe routes for students to walk on and also safe and complete pedestrian environments in the most vibrant parts of our city (centers and villages that are now or soon will be well served by transit). Impact fees should also be used,but obviously cannot raise sufficient funds to significantly fund the plan.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support roadway re-channelization projects. I have helped advocate for this to be done on 35th Ave SW in West Seattle. I believe the existing projects (e.g. Nickerson, Fauntleroy, etc) have been a great success and none need to be changed back. In general, I cannot think of a circumstance where I would not support this type of engineering treatment on a four lane road.

 

4) Light rail:

This is a very important problem that needs three things to be done. First, in a sense, the alignment of the light rail stations was put in the wrong place. Since we cannot move the rail alignment we need to make sure that there are convenient and safe routes to get to the stations—for example, from the Columbia City Bakery to the Columbia City Station. That is on the large scale. On a smaller scale, we need to ensure good connections for transfers. People who ride transit view transfer time as twice that of travel time—we hate to wait. As a city, we need to make sure that there are clearly marked, safe, convenient, and clear paths to get from rail station to bus stops. Finally, while we cannot move the rail line, we can bring more activities near the stations. We should absolutely support more economic development and housing near rail stations, which will help with and be helped by a strong pedestrian environment.

  • High priority

5) Northgate Bridge:

This project needs an additional $15 million in funding on top of the $5M committed from ST and $5M from the city. A first place to start would be to include the remaining funds in the ST3 proposal. Now that ST has been given authority to put the $15B on the ballot, we could try to get the needed funds through the new revenue. There is a direct connection between this bridge and STs ridership. As a councilmember I would work with ST and the city DOT to make sure we are able to raise the funds for this. This project is not only important to pedestrian travel, it is crucial for supporting good development around transit and reducing vehicle trips. Local impact fees may be another useful source.

  • High priority

6) Walking in Seattle:

We need to consider two types of locations. Within residential neighborhoods we need to support more greenways and safe routes to schools. Part of that effort will be to reduce speeds through engineering and speed limits, but also to invest in sidewalks, crosswalks, and low-cost tactical urbanism solutions. In the denser commercial centers, we need to focus more on repairing the existing sidewalks and improving signals. We also need to ensure that transit stops and stations have great pedestrian amenities.

 

Bill Bradburd, District 9

 

1) Move Seattle:

There should be more community input on specific needs rather than having such a large levy be presented as the final plan to community councils. Our campaign supported Council member Nick Licata’s amendment to use progressive taxation to cover some of the $930 million costs with impact fees, parking tax and the employee head tax. It is regrettable that it failed by a 7 to 2 vote and the current majority on the council doubled down on regressive taxation that places the burden solely on the back of homeowners.

 

A bigger problem is that the amount of this very large levy will lock in nine years of funding in the face of other near term needs, like a renewed housing levy next year. A new district oriented City Council should not be precluded from working with their communities to determine the best balance of types of projects and the specific projects to be funded.

 

I am particularly in favor of helping communities identify and implement solutions that will encourage shifting trips from SOV to walking, biking and public transit. This could entail everything from building out neighborhood greenways along existing or desired ‘social trails’ to local schools, parks, community amenities (e.g. libraries, community center) and shopping districts, to making zoning changes and investments to make a neighborhood more ‘complete’ so that it can become more self-contained. I believe that neighborhood residents and businesses are best equipped to make these transportation investment decisions. Move Seattle has eliminated this opportunity.

 

2) Pedestrian Master Plan:

Yes, I support increasing funding for the Pedestrian Master Plan. Walkable neighborhoods make our city immeasurably safer, healthier, and more civic places to live. The energy and environmental concerns of our time also demand we return to more walkable and human scale geography. I will be a passionate advocate for walkability and adequate progressive taxation to fully fund critical investments such as

the Pedestrian Master Plan.

 

3) Rechannelization:

I support road diets where they work, such as Stone Way in Fremont/Wallingford. My concern with road diets is that they not be imposed on neighborhoods without adequate outreach and education, progressive funding, and support from the potentially impacted local community. Traffic calming improvements sometimes diverts traffic to more residential neighborhoods (“cut through”).

 

I am not aware of locations where road diets have been shown to be wholly inappropriate. There are places where the extra lane is needed, such as approaches to significant choke points.

 

I do think at times our focus on “complete streets” is complicating our transportation solutions, particularly on narrower arterials. We need to ensure that freight and public transit can move effectively (we tend to narrow transit lanes to 11 feet when Metro prefers 12), and we need to ensure that walkways are unencumbered by light poles, news boxes, and other obstacles.

 

4) Light rail:

Some of the least walkable areas of our city are in Southeast Seattle. As a community organizer in the South End, I understand that this is because we contain some of the poorest areas in the city. Our voices have traditionally mattered less to the downtown interests. While Link light rail is a positive for the area, a lack of vision in creating easy, local access to the rail stations has contributed to significant safety hazards, and to ridership not approaching what was predicted.

 

There are nearly 30 blocks between the Othello and Columbia City light rail stops. That’s hardly walkable for one of the lowest income areas of the city. The at-grade layout of the light rail often causes gridlock on MLK in addition making pedestrian access so difficult. We seem to resist providing the smaller amenities to our large projects. Pedestrian access to light rail in every station area is essential to making it function properly.

 

The new Graham Street light rail stop is a critical improvement built into the Mayor’s flawed “Move Seattle” levy. (However I would like to see some of that funding come from Link). We also need more East-West transportation options for people that travel across the District in their daily business. People shouldn’t have to travel from Rainier Beach to Downtown if they are going to Georgetown to work. Current high fare costs also serve as a disincentive for people to take the light rail rather than drive. We must bring those fares back down with progressive funding sources.

 

For many years the collision rate for intersections in the area of the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and MLK have been four to five times over what the city deems an “acceptable” level. These intersections at MLK and McClellan, at McClellan and Rainier, and at Rainier and MLK all have terrible traffic accident statistics. Detailed evaluation of these incidents is needed to come up appropriate solutions. Do they happen upon turns, are the lights poorly timed, are there turn arrows at the lights, etc. Simple solutions like signal timing, improved lane markings and lowering the speed limit should not be overlooked as tools; for example, there are no turn arrows at the light at the intersection of MLK and McClellan which may be a cause of many collisions in that location.

 

Several plans have been offered to fix the Mount Baker Mess. In 2011, there was a proposed “bowtie” design for the area, turning both MLK and Rainier Ave. into one-way streets, northbound and southbound respectively. But now, in the hands of SDOT, there is a proposal for the Accessible Mount Baker plan which also redesigns the entire flow of traffic and makes major changes to Rainier and MLK.

 

This project would soak up tens of millions of dollars in the Move Seattle levy and take years to complete. This is a working class neighborhood which often appears to serve as a guinea pig for SDOT’s design experiments but the city prefers to describe these economic loss to those least able to survive that kind of impact, both residents and neighborhood businesses. City government can be insensitive to the fact that this kind of transformation is a painful process, especially in low income areas. A solid mitigation plan needs to be funded and in place for such major structural changes should they be approved. Every business in that corridor will be severely impacted and the area has already suffered the inconvenience of major construction for years during the building of the light rail.

 

At Rainier Avenue and Forest, all transit riders must use the at-grade crosswalk when a more efficient pedestrian overpass might be considered. We might include the use of a tower with elevators for handicapped and general ease of use. The outmoded, inconvenient and antiquated design of the pedestrian bridge at Winthrop and MLK/Rainier/Franklin High School is not a useful model.

 

5) Northgate Bridge:

The pedestrian and bicycle bridge at Northgate is a very high priority that would improve the lives of people on both sides of I-5. Safe and convenient pedestrian access to all light rail stations is a priority. Easy pedestrian access should have been included in the original design for every station along the light rail line. I would rank this particular project a somewhat high priority due to the cost (lower than “high priority” due to high cost). I have also advocated for making that walkway fully covered due to weather and the ‘intimidation factor’ crossing such a large expanse of freeway).

 

6) Walking in Seattle:

Transit fares have doubled in the last ten years. We need more frequent transit service, more stops, and reduced fares. The fare increases should be rolled back and progressive taxation such as linkage fees, impact fees, employee head tax, and capital gains should be enacted to protect our transportation budget from austerity cuts.

 

In Southeast Seattle there is commercial real estate that sits empty for years. Sound Transit should release this property for development as quickly as possible. Blight levies should be imposed on commercial real estate with rents set too high for local business to set up shop and we should use similar Land Use disincentives and incentives to protect people from being priced out of neighborhoods as we improve our city for all. A vibrant neighborhood business oriented community is more pedestrian friendly than any other development pattern.

 

I do not like that we are rolling out lower speed zones in neighborhoods through an SDOT process. We have had this authority now for well over a year. I would allow communities to declare themselves low speed neighborhoods and immediately roll out the program city wide as quickly as possible.