Seattle’s Budget Needs to Prioritize for People

Feet First sent a letter to all nine Seattle City councilmembers letting them know that we are extremely concerned about the safety of the people who walk in Seattle. Whether a person’s trip takes them by car, bike, public transit, some part of their trip was done by foot.  More times than not, that trip is not safe, not inviting, and not accessible. We must do better.

 

Take a look at the letter that we sent and then write your own (their emails are below).

 

October 29, 2014

Dear Seattle City Councilmember:

 

Feet First represents people of all ages looking for safe, accessible, and inviting ways to go by foot. Walking is a vital transportation mode that strengthens communities, reduces pollution, and promotes good health. Since 2001, we have worked to ensure that all communities in Washington are walkable. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the 2015 Seattle budget.

 

The Pedestrian Master Plan’s continued implementation at a much faster pace is critical. This budget should reflect the plan’s commitment to make Seattle the most walkable city in America. Ten percent of Seattle commute trips are walking trips. We believe that Seattle should dedicate 10 percent of its transportation budget towards pedestrians. A further 19 percent of commute trips are by public transportation and most are accessed on foot. Seattle has a multiple-hundred-million-dollar backlog of pedestrian safety projects. Focus should be on high-value projects like sidewalks along transit arterials and developing urban centers.

 

Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) are incredibly important for Seattle Public Schools’ 50,000 students. These programs get results. Individual projects have increased school walking rates by an average of 20 percent, and vehicle speeds and travel citations have gone down around participating schools. According to Washington State Department of Transportation no collisions involving people walking or biking have been recorded at these locations after SRTS project completion. We encourage you increase funding for this program. To that end, funds from the Safe Routes to School traffic safety cameras should be directed toward pedestrian safety, including but not limited to crosswalks, curb bulbs, traffic lights, and speed humps. Projects along Aurora should include the study and design of a safe route to school crossing at Aurora Avenue North and N 92nd St.

 

We strongly support Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and urge continued funding for this effort. Greenway projects should give equal treatment for biking and walking and should include sufficient funding for pedestrian improvements including safe arterial crossings. We recommend that all greenways include ADA-accessible curb cuts on at least one side of the street.

 

As part of the west-end project of the SR-520 Project, Feet First strongly supports the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle path on the future Portage Bay Bridge. Other related project elements that we support include: a pedestrian/bicycle-only land bridge across SR-520 to the east of Montlake Boulevard; a safer bicycle and pedestrian crossing of Montlake Boulevard at Roanoke Street; a pedestrian/bicycle-only bridge immediately adjacent to the existing Montlake Bascule Bridge; and the further study of an above ground grade-separated pedestrian and bicycle connection flyover east of Montlake Boulevard from E Roanoke Street across the northernmost highway ramps.

 

The Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge will connect the future Sound Transit link light rail station to North Seattle Community College, measurably increasing transit ridership and promoting transit-oriented development in the Northgate area. SDOT recently completed the preliminary engineering and alternatives evaluation phase. We strongly urge the city to fully fund the design engineering phase for this important project.

 

The Freight Spot Improvement Program should identify and improve areas of freight-bicycle-pedestrian conflicts, such as along entrances and egresses for trucks on SW Spokane Street, East Marginal Way S, and Shilshole Avenue NW.

 

The Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit effort should study and design an intersection improvement for pedestrians and bicyclists at the intersection of E Madison Street, 24th Avenue E and E John Street.

 

The 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements should include the study, design, and construction of a pedestrian crossing at 24th Avenue East and East Interlaken Boulevard.

 

As part of the Transit Corridor Improvements program, all projects should also plan, design, and potentially fund connected bikeways and sidewalk improvements planned for in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans.

 

Roadway maintenance projects provide a great opportunity to provide needed non-motorized improvements in an efficient manner. Where a major arterial maintenance project is conducted, planned pedestrian facilities should be incorporated into the project. Street maintenance and preservation conducted through the Non-Arterial Asphalt Street Resurfacing program and the Non-Arterial Concrete Rehabilitation program should be prioritized for neighborhood greenways built or being built in the next year.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed 2015 Seattle budget. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Lisa Quinn
Executive Director

 

We encourage you to reach out to all nine councilmembers to let them know that you care about creating a livable and walkable city and you want them to support a budget that makes this happen. Your note need not be long, but make sure you send them your thoughts and perhaps a personal story why walking matters to you.

 

Sally Bagshaw <mailto:sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov>,
Sally Clark <mailto:sally.clark@seattle.gov>,
Jean Godden <mailto:jean.godden@seattle.gov>,
Tim Burgess <mailto:tim.burgess@seattle.gov>,
Bruce Harrell <mailto:bruce.harrell@seattle.gov>,
Nick Licata <mailto:nick.licata@seattle.gov>,
Mike O’Brien <mailto:mike.obrien@seattle.gov>,

Tom Rasmussen <mailto:tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov>,
Kshama Sawant <mailto:kshama.sawant@seattle.gov>

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